130: Dr. Rob McCleland | Setting Strong Foundations and Building Great Partnerships

Dr. Rob McCleland is the founder of Leader Tribe, Co-Founder of Streamlined Podcasts, and the Senior M&A Advisor of General Equity. He holds three degrees, including a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership and a Master’s Degree with an emphasis in personal leadership. He has spoken at major global conferences and universities, including as a plenary speaker for the World Health Organization. He is helping fellow business owners understand how to proactively plan and execute the M&A process successfully and see them receive optimal value at their time of exit.

In today’s episode, Dr. Rob gets into why we need to get into knowing how to build a good partnership, knowing how to find the right person and asking the right questions, and why you should only hire 9s and 10s. Check it out!

Opening Segment

The Mastermind Effect:  01:30

Hey, everybody, welcome back to the show where I believe the only way to unlock your potential is to tap into the experience of others. Today, to help us do this, we have gotten my good friend, the founder of LeaderTribe.com and StreamlinePodcast.com. Coincidentally, he edits and produces my podcast out there. Dr. Rob McCleland. Rob, welcome to the show.

Dr. Rob McCleland:  01:54

Brandon, it is so great to be with you not only on the friendship level, but I love what you’re doing. Ever since I heard about Success Finder, I saw the incredible interview you did with Steve Sims, and kudos, bro. It’s a game-changer, and excited for you.

The Mastermind Effect:  02:12

You are a big part of my life, just you and your partners individually. The podcast wouldn’t be able to do what it does and reach the people without you guys’ services. Anyone ever looking for the right podcasting, guys that I know like and trust, gotta head on over there; it’ll be in the show notes below. When the listeners realize all the value you’re bringing today and want to reach out, what’s the best way for them to reach out and connect with you?

Dr. Rob McCleland:  02:52

The only email address that I guarantee people I will respond to is rob@leader tribe.com. No matter what it is, go ahead and send it through there. I might respond with a different email address. That’s just the way that I organize things. But I will do everything I can to serve any of your listeners and help any way I can.

Clarity and Discernment as a Superpower


The Mastermind Effect:  03:15

When I say reach out to them, I genuinely mean that because of the people that come on the show, I’ve built a friendship, a relationship. I’ve worked with them in some form of capacity to make sure that those are the result leaders. I love thought leaders. Rob helps when it comes to getting the results and when it comes to activating what you can become.

We’re at the beginning of the show, and I like to start with this. If someone comes to you, what is your superpower?

Dr. Rob McCleland:  03:49

Clarity and discernment. I’m Papa age, and I’m Papa Rob to my grandkids. I’m 60 years old. I’ve led the largest leadership development firm in the world. I’ve been around leaders. What I bring to the table is when somebody’s sitting in front of me, they get all of me. The first thing I’m doing is even as they’re telling their story, in my mind, I’m starting to put things in different categories. The first time they take a break, I’m saying just for clarity for my sake. Then I start putting things into categories and clarifying, and they’re like, “Oh, my goodness, I’ve never thought of it like that.” So I think having that experience and just discernment and clarity to get to the real issue or that real barrier keeps you from getting those results. That’s my superpower.

The Mastermind Effect:  04:41

Clarity is an interesting thing. There’s someone I work with closely, and that’s been on the show. They talk about certainty, clarity, and then the third one is collapsing time and the order that you need to go into. I think clarity is something that we can all struggle with, especially depending on who we surround ourselves with. My greatest clarity came when I started surrounding myself with the right people that I could serve, and they could serve me. It was a symbiotic relationship. Why do you feel clarity is such a difficult thing for us? Is it because we don’t define what’s important to us? We don’t define success. We don’t sit there and actually write out why clarity is a difficult realm to go into? I was successful and didn’t have clarity. But when I did, all of a sudden, I redefined my success. So what is it about clarity?

Dr. Rob McCleland:  05:30

With clarity, what happens is that your decisiveness goes away up your ability to know this is number one, and the person that I have to solve skyrockets. People avoid clarity because it’s almost like, as at this point, it’s going to be an AB decision, right? We’re not going to do this. We are going to do this. When you don’t have clarity, all options are still on the table. I’m not going to offend anybody. I can still be a people pleaser.

Once we have clarity, we say, “These are the four things that have to be done, and this has to be the first one. Here’s why. Now, anything in the world that gets in the way of accomplishing that, number one, we’re going to demolish it.” It’s not going to stand there because you have to get that done. Now all of a sudden, people say, “Well, what are you doing? Why are you doing this? What about because all other options are off the table.” So we don’t want to get to clarity because we might offend somebody, and all of our options are gone. At the same time, when you do, the feeling that comes from that kind of progress. There’s nothing like it in the world.

The Mastermind Effect:  06:39

It’s like it gives you your unbreakable rules. If this happens, if this person comes in front of me, if this scenario or if this than that, this is my unbreakable. I don’t even have to think about it. You don’t have to waste time vampires’ space in your head, and you get to move on. Here’s one of the cool things, and I didn’t realize this, your anxiety levels just go down. Weight is just lifted off of you because you don’t go after the shiny object. You don’t go after this thing. You just release all this weight and all this pressure because you get clarity. When you work with someone like Dr. Rob, he helps you navigate to get to where you want to go. He knows where you’re at. He knows where you want to go and the clarity pieces that come in between on that.

