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Jan. 25, 2023

Techstars Alumni And Scale Up Coach George Morris Shares Proven Strategies To Grow Profits And Success (#198)

Techstars Alumni And Scale Up Coach George Morris Shares Proven Strategies To Grow Profits And Success (#198)
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“Really listen and stop thinking that you know it all. Stop thinking you have all the answers, and the sooner that you can do that, the more abundant your life is gonna become.” -George Morris

George Morris is a Certified Scaling Up Coach and lifelong entrepreneur. He found his success running his digital agency, Imulus. Co-Founded TEDxBoulder, is a Techstars Alumni and former President of the Entrepreneur Organization, Colorado Chapter. 

George has walked the entrepreneur's journey from zero business experience and starting up during awful economic conditions in the dotcom crash, to building a best place to work and a fastest growing company. He happily shares his mistakes and lessons learned with his coaching clients. George is adamant that business fundamentals unlock the potential of teams and organizations. Too many times companies pile on unnecessary tasks, projects, and systems that slow down their growth. He helps companies shed organizational debt to accelerate their growth by focusing on the goals and the actions needed to get there.

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Your liquidity event is the most important financial transaction of your life. You have one chance to get it right, and you better make it count. 

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Enjoy the interview!


[00:00:00] Jeffrey Feldberg: Welcome to the Deep Wealth Podcast where you learn how to extract your business and personal Deep Wealth.

I'm your host Jeffrey Feldberg.

This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth and the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience.

When it comes to your business deep wealth, your exit or liquidity event is the most important financial decision of your life.

But unfortunately, up to 90% of liquidity events fail. Think about all that time and your hard earned money wasted.

Of the quote unquote "successful" liquidity events, most business owners leave 50% to over 100% of the deal value in the buyer's pocket and don't even know it.

I should know. I said "no" to a seven-figure offer. And "yes" to mastering the art and the science of a liquidity event. Two years later, I said "yes" to a different buyer with a nine figure deal.

Are you thinking about an exit or liquidity event?

Don't become a statistic and make the fatal mistake of believing the skills that built your business are the same ones to sell it.

After all, how can you master something you've never done before?

Let the 90-day Deep Wealth Experience and the 9-step roadmap of preparation help you capture the best deal instead of any deal.

At the end of this episode, take a moment and hear from business owners like you, who went through the Deep Wealth Experience.

George Morris is a certified Scaling Up Coach and lifelong entrepreneur. He found his success running his digital agency Imulus, co-founded TEDx Boulder, is a Techstars alumni, and former president of the Entrepreneur Organization, Colorado Chapter.

George has walked the entrepreneur's journey from zero business experience and starting up during awful economic conditions in the dotcom crash to building a best place to work and a fastest growing company. He happily shares his mistakes and lessons learned with his coaching clients.

George is adamant that business fundamentals unlock the potential of teams and organizations. Too many times companies pile on unnecessary tasks, projects, and systems that slow down the growth. He helps companies that shed organizational debt to accelerate their growth by focusing on the goals and the actions needed to get there.

Welcome to the Deep Wealth Podcast, and as you heard from the official introduction, we have a heavy hitter with us today and you would expect nothing less. We have a terrific guest, a fellow business owner, entrepreneur, thought leader, coach, you name it, he's done just about everything.

George, welcome to the Deep Wealth Podcast. It's absolutely a privilege. And a delight to have you with us. And you know, George, there's always a story behind the story. What's your story, George? What got you to where you are today?

[00:03:04] George Morris: Thanks for having me here. What got me here today? A roundabout path is what I would say. When we look at a journey, it would be nice to be able to draw a straight line, but mine is a very curvy, windy road that got me here.

[00:03:18] Jeffrey Feldberg: And anything from that journey that would stand out for you that really shaped you and formed you as an entrepreneur? Because before you're doing what you're doing, I mean, you're sitting down with CEOs and you're advising and coaching them, doing some remarkable things there. But on the entrepreneurial side, anything that stands out from the journey that you care to share?

[00:03:37] George Morris: Yep. Yep. Taking my business into the ground. How about that one? The truth is you know, like if we go way back and I won't make this one long, but my father and my grandfather both owned construction companies and my dad told me when I was a kid, he goes, it's always easier to push a pencil than is to hammer a nail.

And he is like don't follow in my path. Go do something different. So, he encouraged me to do something other than construction. But when I started the business out the first time in the mid-nineties, no one really knew what a website was, and the company I had at that time was called Ensoma.

I made a whopping $600 in my first year.

[00:04:14] Jeffrey Feldberg: Geez we could trade stories there, George. I think you did better than me in my first year.

[00:04:19] George Morris: It was unbelievable. It was a whole year. I remember living in my mom's house. I was going through college at the time and I just had no idea anything about business. Nothing. I watched my dad run it, but I had no idea. And then, years later right before thedotcom bust, I was working at a digital agency the bust hit, and shortly thereafter, I had to figure out what to do.

And my boss at the time, he goes, why don't you go start another agency up? And I had to take a deep gulp there because I'm like, okay I'm gonna make another $600 a year again. And the truth of the matter is he convinced me to go back onto the entrepreneurial path and I got two colleagues of mine and we built a great agency.

We took what we learned from them and where they worked really well and where they failed and created something new outta the ashes of that. And I ran that with them for let's see, probably 12 of the 14 or 15 years were gangbusters. We were like best place to work. Fastest growing in the area.

