BGBS 029: Geoff Smart | ghSMART Part 1 | Part 1: Yes, You Can Have It All

BGBS 029: Geoff Smart | ghSMART Part 1 | Part 1: Yes, You Can Have It All
July 26, 2021

Geoff Smart, founder and chairman of ghSMART & Co is sharing how his dream of having a fulfilling job and great life turned into one of the most successful hiring firms in the world. Geoff routinely advises Fortune 500 CEOs, billionaire entrepreneurs, and heads of states and discusses the importance of being a servant leader along with the companies he has looked up to over the years. Geoff shares how failure led to his own business launch and how you can sustain job satisfaction within your company. This conversation was so great and informative, that this is only part 1 of 2.

Prepare to be inspired by one man who took his dream and made it a reality.

What we’re talking about

  • Geoff Smart’s Story: From Young Interests to a World-Renowned Leadership Company
  • The Story of How ghSMART & Co Got Its Name
  • Keeping It Fresh, Sustaining High Job Satisfaction, and the Definition of Leadership

Geoff Smart’s Story: From Young Interests to a World-Renowned Leadership Company

Living in Chicago, at the age of 8, George wanted to be either a CIA agent or newscaster, but as he grew, his dreams changed. In high school, Geoff was already interested in leadership. He was reading books by Tom Peters, Peter Drucker, and Milton Friedman. As a leader in sports and his school paper, his interest in leadership took hold and grew to a passion. With a father as an industrial psychologist, Geoff had a wonderful mentor right at home. He studied Economics at Northwestern when his mother scored him an internship at a venture capital firm where he learned that it’s not what you invest in, but who you invest in. Following college, Geoff was lucky enough to get to study under Peter Drucker, the “Founder of Modern Management”. After Geoff failed to get an internship at McKinsey & Co Consulting, he founded his own company. Geoff also shares that he decided to develop his own business because of his desire to help others with a more methodical approach to leadership, as well as his belief that “those that want to work hard and have an impact can also have a life”. It was at this time that ghSMART & Co was born.

The Story Of How ghSMART & Co Got Its Name

The story of how ghSMART & Co got its name is interesting, but a story that Geoff is proud of. The “gh” are his first two initials, but he decided to make them lower case because he wanted to be sure others knew he was a servant leader. The last part, SMART, is all capitals because Geoff says it’s his colleagues that put the SMART in ghSMART. It also emulates one of the companies Smart looked up to while doing his doctoral dissertation, McKinsey & Co. It’s these small details and practices that Geoff uses which has helped foster a positive culture and skyrocketed his retention rate to over 90%!

Keeping It Fresh, Sustaining High Job Satisfaction, and the Definition of Leadership

Put innovation to work. Listen to thoughts and ideas from clients & colleagues. If there’s some part of your work description that you no longer like or others can do better, delegate it or give it to someone who is better at it. Geoff’s definition of leadership is “helping a group of people figure out what it wants, and then formulate & execute a plan to get it”. When Geoff was talking about their brandstory, he said they have three ideas that intersect. 1) Maximize the positive impact you’re making. 2) Do work that really matters. 3)  Get paid for it so you can have a life outside of work!

Are you living your brand story?


Who: The A Method for Hiring by Geoff Smart

Leadocracy: Hiring More Great Leaders (Like You) into Government by Geoff Smart

Power Score: Your Formula for Leadership Success by Geoff Smart




  • 32:40 – 33:23 (43 sec GS) – Guarantee the thing that’s hardest, but most important to your customer…if we are not successful, you don’t pay.
  • 37:50 – 38:32 (42 sec GS) – I had learned from an early age…that’s how you grow a professional services business.
  • 46:07 – 46:40 (33 sec GS) – At its core, I think leadership is about helping improve people’s lives and…for the people that you’re serving.


  1. Who you hire can make, or break, a company. – GS
  2. It’s not what you do, but who you do it with. – GS
  3. Those that want to work hard and have an impact can also have a life. – GS
  4. I had learned from an early age by watching other successful entrepreneurs, that the more you can hire great folks & let them have the spotlight, the better if you want to scale a top tier business. – GS

Podcast Transcript

Geoff Smart 0:02
And he pulls me aside like forcefully grabs my shoulder like almost in cotton comfortably so like a real rough shoulder graph and he leans in to whisper in my ear. He said, You know I like the vision for for your business, but it’s too ambitious and nobody likes a know it all. And he said it in a whisper at about 100 decibel because his mic picked it up and like that 50 people behind me to start laughing because I just basically got schooled by Peter Drucker on the value of humility when you know when creating a business plan.

Marc Gutman 0:39
podcasting from Boulder, Colorado, this is the baby got backstory podcast, we dive into the story behind the story of today’s most inspiring storytellers, creators and entrepreneurs. I like big backstories and I cannot lie. I am your host Marc Gutman. Marc Gutman, and on today’s episode of Baby Got Back story. How a dream to have a fulfilling job in a great life turned into one of the most successful hiring firms in the world. I don’t know about you, but I hate hiring. I hate everything about it. I hate that I don’t know what I’m doing. Or if I’m doing it right, or if the person I’m about to bring on the team will be awesome, or a complete disaster.

Or at least that’s how I used to feel about hiring. Until a few years back, I had the privilege of hearing Geoff Smart of gh smart speak. I remember looking at his name on the agenda in thinking, Oh, no, hiring yuck. But it’s in these moments when we think we know our perspective on a topic that we are usually totally surprised. I was captivated by Geoff’s story and his methodologies. And after I saw him speak, I read his book and then implemented his process. I read a ton of business books. And I would have to say that who Geoff’s book on hiring is in my all time top five.

Because as Geoff shares with us who you hire, will make or break a company, and it’s totally actionable, I was able to implement what Geoff teaches immediately and see the results. Geoff knew from an early age that he wanted to help people and quickly saw that it wasn’t what you did, but who you did it with. And this is his story.

Geoff, let’s talk about how your story starts. I mean, let’s go back to the beginning. Did you dream of all this? Did you dream of an existence to help leaders amplify their positive impact on the world and when you were a kid, like what was life like for eight year old Geoff, what was your credo back then?

Geoff Smart 2:57
Thanks, Mark. It’s a pleasure to be on your show. I always thought I wanted to be an entrepreneur. There’s just something exciting about the idea of you know, inventing something, or or creating a business from nothing in the let’s see here, winding the clock back to the the eight year old me wanted to be an a CIA agent or or a newscaster. I did like the idea of analytics and doing impactful things. I was a CIA draw. And then the idea of using verbal or written communication to tell stories and to help people was the job of becoming a newscaster.

