Posted by Matt Register

Jack Altschuler, Chief Alive Officer at Fully Alive Leadership, joins us in a National Advisor Showcase segment about leadership in business.

Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.


Matt Register: Hey guys, welcome back to the show, Texas Business Radio. Texasbusinessradio.com is the Web site. Jay Curry had to step out for a little bit. I’m your host Matt Register and we’re going to jump into a segment we like to call National Advisor Showcase. There’s a lot of really smart guys coming to Texas to talk to CEO’s that have a wealth of information. And we love to get them into the studio and pick their brain a little bit about what they know about business. And this is no different. This National Advisors Showcase segment is going to be talking about vision and how important vision is to your business, how important it is to your life. We have Jack Altschuler, who is here talking to a bunch of CEO’s in Texas. He kindly was able to stop by the studio and have a quick discussion with us. Jack welcome to the show.

Jack Altschuler: Hey Matt, thank you.

Matt Register: Welcome back to the show.

Jack Altschuler: Yeah.

Matt Register: You were on the show on one of our very early episodes. And welcome back.

Jack Altschuler: And thank you so much. I’m so glad to be here.

Matt Register: So talk to me a little bit about what you’re here to talk to CEO’s about. We had a brief discussion during the break. You were telling me about some of the examples in some of the, the, the leadership coaching that you’re giving these guys.

Jack Altschuler: Yeah. Yeah. The piece I want to focus on Matt, is, is all about vision. Everything starts with somebody standing up and saying “That way” and we’re all about that way. In the absence of that, even the most well-meaning, hard work, hardest working people, they’re pulling on the rope to move your wagon but they don’t know what direction to pull it.

Matt Register: Well, what’s the saying? If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. Right?

Jack Altschuler: Exactly. And won’t you be surprised when you wind up there. Oh, this is what it was. If, we, CEO’s need to be more intentional than that. They need to be clearer about where they’re going and more importantly why they’re going there. Because it’s the why they’re going there that proves to be influential, that proves to be motivating to their people.

Matt Register: OK. Tell me more.

Jack Altschuler: OK. Let me give, let me give you a couple of examples. I’m going to differentiate this vision thing from an individual vision piece and the business vision piece. Because they’re not the same thing but they absolutely are tied together.

Matt Register: Sure.

Jack Altschuler: So that, lets start at the individual level. We all have some gut level fire in our belly that says “we’re all about that way”. And I’ll give you mine, so you know. It took some work to get to the clarity about this. But this is, this is the big deal for me. It’s to be fully alive and to influence others to fully live their lives. I don’t know about the reincarnation thing, maybe it’s happening, I don’t really know, but I am confident this life is happening.

Matt Register: Sure.

Jack Altschuler: And what I care about is fully living this life. So…

Matt Register: Well, so that also ends up serving as a grounding principle that, that you then base your decisions off of. Right?

Jack Altschuler: Well, that’s, that’s exactly the point. If I know I’m all about that way, I take fewer crazy side trips. And trust me, before getting clarity about this, I took a lot of crazy side trips.

Matt Register: Sure.

Jack Altschuler: But the clarity of, I’m all about that. I really care about this piece. It guides me and anybody associated with me, they know I’m going that way and they, it’s easier for them to align. I’ll give you a business example of this, because I was asked to facilitate a whole company meeting. This international food brokerage operation was going to double the size of their company in five years. That is elegant strategic plan to make that happen. And they asked me to come in and facilitate a whole company meeting to get that going. And that, the, the deliverable was, he wanted, the CEO wanted everybody march out of that meeting with a clarity about the three things they do every day that, that would help them achieve their strategic goal. OK. So he started the meeting telling the story of the company and how he got here. And he says “let me tell you why we’re going to double the size of our company” and that’s when he told them his true north. It was to be a highly functioning team where everybody is achieving at their greatest potential. Now I know where that comes from within him, it is just as deeply rooted as can be. I stand in front everybody, right after he’s explained this is why we’re going to take on this big task. And I asked them “Well what do you think of what Steve just told you?” And the room went quiet. A bit later, a woman sitting near the front she says “Well, that’s just who he is.” And now everybody is nodding their head yes, just who he is. It wasn’t news to them. The clarity about it was news. But, yeah, that’s just who he is. And here’s the point. I stayed with him. I stayed with him. Five years later, they had already achieved that goal, nine months earlier. It was just over four years to achieve doubling the size of the company and he attributes in large measure to everybody aligning around that clarity.

Matt Register: Sure.

Jack Altschuler: I’m all about that way, that’s where I’m taking our company. It’s all about us being the best we can be. And the, everybody aligned around that and presto chango, they had the kind of results that he was hoping to have. Actually better than he had hoped for.