We just had a great company and all of a sudden I felt man, this isn't that hard. I kind of got this figured out. Until I didn't until I realized, I would get a lot of anxiety going to the University of Colorado. Cause I was asked to come in and be a guest lecturer to the MBA program talking about how I ran the business, and I felt like a total fraud.

Why am I talking to MBA graduates and I have zero background in business other than running my agency?

[00:05:44] Jeffrey Feldberg: They got old imposter syndrome creeping up there.

[00:05:47] George Morris: Oh my God. Yeah. I learned about the term imposter syndrome and I was like, yeah, that, that's me a hundred percent. When I learned that, I'm like, okay, how do I get to learn what I haven't learned? And so, I got turned onto the entrepreneur organization, EO jumped into that and was introduced into a world of areas that I needed to grow into, and I attacked it with gusto. I'm like, great. And before you know it, I was President-elect for the chapter, and so, then the rest was a story of learning and growing. And you know, right at that point is when I started to take the business downhill too.

[00:06:24] Jeffrey Feldberg: Okay, so,. I thought a lot there, but it's really going to apply with what we're talking about today. And for listeners, you'll recall from the introduction. George isn't just some random guy who showed up. He is stellar with what he's done from being the president of the EO organization. He's a Techstars alumni, which in and of itself is a huge distinction.

Co-founded TEDx Boulder. Wow. George, your company, you're very modest because we said it in the introduction. It's worth repeating again. Your company was one of the fastest-growing companies. So, you've done some wonderful. And here you are today, you're paying that forward with business owners. And you know, why don't we start with you and I, very similar, I suspect. And glass is always half full and the world is terrific and we're gonna make a difference. But let's do something a little bit different. The glass is half empty for just a moment because offline, you and I were having a really interesting discussion that would be terrific to bring into our recorded discussion here.

And we're talking about how business owners in general and you guys know who you are that are listening, you know, maybe they have a no slight to any physical fitness trainers out there or anything else. They, maybe they have a physical fitness trainer for themselves, but when it comes to the business, when it comes to bringing on an outside Advisor, someone like yourself, George, who has done it, you've been there, you have that track record.

You've seen the good, the bad, the ugly. It's typically, oh, thank you. But no, thank you for any myriad of reasons. For the listeners who are hearing this now and saying, yeah thats kind of me, if I'm honest and open about it. George, what are they missing out on? By not having someone like yourself really as a board of directors of one, just for them to help guide and grow their business.

What's going on with that? What isn't happening with that?

[00:08:08] George Morris: You're not growing in the areas that you're blind to. It's the saying that it's hard to read the label when you're inside the jar and I love that saying because I get to sit here and I can look at how you're showing up. I can look at what you're saying, I can hear the tone in your voice.

I can see how you're leading or not leading your executive team. And I have to have a relationship with you where I can pull that up and say, you know, Jeffrey you say you encourage trust and transparency and vulnerability with your team, but yet I saw you do X, Y, and Z, and I watch how you react that.

And you know, you're probably gonna say no, I don't, I do this, then you're gonna just go in the defensive. But I'm in a position to then point that out to you and say, okay, is that true? And there's a lot of other things I'm gonna get into when I work with my clients. We're gonna get into, like looking at cash flow systems, processes, but we're not gonna get to any of that until we can establish vulnerability-based trust.

And for me to do that, I have to be able to look at these areas of you and hold them up to you and see how you respond to it, and that's where you start.

[00:09:18] Jeffrey Feldberg: You know, that's really powerful and I suppose, and you can correct me if I'm off base as people, as leaders, as founders, business owners, we need to be the change that we wanna see in our people. But it starts with us. Would I be on base with that?

[00:09:32] George Morris: Totally. Absolutely. Yep. You can't sit there and expect the leadership team that you're working with to change and you're not gonna do any of the work. We're gonna get into an exercise with one of my clients, actually next week. We're gonna get into Patrick Lencioni's Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

 It's gonna be the first day we're gonna lead the whole executive team through one of the exercises. And the CEO and I were talking and I said, I need you to be the first to go. I need you to be the exemplar of where we're gonna go with this. And he's like, I couldn't agree anymore.

He's like I'm fully on board. I'm like, that's why you're my client. That's why I love working with you.

[00:10:07] Jeffrey Feldberg: Terrific. And George, let me ask you this because, and again, correct me if I'm off base, but my thesis Is, and I say this all the time, here at Deep Wealth, you can have the world's best solution. You can have incredible company. But if you don't have that outside guidance, that Advisor, that coach someone like yourself, your company may not be growing to its full potential.

You may be missing out on opportunities and so, with that in mind, when someone brings you on board, a business owner, entrepreneur, founder, they bring you on board for the company's first time out. You know, I'm gonna rely on Pareto's law here for just a moment. Are 80% of the issues that you're seeing that are holding back businesses, maybe even having businesses fail coming from the same, give or take 20% of root causes and what would some of those root causes be? What are some of the typical mistakes the business owners are making that they don't even know that they're making?

[00:10:59] George Morris: It all comes back to their team and how they communicate, how they're defining expectations, how are they looking at accountability and we spend so, much time in our country. We look at things like talent, skill of the talent, our software. We look at technology, we look at all of these things.