So that was the the early roots around age eight the idea for gh smart came to me as a college freshman. I was studying economics. My mom actually had scored me an internship working at a venture capital firm. And what I was struck by was, how the name of the game for succeeding and that field was I kept hearing all about not what you invest in, but who you invest in. And yet all these investors were spending all their time, you know, looking at products and looking, you know, forecasting financials and doing all this, all this what stuff when it seems like the key to success, lay more in the who, so that the kernel of the idea for the firm was born in ’91. And then I actually ended up founding our firm, June 16 1995.

Marc Gutman 4:28
Nice. Where’d you grow up? Where did you you spend your formative years?

Geoff Smart 4:31
Yeah, I grew up in the Chicagoland area. Some I’m from Chicago. And those are my formative years, and I’ve lived in Los Angeles. And now for the last dozen years or so. I’ve lived in Colorado.

Marc Gutman 4:45
Yeah. And you mentioned your mother. What did your parents do for a living? What was what was the upbringing the influence like there?

Geoff Smart 4:51
Yeah, my mom was a speech therapist. So she she got a master’s degree in, in speech therapy. So we all my sister Kate, and I had to have Be very articulate growing up, mark two, because my mom would help us with our Annunciation, my father was a had a PhD in industrial psychology, which he would tell you, he, he kind of like, took a class and college, loved it and gotten to that field, which is basically like the, the formal process of, of studying human behavior as it relates to work. So he was obviously a big mentor in the early days hearing stories of, of helping advise companies on their people problems. So those are, those were my two parental influences. And I have a younger sister Kate, who is more socially skilled than I was always more popular and as a as a great person. She lives in the Chicagoland area today.

Marc Gutman 5:49
That’s always the younger sister Kate, who’s more socially aware and more popular. It’s just the way it goes.

Geoff Smart 5:53
Yes. embarrassingly So, for me as I’m slightly more introverted And focus on my studies that my sister seemed like she always had, you know, 10 to 20 friends over at the house at any given time.

Marc Gutman 6:06
So when you you know, heard your dad come home from work and talk about his day and talk about the importance of of leadership and dynamics in the workplace. I mean, was that something that was interesting to you at the time? Or were you kind of not interested in where you are, like thinking of other things like what were you into in like high school?

Geoff Smart 6:22
Yeah, the topic of leadership always was very, very interesting to me. So, as a big bookworm, so Tom Peters, Peter Drucker, Milton Friedman, the economist who is all about freedom. These were early books I read that really, really resonated so yeah, through through leadership, I guess in sports and leadership and you know, like running this high school newspaper and, you know, little things like that early on, and then reading these you know, books about how to effectively lead your team. You know, it really was a passion area. I always felt like the difference between elevating the quality of human life or having human life, life be harmed is, you know, comes down to leadership, whether it’s governments, military businesses, etc. So yeah, I’ve always been a big fan of the topic of leadership and always curious and interested in, in what other people think, are the keys to success. So that was a real interest early on. And so there’s fun.

This is let’s see, the 90s private equity was kind of becoming a big deal as a career strategy consulting and investment banking were still very popular. So but I coming out of college didn’t go right to work. Instead, I went and got a masters and a PhD in psychology, focused on business as you know, in business, they call it organizational behavior. in psychology, they call it you know, organizational psychology, but I got to go study with Peter Drucker out in Clermont in California, he was about 80 years old at the time and had long been concerned. The father of management so is it’s kind of like Sitting at the feet of Socrates and learning from the master. And it was good fun and surfing on the weekends. So it was really the best of both worlds.

Marc Gutman 8:12
Drucker in surfing, it sounds like a documentary that Yeah.

Geoff Smart 8:16
It was really great fun as seriously good times.

Marc Gutman 8:20
Yeah. For our listeners who don’t know, can you give a 32nd primer on who Peter Drucker is and why he’s relevant.

Geoff Smart 8:27
Yeah, you bet. So the study of leadership and management really became formalized about, I don’t know, 70 years ago or so. Peter Drucker was a Austrian journalist. And he was just fascinated with with the success or failure of organizations. So he could have made, you know, millions or billions, but instead decided to stay academic. So he taught at Claremont for decades and decades, just outside of Los Angeles. And I remember, you know, for example, here’s how big a deal he was. When he was just sort of in his free time, advising CEOs, like ag lafley, the CEO of Procter and Gamble, would fly in. And, you know, take a limo out to Peter’s house and they would just sort of like float in. And Peter Drucker’s pool it a little pool in his backyard. And, and I asked, Well, you know, how much do you charge for that? Just out of curiosity?

I remember Peter he said $50,000. I said, $50,000 to flow into your pool. And he said, Yeah, you got to charge something otherwise people don’t take the advice seriously. And so that was kind of in a you know, it was fascinating studying with me. I think he’s written more Harvard Business Review articles, and more top selling books on on management than anybody. That’s why if you like Wikipedia, Peter Drucker, they refer to him as the father of the field of management.

Marc Gutman 9:52
Yeah, and he really mean at that time, and even before it was like the movie stars business still is I mean, I’m looking around and I’m like, surrounded by Peter Drucker books, and Yeah, and things like that. I mean, if you know, those are the first things you know, when you get mentored, someone says, You know what, go read this book, the five most important questions, you know, you need to, you need to you need to learn some Peter Drucker. So thank you for sharing that. I think it’s important to give context. And so you’re there, you’re in Claremont, you’re, you’re doing your thing you went and you found a mentor, and Peter. And now Do you know what you’re gonna do after? Do you have a sense?

Are you just collecting the knowledge are you just, you know, because that’s the way I approached my university study, I just I kind of went, I was going to use that to figure out what I wanted to do, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do.

Geoff Smart 10:33
So in contrast to going to college, I was at Northwestern studied economics. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. At that point, I had had that internship with a venture capital firm, but by the time I graduated, I made a very conscious choice, to study with Peter Drucker to go do a PhD. And and to really like double click on this area of hiring leaders, either from the perspective of a venture capitalist, how do you bet on the right people or that that perspective of You know, a CEO or a board, you know, how do you pick the right leader? So I was actually very focused and on wanting to get, you know, deep and experienced and an expert on that, that specific leadership question. So, I grad schools for years. The PhD dissertation that I did was specifically on studying how venture capitalists evaluate and then choose to who to invest in. And it was fun. There’s a famous venture capitalist private equity investor named Henry Kravis, you know, from KKR.

