How To Build A Business That Builds Leaders

How To Build A Business That Builds Leaders written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Robert Glazer

Robert Glazer, a guest on the Duct Tape Marketing podcastIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Robert Glazer. Robert is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of Acceleration Partners, a global partner marketing agency, and the recipient of numerous industry and company culture awards, including Glassdoor’s Employees’ Choice Awards two years in a row. He is the author of the inspirational newsletter Friday Forward, the #1 Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and the international bestselling author of five books: Elevate and Friday Forward. His latest book is – Elevate Your Team: Empower Your Team To Reach Their Full Potential and Build A Business That Builds Leaders.

Key Takeaway:

Leadership has gone through a dramatic shift and we’re missing out on the opportunity to use businesses as a way to grow human beings as leaders. Robert Glazer joins me in this episode to talk about how leaders can help develop their people as well as the organization for long-term success — all while keeping everyone fulfilled in both work and life.

Questions I ask Robert Glazer:

  • [1:45] Would you characterize this as the new generation of leadership?
  • [2:35] People are leaving jobs left and right because they aren’t fulfilled. Do you see this as a trend moving forward?
  • [4:51] How essential is building trust when it comes to leadership?
  • [6:16] How important is it to check your egos to gain a level of self-awareness before you can even start down this path?
  • [7:35] Would you say that the things you talk about, your ideas, this approach, this mentality, this mindset is something that you found inherently in you or that came naturally to you as a way to build this business?
  • [10:33]  You have for many years now written a newsletter you call Friday Forward. How much of how you think about elevating your team came from what you learned writing that?
  • [13:18] Do you think everybody in an organization needs to be looked at as a leader?
  • [18:03] If you have everyone on your team reaching or at least feeling like they’re moving toward their full potential, what kind of marketing or brand impact do you suppose that has for an organization?
  • [20:29] Want to tell people where they might connect with you, learn more about your work, but obviously also pick up a copy of the book?

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John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Nudge, hosted by Phil Agnew. It’s brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. You can learn the science behind great marketing with bite size 20 minute episodes packed with practical advice from world-class marketers and behavioral scientists. And it’s not always about marketing. Great episode. Recently you learned the surprising truths about and tips for beating, stress and anxiety. Sounds like a great program, doesn’t it? Listen to Nudge wherever you get your podcasts.

(00:47): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Robert Glazer. He is the founder and chairman of the Board of Acceleration Partners, a global partner marketing agency, and the recipient of numerous industry and company culture awards, including Glassdoor’s Employees Choice Awards two years in a row. He’s the author of the Inspirational Newsletter Friday Forward and the number one Wall Street Journal, USA Today and international bestselling author, five books I think you’ve been on for Elevate for Friday forward. We’re gonna talk about his latest book, elevate Your Team, empower Your Team to reach their full potential and build a business that builds leaders. So Robert, welcome back to the show.

Robert Glazer (01:33): Thanks John. I see you again and

John Jantsch (01:35): The dog barked on cue. Yeah,

Robert Glazer (01:37): That’s perfect. Right, right, right, right on cue. Yeah,

John Jantsch (01:39): , the dog is happy to the, you’re back on as

Robert Glazer (01:42): Well, . And he didn’t even hear you say it whole lot . You saw the mailman.

John Jantsch (01:47): Absolutely. So, so would you characterize this as sort of the new generation of leadership, you know, books or new, you know, leadership training? I mean that it’s kind of out with the old sort of hierarchical leadership?

Robert Glazer (02:00): Yeah, yeah. I think I talked a little bit about a new leadership playbook. I think this transition has been happening for some time. I think it’s been masked the last couple years with sort of high growth, low interest rate, you know, super stimulus kind of company unicorn, but command and control died in the military, uh, a long time ago. And now with a societal level of burnout that we’re seeing. I just don’t see how the old playbook is going to work for building an organization that that requires constantly swapping people out, going forward.

John Jantsch (02:35): Well, and I mean a couple dynamics of course that make the news every day, people are struggling to find people, period. People are leaving jobs that are not fulfilling because the last couple years haven’t been very fulfilling in some cases. And so, I mean, do changes like that in the workplace that are happening right now? I mean, is that something that you see as a trend going forward or is that really this little bubble that we’re in for a few years?

Robert Glazer (03:01): We’ve had a lot of ups and downs, you know, power dynamic between employer and plan. And it depends on what industry you’re in, right? If you’re in hospitality or travel or whatever, you have all the power in the world. If you’re in digital marketing and e-commerce right now, it’s not pretty. Yeah. So you probably don’t want to quiet quit, but I just think we’re missing, I think we’re missing the opportunity to use businesses as a way to grow human beings, grow them as leaders and you know, talk about this concept of capacity building, but you know, work on things that help poop improve people both in the business outside the business. And I, you know, I’m very sort of, I, there, there’s camps, right? There’s the oh results and then people like I, I’m in the middle. Like I, I think you should really try to take care of and grow your people, but also you need results.

(03:45): You need performance and you can’t look, you know, the other way at those things. And a lot of those cases, that’s someone who’s just doing something that they shouldn’t be doing or is doing the wrong thing and you’re not helping them either. So I think that with work from home and all these changes, I just don’t, I don’t, I’ve always said like, I don’t think you, like imagine the person who wakes up at home and is super groggy and tired and bad with money and sucks at per prioritization and they just kind of show up as a different person at work five minutes later. I don’t think that’s the case. So I think it’s like you’re gonna, if you wanna work on , if you wanna have people be better at prioritization and time management and their health and kind of have energy and doing a lot of these things, like, that actually kind of needs to be a holistic approach

John Jantsch (04:29): When you start talking about a holistic, I was gonna ask you about remote, because obviously that’s changed, you know, everybody’s leadership, you know, it’s like I don’t ever see my team now, right? Yeah. You know, how do I lead them? But how, how central is the idea of building trust? First? I’m gonna envision somebody reading your book and going, this is what we’re gonna do. But we’ve never been that , you know, before. I mean, so how essential if I’m gonna actually like go to Robert and say, I’m gonna help you achieve all of your dreams both in work and out outside of work and you know, it’s like what Yeah. You know, how essential is it to build trust first?

Robert Glazer (05:04): I like it. I talk about this a lot. I see way too many leaders managed to the exception . Yeah. They, you know, if something’s gonna happen 99 out of a hundred times, like harping on the one that it went in one direction, it’s actually a terrible thing to do. Like Right. Don’t make something goes a certain way 90% of the time. Like make that decision all the time and don’t worry about the 10%. So I’m a big believer in you give trust first, but like one, once trust is broken, it cannot be repaired. Mm-hmm. . So, so I think a lot of people point out to the one person who abused something or otherwise, but if that’s your default approach is not to trust all of your people because of one person that acted in a way, like it kind of is a really bad assumption. But I, so, so I think it’s better to set a threshold, particularly in a remote or otherwise that like, look, we trust you and we expect you act like an adult, but you know, when we find out you were working two jobs or you find out you abused that trust, it’s hard to, to get that back.

John Jantsch (05:57): Yeah. I know the answer to this, but I want to hear how you answer this , you know, how key, cuz one of the underpinnings of this is that we’re gonna help others succeed. Like we’re gonna lift them up. Whereas a lot of people are like, these people are here to help me succeed. So, you know, how important is it to check that ego is to gain a level of self-awareness that you’re doing that, you know, before you can even start down this path?

Robert Glazer (06:26): Yeah, I think peop people look at these things incongruously and they’re not, for example, like the 80 20 rule has never been overcome, you know, that I’ve ever seen. Yeah. And you got a lot of leaders getting a lot of people spinning wheels and working on stuff on crazy hours that just doesn’t matter and isn’t getting results. So it, I’m not sure that’s good for the company, it’s good for the leader, it’s good for the employee versus if you could, you know, I have a whole chapter on getting more outcome oriented, you know, with the business and the results. What are we trying to get to? What does good look like? Like we’re not gonna focus on a million things. We’re gonna focus on those things and there’s the accountability and their performance piece. And that also maybe makes it so that people don’t need to work a hundred hours a week or aren’t getting emails at, you know, 11:00 PM at night. So a lot of these things really, truly are, I wish there was a better word, but they are vicarious or win-win in that what’s good for the business is good for the employee. I, I mean, the 80 20 rule would tell you that, you know, most organizations today tw 80% of what they’re doing is only getting 20% of the right outcomes.

John Jantsch (07:35): W would you say that the things you talk about this approach, this mentality, this mindset is something that you find in, inherent in you that it came natural to you as a way to build this business? Or was this sort of hard one, you know, because you went out and said, well here’s how everybody else builds a business and I guess that’s how you do it.

Robert Glazer (07:53): Yeah. You know, it’s interesting. I looked at a lot of the things that were going on out there and they didn’t make sense. And I wanted to build a type of business that I was excited to, to work in. And I’ve done my core values, I’ve done the y work, like I my is very much around finding a better way and share it. So it’s like, how do we make people better? How do we make the business better? How do we grow that? So, so and, and then we just really saw that worked. Now again, we are high accountability, high performance of growning, 30% a year for almost a decade. Right? It’s not, I think sometimes when people talk about businesses that help people and care about people and all, you know, that there’s this kumbaya family thing. Yeah. And you haven’t grown revenue in a decade.

(08:30): I mean, we’ve been, we’ve grown 4000% in, in, in 10 years. So I, I just didn’t wanna build a growth business that required constantly changing the people. So the question was how do we grow the people and have that be the impetus for growing the business, not artificially grow the business and then drag people along. And most of our leaders have, and look, I, this was a decision five years ago, I said, if, if you were trying to do this now, if you were trying to just grow by telling people to grind it out in 89 hours a week, they’re so burned out that I just don’t think you’ll have any employees. And in this whole world, you’re either gonna have the freelance mercenary for rent people or you’re gonna have one of people that want to be at your company. And there’s something about being at your company that, and particularly if they’re working from home, that it ties together and it helps them, you know, get what they’re looking for in some ways. But none of these things are, you know, helping people like meet their personal goals should directly correlate to helping the organization reach its goals. Yeah. Some of them should be exclusive of each other.

John Jantsch (09:32): Are you an agency owner, consultant or coach that works with business owners? Then I want to talk to you about adding a new revenue stream to your business that will completely change how you work with clients. For the first time ever, you can license and use the Duct Tape Marketing system and methodology in your business through an upcoming three day virtual workshop. Give us three days and you’ll walk away with a complete system that changes how you think about your agency’s growth. The Duct Tape Marketing System is a turnkey set of processes for installing a marketing system that starts with strategy and moves to long-term retainer implementation engagements. We’ve developed a system by successfully working with thousands of businesses. Now you can bring it to your agency and benefit from all the tools, templates, systems and processes we’ve developed to find out when our next workshop is being held. Visit That’s You have for many years now written a newsletter you call Friday Forward. It came out on Fridays. You sent it across, typically it was a, almost an internal comms piece, and then eventually grew to following, grew to a book. How much of what you, how you think about elevating your team came from

Robert Glazer (10:54): What

John Jantsch (10:55): You learned writing that

Robert Glazer (10:58): A a lot of it, I’m like a framework person. And so I realized, and when I originally wrote the book, I went to write a compilation book and agent was like, no one likes a compilation book. Like what is it? What have you done? What are the stories? I went back and looked at all the pattern analysis and the categories and that’s where I came up with this whole capacity building construct. That was the premise of both Elevate and elevate your team. And I was like, huh, this is the theme. This is what we’ve, this is what I’ve been doing personally. This is what we’ve been doing around training. We’ve been helping people with spiritual capacity, intellectual, physical, and emotional. Yeah. Like it just sort of, the pattern started to reveal itself. And when I was able to kind of lay out the framework, then I could more say, Hey look, this is, you know, if I went through the the checklist, it’s like that’s how we were training and developing people. Yeah.

John Jantsch (11:43): It’s, it was really encouraging to hear you talk about, you went back and discovered, you know, that you had this framework because I, the reason I asked the question, the way I asked is because I think a lot, lot of people underestimate how much having a regular writing practice, how much you learn from ha about yourself, about, you know Yeah. The world. Because you have to pay attention to put that out there. And I think just doing that is actually, and, and again, people should subscribe to Friday forward because you’re gonna see it’s a different kind of newsletter. But I think that it, you know, that’s one of the essential elements, right? Is, I mean, because consistently writing about those things, you know, at some point people had to say, I guess he means it.

Robert Glazer (12:25): Yeah. And look, the, I think there’s a, you probably feel this way. I know a lot. I think there’s probably a misperception that when I write something, like I had it all figured out, it’s actually the topic. It’s like, huh, I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while and now I’m gonna have to spend two hours and like Right. Come up with an opinion on it. So sometimes it really provides that clarification. Like I said, I like frameworks, so yeah. My writing is sort of about how do you put a concept or idea and a framework that then you can do something with it. You know, when you, like we read a book, you know, and you’re like, oh, I’ve known about this for a while, but just the way that John put it together, like, now I get it and it clicks and I know how to do something with it.

John Jantsch (13:01): Well I, I often, you know, somebody on my team will say, you know, I’d like to learn more about Google ads. And I said, oh great, two weeks from today you’re gonna teach a class on it.

Robert Glazer (13:08): Yeah. .

John Jantsch (13:09): And you know, they immediately learn a whole lot more than it had. I like shared, you know, what I knew about it. So I, I just think there’s a lot to that. Does everybody, does everybody need in an organization, do you view everybody as now you have a professional organization, you have very high level, you have leadership folks naturally. Yeah. You know, titled leadership folks. Do you think everybody in an org organization needs to be looked at as a leader?

Robert Glazer (13:34): No. In fact, you know, there is a whole section on this. I think one of the, you know, the premise first is look, give everyone the best chance to be successful in their organization. Yeah. But then you also need to be objective about what the organization needs and what people skillsets are and what they’re good at. And a lot of people, you know, with this word, a lot of people frankly want to be good individual contributors. Right. I think the biggest mistake historically an organization makes, right? They promote the sales person into a sales manager when they just wanna sell and the commission or the engineer into an engineering manager. Generally, I, some people aren’t really interested in managing and leading. They wanna produce and they wanna deliver and you shouldn’t cap their upside. But they are, you know, they get their good feelings from, you know, whatever they did.

(14:19): Personally, a leader, when you come a leader, you need to switch your reward center from what it is that you did. But first what that your team did. And some people just aren’t interested in that and Yeah. Because we want ’em to move up the arch chart and pay more money. Like, like we, you know, put them in charge of teams and frankly, if you’ve got a man or a woman that can sell 10 million a year, like don’t crack their commission. Like let them keep selling. Don’t make ’em managed salespeople. If that’s not what they want to do. They, if they wanna be a rainmaker, let ’em be a rainmaker. Yeah.

John Jantsch (14:52): And, and I think the real key you’re saying is work as hard as you can to get people in the right spot. Right spot for them. Right. Doing the right things because they’ll thrive.

Robert Glazer (15:02): Yeah. But look, help them build their capacity, help them learn all this stuff. Yeah. One of the things they may learn is that they don’t do some pre leadership stuff that I don’t like leadership. I like selling, delivering. You know, I like getting all the credit myself. Like I think if people then can be honest with themselves, if you can have that dialogue and the organization can be honest with them, you know, we had someone years ago who just, you know, was in a leadership role and we reversed them out of that leadership role and put ’em in a contributor role. Cause we’re like, look, you don’t like your leading your team. They don’t like having you as a leader. You like to just do stuff and get credit for it. Like we, here’s a contributor role that you could be good at. Yeah.

John Jantsch (15:42): Well and the key there too is that, you know, every organization needs somebody who geeks out on Google Analytics, right. Or whatever it is. I mean you need those tools. It wants

Robert Glazer (15:51): To be the best analytics person, the best engineer, the best salesperson, right? The there there’s not a manager of Google Analytics. I think that’s fine. So I think for that reason too, I think you need to, you, you might have training, you might, you know, for young up and coming leaders, but you also need to give ’em an escape, you know, route too. If they start down that process and realize it’s not the right thing,

John Jantsch (16:13): It’s become very trendy to talk about leaders needing to be coaches and coaching their teams. You know, where do you fall on that idea?

Robert Glazer (16:21): Yeah, look, I, a leader’s job is to make I think the sum of the parts greater than the whole, right? And so they should be talking to their team increasingly not telling what to do, but finding out where their blockers are, what they need, discussing problems with them, not solving the problems, but discussing the problems, talking about resources. So yeah, I think the coach mentor, you know, is the, I mean that to me that’s the difference between a leader and a manager. A manager just takes the sum of the parts and tells people what to do and moves the chips on the board. Like, you know, a leader is trying to get something that is more than the sum of the parts. And so I think that is the modern analogy of, you know, people talk about my friend Jamon McCormick, you know, wrote a book like Modern Leadership, but the modern leaders on the bottom of the org chart, like, Hey, I work for my team and how do I make you better get outta your way? Remove obstacles. Again, that true leader who sees their success as how well their team does, not how well they do. And by the way, this is a huge thing that most organizations miss. I would say 80 to 90% of organizations do not rate their managers as managers. , they rate them based on their contribution. So they’re totally rewarding the wrong thing. If you have a leader, someone who manages two, three, or four, five people, the number one thing that you need to be rating them on is how good of a leader they are. .

(17:42): If you rate them on their production, then you’re then, you know, if their teams, if it’s a sales leader and the team is all meeting their goals, but they, they all hate ’em or heard and they’re, you know, they’re all looking for a job and one person’s way ahead of their quota and isn’t getting promoted and one’s under their quota is not getting fired. But they’re all like, again, the results mask. That person is not doing their job as a leader. Yeah.

John Jantsch (18:04): So we started talking about this before I hit record and I want to loop back to it, you know, part of the subtitle Empower your Team to reach their full potential if you have one on your team reaching or at least feeling like they’re moving towards their full potential. What kind of marketing or brand impact do you suppose that has for an organization?

Robert Glazer (18:21): Yeah, look, I think they’re fundamentally three types of organizations. I talk about this in the book. The first is a star sniffling and I worked at one of these outside of school, like this is where like me, you know, te you know, mediocrity just tried to stay in place and like good talent left as fast as they could. It was like, you know, there was a whole group of people who just were protecting their job and knew the politics and otherwise. So like while that organization is bankrupt, like everyone I worked with is doing an amazing thing. Like it was one of my first jobs out of college. So the second is catch and release, right? I think these are the organizations that develop people and when they don’t have an opportunity or there’s two people going for one job, they’re actually happy to help that person.

(19:00): And you know, like seeing them go somewhere else and be successful. Patty McCord used to say, we love to see people go be from Netflix. And I think that’s really powerful, the brand and pretty awesome. The hardest one and the one that I think you can’t be all the time is sort of a true meritocracy. An organization that is willing to put the best person on the field, you know, at any time. And you know, my historical example from this in the book is that in 2001, right, the, the Patriots had just signed Drew Bledso for $103 million. I think Bill Belichick is the best example historically of this. It doesn’t matter what you’re paid, where you’re drafted, otherwise whoever is performing best will get the role. And Bledso got hurt. And when he, you know, the sixth round quarterback skinny kid that, you know, no one knew Belichick left him in there.

(19:46): And when the quarterback came back he said, he’s playing really well. I’m not gonna take him out. I mean you’re talking about he doesn’t make that decision and Tom Brady’s not the best player of all time. Very few managers I think are willing to make that decision or take someone and say, look, this person is objectively higher achieving and better than other, we are going to push them forward. So I think we’re all organizations actually are all flavors of those at time to time. But if you want to build a great brand as an organization, one where people can move up on their own merit or the organization supports them to go take better roles elsewhere, like I think that those are places that people wanna work.

John Jantsch (20:24): Speaking with Robert Glazer, he is the author of Elevate Your Team. So Robert, you want to invite people where they might connect with you, learn more about your work, but obviously also pick up a copy of the book.

Robert Glazer (20:35): Yeah, it’s You can find my podcast there. Book and Friday Ford and would love to, to have everyone join. Awesome.

John Jantsch (20:44): Well thanks again for stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast and hopefully we’ll run into you again soon. One of these days out there on the road. Thanks John. Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy, strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It’s called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find it @ Check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That’s just I’d love to chat with you about the results that you get.

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