But the thing that I think is most overlooked is vulnerability-based trust and the teamwork that you produce. Because it's so damn hard to measure quantify that it's actually improving. You can do it, you quantify it, improving, but it's hard for people to wrap their heads around and put a direct ROI on it.

So, I think therefore it gets avoided. It's not talked about as much. We'd rather hire the ace that comes out of Stanford or MIT but we're not really even looking at are they a real fit for the company. Are they a fit for the team? What's gonna call, what's that gonna do for the team? We assume that high talent and high intellect and high experience equates to high trust within a team.

And it doesn't. It's not always the case.

[00:12:04] Jeffrey Feldberg: And I suppose with that team, and you know what an area to pick because one of the big things here with us at Deep Wealth is does your business run without you? And for most business owners, the answer is no, it doesn't. And if you do want it to run without you, then to your point, you gotta have the right team, the right people, the right people on the bus, but the right people in the right seat on the bus to run that company and take it to the next level.

Would I be on base with that?

[00:12:31] George Morris: Totally on base. And the reason why it doesn't work is because you, as the business owner created that situation. It's usually you gotta put a mirror right back into the face of the business owner. A lot of the times what I hear is the owners come back and say, oh, I can't trust my team because X, Y, and Z.

Okay, who's responsible for that? Who's accountable for that? And if they start saying he did this and she did that. That's a flag for me because I hear that, I'm like I don't know if I can work with this person. I want to hear them own it. I wanna say well, you know, I hired this person because they're the cousin of my wife, and you know what, or I felt loyal to this.

And now we're getting somewhere. Now we understand how we got into this mess so, we can unravel it but if we're gonna be pointing your fingers everywhere else, then there's probably not a place here I can come in and help you until you look at yourself.

[00:13:21] Jeffrey Feldberg: All your listeners out there, take note, accountability and vulnerability are top of the list. George, when a business owner comes to you and you're both vetting each other out, and ultimately, okay, yes, let's work with each other it's mutual. On that side, what does your system look like?

What are you doing in the beginning? And then if you're to fast forward a period of time, what's changed?

[00:13:45] George Morris: Sure the system that I actually coach is called Scaling Up. It's derived the original creator was Verne Harnish so as the creator of EO. He created the Rockefeller Habits and then you know him and Gino Wickman. Both were the early guys working on EOS traction. It was based on scaling up and the Rockefeller Habits, and then Gino went his way.

I remember using EOS traction when we're at EO, running a chapter here in Colorado, and then Vern rebranded as Scaling Up and I coach Scaling Up, although I have a strong background in EOS. That's the system I bring to my clients and I work with them on it. Initially what we do is we do an assessment I run the assessment with the founder, the ceo, whoever it may be, is my primary contact.

And then with his executive team. They're really simple questions usually. They're maybe like a few of the most simplistic questions I'll say to the owner, is your executive team healthy and aligned? Do they all know what the goals are? Do they know what the objectives are? The answer I usually get is, yes.

They all get it. They all know the goal. They're perfect. But when I ask them the team, what are the goals? What are these different metrics? They're all over the board. I had one team where I came in and I said to 'em, I go, what was the revenue for last year? Just a basic question across several members of the executive team. One member would come back and say, 8 million. The other member will come back and say 92 million, and then they were like literally all over the board. Or you ask how many employees all over the board, and the real number was like 51 million. And I'm like, How can we be so, off on this really basic question that we have?

And what I always point out is, I show a graphic that I love, it's Kobe Bryant looking at the scoreboard and there's three different scoreboards up there. And I'm like, how do you play a basketball game when you get three different scores and you don't know which one to trust? We don't know our strategy.

We don't know how we're gonna communicate. We don't know what our goals are if we can't get aligned on the most basic elements of leading a company. And I guarantee you in almost all companies, that's the case.

[00:15:49] Jeffrey Feldberg: So, It sounds like when you're walking in, one of the big issues is that there's just no alignment and different understanding of information. No communication in the right areas. Everyone. It's just maybe every person for him or herself. It sounds like.

[00:16:02] George Morris: And they think they're trying. I, they're putting in an effort. They think they're trying, they're going by the examples they've seen others do. But that's again, the difference with having a coach. I've worked out my whole life on and off, and when I go to the gym, I can move a few weights around, but I guarantee you if I bring in some ripped trainer that knows what they're doing, they're gonna put me on a much better, more efficient course to get my butt in shape than I personally can do.

And it's the same thing with executive coaching.

[00:16:30] Jeffrey Feldberg: And so our listeners. It sounds like the takeaway here, right off the bat, George, was someone like yourself coming in is that you're not coming in a situation where you're bound to anybody. You're gonna call things as you see it. You're gonna see the blind spots as they are. And like we like to say here at Deep Wealth, how can you master something you've never done before?

You don't know what you don't know, but you do know. And it was interesting when you start off asking questions, the business owners have the answers, but they don't have the questions to ask.

[00:16:59] George Morris: Yeah, it's a Great point. Yep.

[00:17:00] Jeffrey Feldberg: Right and you're the one who's coming in with the time-proven questions, the ones that get results. And let me ask you this.

I can imagine when you're going through in the early days with an owner and you're looking at the management team to begin with, and then perhaps the rest of the employees, depending on the size of the company, how do you deal with a situation where someone in a senior leadership position that senior leader is just, it's not working out for any number of reasons business owner maybe didn't see it.