Marc Gutman 11:32

Geoff Smart 11:33
He went to he went to the school, he went to Claremont or grad school, so I called him up to be in my study. And his assistant told me No, thank you. And I called her a second time. She said, No, I called her a third time begging her. I’m like, Hey, I’m a PhD student. I’m doing a topic that I think is going to be of interest to to Mr. Travis, you know, he’s sure he you know, he won’t be in my study. I’d really love to get us participation. So she Basically just told me to stop calling. But I didn’t mark as we were entrepreneurs or are persistent. So I called her a fourth time. And I told her that I would stop calling and bugging her. If she would please just show him this, like one paragraph description of the study that I was working on. And if he said No, I wouldn’t call back again.

But if he said yes, then you know we would do. So she said, All right, hold please if she walked in his office, and came back about 30 seconds later and she said, Mr. Kravis, has agreed to be in your class project. I said, Oh, great. So once I got in a billionaire private equity tycoon, a Henry Kravis, in my study, I rapidly got over 50 private equity firms to jump in and be in it. And what I did basically was study how they evaluate management teams. And I looked at half a century of research on what you know what should be the best practices, and then I tested them and I found that investors who followed century of the best practices of of hiring and picking teams Ended up being successful and making more money than those who didn’t. And so then that became the colonel for gh smart. And I kind of took that show on the road, told the story. And so our early clients were, were these investor types. And then later we branched out and served, you know, CEOs more broadly.

Marc Gutman 13:19
Yeah. And you you’ve kind of alluded to, you know, when you had that first job of studying economics, or not, so you were studying economics, we had the first job that your mom got you at the Yes, it was, I think it was a venture PE firm. And then you had the kernel, you’re like, Oh, my gosh, like, you know, everyone’s saying, like, we got to invest in people. And now you have this, you know, where did that interest really blossom between there and deciding to dedicate a good chunk of your life because as you just outlined, when you go to get a doctorate and other things like that, that’s a commitment. That’s not Yeah, that’s it. Like, that’s a bigger commitment to tattoo in my mind. So like, you know, like, where what kind of happened in between there to say, you know, what, like, I really want to I think there’s something here.

Geoff Smart 13:58
Yeah, okay. So if we’re being candid and revealing are vulnerable parts of our past mark, I’ll share with you that I tried and failed to get an internship at McKinsey during college, I was fascinated by that brand story. You know, these folks who, McKinsey, a great strategy consulting firm advise their CEOs and government leaders on their most important decisions around products and operations and strategies that are so they don’t, I mean, technically, they don’t really do undergrad internships anyway. So I didn’t take it too, personally. But I remember thinking I’d love to work there. It seems like strategy consulting, though, carries at great sacrifice on your lifestyle, also investment banking and investment banks.

The idea is that, you know, go there, it’s a great way to, you know, have a successful career but, you know, boy, it’s kind of rough on on your ability to have a life and have time outside of work. So I’ll tell you the, so the two reasons I found a gh smart, you know, one was that earlier reason I was telling you this fascination with the leadership and the idea Bringing a more methodical approach to leadership to help investors and people who run companies be successful. But the second reason I found a gh smart was was basically just this idea of Surely, there’s a type of company that should exist where people who want to work hard and have an impact can also have a life. And so it’s kind of the cultural story of how do you build a culture? How do you build a firm that has a better culture than what I was seeing in strategy consulting and investment banking, and what would it take to pull that off?

So that was I say, equal importance to the client focused reasons for starting gh smart and so I was just so passionate about it, I saw you know, an unmet need in the market. And then I saw an unmet need in the talent market to which is, you know, how do you go do something meaningful and fulfilling and, and not sacrifice your life in the process? So that combo of the two was was so inspiring to me that I just felt weirdly confident and, and focused from eternity. The age that I wanted to go build that business. So at age 23, after opening the back of a ink magazine, you know, where they have all those like classified ads in the background or that ink magazine. One of them said, like, incorporate your business, I think it costs like 300 bucks or something.

So like fill this thing out as a second year PhD students, I was still in grad school, filled out this thing. And on March 16 1995, I remember I got the articles of incorporation back for gh smart, and the original vision and purpose for founding the firm really has played out to a great extent you asked me a few minutes ago, you know, if I would have dreamed, you know, gf smart, would have turned out the way it did. And the answer’s yes, not to be like arrogant about it. But that was kind of the reason I started to begin with was both on the client side to have an impact and also to create this employment brand, for a place where wildly talented people could go work and still have a life outside of work.

Marc Gutman 16:58
And that’s really interesting. To me, because going back into that time period, you know, early to mid 90s, I mean, this concept of having a job that you effectively love that gives you fulfillment it gives you meaning. You know, it’s financially rewarding and allows you to have a life was not really common have an idea.

Geoff Smart 17:19
Yeah, like name one. Yeah. But it wasn’t as common places as today and there, you know, there weren’t clear examples around.

Marc Gutman 17:27
No, not at all. I mean, I remember sitting, you know, having, you know, kind of fights with my own parents, like at the holiday table as I was getting ready to leave college and they’re like, Look, you just go get a job. It doesn’t matter where you go, it doesn’t matter where you have to move. It doesn’t matter if you hate it. Just go and get this job. And, you know, even when I’m out talking a little bit, this is a big part of my origin story that really motivated me was this idea that like, I was really in search of finding a job that I love.

My dad even at one point when I was really young said to me, I asked him if he liked this job, and we kind of go back and forth and he finally reveals his philosophy and that, you know, they wouldn’t call it work. If it was supposed to be a whole lot of fun and so you know I really am resonating with this idea that like and I really want to just nail this idea home to people listening that yeah today everyone is very talking about fulfillment and employers are receptive to that and yeah it’s just it’s a whole different light kind of market today but back then not so much

Geoff Smart 18:20
yeah that’s true I appreciate your saying that it did. It did seem like you had to make a trade off right either you go join like a top tier brand and you know, work work your butt off and and maybe not worry about not even think about having life balance or having you know, either having a life outside of work or having the work itself be that fulfilling or you join the Peace Corps. Yeah, and you’re become a teacher something where you have this like wonderful mission, but you know, there are other other sacrifices you have to make financially etc. Um, so yeah, that that really was a gaping hole I thought in the employment market. back then. It’s still hard today even though so many firms You know, try to give people a great fulfilling work experience, and the chance to have a life outside of work.

That’s, that’s an area that we really focus on. And I feel probably most proud of even more proud than the climate impact we have is the degree to which people really seem to love to work here and and how, you know, it’s like gh smart was sort of born in a laboratory. And I did this like, four year long dissertation study on the market. So that’s where the client facing part came from. And then just, you know, being mentored by Peter Drucker and others and just trying to really think of what makes an organization truly excellent. Peter Drucker, three listeners is the one credited with saying, culture eats strategy for breakfast. So, you know, focusing on what kind of cultural DNA that we want to bake in the GH smart that you know is even Peter Drucker approved. I wrote a paper mark on the gh smart business plan and gave it to Peter Drucker and I was so excited to try to hear his feedback and be all Inspired by his his loving division, he actually marked me down on the paper because he said he thought it was a little bit unrealistic and ambitious. And so and then this next is really embarrassing.

