26 September 2020
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50 Shades of Great and the 50 high achievers you can't ignore!

Peter Switzer
7 October 2016

I’ve always been intrigued about how someone can motivate another person to achieve something great and my media life has been largely connected to high-achievers who have something special that explains their feats of greatness.

So in this piece I want to share with you 50 Shades of Great as I look at 50 highly motivating one-liners, quotes as well as lessons from the exceptional people who gave them to me over 30 years of media.

1. The man who had the greatest impact on me was Edward de Bono who pointed out that the best performers thought outside the square. He was the father of lateral thinking and he underlined the importance of developing your competitive advantage by out-thinking your rivals.

My recently departed friend Rebecca Wilson had a competitive advantage in sports journalism – she was a woman, she had courage and she had strong opinions all wrapped up in a heart of gold. Bec’s greatness will be sadly missed.

2. Steve Jobs taught me that Apple’s greatness comes out his Steve’s “relentless and passionate commitment to what customers want” and he admitted to being “fanatically opposed to second-rateness”.

3. McDonalds showed that through systems they can create a worldwide successful business run by a group that no teacher nor parent have ever learnt to tame – teenagers!

4. The tennis player Chris Evert explained that success comes from wanting it big time when she said: “There were times when deep down I wanted to win so badly I could actually will it to happen. I think most of my career was based on DESIRE.”

5. When I wrote my book 350 Ways to Grow Your Business, which was translated for the Chinese market, we looked at 78 case studies of great businesses. We looked at how many different innovations they did to be a success. We expected a cute number such as 33 or 66 but ended up with 350 and this taught me that you have to always be on the lookout for new tricks to succeed.

6. The chef Neil Perry was advised by a business mentor to do a time management survey of how he spent his time and when he did he realised how he was wasting time in his weakness zone. His success came when he got in his strength zone after giving away half of his business to his cousin who was an accountant! The success expert and author Marcus Buckingham, who wrote Find Your Strongest Life, says don't work on your weaknesses but instead leverage off your strengths.

7. Virgin’s Richard Branson confessed to me that “I have always lived my life by making lists of people, lists of ideas, lists of companies to set up and lists of people who can make things happen.” His book Losing My Virginity is a must read!

8. John Maxwell, the author of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership showed me that “Leadership is the limiting factor for you and your business” and if you want to win in life you need to lead yourself, which means having a plan for self-improvement.

9. John also said he was paid to read books by his dad and that explains why he one of the highest paid leadership speakers in the world! This is a great way to give your kids a huge competitive advantage as reading books competes with damn computers.

10. The book written by Napoleon Hill says it all in the title: Think and Grow Rich.

11. Motivation guru Tony Robbins gives so much great advice but in summary he says you unleash the power within when you let go of those negative life stories that hold you back. He advises that if you have a story like that then change it – rewrite it.

12. Self-belief is a standout characteristic of high achievers and Muhammad Ali summed up with: “It is the repetition of affirmations that leads to self-belief and when that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen.”

13. Local ad guru, Siimon Reynolds once pointed out that everything we do in business to the way we welcome customers and staff to how we answer the phone is advertising!

14. Aussie customer service expert, Martin Grunstein says our marketing – whether you are marketing a business or yourself as potential supplier or employee, has to answer one question – why should I buy from you?

15. Retailer legend, Gerry Harvey says one of the best business things he did as a young man was to hang out with people who were smarter than him who could teach him stuff.

16. Seth Godin says to stand out in the crowd your marketing must be like a purple cow in a field of brown cows. Don’t waste marketing if you’re not a purple cow. His must read book is called Purple Cow.

17. Jim Collins who wrote the book Good to Great proved leadership was the key factor explaining America’s most enduring and great companies.

18. He said individuals should create a personal board of directors where you ask people to objectively comment on you but also adopt greats such as Richard Branson by reading everything they write and listening to everything they say. These are involuntary recruits to your board.

19. Janine Allis of Boost Juice gave away a franchise on radio. She gave up about $300,000 for over a $1 million of media exposure and endorsements! That’s outside the square.

20. John Symond employed a PR firm to tap into the media for free exposure and his one liner “At Aussie we’ll save you” underlined how important a one-line motto can be for a business brand.

21. YBR and Wizard Home Loans founder Mark Bouris says his decision to take on a business partner like Kerry Packer did not just bring money but it brought expertise, connections, opportunities and externally imposed discipline that explained his success. A scary Kerry Packer as a partner brought out the best in Mark!

22. Nudie founder Tim Pethick tapped into and used the Internet to create a tribal following. He also used giveaways at events where he gave out leaflets, which asked potential customers to pass them onto their shopkeepers so they would order the product.

23.  Real estate guru, John McGrath, was a fanatical reader of the best-selling business books and this gave him insights, which explained how he built his business in a spectacular and professional manner.

24. The CEO of GE, Jack Welch, used to sack 10% of his staff each year because he said they didn’t really want to be at GE and they invariably thanked him for encouraging them to go somewhere they would be happy and successful. That’s tough love!

25. The founder of Gloria Jeans in Australia, Nabi Saleh always dreamed big arguing that even if the dream did not come exactly true he was bound to end up higher than he was when he made the dream. Nabi bought the business off the Americans, had over 1000 outlets worldwide and sold it for $163 million!