But now the business owner does, and a difficult decision has to be made of this person being not on the team and finding another business to fulfill his or her destiny. How do you deal with something difficult like that?

[00:17:38] George Morris: A real frank conversation. I could think of a team last year where that happened where it was a new team. I started working with them and there were little things that we were doing on our one-on-one interviews. I would hear the CEOs say things to me like they're basically like a dead man walking, and I'm like tell me more.

What do you mean about dead men and walking? Their time here is kind of limited. They're not gonna be around here much longer. Really? Well, then why are they here to begin with then like why even keep them around if they're a dead man walking? Well, I don't know. And I'm like, do you not have the courage to get rid of 'em?

Do you not have the heart to do it? What's holding you back from getting rid of 'em? And the talk goes it's really that easy, isn't it? I'm like, yeah, it really is that easy. Like we don't need to keep them around. Because here's the thing is they're not benefiting the team I guarantee you they're not happy being here.

They feel that they know that. The most humane thing to do is move on and do so gracefully that they can get on with their life and be happy again. And you can get on running your team and being happy there. Like, why are we sitting in this quagmire that we don't need to be sitting into?

[00:18:43] Jeffrey Feldberg: You know, George, one of the toughest things as a leader, and I never got used to it, it never became easier for me, even as my company scaled and grew, was letting people go. But the narrative that I would tell myself before, during, and after was, hey, this person. Is not going to reach his or her potential in the company ever.

And I'm doing a disservice by withholding them from their destiny, whatever that may be. And as painful as it is, let them go and find whatever their destiny is, wherever it's gonna take them. I don't wanna be the person getting in the way of doing that. And, from that vantage point, it didn't necessarily make it easier, but it helped from that side.

[00:19:22] George Morris: Always say free up their future.

That's all you gotta do. You gotta free up their future.

[00:19:27] Jeffrey Feldberg: So, it sounds like you're doing a lot of looking at the team. Are they on the right bus? Are they in the right seat? And you get all that taken care of and everything else that goes along with that what would be next with your system, George, of how you're guiding this company from where they are to and even better, higher, more profitable level?

[00:19:48] George Morris: The real next stage on that is getting alignment in the things that we do. What's important? What's priority? Why are we doing what we're doing? A lot of times with the companies and this is an area where I'd actually, I as a coach wanna develop more into is going back to Jim Collins's idea of a B H A G.

The big, hairy, audacious goal, what is that bigger purpose that this organization is here for? And I hear a lot of companies get caught up. They're like, example I'm a waste removal company. They may come back and say, hey, we're not curing cancer. We're not sending people to the moon.

What's our BHAG? Why do we need to have a BHAG? And there was a McKenzie survey out there that asked people, and I think it was like two or three years old, but it asked people, are you fulfilled at work? And the majority of the people came back and said, no, they're not fulfilled at work. But then what was enlightening was their follow-up question.

Do you believe that you could be fulfilled in your work if you had a higher purpose to aim for as a company? And 98% of them came back and said, yes. They believe that if the company chose a higher purpose, they would feel more fulfilled at work. And what happens is so, many companies set this goal or whatever arbitrary goal is out there to please the board or the investors or anyone else.

That's usually a revenue target. And that revenue target is great for the board, the investors, the owners, and everyone else. But do the employees get jazzed about the revenue target? If they got some profit sharing perhaps. But I would argue that revenue alone and money alone is not gonna be enough to get you out of the bed in the morning and get you into the office and inspired to work.

And I often say it's like owning a car for the goal of buying guests. That's not what I own the car for.

[00:21:32] Jeffrey Feldberg: That's crazy, right? And you know what's interesting with that McKinsey survey that you're talking about, it reminds me of the Glassdoor survey, similar kinds of questions, and what was interesting, they were asking why do people either stay at a company or choose to go to a new company?

And money was not at the top of the list, money was further down below. It was the quality of the leadership that's to your point, George, right off the bat what you spoke about. And then it was also to your point of, okay, you know, am I gonna feel a sense of purpose? Am I going to enjoy, am I going to be pushing myself in my career to just make a difference out there?

And so, how do you get the company to literally shift or rotate from this probably very boring mission statement that no one reads, hung up on a wall collecting dust to a living, breathing, motivational cause or message that has people getting outta bed saying, yes, I'm excited, or Friday rolls along, and gosh, I gotta wait another two days until I get back to the . Office.

You know what's going on with that. How do you do that?

[00:22:34] George Morris: What I like to do is I sit down with the whole executive team, and usually when we do an offsite, when we're doing this work, we're there for two days. We're working through the values of the company. We're working through the BHAGS and all of that, but we're co-creating this stuff.

It's not mandated down from say, the CEO or the president mandated down to the rest of the company. What we do is we get. We get it out there and we work on it as an executive team, and we say, this is what we're trying to create. This is why we're trying to create what we're creating. And I use a variety of tools from scaling up.

I also use Simon Sinek. Start with Why.

Great tool to kind of pull that out, pull out your core values, pull all these things together, and when we do it, I then ask the team to hang it up on the wall in the office and ask for the rest of the company to give you feedback over time. Have them put sticky notes up on a board and write down like, why are we doing this?