It was you know, older by the time I got to work with him and and learn from him and so he wore a lavalier microphone when he was giving talks at during his classes and he had his his lavalier mic switch hot it was on was before class and we were supposed to all come up and like grab our our papers and so I might go up to get my gh smart business plan paper and he pulls me aside like forcefully grabs my shoulder, like almost uncomfortably so like a real gruff, you know, shoulder grab, and and he leans in to whisper in my ear.

He said, You know, I like the vision for for your business, but it’s too ambitious and nobody likes a know it all. And he said it in a whisper at about 100 decibels because it’s Mike picked it up, and like, you know, that 50 people behind me to start laughing because I just basically, you know, got schooled by Peter Drucker on on the the value of humility when you know, when creating a business plan. So is that that was formative and helps, you know, sort of fuel the fire to make the thing successful.

Marc Gutman 21:17
Yeah. So that’s funny today, I can only imagine how you must have felt in that moment when you’re idle and effectively God in the entrepreneur business world tells you, your business plan. Isn’t that good?

Geoff Smart 21:32
It’s not that good. And all my 50 closest friends are in the background. They hear it

Marc Gutman 21:38
Oh, yeah. Even though Yeah, if it’s in private, you go back and you say, Yeah, he had some notes for me, but you can’t even do that. You can’t even like kind of tell your friends you know, you can’t smooth it over.

Geoff Smart 21:48
And everybody you know, sought the approval of Peter Drucker and so it was as funny as it was a pretty cringe moment, and then mark he died like three or four years after I finished my program. So that was, I was like 20 years ago. So he doesn’t know that we kind of nailed it like I, I, in your intro, you’re very generous. And you point out some things I’m like really proud of but like, we have 120 colleagues today, we have a 92% retention rate. So people come here, they stay. In other consulting firms, they have more like a 60 70% retention rate. We don’t have like a couple hundred clients that are super happy. Harvard Business School wrote a couple and they teach two cases about innovation.

Using gh smart as a as an example. It’s been really fun being able to go sit there and have people in business school debate, you know, what you did well, and what you could have done better. And that kind of thing. On the books that you mentioned that we’ve each one of them took about three years plus to research and publish. And we’ve got like the whole book, you mentioned, stills number one, globally in sales and reviews on the topic of hiring that feels really good lead autocracies. CEO next door power score these all these books have done really great in their categories. And then onto the culture thing this is the thing that I really wish Peter Drucker could know today that you know that that ended up being successful. Glassdoor, you know rates your company anonymously by your own employees. And so at the moment, knock on wood Fingers crossed, you know, we have a 4.9 out of five, rating on glass doors first, like overall, employee satisfaction, which is feels really good. And then there’s this like industry rating organization called vault that rates you know, all the big consulting firms and some small ones.

And just for 2020, we got rated number one best company to work for in our industry, pushing McKinsey to number two, and Bay into number three for overall employee satisfaction, which is mind blowingly. Cool. And as an entrepreneur who’s You know, we’ve only been around for 25 years and these other firms have been around for nearly 100 years. That that feels very satisfying. On the promise of Yes, like, create some value for clients through helping them hire and develop talented teams, but just as equally important, you know, building this culture where people really want to come here and work and they find the work fulfilling, they find the culture supportive, that that part’s extra satisfying.

It’s hard, and it’s weird, and it’s, you know, vague, how do you build a culture? How do you, you know, maintain a nourish and that kind of thing. And we’re constantly learning and we don’t think we’ve solved, you know, for every problem by any means, but it is. It is super exciting to, you know, see people who have the choice to work anywhere. Choose to join this brand.

Marc Gutman 24:38
Yeah, I have to think that when you saw that list, you just couldn’t help but think to yourself, take that McKinsey.

Geoff Smart 24:44
Yeah. Well, no, no, of course not. McKinsey is great for Bain, great firm and what they’re what they do for clients is amazing and the culture they have is different. And if you’re up for that, it’s a great place to go. If you want to work on who stuff rather than what stuff and you want to Be able to, you know go to your kids channel recital on a Thursday at lunchtime to get smart is is the place you should be.

So yeah I have great respect for for other firms and other niches around this world of you know management consulting for sure. But it is fun just to be this you know, super small fry kind of newer, newer firm that has unseated the the classic Titans in this field for best company to work for. Yeah, and in overall satisfaction to sleaze like they’re a bunch of categories that give you these ratings for and that one was the one you know, we really wanted to win. And we’re surprised and happy that for 2020 we got that one.

This episode brought to you by wild story. Wait, isn’t that your company? It is and without the generous support of wild story, this show would not be possible. A brand isn’t a logo or a tagline or In your product, a brand is a person’s gut feeling about a product service or company. It’s what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Wild story helps progressive founders and savvy marketers build purpose driven brands that connect their business goals with the customers they want to serve. So that both the business and the customer needs are met. This results in crazy, happy, loyal customers that purchase again and again. And this is great for business. If that sounds like something you and your team might want to learn more about, reach out @ and we’d be happy to tell you more. Now back to our show.

Marc Gutman 26:46
It’s interesting to think how far you’ve come I mean, when you left you know your studies with Peter and you said you were doing a little bit of this work with investment firms and things like that. Did you have clients day one was this business? Yes, day one or juror think like I kind of put a lot of eggs in the wrong basket.

Geoff Smart 27:03
You know why it was funny? My Plan B was always to go just join a consulting firm. I had a runway, which is, you know, grad school and PhD programs in the torturously take a long time. I think my program averaged 10 years from start to finish folks getting done with it. So I figured out right, well, I’ll try this j smart thing. And if it doesn’t work out, I’ll you know, I’ll, you know, try to join a regular firm.

So I it’s weird, it never felt stressful. The early days. We did have I did have clients because I instantly took my PhD dissertation, which was a, which was the largest study ever done that looked at the relationship between how venture investors bet on management teams and the returns they made on deals. And I was getting like tons of keynote opportunities as flying all over the country, telling investors what they need to do to improve their bets on people. And so instantly these these same folks that I was studying just weeks or months prior, you know, we’re or pay me to do training and consult with their investment teams on how to improve the way that they invest in people. And then once we start working on the private equity, they’re co invested with other, you know, big companies. And so our our brand started to grow beyond the entrepreneurial into more established companies.