Dr. Rob McCleland:  07:29

Stanford University Research found that when you got ten things to do today, you start doing some of them, other things got piled on in the day, you feel worse about yourself, thinking I worked all day. Now it was on other people’s agendas. We’re not even going to go there because you’re looking at email all day. But you worked all day, and you feel worse about yourself.

They said it doesn’t matter if you have 20 things to do if you can identify for sure what is your number one or what is your number two. Then, all you get done is one, two, and a half of three; you sleep better, and all the anxiety is gone. It’s like I didn’t get squat done today. But the time I did spend it was on what was very most important to my life. Those people have far less anxiety than the people who tried to work on everything.

The Mastermind Effect:  08:16

Now, I want to throw something in there because we build, create, and partner. The partnership is the key thing in there and partnering with the right people. I’ve partnered with the wrong people. It’s like dating, and we’re not always going to pick the right person. We look at the pretty pony at the start of the race, and we are like, “maybe I shouldn’t have gone for that one.” But that being the case is when you go find that right partnership and having a foundation. Why some of the things that Rob does and why some of the things that I do is I’ve built a foundation to where like when we decide to take a calculated risk, decide to start something new, streamlined podcast, the success finder, the different things or no matter where we are now each point, we already have a foundation that allows us to take some of that anxiety away. I don’t want people just to sit there and think, “Hey, I need to go do a moonshot. I need a hockey stick or trajectory. Having a foundation might not be sexy. I’ve got to imagine some of your foundation and Dans’s foundation. Dawn is his significant other and beautiful bride. You had built a foundation along the way. What was it like, and why it’s important to build that foundation?

Dr. Rob McCleland:  09:33

I tell people that Dawn and I have the happiest marriage. And that’s actually true. So many people tell us that we have the greatest marriage. Then they’re shocked to know that we’ve been to marriage counseling five or six times. It probably should have been 10 or 12, but the male egos are only good for about once every five years. We’ve been married for over 35 years. That’s a foundation for us. We have decided what’s important, what’s not.

So partnerships, as you said,  I’ve been in bed with wrong partners in business, and that is just brutal. However, I don’t make that mistake anymore. To me, it is can I trust this guy with my life? When somebody partners with me, and you can ask any of the Streamline co-founders, they have Rob’s famous “come to Jesus meeting,” as it’s called. If I can’t trust you, I will not partner with you. I have to look you in the eye, and I will never shaft you. I will never once in my life make a decision that’s better financially for me but worse financially for you. That will never happen. If you can look me in the eye, give me that same thing, and we can say, “Okay, what does that mean” and define it, then we’re good. Now we can get on with life. Then what I do is say, “Have your lawyer write it up? I’ll sign it. I don’t even need to read it because it’s not about that piece of paper. To me is, will you look me in the eye and say, “As a person in my life, Rob, I will never shaft you. Let’s go make money together.” Then let’s go because now I don’t have to worry about that other person. They make crazy decisions. I think that’s the worst decision I’ve ever heard ends up it was the right decision, and I was the crazy one. But when you trust each other, it’s fun. You have to go through that discovery process.

The Mastermind Effect:  11:18

It’s able to see it, touch it, and feel it. You can feel that someone is bringing on, and you do. You have three amazing, completely different. The four of you, if you look at it,  are completely different and in so many different aspects. You’re all honest, winner, and then you come together. Unity makes you stronger because what one person doesn’t have, the other person brings. I know we’re going on Streamlined guys, but it’s that foundation that allowed you at 60 to go and build another company like that.

Dr. Rob McCleland:  12:06

Well, I’ve got several more left in me, and we’ll do the streamlined guys. I believe the oldest one of them is 32. I know the youngest is 24 or 25. That’s Kevin, and he looks 30 because he’s always in camo and hiding behind his beard. He’s the genius of our group. One of the things we do, any three of us can outvote the fourth one. So I’ve made a hard and fast decision. Gone on vacation for a week, came back, and they changed my decision. They said, “We outvoted you while you’re on vacation. I’m like, “what, come on?” They’re like, “yeah, you would have made a really bad decision.” Then how it plays out? I’m like, “Yeah, they were right.” It’s, it’s fun when you trust each other.

Dr. Rob and His Experience with Self-Education


The Mastermind Effect:  12:46

That’s amazing. Let’s shift gears a little bit and kind of rewind. When you and I were younger, it was textbooks, teachers, the people around us, co-workers, family, and friends; but that’s literally a sliver of what’s possible. How is your learning changed from your early years versus today?

Dr. Rob McCleland:  13:05

Today, I would never ever want to go to a textbook to start my learning journey. You’re talking to somebody who was the Dean of a university campus, had an MBA program, and has a Ph.D. So that tells you all you need. What I want to know right now is whatever I need to learn, who knows that out there that I can get to because I know them or somebody I trust knows them. Because they know that person, they will trust me. I don’t even know the right questions to ask. But I can get so much further. I can get ten days of studying done in one 45-minute conversation if it’s with the right person. Today, networking is life, and what is unfortunate is that we network with anybody instead of the right people.

The Mastermind Effect:  13:54

That’s the big one knowing who to network with. If you are the smartest person in the room

Dr. Rob McCleland:  14:00

You are in the wrong room.