Or if we follow this B H A G, it's gonna have this unintended consequence. I want them hearing it. I want them involved in the creation of this, that they have a say. And at the very least, even if they don't have a say to direct it, they have the ability to ask a question to get clarification. Cuz what we may find, Jeffrey, is that I created a BHAG for my company that I never had in the first place.

And 60% of the company is no, I'm not aligned with that. I don't agree with where you're headed.

Okay, now we're gonna have to do a gut check here, because if I really believe in that as my executive team and the employees that I see are core to the company, if they come back and say, yeah, we're on board, but the other 60% is not well, the other 60% needs to move on.

And we had just had a real-time example of this last week at Twitter with what Elon Musk did for the rest of the team. It was a real-life example of this.

[00:24:28] Jeffrey Feldberg: And so, you know, not getting into politics or anything else with that. But it's a real time example and one that's in the public eye. I mean, George, your narrative on that, if you had to give a narrative of what's going on there in a sentence or two without us politicizing it.

[00:24:44] George Morris: We're not gonna politicize it. Trust me. I don't wanna go there. But here's my take is that I respect Elon Musk. Would I wanna work with him? Hell no. Not at this stage in my life. When I was in my twenties, maybe I would work with him. But what he did is he threw the gauntlet down there and he said, there's gonna be extreme hard work.

And even if you do the extreme hard work, you may not have a job here. There are people out there that read that, that said, hell yes, I wanna work for that guy. And so he's attracting the kind of people that are gonna come work for him, and he's really clear about that. This is out of the norm for him.

This is the expectation of SpaceX, Tesla everywhere, that's his value system. And if you align with it, great. If you don't. But I highly respect the fact that he just put that out there and said, here you go. And people they took polar sides to this. It's great, well that's what we should do.

Because where we mess up is when we don't do that. When we don't take a side, when we don't try to be polarizing to some degree, and then we're just kind of like wallflowers, like we don't really stand out, we don't really define anything worth fighting for.

[00:25:52] Jeffrey Feldberg: it almost seems that through social programming, political correctness, whatever you want to call it, as a leader, we just get watered down and we tend to forget as the owners, as the entrepreneurs, the founders. We're not here to be the friends of our employees. You know, If we want friends, we'll go outside for that.

And we're not there to win a popularity contest. We've gotta put the business first. To your point, what's our vision? And can we clearly communicate that? And then are we gonna get the support around that? And just to throw around names, we've been throwing around some names here. What you're reminding me of in many ways is Steve Jobs.

I mean, he's, acclimated in so many ways, but if we're open and honest about it, there are people that are saying he wasn't the easiest guy or the best person to work for.

[00:26:38] George Morris: He was a tough ass.

[00:26:39] Jeffrey Feldberg: Yeah. But he got it done. He got the job done.

[00:26:42] George Morris: Yeah. Well, I do think the one thing that I'm, wrestling with, and I can't say I have an answer or direction just yet, but I was listening to a podcast interview and they were talking about how there's a change in the workplace that we're experiencing right now where back, 40, 50 years ago, you had community, you had religion, you had your family, you had your bowling league, whatever it might be, you had things that made up all aspects of your life. But what's happened, especially since covid is the workplace is becoming all of those things where In the workplace you're expected to be like therapist, coach, teammate, best friend, all these different things within the organization and so, I think there's this idea to be more inclusive, more accepting, more understanding of everyone. But to your point, that waters us down too. When we're not taking positions, when we're not saying, this is what we believe in and this is what we're fighting for, that would just become so, generic like everybody else.

And I'm wrestling with this a little bit cuz I don't know how to fit this narrative if it is true into some of these other things that I'm talking about.

[00:27:54] Jeffrey Feldberg: And this in and of itself, George, could be a whole other episode because with the remote work coming outta the pandemic, and it seems that in the workplace, the change has taken place from an employee side of things is, hey, you know what? I wanna have a life outside the business.

Not everyone, but some people wanna have a life outside the business. I value my family. I don't wanna have that daily three hour commute. I don't wanna work for someone that I despise. And I want to have more of a balance to my life. And for those people perhaps where they are is the place to be.

Perhaps not, but you're right, there's a huge revolution going on there. So, as a business owner who's caught in the middle of this, George, and as a business owner, we know that at least today as of this recording, it's not so, easy finding talent, and it's certainly more expensive to find the right talent.

What advice would you give based on what you're seeing with all the advising and the coaching that you're doing with successful companies, how do you navigate through these choppy waters on a leadership side when it comes to talent today?

[00:28:52] George Morris: Take your position and back it up. Have your values. Have what you're about. What are you trying to achieve? What is the culture you've created and how's that different than what you want to create and articulate that? Tell the story about why this company is doing what it's here to do.

What is its purpose and why you should come join our team or why you shouldn't?

There's ample reasons why you shouldn't come join my company.

If you don't align with certain values, that's okay. I think when we get out there and we're just trying to attract talent for the sake of bringing people in, to put them in the seat we're already off on the wrong foot because we're just trying to put a warm body in place.

And what does that tell me about the values of that company? Oh, you'll just hire any old person. It was Gartner did a study and they were talking about how employees that stick around to have a best friend in the organization. They stick around three years longer than those that don't have a best friend.

But it was talking about how organizations thrive is when they take people in and they bring in new hires that they indoctrinate them through almost like a hell week. Because what this does is this creates a sense of unity and bonding within the team, and they all feel like they have a purpose.