So yeah, from I’d say the early phase was, you know, still PhD students, tell them the world a bit about our story of how you can improve your success by improving the rigor of your, you know, hiring and evaluation process of people, and how to, you know, build talented teams. And then we had contractors, so I had no money. I had no clients. And I really didn’t know anything when I started the company. But it was like this vision of Hey, let’s do something cool for people who run our own companies to build valuable ones through people and then must build this this cool culture. And so after the kind of very initial stage Money revenue was coming in from, from companies that want to get better at this, I started hiring contractors, which you don’t have to pay full time salaries to. And so that allowed us to grow a bit in scale without taking on risk.

So I made an important decision, I guess, because I wasn’t confident in myself, or in the concept to raise venture money like so ironically, even though I was serving these investors. I didn’t raise any venture money to begin with, because frankly, I just wasn’t that sure that, that this culture or this, this firm, was going to be successful, but then through contractors, growing it growing and growing, it was working, and then at some point, I made the decision to switch over to just full time people. So like today, that hundred and 20 of us are all full time, full time with no contractors. And that happened about 10 years after I founded the company. So it’s like a slow growth story, testing the market, testing the culture, and then then growth actually really started picking up one size stops managing the business day to day and one of my most talented youngest partners Randy street in 2010.

Following the last recession we went through, I appointed him with a great support of my colleagues to be the managing partner. So here, I really gave him the keys to run it day to day in 2010. And he’s done a fabulous job of building out everything that we have today. And under his tenure, we’ve had 90% client satisfaction rates completed every year 90% retention rates of our colleagues exceeded every year and over 20% growth and pre tax profit every year for 10 years. So Randy is really the like key to success of our growth and scaling over the last decade. But I like to think that the the original blueprint of you know, on the strategy side and on the culture side, we’re still we’re still playing that playbook today.

Marc Gutman 30:54
Yeah. And did you ever like come up against in those early days Did anyone say to you like Geoff like It’s all great that you want to like, advise on leadership and building great businesses, but like, Hey, man, like, you’ve not ever done that,

Geoff Smart 31:08
right? Yeah. What do you know? You haven’t even had a job? Yes, yes, people did say that. I’ll tell you though, that the veil of the PhD student thing kind of work. They viewed me as this, like, you know, white lab coat scientist who’s here to both study them, as well as to share some best practices. And I think I was pretty despite Peter Drucker’s assertion that, that nobody likes to know it all. I was very humble in my posture in the early days, you know, I’m here, oh, you know, you want to improve your hiring success rate from 30% to 60% Plus, Great, well, let’s see here. So you know, need to study how you’re doing it and talk to a bunch of people. And, you know, share it, we’ll share some best practices and we’ll help implement these methods that are proven to help you improve how you hire and develop your talent. Oh, here’s something that’s born out of humility. Do you remember how Domino’s had a 30 minute guarantee or your pizzas free? Yeah, of course.

So that was huge, right? They took the number one thing in there, and they’re, you know, market the brand story of like a pizza. If it’s late, you know, that stinks. But if it’s early, that’s great. And they said, Hey, we’re gonna guarantee your pizza in 30 minutes is gonna be hot, it’s gonna be there in 30 minutes or you don’t pay now later they they massage that commitment because people were the drivers were getting in accidents left and right, trying to rush to deliver pizzas but I took that lesson and I read it and I can’t remember what you know, management book way back when but the principle was guarantee the thing that’s hardest but most important to your customer. So just like Domino’s guaranteed 30 minute pizzas, I guaranteed accurate hiring. And no, none of the other competitors would kind of go so far as to say hey, look, if we do our work, and you’re still having hiring mistakes, we’ll give you your feedback. So Even to this day, to this day, we’re, you know, pitching huge projects these days.

I was at a large railroad a couple of weeks ago, you know, we’re talking about 10s of millions of dollars of fees for them to improve their hiring and development of senior people, and do some culture change work. And I look, you know, these five board members in the eyes, I said, if we are not successful, you don’t pay. And it’s funny as that was born from the early days of insecurity, and just not really not knowing anything when I started our business, but wanting to deliver good value to clients and wanting to have it be a great work experience. For our colleagues. This is like money back guarantee concept was a key early answer to the question, Oh, you’ve never really led anything. And by the way, how Why are you so young, I remember locked into a partner at Bain Capital, one of the most successful private equity firms. And we had been doing a bunch of work for them. And I met one of their senior most partners and he he looked at me and he said, he actually started talking To my colleague, one, someone who worked at my company, and was calling him Geoff, I said, Now I’m Geoff. He said, geez, you’re a lot younger than I thought you’d be. I looked him in the eye. And I said, you are to add, having humility and humor, confidence, but also say, hey, yeah, no, that’s right. I haven’t been a fortune 500 CEO, and literally, I, I don’t, I’ve never had a full time regular job.

I did internships and college and grad school, but I started the company when it’s 23. So yeah, making fun of myself as just some, you know, egghead, a PhD, but who has a method that does seem to work and by the way, here are the happy other clients, you’re in good company. And if you don’t feel like you get full value for the dollars you spend, we’ll refund your feedback. That was sort of my way of countering the, you know, you seem young and experienced, understandable concern that early clients and colleagues had.

Marc Gutman 34:51
So in the early days were the name come from him and I can guess it seems like it might, it might not be that not obvious, but I’d like to ask

Geoff Smart 35:00
Yeah, so gh is smart. And company Inc is the official name and th smart. I had, you know, just say a huge industry crush on McKinsey and Company for being a, you know a very respected, impactful firm, a tons of talented people in it. So McKinsey and Company, gh smart and company. So that’s where the company came from the gh smart. So my first name is spelled with a G. So Geoff, my middle name is Hudson, and smart as my last name and the brand for gh smart. The way we write it is kind of weird, and I’m proud of this. So gh is lowercase. And then all caps is s ma RT. And I tell people, whether it’s colleagues or clients that as the founder and chairman, you know, I’m the GH but I’m lowercase. I’m a servant leader. I’m in service of colleagues and clients. But then it’s my my colleagues who put the smart in gh smart and that’s why the smart parts all caps, so anyway, super cheesy and hokey but, but true. And that’s, that’s where our brand story comes from on the little g little H and all caps smart

Marc Gutman 36:04
down. I love it. And you know a shout out to your parents because as someone who was bestowed with the last name of Gutman going through, you know, the Geoff Hudson smart might be like a coolest name ever, right? Like it’s like a big movie star. And then all of a sudden, like, Hey, I have a consultancy that it you know, deals with thinking and being smart. Wait a second. That’s also my name. Like it’s great. And so I want to give a shout out to your parents for a shout out for that grant. Great brand name. Yeah,

Geoff Smart 36:32
that was lovely. It’s hard spelling Geoff with a G on the phone when you know, in my early years whenever I was ordering something from a catalog or whatever, but so I hate it then. But I do like it now. And I appreciate appreciate that. My folks had a marketable last name.