The Mastermind Effect:  14:02

I want to be like the bottom five of the barrel in there. Here’s the thing I’m going to tell you: it will make you feel uncomfortable. I guess I should only speak for myself. I was in a room last week, and I wasn’t the smartest person in the room.  I was just like I was in the right place. Now. Did I sit there? I’m like, “Wait, how do I not understand.”  I have to be like, “Can you re-explain in a different way?”

When you get invited to those rooms, ask the questions as they know probably where you’re at. If not, they’ll figure that out pretty quickly. But be engaged, ask the questions. Just don’t sit on the sideline. If you’re sitting on the sideline, you’re not helping anyone, and there’s probably a good chance that when you ask that question, someone else is like, “I had the same question, maybe just a little bit differently.” You’ve opened up for people to be vulnerable. I was amazed when some of the leaders in this room started becoming vulnerable. I’m like, “Oh, you felt that too.”

Dr. Rob McCleland:  14:58

That’s beautiful, Brandon. It’s exactly the right thing to do. When you ask questions, the person who has that knowledge is going like, “Wow. Okay, good question. I wish I had asked that when I was at your stage.” So they’ve asked those questions, but to hear them from somebody else, they know this person’s worth investing in. If you’re sitting there like a bump on a log, they’re like, “I’m sorry, why was that person there?”

The Mastermind Effect:  15:23

Absolutely. The amount of information that you and I can take and anybody can take anymore, to me, is overwhelming. Some people learn from textbooks, online courses, masterminds, and accountability groups. There’s a lot of different ways to learn. Who are you currently learning from, and more importantly, how did you connect with them? I asked that because so many people like, “I can’t gain access to Dr. Rob, I can’t gain access to Steve Sims.” The reality is that’s not true. How did you connect with who you’re learning from now?

Dr. Rob McCleland:  15:59

I was very intentional. Let me give you one small example that I hope you, your listeners, and Success Finder will be a magic example and help people the lights will come on.

It was at a Jeff Walker event. Jeff Walker’s the guy who does Product Launch Formula. He is known everywhere by all of the biggies online as the guy when it comes to launching a product online. He hangs out with all the Michael Hyatt and all the Jordan Harbinger. I go to his event, and I’m like, “Oh, my goodness, this is really good information.” There are 2000 people in the room. That might be exaggerating, but there were over 1000. So I’m thinking, how in the world will I take this great information and see it come to fruition in my life and see it actually turned into something awesome. I’m going to have to surround myself with like-minded people.

So here’s what I did. It was in a big airport hotel. In the lobby of that hotel was a Starbucks. I would get up early, and I would go down. I would put my air pods in and sit at a table in the Starbucks. I wouldn’t be playing any music, and I would be listening to the people’s conversations in mind. As these people were having conversations, I would go, “Oh, my goodness, that chick is so sharp.” So I would write down real quick what she’s wearing and what she looks like. She’s talking with two or three other people, but she was the one who stood out. Then it’s 10 minutes later, and I hear this other conversation. I hear this, and then I went and stalked them. Over the next two days, I would go up, saying, “Hey, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Dr. Rob, just Rob, but I’m Dr. Rob online, and I have a doctorate. I listened to a conversation you were involved in at Starbucks, and you said this and this. I already know you’re a sharp person. I think I do okay, as well. I’m loving what we’re learning here. But I’m going to put together a mastermind of people who really want to get around other sharp people and see this thing go to the next level. So I don’t know if you would be interested, but I think you’re the kind of person who would fit right in.”

Every single person I asked, out of the six, all said yes. It ends up they’re the head e-commerce person in the entire country of Norway; a Stanford trained medical doctor who was switching fields and going into somebody online; a person who for the number one leadership guru stuff out there is working to make all of their social media better, and more consumable on these were the people who are in that group. So we call it a circle mastermind because we’re the first around the circle. That mastermind stayed active for probably two and a half years.

So what do I do? I seek out who I need. Sometimes I’m not even sure who I need. But if I find 9s or 10s, they will either be the person I need or point me in the right direction.

The Mastermind Effect:  19:04

Wow, 9s or 10s. Now, I’ve heard a bit of this. Please give us a little bit about your 9s and 10s. Why do you only surround yourself with 9s and 10s?

Dr. Rob McCleland:  19:17

Yes, I’m famous for saying that. Here’s how I say it. I hire 9s and 10s. If somebody is at 8.5, and they’ve got super good people skills, along with a great track record, I’ll give them to my competitor because I hire nines and 10s. So, where that came from was some Harvard Business Review research. It was back in the time when all these people on Wall Street were making a gazillion dollars, specifically different fund managers. As soon as a fund manager has got it going on and they’re hot every day, another investment bank on Wall Street is trying to recruit that guy like, “Hey, come on over from Citibank and join us over here at Wells Fargo or whatever it is.” They’re always trying to do that, and they said, “When is it that the people will not go? When is it that the money doesn’t matter, they will stay.”

This firm did the research. Here’s what they found out. 9s and 10s know that they’re 9s and 10s. If you’re somebody at the top of your heap, you know that you’re okay. It doesn’t matter if the whole economy collapses. You believe that you are hireable and that you will get a job. It might not be the best one, but 9s and 10s know they’re sharp. So what they do since they’re sharp, always looking around and saying who’s paying more and what’s the best opportunity because they can access those opportunities. They keep looking around until one thing happens.