They feel like they've got each other's back, and it's creating these kind of cultures to bring people into. That people want to be there. They don't feel like they have to have golden handcuffs to stay there like make it so that they don't wanna leave. And I remember when I had emulus, all those years ago, it was not uncommon for me to show up at the office at 11:30 at night, and my team is still sitting behind their computers, drinking beer, eating pizza, and then once in a while playing video games and they're working till the wee hours of the morning because they loved each other.

It was like a family. It was the greatest.

[00:30:39] Jeffrey Feldberg: And you know, this word has a negative connotation. I like your word family, probably better than my word cult. It's like a cult for the business, but in a healthy way where it's us against everyone else and we're bonding together as a team. And you know, George, you didn't quite say it this way, and I'm reading between the lines, but I get the sense that you're walking the talk because very early on in this conversation, you said, hey, when I'm speaking with a prospective client, I'm asking why should I be working with that person?

So, you're really putting into practice what you're talking with us about.

[00:31:10] George Morris: Yeah. In fact, one of my clients, let's just say we had a disagreement, a BHAG was in place and then the BHAG was removed. And there are extenuating circumstances that I've allowed that to just go on for the last month or two, but it's my red flag on the top corner of my notes with the client that we're gonna need a BHAG here in place shortly. And if there's not a BHAG, there's a limit to how much longer I'm gonna stay around and work with you because I can help you with the day-to-day execution.

I can help you with the team trust, but I can't help you accelerate your growth unless we have a clear objective that we're going towards. Yes, I put this in practice and also in all my agreements with all my clients. I have a short pay guarantee, which is on for both of us. If at some point this relationship is not working out, I can leave because I don't wanna be spending my time with clients that don't value my time and my clients can leave. If I'm not bringing value and you don't see the value in my work, you can leave so we have a very loose agreement because I want us both to be buying into this and re-upping on a regular basis, and the minute that there's lack of value on either side, move on.

There's other people out there that do what I do. Go find them.

[00:32:26] Jeffrey Feldberg: So, listeners, take note. I mean, look at the transparency with that. And you're hearing someone who's saying from George's side, hey, it's not about the money for me. I don't want be there just to collect a check from you and be miserable. I wanna enjoy myself. I wanna make a difference. I want to add value.

And George, you very eloquently, you've walked us through some of the things that you're doing very early on. What would be another one or two potential areas that is just a blind spot for a business? They're not getting it right. So, you talked about looking at the team, you talked about, are we all on the same page.

Are we having a BHAG some kind of bigger vision of where we're moving towards? Anything else that you're, you know, in the early days when you're bringing on new clients, you're onboarding them that, okay, let's fix these areas here. What else would that be?

[00:33:10] George Morris: One of my favorite ones to tackle is a communication standard because Jesus, I see so, many people that are stressed and so fragmented because they're checking email, they're checking slack. They're checking their text messages. They're checking their phone. We are so fragmented and you go and read any of the work done by Cal Newport and getting into the idea of deep work, there is no way that deep work can be done in most organizations, I really encourage my clients to have a communication standard, how are we gonna communicate? In fact, one of my clients just went through an acquisition. They're going through the acquisition and the acquiring company coming in has said we don't communicate via email internally, we communicate with clients via email, but internally, zero emails are sent.

Everything is done with live Google Docs and Slack. And meetings. That's it. They're the only three tools we use to communicate what we need to communicate. Having that standard and that standard outlines frequency, urgency the best ways to communicate, how do you actually put a hand up to say, don't interrupt me, I need to work on some deep work right now.

So, communication standard numero uno for me.

[00:34:24] Jeffrey Feldberg: I wanna hear the other one before you go to the next point, we had a guest on the podcast management consultant, don't hold me exactly to the number, George, but I'm not far off. And so they'll go into any company and they'll look at senior leadership. They'll actually follow them for a period of time.

And what they're looking at, they're looking at many things, but one of the things that they're looking at is, okay you know, to the deep thinking, the deep work, how much of that is going on? Get ready for this across the board for most companies, there's always exceptions, but for most companies, for a senior leader, someone who's highly paid, someone who's driving the bus in a specific area, the deep thinking time, the deep work time, seven minutes, maybe nine minutes at the most, I'm being generous there in an entire day.

And the rest of the time were emails, to your point, meetings, useless communications, taking them all off the ball. So, you bring up a very critical and often overlooked point of email overload or how we communicating or we meeting for the sake of meeting. But enough about that.

Let's go onto that next point that you had. What is that?

[00:35:29] George Morris: Real quick, when I'm doing my off and we're setting our rocks for the quarter, I'll tell all the executives you need to work on this rock for no less than 90 minutes a week. And you see nearly universal, they all sit back in their seats like when am I gonna have time for that?

And I'm like, I don't really know, but you're gonna make the time for that, cuz something's gonna drop off. Anyway, the second piece of that is really meetings. Meetings and data. What I see so, often is that people are meeting I think because they feel like they should meet and they end up having all of these meetings that don't actually have a purpose to why they're meeting or what is the outcome.

There's no preparation and so all these meetings again, also fragment the hell out of us. Let's get really clear on why we're meeting. What is the objective? What is the structure? What is the preparation? What is the outcome look like at the end of the meeting? And let's also tie the data to the type of meeting we're having.