Marc Gutman 36:49
Yeah, and I mean, and you’re probably gonna deny this because you’re humble, but we all know that just with a G are also smarter than just with a J. So that helps to

Geoff Smart 36:57
I’m not about to alienate any of your your listeners,

Marc Gutman 37:01
all the Geoff’s out there. Listeners

Geoff Smart 37:04
just as Exactly. We don’t want to. We don’t want to upset that segment. But yeah, you know, it’s I okay, so servant leadership is a theme is something that approached I have great respect for that almost prevented me from naming the firm after myself. But there was something about just like, yes, you’re like signing your name and being like, I am putting my full self into this firm that sort of counteracted that hesitation, I had to call it th smart.

So, yeah, it was kinda like 70 7030 I was like, I think I’m gonna name it smart, I guess because I appreciate my parents giving me a good name for name and business. But that hesitation was on I never did wanted to be like the Geoff show and have it just be a spotlight on me because I had learned from an early age by watching others, you know, successful entrepreneurs, that the more you can hire great folks, and then let them have this spotlight, the better if you want to scale a Top Tier Business?

Unknown Speaker 38:04
Yeah, because scaling a services business isn’t that easy. It’s not like you can just start to, you know, dial up certain efficiencies and add, you know, more bandwidth in terms of like technology bandwidth or more factory space. I mean, it’s people and it’s hard. It’s not easy.

Unknown Speaker 38:19
Yes. So true. I appreciate your saying that, that it really is. It really is about adding and taking care of one colleague at a time. That’s how you grow a professional services business. Yeah, I do enviously. Look at some of my technology products, peers who can you know, as you say, you know, put a curve in the growth rate by replicating digital technologies like super scalable fast, but I and the professional services business it really is about adding great people adding great clients adding great people adding great clients and it’s more of a linear growth path. It’s a lot, it’s a marathon. It really feels like you have to sustain a high level of focus and discipline and reliability for yourself. years and years and years, it’s not like a, you know, overnight kind of thing.

Marc Gutman 39:03
No, not at all. And you know, thinking just about, you know, my own experience and kind of drawing on that. And knowing over the years, it ebbs and flows, and it takes different things to get you excited and keep you coming back. And so for you right now, like what, what’s exciting you and keeping you excited in the business?

Geoff Smart 39:21
Yeah. Let’s see here. So, I have, I love my job. And I, I’ve done something that I don’t see a lot of entrepreneurs do and I spend, you know, through the books and speakings I spent a bunch of time with YPO type folks and entrepreneur, organization type folks, like you great, you know, entrepreneurs around the world, and just kind of comparing notes on successes and failures and that kind of thing. I shrank and narrowed my role significantly. So I get to do just the things that I’m pretty good at that I like to do a lot. So So what keeps it fresh? For me is right if I was like, you know, managing the day to day and I had a whole lot of like, duties on my plate that I didn’t love to do, but I sort of had to do because I was the only leader around that would be not fun. But instead I get to do the things that that I love that I’m pretty good at. And those things are honing the vision. And you know, getting my colleagues and clients excited about it is super fun. I still feel like ghsmart’s is kind of a leadership laboratory where we’re creating our own culture, we’re creating our own everything, you know, processes, the way that we tell our story to clients, etc. So honing the vision. That’s super fun. We want to see what are the things on recruiting and telling our brand story as an employment brand is one of my favorite things. I talked to the sky yesterday, or Friday who is thinking about joining our firm, and he’s just like, he’s so talented and so good hearted, has done amazing things in his career and listening to what he really wants. To do in the future stages of his career, and the knowing that he can accomplish that here is exciting to me. It’s like, it’s not like handing out people’s dream jobs to them. I mean, they earned it.

But it’s the idea of, you know, through our own recruiting process and selection process, being able to talk with these really amazing people and then convince them to come join gh smart, I have a chairman’s q&a at the tail end of all the hiring of all of our consultants still, and I love that if I didn’t love it, I probably wouldn’t do it, but I really, I really enjoy it. I really love like personally welcoming people into the firm and making sure they join business development like so I’ve had the same email address for 25 years and you know, with the books and other other things, you know, CEOs, investors, etc, will contact me and then and then, you know, sitting with someone who maybe as a new CEO of a huge resort and hotel company worldwide or sitting with the CEOs doing nanotechnology research or sitting with Someone who runs a children’s hospital. I mean, it’s so cool. Sitting with a new client, with my colleagues, I try not to do all the talking or even hardly any of the talking, but meeting new leaders, and then supporting my colleagues as we, you know, turn them into clients.

I think a lot of fun, I still sort of thrill of the chase. And it’s, you know, and I know these clients are going to be happy with the work because we measure everything we measure their satisfaction. So to be able to confidently hear them out, help them envision what they’re trying to do to succeed, and then offer what we can do to help them and then have them become a client and be really happy is super fulfilling. So I think I think that’s a lot of fun. And then I love working with Randy and my firm’s leadership team. Randy is a super smart, like, steady decision maker. He’s everything. I’m not around, having like the breadth and depth to be a great leader and manager of this firm. It’s just a pleasure kicking ideas around together, and then we’re super decisive. So it’s fun, you know, we’ll have different committees and different governance and everything, but our ability to listen to good ideas, either from our colleagues or from our clients, and then take action experiment, you know, kind of in the Agile style of try it and test and learn. That’s a lot of fun.

So that I don’t know what you call that, like innovation, I guess. It’s a lot of fun in a firm full of like, good hearted, talented people is a lot of fun. So yeah, it’s, although my, my focus areas have abdun flowed and I’ve been different things over the years, by enthusiasts some level for what we’re doing, and the impact has always been high. And then, if there’s some part of my, like, personal entrepreneur work portfolio, that I don’t really like or that others can do better, I just clean it off, and I give it to someone else who’s better at it. So that’s sort of advice for how to keep the work fresh and how to keep your own job satisfaction high as you know, if you’re on one of these, like multi decade journeys to build a great firm.

Marc Gutman 43:59
Well, thank you for sharing that. you’d mentioned Randy street a couple times. How did you get to meet?