When I read this, it changed everything for me. That one thing, as soon as they find themselves surrounded with other 9s and 10s, then they stop looking around. Their head goes down, and they go, “these are my people.” Even if you offer them more money, they’re not going to leave because they want to be with other people who will be winners and spur them on to love and do good deeds. So I read this research, and I decided at that moment that I’m hiring 9s and 10s. That sounds good, but I went back to my team, and I was like, “Yeah, but I got a bunch of 6s here. What am I going to do with those?” I started this journey that ended up three years and one month later. It had been over a year since anybody had even left our firm, even one person. On average, it is 22% per year which is just normal turnover. We had guys coming and telling their wives, “Hey, I got a big job. We’re moving to Omaha.” And the wives are saying, “Hey, the kids and I are going to miss you because I’m not leaving.”

We built an unbelievable team. Once we had that team, we could pay. Overall, we reduced our payroll by about 35% because you don’t need as many people when you have outstanding people. Then those people were spoiled to death and did a bunch of other things that kept it going. So since then, I know it works. That’s why even with my business partners, Kevin Karl, Hanz, ninth and 10th, right? I’m lucky to breathe the air that they breathe, but you work with winners, and it’s a game-changer.

The Mastermind Effect:  22:22

Let me ask you this for anyone who doesn’t feel that they haven’t gotten that confidence or haven’t built up to a 9 or 10. What is this one process, not the whole process, for them to be able to start up-leveling where they’re currently at so they can get to that?

Dr. Rob McCleland:  22:49

First, I want to give a disclaimer. I do believe that people can move up, but they can’t move up. I believe if you’re a six, probably the highest, you can go as an eight, maybe up to eight and a half. Here’s the problem. If you’re a six, and they’re treating you like a five, why aren’t you an eight? Get the money; it’s up there. What you have to do is saying, “Here’s who I happen to be, I am a nine, but I’m operating at a six and a half or seven-level.” You know that there’s more out there that you could be better at.

The number one thing is to take 100% responsibility for your decisions. It’s doing what you say you will do and taking responsibility for your own life. There’s no blaming in my organization. There’s no like what this person said, and they didn’t come through now. It’s “I take full responsibility for what happened. That’s on me. What can I do to make it right?” When you take full responsibility for your own life, your number automatically starts going up. That’s one of the reasons I love 75 hard; there are no excuses. You either did the work, or you didn’t do the work. If you didn’t do the work, and it’s day 74, start over. The guys at the level of Steve Sims, Brandon, and people like that, who I love, if they tell you they will do something, they’re going to come through for you. I’m famous for saying, “If I tell you I I’ll do something, and it doesn’t happen, when they find my body, it will be pointed in your direction.”

The Mastermind Effect:  24:21

Let’s kind of stay in that realm. When it comes to coaching, masterminds, mentorship, and online courses, it’s a large industry.  Self-education is over 50 billion, and over the next 5 to 10 years, it will grow to 100 250 billion. You’re starting to see a shift between standard education, college, university, and self-education and what you’re able to accomplish depending on what you want to do. I sit there and say, “Hey, if my son wants to be a doctor, nurse, or engineer, if he’s operating on me, I really want him to have that piece of paper, but if he’s got sales or other areas. There are other ways to learn, like on-the-job training in the real field. I see with this growing industry, everyone’s like, “Oh, I’m a coach. I’m an expert. I’m a guru.”

The Mastermind Effect:  25:23

I see more and more people coming into this world and saying, “Well, I can be a coach, I can be a money mindset coach, I can be a podcasting coach.” We’re talking about accountability. To me, I hear the transfer of risk. A doctor prescribes a medication to his patient, but not to his own family. A politician will send other children off to war, but make sure that Timmy doesn’t have to go off to war. Transfer of risk. Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve seen the risk transferred? They removed themselves from being accountable. How do people avoid that? One of the reasons we’re building the Success Finder is to keep that from happening and keeping that that risk from being transferred. If we step in that hole, at this point in our career, it’s not intentional, but we’re still able to overcome that. Someone earlier in their career that steps in that land mine aren’t going to have the same opportunity that maybe you and I currently have. How have you seen the transfer of risk when it comes to masterminds and coaching? How do people look out for that? Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve been faced with that before?

Dr. Rob McCleland:  26:34

I have. Several times everybody talks a good game, and then it’s time actually to do the work, and you want to see the results. So they say we’ve helped eight people become seven-figure earners and say,  “Great, give me their names, let me call them.” Then you call them and say that this person helped you. They’re like, “that was the worst investment I ever made. They worked with me when this other stuff happened, but they had nothing to do with it.” That’s one thing that today, it is free to call yourself a coach, and you don’t need a business license to call yourself a coach.

When coaching first came out, my Ph.D. dissertation was the 11th one done ever in the field of executive coaching. So it was brand new, and it was right when everyone was starting to call themselves a coach. I’m looking at this guy who has a four-step process and a 17 step process. You have to have these elements, or it cannot be considered a coaching interaction. That was part of my Ph.D. research. The other is what is the difference between coaching, counseling, and mentoring. At that time, you have all of these counselors, and they’ve got their master’s degree in counseling. Their counseling, and they’re getting $60 an hour. Then some guy comes along, calls themselves to coach, and they’re getting $150 an hour, and the counselors wanted in on that. So counselors, automatically the following day, all became coaches. But what they were doing was coaching you out of your pathologies more than anything else. It really is back to your specific question, the people in life who have taken that risk themselves and have the scars to prove it. They will show you the way.