For instance, if we're doing a daily huddle, we're only looking at what was done yesterday. What's gonna get done today? That's it. The data that I'm reviewing in that timeframe needs to be tied to that type of meeting. When I'm looking at a weekly meeting, what am I looking at? Any metrics that are relevant in the last seven days or seven days going forward.

We're gonna keep our blinders on that. We're not looking at monthly data, yearly data, multi-year data. We're looking at this timeframe cuz this is the timeframe we're trying to work. And then we get to monthly, now we're looking at like monthly financials. How are we doing bigger picture stuff, what I see people do is they don't think about the context that they're having their meetings in, right?

They'll do a weekly meeting, which is supposed to be 30 minutes, and suddenly the CEO's like, hey, I got this really great new product vision. I wanna bring it up to all of you. Takes up the whole 30 minutes on this product vision, nothing else gets covered. And then everyone's like what was that all about?

And then we have to have another meeting now cause we didn't use that one effectively. It's such a mess.

[00:37:24] Jeffrey Feldberg: it's a meeting and I think in the pandemic coming outta the pandemic, that was really emphasized more than it should have been. And everyone got burnt out from that. And this is interesting, George, and you know, for our listeners. George and I, this is just a little microcosm of a conversation that we're having, but look at all the takeaways that you listeners are walking away with, and can you imagine so, you know, George, as we're talking, I'm putting myself in the shoes of our listeners and I'm thinking to myself, wow, okay.

I can bring someone like George and he's been there, he's done that. It takes me outta the line of fire and no deference to you, George. If the team doesn't like it, they can blame you. You can be the bad cop and I'm gonna be the good cop. And I'll just be one of them and they can complain to me about it.

But we're getting things done. And best of all, let's face it, as business owners, there's more things to do than time itself. I don't have time to necessarily think about this or plan it. That's for you to do and you, this is what you do day in, day out and this is the power of coaching, the power of advising, and the classic example I like to give, and Georgia can tell me if you agree or not.

If I'm learning tennis, am I better off finding someone just randomly off the street? They never play tennis. We're both novices and learning together. Or do I find someone who's won Wimbledon, who's now coaching? A little bit of a loaded question there but as business owners to take the business to the next level.

This is where it's at with someone like yourself who can come in and you've got a proven system and track record and you've been there, you've done that, and it makes all the difference. And so before we begin to segue and begin to wrap this up for the business owners that are maybe still on the fence well, I don't have the time.

Or, gosh, I don't know if we're just quite ready yet. Maybe we're too small. We're too big. Perhaps you can share with us a quick story, George, just to put you on the spot of maybe a client of a before and after. You know, they came to us like this, and right now I'm so, working with them. They're like that.

[00:39:24] George Morris: Yeah, I can. One of my clients when she came to me last year I was trying to schedule time to talk to her and she's like, oh, you know, we can talk like at nine o'clock, 10 o'clock at night. I'm like, what? Why nine o'clock? Oh, I'll still be working at that point. I'm like, oh, okay.

And as I got to know each other, I realized that she was working like 14 hours a day, 16 hours a day, and even then going to bed at one, waking up at four to get emails done, and I'm like, one, you're not sleeping. And like why are we doing this? And I had to work with her so, much to just get her to back out of things, to trust the team, to be clear on the communication.

And I had to get to the root of why this doesn't make sense to put this many hours in all the time. And what it came down to is, here she, started working in the business for so, many years, and she was deriving all of her personal value from the work that she was doing with her team and her clients.

And she then put blinders onto all aspects of life outside of that for me to pull her back scared this shit out of her because she's like, what do I do with this free time?

And I'm like I don't know. You're just gonna have to sit there in the discomfort of the free time. And she literally was like stressed over this of like, I would watch Netflix all day.

Like, what am I? I said you will fill it, trust me, you'll fill it. You'll find other things to do. And sure enough, we got her to a point where she works a hell of a lot less now, where in the morning she's getting up, she's having a good breakfast, she's working out, she starts work later in the morning when she goes home, she turns off her emails like at seven o'clock at night and she's like enjoying her downtime and I'm like, All right, I got you the first step.

But I then paint a vision for it, and I say, where are you gonna go long term? Because long term I want you to get out of the company and stop working in the company and working on the company.

That means you have less time each week, like maybe three hours a day on the company, and the rest, go and do whatever you dream of doing.

And like she's still now wrapping her head around that. What? What do you mean I can actually do this? Yes. Cause when you build a good company with a great team and great processes you can trust and then you can go live your life doing other things if you want, or working on the business.

[00:41:40] Jeffrey Feldberg: And you know what a terrific example of the power of working with someone externally, an Advisor, a coach like yourself. And on the Deep Wealth podcast, as we spoke about offline, I'll bring it online now. The Deep Wealth Podcast is extracting both your business and personal Deep Wealth and how many business owners aren't experiencing a healthy lifestyle like your client and how you brought health, and maybe you discuss it with her or maybe you didn't. But I'm gonna go out there and I'm gonna say you've added, literally added years to her life from getting the right amount of sleep and the proper nutrition and backing off on the stress.

What's it all for? If we get all these zeros in the bank, but we're not around, we can't take it with us if we're not around to enjoy it or we don't have the health to enjoy it. What's the point of it? And so, it's terrific. What a terrific story of how you're able to blend both together.