Geoff Smart 44:04
So we met. Last year, I personally didn’t recruit him. One of my colleagues had known a Bain partner and Atlanta, Randy had. He gone to Harvard Business School and Bain and was really successful at Bain. And then he was like number two or number three at the fastest growth company in Georgia at the time. But he wanted to get back to professional services. And he also just sort of loved the topic of leadership. He was a Sunday school teacher, like really good, great speaker. And it was a good match. So we just, you know, we, we got to him through a referral, and then hired him. And then there’s about two years after he started at our firm. I think that’s right. No, not true.

Five years after he started, he was one of the youngest, most talented partners, as a manager and a leader, and we’re all Granny, can you please run the firm also, I was getting super burned out on crisis management, and the oh nine recession. And I was kind of like, Oh my gosh, someone else helped me, you know, with the goal setting and the process design and process management and dashboards and just all that. It’s the scaffolding you need to build and manage in order to grow the firm. And Randy is so much better at that, than I. So it’s been a really special working relationship. We thought originally, you know, every, I don’t know, three or four years, we’d rotate the managing partner role.

But he’s so good, that we’re all in agreement. You know, let’s just like let him keep running the firm because he’s great at it. So I think he’s like, not quite 50. So he’s young enough, I am hopeful and expect that he’ll continue to run the firm for years to come

Marc Gutman 45:42
Wow, And during that that segment, you talked in the segment before that, you talked a lot about leadership. I mean, what does leadership mean to you? Like, how do you define that?

Geoff Smart 45:49
Yeah, it’s funny. I like the simplest definition of leadership. I really like is helping a group of people. Figure out what it wants and then to formulate and execute a plan to get it.

So, the LM like, at its core, I think leadership’s about helping improve people’s lives. And if you as a leader can help facilitate the process of figuring out, you know, what, what are the priorities? What are the what’s the goal here, like, what are we trying to do, and then hire and delegate to great people, and then you know, build relationships that are respectful and focused on results, then, you know, you can create great results for for the, for the people that you’re serving. So I think I don’t know leadership at its core of its health care workers or military or government or for profit or not for profit, is basically about helping focus, human capital to improve the quality of life of other people. And I’m a huge fan of Leadership only counts.

If you’re helping the customer base however you define customer, and if you’re really making a positive impact in the lives of the employee base. So that’s, in fact, we’re almost we don’t say this out loud, I’ll share with you mark, because this top secret sort of values assumption, but we actually prioritize our colleagues over customers and shareholders. And it’s controversial because this is this age old question of, you know, good leadership, you know, who, who gets priority?

And I think most companies are very shareholder focused. And then there’s sort of customer focused, and then maybe a distant third, there’s Oh, yeah, the employees at th smart right from the beginning. Again, I was like, one of the two equal reasons I started the company was I really wanted to have this be a great place for, for people to build their careers. And so our opinion or the way that we actualize what great leadership is all about, is you Providing just like an amazing work experience for people and then making a positive impact in the lives of customers. And then if you do that really well, yeah, the shareholders will be happy over the long haul. But I think it’s kind of fun and slightly controversial that we, we do prioritize our colleagues over, over all other priorities

Marc Gutman 48:18
Yeah when you say that with like, what’s that look like? Like? How does someone prioritize colleagues over shareholders and customers?

Geoff Smart 48:25
Sure, so a pandemic 2020 on our priority list, protecting jobs comes several clicks higher on the priority list than maximizing profits. And that’s not easy to say or do lots of companies don’t want to do that. They they, you know, when push comes to shove or when challenges arise, they clearly go to kind of propping up short term economic performance at the expense of people’s jobs, but we just made it we put a line in the sand and said we’re going to protect people’s jobs. We’re not Anybody off even though you know demand and profitability might be negatively impacted.

So that’s, that’s an example of that as far as like prioritizing people over customers, or this one evil client once, who was doing some saying some hashtag me to stuff to one of my female colleagues. And you know, she called it out. She’s like, yeah, here’s what this guy’s saying. And we were like, Well, yeah, dump the client. And she’s like, really? Like, it was like a profitable It was like a profitable prestigious client. We’re like, absolutely. Like, like, get rid of that client, like, forget it. And so backing your people and being like, No, no, we’re not going to work with bad clients is a fabulous statement of loyalty to your colleagues. When another there’s a client prospect were considering taking on who during the initial meeting revealed that, that they write legal contracts that are really advantageous for the CEOs They have the companies they own. And it was kind of like weird ethics stuff. And I am, I’m pretty sure many other consulting firms would still work with, with that client.

And I know that because I, after I told the guy that I wouldn’t work with him, because I didn’t think he was honest, which was not a pleasant conversation. But I told him, I didn’t think that we’d be helpful. And given his methods and his way of how he invested and built businesses. You know, it’s like inconsistent with our values and our methods. But did he want me? Do you want me to find another firm to serve him? And I asked another firm and I said, this guy’s dishonest. And he writes legal contracts that CEOs later regret having signed in order to be in order to make more money. Do you want to work with them? And I, in two seconds, I found another consulting firm in our industry that was willing to work with us, but I didn’t want to have my colleagues working with a dishonest client. So that’s how, you know, that’s how putting colleagues ahead of clients That’s what that looks like.

Marc Gutman 51:01
Yeah, thank you for sharing that. And previous to you had mentioned that, you know, a big part of your job is sharing the brand story. I mean, what does? What does that mean? Like, how do you define brand story? And how do you go about doing it? You know, what I find is just that, you know, when I use those words, brand story, that means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. And I’d love to hear your take on how you share how you define it, and how you actually go out and share that that story with the world.

Geoff Smart 51:25
Sure, well, I appreciate the question. And I think about it in two buckets. The brand story for employees for my colleagues is one message and then one brand and then the brand that that we the brand story we tell for clients is a second one in the brand story for colleagues. I do this kind of like, Do you ever wonder type approach or like, you know as a as a you think about your work, you know, do you ever wonder how you can maximize the positive impact or making you to do work that are really matters and get paid for it and have a life outside of work.

Like put those three circles together in a Venn diagram, and name me one firm that allows you to do all three, you know, it’s just like really meaningful, fulfilling work, to be able to make money and pay the bills. And then to have a life outside of work. And I, this came this this moment of clarity I had when Randy street my colleague, and I were teaching at Harvard Business School, the GH smart case, where, you know, they, the kids read the, like, the 12 page case, and they talk about what we did wrong and what we could do better, and that kind of thing. And this woman raised her hand is and she said, You know, I used to work for the Peace Corps. And we were really big on on mission and values and really the sort of, you know, why do we exist, and I would bet gh smart hasn’t even taken the time to write down why it exists or what it believes And for that reason, I wouldn’t I wouldn’t want to work there.

So she actually, to my face during the class hundred people in the room professor had asked the question like, would you know, would would everyone here work for gh smart or Not? And, and, and why? And so she basically schooled us on you know, hey do you have you have you thought about and written down what your you know your firm sort of credo is and we hadn’t we had a you know I think high vision for what what we wanted to do and we had a sensor or values but we actually hadn’t taken the time to write out like a credo like the Johnson and Johnson credo or, you know, the and so we walked away from that experience going, Alright, fine.

You know, I think we need to now like clearly articulate why we exist. And then make sure the values that we that we identify are the most important ones, that that make up our, the sort of DNA of our culture. So that that brand story of, you know, impactful Work, make money and have a life outside of work. Sora was born, it was an initial vision for why I wanted to join or start the company but it like we really improved that brand story after that kind of embarrassing class period that was like, like 10 years ago or something. And then what we did was we got our entire team together for a year and worked on about 100 drafts of who we are, why we existed, and it ended up being that credo that whose first line that you read at the beginning here, but it starts We exist to help leaders amplify their positive impact on the world. And I felt really good about this because it was a complete team effort to to really like articulate this credo.

Yes, we have it in writing. Yes, it’s different from other companies. credos are values and, and I think it’s really helpful, so I’m thankful for that. calling us out and saying, hey, Peace Corps is pretty good at articulating it’s, it’s why, you know, I wouldn’t work for you guys because I bet you haven’t even written it down yet. Well, now we’ve written it down and we use it for hiring, we use it for performance management and coaching.

We use it, you know, to as a, as a benchmark for checking our culture, making sure we’re living up to you know, what the brand promise of that employment brand story is. So the employment brand story is like kind of you can have it all, and you can’t get that anywhere else. You can, you know, work on Wall Street, make money, but occasionally have existential questions of purpose, and allows the lifestyle, you can work in the Peace Corps, and have a great impact. But, you know, maybe not be able to be pumping your kids 529 College Savings money as much faster as you’d like. And then they’re just like a lot of jobs that are just sort of nit you know, as far as the impact you have, as far as the wealth creation opportunities, and as far as your ability to really affect ability and freedom and have a life and enjoy life as as you go. So I don’t know, it’s not it seems like super obvious, like, why wouldn’t a firm like that exist?

But that’s we’ve been very conscious of wanting to make sure that Brian’s story comes through loud and clear. And that’s those are was what I feel good about is behind closed doors and you know, and anonymous environments like last door, our colleagues, you know, point point out that Brian story very uniformly and you know, candidly and, and with honesty like yeah, this is what we get working here, impact money, the ability to have a life. So that brand story was like those three planks. And, and it’s, it’s a story of, of having it all, and it’s hard to pull off in there. It’s harder to run a firm that gives people all three of those things than it is to run a firm that maybe takes one for three or two for three.

Marc Gutman 56:53
Yeah, and you mentioned that you know, it took you about 100 drafts like what’s hard about distilling all that down into a one Page credo or into a vision statement or, you know, these different ways that we articulate our brand story like, what Why 100? drafts? What’s hard about that?

Geoff Smart 57:09
Yeah, you know, it’s a feeling of two thoughts. One is, you don’t want it to sound generic, like other companies, because then it’s not. It’s not really inspiring. And it’s not, it’s not that helpful. And two is the process of writing your credo of writing the document that says why your firm exists. The process is super important. I don’t want to say it’s more important than the outcome but you know, really getting input from everybody, you know, administrative assistance, finance people, it people, consultants, senior people, Junior people, that was made clear to us because we we kind of benchmarked other great organizations that created a credo and how they do it, and they all told us, you got to get everybody’s input, otherwise, it doesn’t feel like it came from everybody, because it didn’t. And so we were doing some pro bono work. Around that time with, with the US Navy with their, with the navy seals, and they are known for publicly, I’m not going to share anything private.

But they’re publicly known for having a really great credo. They call it their ethos, and you can look it up. And it’s really compelling. Because it’s it’s very, it’s unique to their organization. So we talked with, with one Navy SEAL commander who had participated in the writing of their credo, you know, a while ago, and I asked him, Well, how did you do it? And he said, Well, the key part was really getting the voice from from everyone, you know, from all the different parts of an organization. And then I said, well, Why’d you do that? And he said, Well, we we had three helicopters that we packed full of people who had, you know, their peers had sort of nominated them to be on this team. And then we stuffed it full of red meat and beer and flew them over to San Clemente Island, which is off because this cornado of San Diego, and we told them, they can’t come back until they’ve written the document that says why we’re special and why we exist. I thought, well, that’s kind of cool.

So we followed suit in that we got, we just got just tons and tons and tons of input from people and then so not wanting it to be generic is one reason to get the 100 drafts. The second reason to do 100 drafts is to have it be like sort of creative and inspiring, in a way that, you know, lives on kind of like the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. You know, we the people, like you know, this, you realize, like, sort of how long this documents gonna live. And you really just want it to be inspiring and cool. And that takes drafts versus just saying stuff plainly. And I try to say stuff that calls to a higher purpose and, and is, the third thing is specificity. So there are elements of our DNA that we think are really important.

And I wanted to make sure that they all showed up in the credo and in the values and so that took a number of drafts because we’d be like yeah wait a second you know something about we are really talking about sharing our knowledge with the world like isn’t you know writing books and sharing our knowledge about leadership with the world part of something that’s important to us and then we go yeah and then you know, we wrote in you know, blah blah blah while always protecting client confidentiality we share our knowledge about leadership with the world you know, stuff like that. So being complete and making sure that threads of DNA that make your organization successful Are you know show up in the credo is the other thing that takes a lot of time.

Marc Gutman 1:00:36
And that is Dr. Geoff smart of gh smart. Thanks a lot, Geoff. Tune in for the second part of this episode, where he dives into the actual process of who in reveals his five step process for hiring the right person every time. Oh, and our family has a credo, which might as well be the wild story credo and it goes something like this Home is a dream factory. There is no dream too big, too ridiculous or too audacious. No one doesn’t think you can achieve whatever you want. It’s your dream. So limit.

There are no shoulds could or have to choose just dreams and the courage to explore them. Ask what if dreams are the stories we’ve yet to step into? It’s great to have the right dreams. It’s even okay to have the wrong dreams. But what we can’t have is no dreams, because it’s our dreams that shape the world. Well, that’s the show. Until next time, make sure to visit our website where you can subscribe to the show in iTunes, Stitcher or via RSS so you’ll never miss an episode. A lot big stories and I cannot lie to you. Other storytellers can’t deny

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