We were talking about Steve Sims earlier, and I think both you and I know he’s the real deal. If you don’t want to listen to him, he’ll tell you that. He’s not trying to prove anything to anybody. Those who are still trying to prove something to somebody get me a little bit nervous at this point. Again, I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone. You talk to my clients, and if we’re great, I’m going to be expensive. I do when I work with companies. As I go in, I sit down with this CFO, and I say, “Look, I’m expensive, I know I’m expensive. You know exactly how much money you’re going to earn as a result of me being here. If you don’t make at least 3x the amount that you pay me or save 3x the amount that you pay me, then I beg you to let me give you your money back.” I say that every time. They’re like, “Why would you say that?” And I’m like because I don’t advertise? If I’m one for one, I have to advertise with everyone else. I don’t care about getting a gig. I care about the results of the clients. If my clients don’t get results, they shouldn’t pay me, and I would hate myself.

What to Expect from Dr. Rob


The Mastermind Effect:  29:20

That’s the thing. They’re able to see actual real results as it’s happening and then exponentially as time goes on. You sat there, and you were like, “I’m expensive.” but to me, that’s an investment. The biggest investment you can ever do above the stock market, the housing market, and the crypto is yourself. All three of those right there, I’m in all of them. I continue to learn, but I can’t control those. I literally can’t do a thing about that. The thing I can do is myself. If I invest in myself and, in essence, I invest in Dr. Rob, then I look to see what the outcome is. What should people expect when they enter your reality and work with you on what the outcomes will be?

Dr. Rob McCleland:  30:07

The first thing they should expect is that I’m going to look them in the eye. I don’t look aside. I don’t say, “Okay, what about this?” then turn to my computer and tap some things, look back at them and tap some things. I’m going to look them in the eye. I’m going to say, “Who are you really? Let’s figure out if this even is a good fit for you and I. Because if we’re going to trust each other, we’re going to war together, and I will kill for you. I need to know that you’re in this to win it. You’re not just saying, “Well, as soon as it gets hard, I’m out” type of thing.”

The first thing they’re going to do is enter into this “Robster zone,” which is authentic, real, and vulnerable, and saying, “How bad do you really want to do this? Are you committed to this?” If I sense that there’s a go-ahead and an affinity with me, then we’ll begin to say, “Okay, there are 1000 things we could work on?” And you say, “No, here’s the one thing I want to do.” But that might not be the one thing. Let’s talk about it. Let’s start to have those conversations and we go from there.

The Mastermind Effect:  31:15

I’d love to hear the success story of someone that you work with. We appreciate anonymity. They came to you. They were here. They wanted to go here. What was the outcome because they worked with you?

Dr. Rob McCleland:  31:47

It was a leadership team, and it was in Dallas Metroplex, home of Brandon Straza. The way this came about, you can’t make this stuff up. I get a call from this guy. I was looking at my phone, and I answered.  I say, “Hi, who’s this?” He’s like, “Hi, who’s this?” This guy was playing golf at Pebble Beach and got assigned to a foursome. He’s in a cart with another guy, and they start talking about business. That other guy in the cart, whereas they’re talking, here’s what the guy says, “We have about 250 employees in our firm. Out of those 250 employees, about 200 have bonuses that they can hit and get paid more money. Last year, out of the 200 people who had bonuses, all 200 of them met their bonus. Yet we had more revenue, but our company didn’t make any more money.” The guy sitting in the car says, “Well, you need to talk to Rob McCleland.” And he’s like, “I’m sorry, who are you talking about?” And he goes, “Rob McCleland. We had something similar.”

So I get this call. I’m on the phone with the guy. After about 15 minutes, I said, “Look, Sir, I can help you, but I’m expensive.” He said these words, “See, that’s why I hate consultants like you.” I’m like, “Okay, bring it.” I said, “Why is that?” He goes because we’ve only known each other for 15 minutes and you’re already saying you can help. I said, “First of all, I’m not a consultant. Secondly, I knew after two minutes, I could help you, and the last 13 minutes, I was only pretending to be a good listener.” He started laughing, and I started laughing. “What are you talking about?” I said, “You’ve got 12 direct reports. The best guy I’ve ever seen at a super corporate level is Ed Bastian. He’s the CEO of Delta Airlines. That’s why he can have five at that level, and you’ve got 12. Let me tell you what’s happening in your company. I started to explain what was happening. He goes, “who did you talk to?” And I said I didn’t talk to anybody. He goes, “Rob, if we’re going to work together. You need to tell me to who you talked.” And I said I had never heard of your company before this conversation. And he says, how do you know that? And I said, “Trust me, I’ve done this a few 1000 times. I know what I’m talking about.” And I said, “I’ll tell you what, how about if I fly to Dallas, and you just pay for the plane ticket, I’ll handle everything else, I’ll spend an hour with you. If we want to work together, let’s work together; if not, no big deal.” We set up a date. I was there the next week; 10 minutes into the conversation, he said, “When can we start? “

Now fast forward, a year and a half later, there are four people. We reorganized this whole company, and we got rid of people he had had on there for ten years. They nor their input, peers, and bosses could show me how they had added any value to the company, yet one guy was making seven figures a year, not adding any value to the company. We got the whole thing reorganized so that there are four people at the top of that company. Listen to this, and this is very important. Those people at the top don’t get paid that much unless the company does well. If the company does well, they get unbelievable amounts of money. So for the first time in that company’s history, people are saying what’s best for the company, not what’s best for me and my gut type of thing. It’s redone the company. There has not been, including in the COVID year, a year that hasn’t been up double digits. They’re killing it. They think I’m a hero. I think they’re the heroes because they did the hard work they needed to do.