[00:42:36] George Morris: And one of my other clients I started with, he was also doing something similar to that. He just last week told his whole team, I'm taking the entire month of December off and I'm not gonna be anywhere around. You're gonna go to my right-hand man, and you're gonna communicate with him. If you need to reach me, you gotta go through him.

I'm taking the whole month off. I'm gonna work on creating a vision for the company, soon as he sent the email out, I called him up. I'm like, I love you. I'm like, that's exactly what you need to do. I'm like, I'm proud of you. But it took a lot of work for him to get to that point.

But I'm so, excited to see the benefits come January.

[00:43:09] Jeffrey Feldberg: Well, George, congratulations to you for having the courage and the vision and the leadership to do that because let's face it, as business owners, we're type A personalities. We're not exactly pushovers, but you're doing it, and congratulations on that. And this is a terrific segue, George.

I mean, I could just ask you all these questions and go down all these rabbit holes. But it's time to begin to wrap up the episode. One last question for you. It's a fun thought experiment. And here's the question, think of the movie Back to the Future and in the movie I know, great movie, right?

In the movie, you have that magical DeLorean car that can take you to any point in time. George, here's where the fun starts. It's tomorrow morning. You look outside your window. And not only is the DeLorean car sitting there, but the door is open and is waiting for you to hop on in so, you hop in and you can now jump to any point in time.

George, as a young child or a teenager, whatever point in time it would be. What would you tell your younger self in terms of life lessons or life wisdom or, hey George, do this but don't do that. What would that sound like?

[00:44:18] George Morris: Jesus. Okay. I gotta go back. I'm gonna pick my own life, and do I get to retain all the knowledge that I have at this point?

[00:44:29] Jeffrey Feldberg: This is your story. You can do whatever you want.

[00:44:33] George Morris: Here's the thing. There's so many things I heard when I was young and I was in my teens and twenties that my mentors, my elders, my family all told me the things to do. I didn't listen. I could not listen. I heard them, but I couldn't listen because I knew better.

I knew I had to try a different way and I wouldn't go as far back as my teens and my early twenties because I knew I didn't have the capability to listen. I started to listen when I was in my twenties I would go back to when I had my agency and before things started going downhill. I would've inserted myself at that point to dispense all the knowledge I have right now with that version of myself, cause I had the capability to actually hear what was being told to me and suggested, and I wish I had all of this information and experience I have now at that point. I am so curious how different the agency would've looked if I could have taken this experience and put it into my 27-year-old self.

[00:45:36] Jeffrey Feldberg: Wow. And it sounds like, George, for your 27-year-old self, you're saying listen more or listen to your mentors or follow through or talk less, listen more, or.

[00:45:48] George Morris: Yeah, let's just listen more. I'm raising two kids and I tell them all the time, I'm like, there are so, many things that I've told you over the years, and I know for a fact you're not gonna listen to 95% of them. But if there's anything that I could teach you is try really hard.

Really hard to listen more, to listen to all of your teachers, your mentors, what people are telling you, what you're learning from books. Really listen and stop thinking that you know it all. Stop thinking you have all the answers, and the sooner that you can do that, the more abundant your life is gonna become.

[00:46:25] Jeffrey Feldberg: Such sage advice, Such sage advice, and a great way to cap off what's been an absolutely wonderful time together fireside chat and episode. And George, we'll put this in the show notes for our listeners. It'll be an easy point-and-click if someone wants to find you online, someone like to reach out or learn more about what you're doing.

Where's the best place for that?

[00:46:45] George Morris: It's in my website,

[00:46:49] Jeffrey Feldberg: it can't get any easier

[00:46:50] George Morris: Nope. Can't get any easier. Just go to I got all my contact information up there. I mean, happy to jump on the phone with anyone talk about things, what's going on, even if it doesn't lead to direct working with me. If it requires me pointing them to someone else or another resource, happy to help, happy to give back any way I can.

[00:47:10] Jeffrey Feldberg: Terrific. And for listeners, I really do hope you take George up on his offer. He's got a wealth of experience and insights. Well, George, it's an official wrap for this episode.

Thank you so, much for taking part of your day and sharing your insights and your wisdom. And as always, please stay healthy and safe.

[00:47:27] George Morris: And thank you for having me. It was a great conversation, Jeffrey.

[00:47:30] Sharon S.: The Deep Wealth Experience was definitely a game-changer for me.

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[00:47:43] Kam H.: If you don't have time for this program, you'll never have time for a successful liquidity

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[00:47:54] Lyn M.: Compared to when we first began, today I feel better prepared, but in some respects, may be less prepared, not because of the course, but because the course brought to light so many things that I thought we were on top of that we need to fix.

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[00:48:56] Kam H.: I've done an executive MBA. I've worked for billion-dollar companies before. I've worked for smaller companies before I started my business. I've been running my business successfully now for getting close to a decade. We're on a growth trajectory. Reflecting back on the Deep Wealth, I knew less than 10% what I know now, maybe close to 1% even.

[00:49:14] Sharon S.: Hands down the best program in which I've ever participated. And we've done a lot of different things over the years. We've been in other mastermind groups, gone to many seminars, workshops, conferences, retreats, read books. This was so different. I haven't had an experience that's anything close to this in all the years that we've been at this.

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[00:49:41] Kam H.: I would highly recommend it to any super busy business owner out there.

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[00:49:59] Jeffrey Feldberg: Are you leaving millions on the table?

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