on Apr.04, 2011, under searching for John Galt...
Yesterday, Fabien reminded me of a great example of how one person’s positive influence had a massive impact on the whole…
10+ years ago…. I opened a sales office for Marcus Evans in Nice, France in a small “serviced office.”
At that time there was only one “serviced office” location in Nice, and it was near the airport.
One room with 12 desks and 12 phones … one window and nothing else.
Within two training schools, Adam Fletcher and I filled the office with young, hungry recruits from the UK.
The office was broken up into 3 teams of 4.
Each team was good, but one team was the best: E-Espana.
It was August 2000, and these brand new recruits were working on an event to be hosted in Spain (E-Espana) the following April.
All 4 were brand new to sales, with no sales experience whatsoever….
Their first month (August) — each of them sold at least 79,000 euro.
Fabien Faure sold 159,900 euro that month, his first month in sales.
According to Fabien, it started the 3rd week when he came into the office at 8am and noticed a bus ticket which had been left on his desk by Richard McBride, one of the guys on his team.
The bus ticket was stamped: 5:15 am.
Fabien looked at Richard who smiled and said to him ”glad you could make it…” and he continued to research.
Fabien was the first person on this team to sell, and according to him, he didn’t want to lose to Richard, so the next day he – himself got to the office by 6am only to discover Richard was already in the office.
Within a few days, the entire team of 4 began coming to the office by 6am …
and Richard is the one who developed, led and fostered this teams brilliant ethic and success.
Fabien remembers how it turned into a game to see who would be the first person in the office, and often one of the team was in the office by 5:15 am just to be the first one.
I am not exaggerating.
The perfect team.
When one was losing focus, the others would act like coaches helping get the person back on track.
After a few months, I sent Richard and Fabien to the Chicago office for a week of training – honestly, it was just to give them an incentive to go to America.
On the 2nd day in the Chicago office, Richard made more than 200 sales calls which shatter the Chicago office record.
Back in Nice, Richard and Team Espana had a great positive impact on the office.
Within 2 months, the tiny Nice office of just 12 people became the number 2 revenue generating office in the company – easily, doing more business than several offices with 50 – 100+ sales people.
It was a perfect machine.
Although the other teams didnt come in the office as early as Team Espana, everyone worked with the same drive -in my opinion because of Richard.
Fabien Faure is great today, and I suggest it all began back in 2000 working with Richard McBride or was it John Galt??
The world we live in today is different to the one in 2000, however, the power of positive influence still remains the same.
on Dec.20, 2010, under stick to the pitch
Do you lift the people around you up, or do you bring them down?
“Don’t let the losers bring you down…”
When I was in 10th – 12th grade, I went to the boarding school, The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida … I wasn’t a loser.
I had no time to be a loser.
My roommate, and brother like friend wouldn’t let me…
I was led by the toughest coach in high school swimming who also wouldn’t let me be a loser…
(I am proud to say that my high school swim coach was recently, named the head coach of Team USA’s 2012 Olympic Men’s swim team)
In a word, I was “surrounded” by winners….
Which ultimately, enabled/helped lead me to achieve.
When I went the University of California….I didn’t have the same type of leadership as I had in high school.
I was used to a close, family like team … and my new one was much different to my high school team.
I had a nice guy, style of coach…and practice was easy, very easy.
My personality needed the tough type of coach, or a leader, and to be honest, I felt that I was better than everyone else which led me to take the road more traveled….and act like a loser.
Instead of living up to my talent, I became a clown.
I became a loser.
Unfortunately, my loser behavior surely brought those around me (RPS) down…
It was not until I had my accident, when I had to take a year off university to rehabilitate … that I reflected on who I was, and who I wanted to become.
I didn’t want to be a loser…
So I made a big change, and focused on positive achievement.
Just one negative influence; one negative friend can get in the way of one’s success – just like our influence can either lift up or bring down those around us.
Are you surrounded by winners?
Equally important — are you bringing those around you up…. or are you brining them down?
on Nov.20, 2010, under other
Today’s blog is motivated by a comment left by the Voice of Reason:
“you have written about setting goals, not rushing and sticking with your focus.
How about writing about how to keep yourself motivated and the importance of positive thought.
You are probably the most focused person I know and you are the most positive person that I know.
Is there a correlation?”
I gain focus & motivation by other people’s negativity.