The Mastermind Effect:  36:31

They listened and implemented. You said something to me once I called you a few weeks ago about something going on. He said, “Brandon, I’ll never get mad at you if you don’t do what I say.” But they listened. I would sit there and say, “Hey, if you’re going to ask for advice, and then you’re just going to do the opposite completely, don’t always ask me for advice.”  They listened, and they implemented. Now, suppose people look at it from an individualistic standpoint, or just like the few. In that case, it doesn’t work out for the many, but if it’s the good overall arching company or the overall arching group, it will trickle back to everybody because the company wins, the people win. People take ownership and pride in what they’re doing.

Dr. Rob McCleland:  37:13

They love their job more, and they’re making more money. This is a little trick I use. I wouldn’t say everybody should use it, but I will never not use it. So there you go. I have charged two different companies different amounts for the exact same project. One of them, I charge $5,000. The other I charge $60,000 for the exact same work and project. Why did you do that, Rob?  Because the $60,000 company, if I only charge them five, they wouldn’t listen to him. So when I say I’m expensive, I make them pay as much as it’s going to take to get them to listen.

The illustration I use is if I’m going to go with the Bill Gates Foundation, that might not be a good illustration this week. But if I say, “Hey, I want to do this project for you, it’s going to cost you $5,000.” They’re going to say, “Well, see my Secretary’s friend’s secretary, and maybe we’ll talk somewhere.”  If I say the exact same project, and I say, “I’ll do this for you, but it’s going to cost you $750,000 upfront plus expenses. Now all they’re going to say is, “Well, what are we going to get for that?” They will pay attention to you. When you make the recommendations exactly where you went, but now they’ll listen to you. I’m not going to tell them recommendations unless I know they’re going to know the company better.  For me, I’m in it to see this company succeed.

The Mastermind Effect:  38:33

Yes. The trickle-up trickle-down effect. It’s amazing because they feel the company culture change. They don’t realize that maybe Dr. Rob had his hand in the cookie jar. He was actually moving some of the pieces around and just helping them see what was right in front of them. Employee satisfaction just rises when Stan comes in.

Dr. Rob McCleland:  38:55

Usually, it’s the first six months that they do nothing but sing your praises. Eight months later, it’s like you should see what we’re doing. They’ve made it that it’s like, “Dr. Rob was not even here. I don’t even know that guy.”  I’m so happy for them at that point because they own it.

The Mastermind Effect:  39:14

The ripple effect. At the end of the day, you’re not looking for the recognition or like it has to be about me because you’ve already built what you’ve built. You don’t need someone to come back and be like, “Hey, thanks. I don’t know you, but you did this.” It’s the lasting impact that you’re looking at.

Dr. Rob McCleland:  39:36

I’ve got an unbelievable wife of 35 years. This year we have lived in four different cities for three months each because we said, “Hey, let’s go travel.” So we went to San Diego, a good spring in Nashville. Right now, it’s summer, and we are in the mountains of Colorado. Who doesn’t want my life? We don’t even have a ton of money. We gave away 31% of all of our income last year. We’re very charitable and generous, but we have so much joy. I’ve got nothing to prove. If you want the Robster, you’re going to pay big. I will die if I don’t get results for my clients, but then to see them say, “Look what we did.” That’s the best-case scenario.

Closing Segment


The Mastermind Effect:  40:55

As we come to an end here, I’ve got a few more questions. Sometimes, we talk about success in solo shows and what it takes to be successful, like partnerships, accountability, willingness to fail, and on the flip side, willingness to define success. So many people don’t define success because once they do, they have also defined failure. What do you feel is a key ingredient in building and creating success as it pertains to you?

Dr. Rob McCleland:  41:25

My favorite ever issue of Harvard Business Review has a black cover with a goldfish on it of all things. It says four things successful CEOs do differently. They did a study. Here’s what they found. In the last ten years, 25% of all Fortune 500 CEOs had been fired, fired like gone. So they got it wrong one out of every four times. Well, who’s hiring these clowns? Only the boards of directors of Fortune 500 companies. The smartest people in our nation, and they’re still getting it wrong 25% of the time. So they do this study, and they say what is it they were hiring for? Then they take whatever those attributes are, and then they project for it. And they say, “The most successful CEOs that we have, are these the attributes that make them successful?” And obviously, the answer is no, or they wouldn’t have had a Harvard Business Review article.