Matt Register: So this, you know, everybody ends up coming up with the strategic plan. Right?

Jack Altschuler: Yeah.

Matt Register: This is the why behind the strategic plan. Is that right?

Jack Altschuler: That’s exactly right. It’s the why.

Matt Register: That’s interesting. Now talk to me a little bit about, I mean how many companies actually do this, because it’s not very many, right?

Jack Altschuler: No, as a matter of fact, as I run around the country giving keynotes and doing workshops with people. I’ll ask them do, do you have this clarity? This, this personal and this company, why, why we’re doing this? I mean, yeah, everybody needs to make a buck, the, the individuals need a paycheck, the company needs a paycheck. That’s all true but that’s not why you do it.

Matt Register: Sure.

Jack Altschuler: It’s an outcome of what you do. It’s not the why of it. The why is something different. You want to make a difference in some way. When I do workshops and I coach people through the beginning steps of figuring out their personal why. What’s interesting is every time and I mean like no exceptions, whatever comes out of them has some component of service to others. That’s what lights their fire.

Matt Register: Sure.

Jack Altschuler: Every single time. And that, if, if you’re a leader, that’s, that’s motivating. That’s, that’s…

Matt Register: It’s what you do. I mean it’s servant leadership like we talked about briefly during a break. Right? I mean it is, it’s the concept of, you know, the people under you don’t work for you, you work for them. Right? I mean you were there to guide them to do something greater than they would be able to do without it. Right?

Jack Altschuler: Right. And let me connect that to one other point. I want to make a differentiation between boss and leader. The two words have a way of being used interchangeably and they’re not the same. Boss is a position of authority, it’s a power position. If a leader is getting their people to do things on the basis of ordering them to do it, well they’ll do it. I mean they have to do it, they’ll loser job if they don’t. Fine, they do it. The issue is are they giving their best. And the answer is invariably no.

Matt Register: Sure.

Jack Altschuler: They’re doing enough to get the boss off their back.

Matt Register: Well and I tell you what, we’ve had guys in here and seen scientific studies that talk about that delta between what’s going to not get you fired and the best you can do, is the difference in multitudes on performance of a company organization. Right?

Jack Altschuler: That is right. As a matter of fact the the corporate executive board does an employee engagement survey every year. And what they find is that; the employees who are fully engaged are 20 percent more productive than average employees. Which is to say, if you could get somebody to step it up from average effort to full effort, you’d have a 20 percent increase in productivity at zero incremental labor dollars.

Matt Register: Yeah. No, no, no, doubt about that. It is…

Jack Altschuler: It’s a huge deal.

Matt Register: It’s a massive deal. Right? And there are a lot of scientific studies to back this up.

Jack Altschuler: That’s right.

Matt Register: You know, you know it when you see it. Right? When you have companies that are, that are all pulling the same direction and they’re giving everything they can give. You know it the minute you see it but it’s, it’s pretty rare. Isn’t it?

Jack Altschuler: Yes it is. Yes it is. Can I, in the time we have remaining, can I offer an exercise to your listeners?

Matt Register: Yeah. Please do.

Jack Altschuler: Alright. Because this, this clarity of one’s own true north, it’s really, really important. So here, here’s how to do it. This is so simple. Sit down and think about it. What do I care about deeply? What is the most important thing to me? The fire in my belly and write it down. And just let it sit for a bit And then come back to it a while later and ask yourself the question, “Well, why is that important to me?” and give that some thought. And when you come up with an answer, write that down and let that sit for a bit. And do that somewhere between three and five times. And you’ll be pretty close to the center of your bull’s eye. And then test it out with somebody close to you for leadership.

Matt Register: Sure. No. Makes all of a sense in a world. And it’s something that is sorely lacking in the business world and sorely lacking in the world as well. Jack Altschuler is here. Fully Alive Leadership is the company. FullyAliveLeadership.com is the Web site. Let’s talk very quickly about the book, Engagement, available on Amazon, available where books are sold. Available on the essential reading list at Texas Business Radio. So we’re going to have all of that. We’ll also have it linked, fullyliveleadership.com. If you’re driving and can’t take notes, right there from the Web site. Jack thank you very much for joining us.

Jack Altschuler: Matt, it’s a pleasure being with you. Thanks for having me here.

Matt Register: You know as a student of, as a lifelong student of leadership, I could talk to you for hours about this stuff and we’re going to have to have you back next time you are in the state. Appreciate it. But unfortunately guys, we’ve got to go pay are own bills. We’ll be back right after this with a whole lot more Texas business radio. Texasbusinessradio.com, see the whole thing in beautiful high definition video. We’ll be right back right after this.

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About the Author
Matt Register

Matt Register

In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.

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