After years of interviewing and analysing some of the most successful business builders on the planet, from Richard Branson to GE’s famous CEO Jack Welch, I got to hang out with a guy described as the world’s greatest coach of highly successful people — Tony Robbins.
Robbins has been a cutting edge, outside the square thinker, and even the way he came to Sydney on Monday underlined how unique this man mountain is, as he came via a hologram!
Anyone walking in late to the conference could have easily thought Tony was there live on stage — that’s how good the technology is — but the best bit of the whole show was that after a short time, you forgot where he was and concentrated on the messages that were designed to give the audience the blueprint for what he calls business mastery.
Like most Aussies, when I first encountered the concept of Tony Robbins in the 1990s I thought “not another fast-talking Yanks flogging inspiration!” I was stupid then. I’m smarter now.
Robbins is a Yank and is fast-talking, but he’s not only flogging inspiration, which is really important in the tough world of trying to be great in business. He’s also selling a lot more such as inner strength, unleashing the power within, unlimited power and awakening the giant within, which are pretty well the titles of four of his best-selling books.
To the unmotivated, Robbins could be annoying — his positivity could be seen as excessive — but for the aspirational looking for the motivation to try and get to higher levels of success, he is a gift.
He argued from the outset that success is 80% psychology and 20% mechanics and the way we think is usually the chokehold that stops success.
Once you get your head right, your focus has to be on being innovative and then marketing your point of difference product. Like me, he accepts the Peter Drucker line that business is innovation plus marketing but it’s one thing to know this, it’s another to create something worth marketing.
Robbins says your starting point is to create raving fans out of your customers, just as Steve Jobs did at Apple.
He posed the question, who is your ideal client, which invariably will be a part of the 20% of customers where you make 80% of your money.
These are the people who must become raving fans and Robbins says creating an irresistible offer is a good way of doing this. Here are some ways of doing this:
There are many things an aspirational winner determined to succeed can do to stand out in a crowded marketplace and Robbins pointed to Tony Hsieh who founded Zappos. This is an online shoe business that decided its point of difference would be to take back rejected shoes, free of charge! This made a customer’s purchase a no-risk, no-cost experience and it created raving fans.
As a consequence, Amazon bought the company for $847 million in 2009 and I reckon that’s a measure of success.
That idea of Hsieh’s was really outside the square and it came from some of the things that Robbins argues you need to embrace:
As the great boxing champ Joe Frazier, who even beat Muhammad Ali, said: “Champions aren’t made in the ring, they are merely recognised there. What you cheat on in the early light of morning will show up in the ring under the bright lights.”
As we focus on our great athletes in Rio, it takes me back to when I interviewed our greatest male track and field athlete, Herb Elliott. He won the gold medal for the 1500 metres in Rome in 1960, was world record holder and from 1957-61 he was unbeaten over 1500 metres to a mile and broke the four minute mile on 17 occasions.
He told me he learnt to beat the “little voice” that makes you lazy or second-rate and that was a huge competitive advantage. But he also had a great coach.
''I had a wonderful coach in Percy Cerutty, and his philosophy was the backbone of my performance,'' Elliott told the SMH in 2014. ''It may sound strange, but there's a pyramid of motivation, and the purest motivation is: 'I'm going to do this as hard as I possibly can because it's going to make me a better person'.
''That's a purer motivation than 'I'm going to do this as hard as I can because I'm going to make lots of money' or because 'I love killing the opposition'. The purer form was with Percy's encouragement. We read, for instance, when I was 18, the Hatha Yoga — one of the books behind Hinduism — and it covers self-mastery and conquering the ego … self-improvement.''
Tony Robbins is a Percy Cerutty coach — even as a hologram! — and those who commit to his suggestions will be on the road to business mastery.
But first, you have to change a really important person — you!
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