They found out that if you are interviewing for a position as a CEO of a Fortune 500,  you’re over six feet, you tend to be outgoing type A loquacious type of individual, you are top of the game, and you’ve had a little bit of success than other people, there’s about a 27% chance better that you’re going to be hired versus somebody else. I have zero problems with that. So now here’s what I want to do. I want to say that people who are over 60, that are loquacious or type A individuals and they’ve had success in their last two things. Does the record show that those criteria helped them be more successful Fortune 500 CEOs? Not one of those equates one bit.

All of a sudden, they realized they were hiring for the wrong thing. So they backed up the study, and they said that instead of the top 25%, let’s go with the top 10%. What is it that these people are doing over and over and over and over again, that they’re at the top of the pyramid? They might not be the biggest companies, but they certainly had the largest PE ratios. It’s easy to measure which companies are doing great, which ones are not doing great. They found that there were four things. I will leave your readers with one of them.

Number one is they are decisive. They’re decisive. Here’s what they found out. As soon as they have 65 to 70% of the information they need to decide, they go ahead, pull the trigger, and get their best people around. Here’s what they found, and this is unbelievable. Get this through your thick brain, and you will be a better human being. All of a sudden, that’s three weeks later, there were some downstream consequences they had not planned on. They find out that that that decision they made was a bad decision. Somebody comes running into the CEO’s office and goes, “Hey, stop the presses, stop the presses. That’s not working. Something’s going wrong. Look, here’s what we’re experiencing.” And they go like, “No, that couldn’t be.”  They all argue out and be like, “Oh, my goodness, yes, that was a bad decision.” The very next thing that happens is the CEO steps up to the microphone with all the employees and says, “Three weeks ago, we made this decision. I announced it right here, and it ended up that it was a bad decision. We didn’t know that. Here’s what we discovered. So we’re no longer going to do that. We’re instead we’re going to do this and this. Are there any questions?”  The first time, everyone’s like, “Ah, you kidding me? Come on.” After you’ve done it ten times, they’re like, “Yeah, no questions. We’re good.”

Here’s what they discovered, Brandon. You cannot fix a no-decision. If you have made a decision, you can’t fix it. A company that makes 100 decisions per month, and they get them all correct; my company will crush that company because we’re going to make 1000 decisions per month, we’re going to get 900 of them correct. That other 100 I have the privilege of calling up by clients or somebody else and saying, “Hey, we end up making a bad decision. I’m really sorry. I wanted you to hear it from me first. Here’s what we discovered. Here’s what we’re going to do next. Any questions on that?”  They are so blown away that somebody would share the bad news that they’re like, “No, I love you guys. Thanks for being vulnerable. Let me know if there’s anything I can do.” They will be with you forever because you shared with them. So be decisive, be decisive, be decisive. You cannot fix a no-decision; you can only fix a bad decision.  If you get good at making decisions, you are going to be pretty good.

So what happens with success? First of all, I’m not afraid to make a decision. I’m a risk-taker. You are not going to be a success long term unless you’re a risk-taker.

The Mastermind Effect:  46:36

Yeah. I think it’s making strategic moves. You can diversify your risk when you’ve created the foundation. You can diversify your risk and understand the risk you’re taking when you surround yourself with the right people.

Dr. Rob McCleland:  46:47

That’s right. If you have three or four people who like none of those stupid decisions, don’t do that. What about you all argue it out? We’ll still do what you wanted, but it will be changed to give it a much better chance of success because you were willing to listen and have healthy conflict.

The Mastermind Effect:  47:02

Absolutely. I feel in times of prosperity; the winds come in easier. But in times of creativity and what’s happened over the last 12, 18 months, I feel ingenuity and creativity. When they start feeling the squeeze, something really comes out of it that is magical, like you start grinding for something. What are you working on right now that’s going to take place over the next 12 months that excites you?

Dr. Rob McCleland:  47:31

We are taking Streamlined podcast, and we’re launching four new companies out of it.  One of them is what I am so excited about. I do believe it would be a game-changer. It’s going to be called Streamlined Staffing. This is not a little VA agency or a staffing agency. We have discovered that because of the way that we do it in the way we build our team, and you and I have talked about that before; we have some unbelievable players on our team around the world. We’ve got a guy in Colombia who is so sharp. We’ve got Danny, a young lady in the Philippines; she’s sharper. These are all people who build instantly build Excel spreadsheets with all the macros built-in. And I’m like, “I think I learned how to do that in business school. I can’t quite remember that type of thing.” They’re super, super sharp people, and they kill it for us. So any business decisions we have, we’ve been saying who else needs a team like this?

What we’re doing together right now, and  I’ve never heard of this done before, is putting together six-person teams. Somebody who is unbelievable on the social media side. Somebody who is unbelievable on the business side. Somebody who knows all the technical parts. The second you say, “Hey, here’s what we’re planning to do,” every one of them will jump down your throat and go, “horrible decision. No, what about this? What about that?” They love each other so much, and they will bring the truth to the table. They get together, and they help you make great decisions. Then it’s not when you make a decision and say, now I have to implement this; they’re going to implement it for you.

It’s going to be a new way of looking at teams, specifically international teams. We’re going to try to be the first to market with it.  We’re super excited about what it’s looking like; plus, these people will be able to make a bunch of money. We’re going to give it all to them. We want to help unbelievably good people do well for clients and see that lived out in their families.

The Mastermind Effect:  49:37

They won’t leave you. If anything comes back. We talked about this 20, 30 minutes ago, whatever it was, those people that 9s and 10s aren’t going to leave you. I don’t know if anyone tied that correlation there. We’re going to take care of the people that have already taken care of us because we’ve built that right there. That’s so important.