26. Dr Fiona Wood, who invented the plastic spray on skin that helped the Bali bomb victims repeated the words of Sir Isaac Newton, when explaining her success: “If I’ve seen further it has been upon the shoulders of giants.” Never underplay the value of experts to create an edge.

27. The old boss of Disney, Michael Eisner, used to do workshops with executives and people from the theme parks because he believed those closest to the coalface of customers would have insights that others needed to learn from. Not all giants are at the top end of town.

28. A guy who I met at a conference decades ago, who I suspect was influenced by US business thinker, Jim Rohn, advised me: “Work out what you want. Figure out the price. Pay the price!”

29. For anyone wanting to succeed, collective wisdom from the greats of business I have talked to for decades, says, you should do a business plan and a SWOT analysis as a good start to building a winning plan. Look at Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

30. The same collective wisdom says individuals also should do a SWOT on themselves and create a Personal Plan for success.

31. Malcolm Gladwell who wrote the book, Outliers, pointed out that to master something there is a very common rule that applies to many areas of success – 10,000 hours makes you a concert pianist while 3,000 hours and you end up as a music teacher!

32. The author of one greatest business best-sellers – The E-Myth – Michael Gerber explained how you turn a chaotic small business into an operation that can grow into a sure-fired success, it was to see the business as a separate entity where systems are used to kill frustrations and the business owners spends “more time working on the business and less time working in the business.” By doing this you create something that is easier to sell because it does not depend on you.

33. Tom Peters who is one of the most sought after business minds in the world got it right when he observed: “It’s this simple: You are a brand. You are in charge of your brand. There is no single path to success. And there is no one right way to create the brand called You. Except this: Start today. Or else.”

34. Worldwide champion salesman Brian Tracy, who I emceed in Australia some time ago says: “Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, ‘What’s in it for me?’”

35. Stephen Covey who wrote The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People underlined the importance of trust when he counseled us with: “Trust is the glue of life. It's the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It's the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

36. Cathy and David Harris who founded and grew Harris Farm Markets said David’s dad gave them great advice in suggesting they start a business which the big boys don’t do well.

37. I know someone else might have made this up but my old mate Tom O’Toole, the Beechworth Baker made it famous for me when he told an audience when I was his MC that “everything you want in life is just outside your comfort zone.” So, you’ve got to have guts to achieve really great things.

38. Don’t be afraid to invest in success and in the digital age businesses that don’t invest in getting an online edge are ignoring possibilities that should not be ignored.

39. James Symond, the current CEO of Aussie Home Loans, said to me: “John always rammed home that people will forget was you said and what you did but they will never forget how you made them feel.” What great business and family advice!

40. Great guidance for an employer and what they should tell their employees: “You don’t work for me. You work for you in my business!” I have always believed in making employees understand that they should always be trying to build their personal brand.

41. Verne Harnish, the US author of The Rockefeller Habits and Scaling Up has advised that you should lead employees like how you should lead your children – “a handful of rules, repeated often!”

42. In her book Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, Liz Wiseman said bad leaders are diminishers – takeover merchants who don’t encourage their followers/employees. On the other hand, multipliers make people feel smarter and more capable. Employees feel inspired to come up with creative solutions to problems and move business forward. Multipliers create growth and rather than telling people how to solve problems they ask questions to bring the best out of their team.

43. US sales and business builder expert Jack Daly argues great companies build it with intention, because: “You can’t fake culture.” He insists that culture does more to bring great people in, keep them there, keep them happy, and keep them working longer and more productively than any other factor. He says to build a great company you must create an environment where people want to go to work versus have to go to work. Daly’s motto: “Put the F word back in business. Make it FUN.”

44. US business builder consultant, Jay Abraham, told me 20 years ago when he was here from the US that people in business must always look at the lifetime value of a customer. That’s why some car dealers will sell you a car at a good price so they can have you for five years of pricy servicing!

45. Warren Buffett gave us great investing advice when he said be “fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful”.

46. Sir John Templeton told me a lot about investing with this based on market history: “Bull markets are born on pessimism, grown on skepticism, mature on optimism, and die on euphoria. The time of maximum pessimism is the best time to buy, and the time of maximum optimism is the best time to sell.”

47. Preparation is crucial for success and the legendary US football coach Paul Bryant nailed it with: “It’s not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference.”

48. Leadership, according to John Maxwell, has five levels. The first is easy because someone follows you because you pay them. The second level comes because they like you. The third level comes because of your achievements and employees respect what you’ve done. The fourth level leader has followers because he or she has done stuff for them to make them better leaders and people. And the fifth level leader has it all and everyone wants to be led by these people because they’ve done it all, they’ve brought on many leaders and they’re legends not in their own minds but most other peoples’ minds. We’re talking Gerry Harvey, Richard Branson, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Margaret Thatcher and so on.

49. My mum always used to say. “You’re as good, if not better than anyone else”, which is a great thing to say to any child or someone you love or an employee you want to bring on.

50. Our business coach, Lesley Ann Grimoldby always provoked our family as we set our sights on building our business, which now employs around 45 people, by reminding us and especially me that “if nothing changes, nothing changes”.

In recent times I have gone searching for the best minds on business, positivity, leading others and success. I’ve always loved this stuff but I’m now getting fanatical about it and even more success, as well as happiness, is following.

Tony Robbins, whom I’ve interviewed and done a bit of work with, believes in visualisation which says: “Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience in your life.”

I’m not sure about it “exactly” but I have always loved the line “positive something is better than negative nothing”.

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