When I was in university an old friend told me that I would never learn to speak fluent Japanese …. “it’s too difficult for you…”
This person’s negativity gave me focus — 6 years later, I passed the highest level on the Japanese proficiency exam, and there was a time when I was living in Japan that I spoke Japanese as well as my native tongue, English.
When I first applied to my previous company — someone told me “you will never get hired….they only take a select few…”
This person’s negativity gave me focus — and I made sure I got the job, a job which ultimately changed my life.
Maybe if this person had not been so negative….maybe if he had not told me “you will never get the job…”
I probably wouldn’t have wanted the job as much as I did, so maybe I would not have chased to ensure I got it.
When my previous company brought me to Europe to launch a division for the company in Monaco…. several people told me that I would fail….
“your aggressive American style will not work in Europe”
(in fact, I heard this in each country I worked – your style will not work in Japan; your style will not work in China; your style will not work in western Europe; etc… and each time I proved to develop the best sales offices in the region the office was located)….
This negativity gave me focus.
When we first launched naseba …
I had lunch with someone I had just met in Monaco, someone who is retired in Monaco, and extremely negative about everything, a big moaner and complainer.
Over that lunch he told me “it is going to be next to impossible to succeed with naseba … you are trying to launch a company at the wrong time…in France, which is very costly social taxes and business taxes … I think you are wasting your time…”
(I have not spoken to this person since that lunch, but 4 years later — right after we went public, he tried to call my office in Monaco and offer his services as a “board member,” needless to say we did not return his phone calls)
Over the years, I have learned (to be honest, it didnt happen over night) to not let negativity consume me, nor prevent me from achieving.
I try to never speak negatively about anyone or anything.
My grandfather is 93 years old and I have never heard him say a negative word about anyone or anything – not once.
Now adays …. It seems moaning and complaining has become a virus… a world wide epidemic.
Seriously – count how many times you or someone around you says something negative over the course of the day…
example: “I am tired…I have a headache….my boss is an idiot….this food sucks….the car in front of me is a clown….etc.”
Then go through your day and try and focus on not saying anything negative – try and not say one negative word about anyone or anything.
Nothing positive is gained by telling people you are tired; or that your meal is no good; or screaming at the car in front of you for driving like an idiot….
Negativity only brings you down and distracts from your focus.
tomorrow I will post another part to “ode to the old school…” exploring the importance of “core values”
…the importance of the team having the same core values.
Omaha, Nebraska in late 1970’s….
I started to swim competitively, when I was 7 years old.
When I was 8 years old until I was around 12, I was one of the top swimmers in America for my age group.
My coach (my first and only coach) was very tough, and even at that young age, I was expected to train hard.
I don’t remember him to be a nice guy; he was very tough on me, but I succeeded, and swam fast. He wasn’t my friend, he was my coach.
I also did well in school, and had an overall good attitude.
My father would tell me years later – that the quality of my teammates on that first team was exceptional — most everyone on the team got good grades, and there were not trouble makers/losers bringing anyone down…at the time, that team succeeded in the pool and in their personal lives as well.
Around the time I was 13 years old, we moved and I changed swim teams.
I can still remember the first day I met my new coach.
The coach was very friendly, and I enjoyed that first swim practice with my new team.
The practice was easy.
many people came to practice late, often the older guys would waste time playing around in the locker room and just show up 5-10 minutes late.
The coach would get angry, but the next day the same thing would happen again.
There was not the same strictness as there was on my previous team I swam.
Once a guy in my lane just decided to stop and get out because he was having a bad day.
I remember the coach jokingly, punch him in the arm, and they both laughed as my teammate walked away in the middle of a tough set.
I must have been about 13 at the time, but I understood the guy was a total pussy; the set was too hard, and the coach allowed him to stop.
This never happened at my previous club.
The coach was tough.
No one missed practice.
No one was ever late because the coach wouldn’t let them practice if they were.
No one ever left early.
The age group team was easily the fastest/best in the state – one of the fastest in the country
But at my new team, there was not the same discipline — and the club/team was not successful; it wasnt even ranked top 10 in the state.
The quality of the team was different – yes, some succeeded, but there were many bad apples who ruined a bunch with their bad attitude.
The team and coach didn’t have the same core values.
After a couple weeks, I went from being the star of my age group to one of the clowns on the team.
Practice was not challenging, it wasn’t difficult at all.
I remember skipping a couple practices just to ass around with my friends ….
The coach never said anything to me.
He was a nice, friendly guy….like a buddy.
At the same time, my grades went to shit.
I had a bad attitude with my teachers and a bad attitude at home.
I went from being a great talented swimmer to just another kid in the pool.
At school, I became a class clown
To be honest, I became a fucking loser…
2-3 years of mediocrity later….
I got kicked out of school for getting bad grades and getting into too many fights – overall I was kicked out for having a bad attitude.
Luckily, my parents never gave up on me. My parents agreed to give me another chance.
They sent me to boarding school which had a strong swim program ….
The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida.
I did not know before I joined, but I quickly learned ….the coaching staff, Coach Troy and Coach Shofe were well known for being (exceptionally) tough.
I lived in the dorm – it was a boarding school, but in the summer the dorm became a swim camp and summer school.
I remember my first day in the dorm … I arrived from Omaha at 9pm.
Although I was just 15 years old, I decided I would skip the morning practice (which started at 5:15) to be ready for my first day at summer school which started at 10:00.
At 5:20 am Coach Troy knocked on my dorm room door …. (I can still remember the big grin on his face and his voice) “we’re waiting for ya….”
Of course, I had to get out of bed and go to practice.
My new team’s practice schedule was very intense – double the practice yardage I had ever done before.
The coach was incredibly tough.
You could not miss practice.
You couldn’t show up late.
There were nearly, no clowns on the team …anyone who was not focused, would not make the cut … not just because the coach would kick him off, but the teammates on the team wouldn’t allow it.
Everyone was focused not just in the pool, but also in their personal lives.
I had a fairly successful first year with the team, but it wasn’t until my last two years in high school that it all click — not just in the pool, but also in school as well as in my personal life.
Practice was hell, but I really got into training hard.
Monday – Friday 5:15 – 7:30 am … school was from 9:00 – 15:00 and then swim practice from 3:30 pm – 6:00 pm every day.
Saturday was just one practice, but always the toughest practice of the week.
We did sets that no other high school team would or could do.
The team thrived on working hard together – and for the most part, no one moaned and complained.
We all had the same goal – to be the best, not just as individuals, but as a team.
Reflecting back – the secret was obvious: we were led by a great coach who ensured we all had or developed the same core values.
Because we trained so hard – the team became very close and there was a possessiveness of “the team.” Clowns, mediocre, half assed teammates did not last.
There was strong pride amongst us … we considered ourselves to be the best high school swim team in America.
No one missed work out – but, no one ever wanted to miss workout.
No one was late, but no one wanted to be late – if anything, some fought to see who would be the first in the pool.
We were an exclusive team, like an exclusive club ….
And we supported each other from letting anyone or anything bring us down.
My senior year, we were the number one high school swim team in America.
Unquestionably, what made us, “the team” so good was the discipline Coach Troy instilled.
His discipline created consistency.
To be continued….
on Nov.15, 2010, under FND
5 years ago, (with the support of our wives) Jason and I decided to take our FND ritual to a new level, and we started the FND trip.
The FND trip is where we dedicate one week to enjoying food, wine and as Jason says “seeing cool shit“ — experiencing.
The FND Trip begins on a Friday and ends 8 days later on a Saturday … thus, we get to enjoy two Friday night dinners.
Over the past 5 years, on our various trips we have traveled by car and train all around France, Switzerland and Italy to enjoy great food, drink great wine, see “cool shit,” but most importantly, to experience.
The FND trip began in 2006…
Jason and I took a week to drive from Monaco through Tuscany (a region of Italy famous for food and wine)…
We took the rural back roads and we stopped whenever we wanted.
Once we stopped at a tiny vineyard in Tuscany.
The owner appreciated our visit so much that he brought us cheese, italian ham, and several glasses of their wine.
We sat in cheap plastic chairs in their backyard facing their vineyard … drinking their wine.
The experience was like something out of a movie.
Over that week, we traveled through Sienna, Pisa, Milan, Florence and many small Italian villages and vineyards along the way, we experienced.
In 2007, we met up in Paris …
In Paris, we went to cafés, smoked cigars, ate lunch or dinner at some of the best restaurants in Paris, and of course saw “cool shit” ….
After a few days, we rented a car and drove from Paris down through Burgundy to Lyon to the south of France … we stopped whenever we wanted.
On that trip, we enjoyed dinner at 4 of the 5 top rated *** Michelin restaurants in France…
an unforgettable week — experience.
In 2008, we met again in Paris…
That first Friday night, we didn’t like the “tiny” table we were given at the ** Michelin restaurant so we left the restaurant before we even sat down …
It was around 8pm and Jason challenged me to pull off the unthinkable: to get us a table at “Le Cinq” without reservations on Friday night …
“Le Cinq” is a *** michelin, arguably the best restaurant in Paris, certainly the most famous…
30 minutes later….
Although “Le Cinq” was fully booked, I talked my way into getting us a table.
That year, we began our FND trip with an incredible meal, but more importantly, a great story (getting the best table at the best restaurant in Paris on a Friday night without reservations)
Neither of us will ever forget that dinner experience.
The next day, we rented a car and drove from Paris to Cognac, stayed at a friend of Jason’s in Cognac for a night … and then spent a couple of days driving through Bordeaux and then back down to the south of france – the entire trip was on the rural back roads …. like the two years before, we stopped frequently in small French villages, vineyards … ate great food, drank amazing wine, saw “cool shit” and experienced.
In 2009, we met in Zurich…
We enjoyed an FND at Zurich’s top rated *** michelin restaurant then we took a few days to drive from Zurich down to the south of france … once back in Monaco, we used my home in La Turbie as our base camp and spent 3 days doing day trips, driving to several small medieval villages in France and Italy and experienced.
Two weeks ago, we met up in Rome …
We enjoyed a great FND at what many consider the best restaurant in Rome. After the dinner, we spent a few hours walking around Rome at night.
We spent two full days in Rome eating great food, drinking Italian wine and seeing “cool shit.”
We especially enjoyed visiting the sistine chapel.
After two days, we took the train to Venice and spent a couple of days in Venice eating, drinking and seeing more cool shit …
then we took the train to Bologna.
The only reason we went to Bologna was to have dinner at a restaurant we had read about – although the dinner was good, the lunch we had earlier in the day at a small, mom and pop style of restaurant was exceptional.
The next morning, we rented a car and drove from Bologna towards Monaco.
As we were driving through the back roads in the middle of gorgeous Italy, we decided to drive to Portofino, (a small St Tropez like village along the Italian Riviera) we went there for the day and stayed for dinner …
Portofino is maybe the most beautiful place I have ever experienced.
These trips are not about spending money … and for the most part are not as expensive as they sound.
Like the FND, we have several rituals which give us consistency:
- We journal each trip – both in written words, and also in pictures
- I bring two boxes of cigars for the week - Epicure #2 for Jason and Cohiba siglio V for me
- We use the Michelin guide as our source of inspiration and our only guide for the week
- We have no schedule and stop when either one of us wants to stop to eat, drink, take photos, or see cool shit
- When we drive, we must travel on the back rural roads and avoid as much as possible the highway
- Jason is in charge of making the trip music CD which we listen to when we are driving – the trip CD always begins with “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC
- When we take the train, we must travel standard class where its most animated, very crowded and uncomfortable, thus the journey provides a more interesting experience. (1st class is far better, but less crowded, thus not as interesting )
- We buy 1-2 cases of various wine from the region we visit for the wine cellar which we are expanding in my home in La Turbie
- The next FND trip destination is decided at the final FND of the trip – next year we will go to Sicily.
- The forehead shot* is always taken in front of the most iconic scene/site of the trip (see below for more details)
- The last FND of each trip, we write down 3 goals for the next 12 months – and keep them in the journal to be reviewed the next FND trip.
The FND trip became our way of experiencing everything we have talked about since that first FND in Tokyo back in 1998….
“one day, I’m gonna…”
has turned into
Instead of just day dreaming about what your “gonna” do one day…
Make your dreams become an experience.
Friday night dinner (FND) blog: http://www.scottragsdale.com/?p=3716
*the forehead photo started back in 1999 when Jason and I were on a safari in Africa – before digital camera’s.
I took a photo of Jason in front of a gorgeous view.
Ten days later, when we got the film developed we discovered the best photo of the trip was one I accidentally took of Jason’s forehead, but the photo was ironically, a great shot.