All right, the last one. What is a tip, a tactic, an actual item, and you’ve given several already. But what’s one last one that if someone implemented that over the next 30, 60, 90 days, they’d see a real impact on their personal or business life?

Dr. Rob McCleland:  50:10

Atomic Habits was built off of the book that came out, The Power of Habit, which was built off a book called The Power Of Full Engagement. That’s the one that started it all. In The Power Of Full Engagement, on page 187, this is not at the beginning of the chapter. It’s not the end of the chapter. It’s not even a chapter heading. They talk about a research project that was done because people said, “I’m going to do something,” but they didn’t do it.

The first thing they had was a college student who said, “I am going to exercise and lose weight.” So they break them down into two groups. Do you guys say you’re going to exercise and lose weight? That sounds great. Here’s all of the campus information about how to get to the gym, etc. They take the other 50% into a room, and they say, “Okay, what exactly are you going to do to get better and lose weight?” Where’s the exact place and the exact time that you’re going to do it?” The people who said I’m just going to lose weight, about 30% of them did. In the other group, over 80% of them did.

Then they went on to experiment number two. This had to do with ladies who had a high risk of breast cancer. They were from high-risk backgrounds in breast cancer. And they said, “You have to do your self-examinations in the shower. This is super important. You’re at high risk. Will you do this?” The lady said yes. Then they said, “Okay, where’s the exact place and the exact time?” They would say Tuesday is taking a shower. So they did it. Again, it was about 50% of the one they put; they just said, “Okay, go do it.” They did it. 100% of the other group did it when they said the exact time and the exact place.

Those two don’t make me cry. I’m going to get through this last one without crying. I’ve told the story so many times, but I have a sister who has been in and out of prison and drug addict on meth. The last one they did was with drug addicts. They said, “Let’s find somebody who has no self-control whatsoever.” This last group is drug addicts in recovery. When are you going to take this drug that’s going to help you to get off those other drugs, and you have to do a resume to apply for your first job? They said half of the drug addicts, they’re going to do it. They said, “here’s what we’ll do it.” The other half said, “Where’s the exact time and the exact place of the ones who said we would do it? None of them, zero of them worked on their resume, came up, or did finish the program. Of the others, 85% of people with zero self-control did it when they were asked what’s the exact time and place. The reason that makes me cry is my sister; being one of those who started saying where’s the exact time and the exact place, she’s doing fantastic. She’s out of jail. She’s been clean for eight years, and I am so proud of her.

So all of us, even as entrepreneurs, even at your level, Brandon, when you say okay, I got to get this stuff done. If you say, here’s my checklist and the things I want to do. If you do two things, number one, block it in your calendar. Don’t have it just on a goal list, but you put it in your calendar, and then just put the exact time and exact place. What they discovered is those people I’m supposed to check my breath and do my self-examination, and they said my exact time and my exact place was Wednesday at eight o’clock, they didn’t do it then they forgot. But it triggered something in their brain. “Oh no, I was supposed to do that yesterday; I’ve got to go ahead and do it.” You trigger your brain to help you be more successful in your habits if you choose the exact time and the exact place you’re going to do something.

The Mastermind Effect:  54:10

I don’t think we can leave it on a better note, time and place.

Dr. Rob McCleland:  54:14

You choose those two, the chance of you doing it goes way up, and then your success goes way up. Then they’re going to find success, or they’re going to find the right mastermind, and their life will be better forever.

The Mastermind Effect:  54:26

Thank you for throwing that one in there at the end. I can tell anyone listening. Where can this go into your life? It can go into your personal life. I can tell you it has done wonders for me and my family when I have a time and place. Your business, yourself because if you aren’t right, then the family and the business and other things just don’t work in that triangle right there. So time and place. Super easy, super simple, but you got to pull that trigger on there. We’ve got the founder of LeaderTribe.com and StreamlinePodcast.com, Dr. Rob McCleland. Robster.

Dr. Rob McCleland:  55:01

Thank you so much for all you and your guests. It is truly a pleasure, Brandon. I think it’s because of our affinity and you’re such a good friend. But anytime I can serve you or any of the people in your tribe, have them contact me, and as long as they say, “Brandon sent me,” Consider it done. I’ll make sure that they’re successful.

The Mastermind Effect:  55:21

I appreciate it. Great. Big love to you, your family, and everyone around you.

Dr. Rob McCleland:  55:25

Thank you much love. I’m out.

Tweetable Quotes:

“When you trust each other, it’s fun. You get to have to go through that discovery process.” – Dr. Rob McCleland

“When you have outstanding people, you don’t need as many people.” – Dr. Rob McCleland

“You work with winners, and it’s a game changer.” – Dr. Rob McCleland

Connect with Dr. Rob on Facebook or LinkedIn. You can also check out his website at www.leadertribe.com and reach him through his email rmccleland@generational.com.

It’s time to Stand Up, Show Up, and Level Up! Download The Success Finder on Apple and Google Play Store.

You can connect with me, Brandon Straza, on LinkedIn, Instagram, or send me an email at brandon@thesuccessfinder.com. I’d love to get in touch and talk more about personal development and how you can live past beyond your limits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *