There are many elements that people deem necessary in scaling a business. Culture is one of them. This concept can be found practically everywhere. However, do we really understand what this means? What role does culture play in a company’s growth? Luckily, Cameron Herold is here to help us answer these questions.
Cameron Herold was the former COO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK, a successful full-service junk removal company in the United States. For the past 14 years, he has dedicated his expertise to coaching CEOs worldwide to help them be better leaders. Written in his five books are his stories, philosophies, and beliefs.
In today’s episode, Cameron discusses the importance of building the right culture in your company. He shares with us his beliefs on how to turn your company into a successful enterprise. Cameron mentions different concepts like vivid vision and core values, which are essential in scaling a business.
Tune in to the episode to learn more about the significance of culture in scaling your business and its success.
Click here to read transcript
[03:09] So for the very small percentage of business folks who maybe haven’t heard of you because you were a pretty well-known fellow. Let’s start there. Who are you? And what are you most known for?
- Wow, who am I? I’m a dad. 55-year-old entrepreneur. Have been an entrepreneur my whole life. I was raised to be an entrepreneur by my dad and my grandparents. My brother and sister and I have all run our own companies for between 15 and 25 years. And that’s pretty much all we’ve ever known.
I got very well known for building a company called 1-800-GOT-JUNK? I was the chief operating officer of that brand. I came in as the 14th employee. When I left six and a half years later, we had 3100 employees system-wide. But that was the fourth company that I’d helped build. And so I kind of have a track record of high-growth organizations. Left that company about 14 years ago and started coaching CEOs all over the world, typically 50 to 500 employees. I’ve worked—I’ve done paid speaking events now in 26 countries. I’ve written five books. I have a podcast called the Second in Command Podcast, where we don’t interview any entrepreneurs, we only interview their COO. And then I have an organization called COO Alliance, which is the only network of its kind in the world for the second in command.
[04:27] So you’ve got a little bit of experience. All right. So grab your notepad, folks, this is going to be a wonderful interview. There’s a lot of things we could talk about. But one of the things that you and I figured out beforehand that we are going to talk about is building a world-class culture. Now, before we get into how I want to cover “Why?” Why the hell should anybody care about that stuff? It’s all fluffy, isn’t it?
- No, it’s interesting. It was actually, that one of the very first sentences I said to Brian when I walked in. Brian was the founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? When I came in, again, we’re a very small company. And I said, we have to build this to be a little bit more than a business and a little bit less than a religion. We’ve got to get it into that zone of a cult because the culture is what’s going to attract all the new talent that we need. And if we have this hypergrowth that we want to do, we need to have really, really good employees quickly, we need to get them completely wound up like a top. So they’re like energizer bunnies and driving the business forward. And we need to use that same culture to drive more media coverage because we don’t have any advertising.
So for us, culture was a core strategy for our growth. I think for any company today, people talk about, “How do I motivate employees?” or “How do I align people?” or “How do I hold them accountable?” Culture does that for you. If you actually build the right company, and turn your company into a magnet for talent, it business gets really simple. So no, and secondly, I guess to that is, culture is not all the perks. Culture is not the massages and the free lunches, and the video game rooms, that’s not what culture is, those are perks. Culture is different.
[06:10] So what is culture then?
- So culture is alignment with vision, deep alignment with vision so that everyone can see what the CEO can see. I call that the vivid vision. Its alignment with core values, more like an obsession about core values, where you’ll fire people if they’re breaking the core values, you only hire people who already live in obsessive core values. And your core values are so important to you that they’re not just something up on the wall.
And then it’s really alignment with Simon Sinek, who was on our board at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? Way before his TED Talk. It’s alignment with core purpose with your why and really understanding your core purpose and making sure that your employees understand that so that they see meaning and value in their work. And then lastly, it would be only working with great people and getting rid of the assholes so that you get rid of the toxic negative energy. So you have more, kind of, quantum physics approach to energy inside the business.
[07:06] So here we are recording this and still very much in the middle of a worldwide pandemic where a lot of people aren’t going to offices. Does this stuff work when everybody’s…?
- Yeah. I actually coached the number two company to work for in the United States called Acceleration Partners, and Bob Glazer is the CEO. They’ve got about 180 employees, they’ve never had an office. They’re only remote. They’ve always been remote. And every single one of these core principles exists in alignment with vision, for sure; alignment with core values, the obsession about core values, for sure; alignment with core purpose, yes; getting rid of the shitty employees, absolutely. And all those free massages and perks don’t matter as much when everybody’s remote. So yeah, it actually works even more so.
[07:49] All right, so hopefully, by now people who are listening are—they’re done one of two things, either they already left and said, “No, and that’s not that’s not for me, I don’t care about that stuff,” or we’ve got their attention. So now that we’ve got their attention on the importance of culture, and the fact that it actually works, whether you’re remote or not, let’s talk about how you actually go about doing this.
- Yeah, and I want to get a data point just so that if anybody’s still slightly skeptical, just so they can understand too. So when 1-800-GOT-JUNK? ranked as the number two company in all of Canada to work for. I’ve also coached companies that went on to become number two, and another one that went on to become number 12 to work for on Glassdoor. I coached two companies that went on to become number one to work for Australia. I coached one company that ranked five years in a row as number one in—or five years now were in the top 50 in Canada, one that ranked number one in British Columbia. And in the same year, this company ranked number two in British Columbia. And then I’ve got the best in Florida, the best and Cincinnati, etc. So I have a really strong track record of understanding how to turn companies into cults. So this shit works.
So if I was to get bullish the shortcuts, the first one is I’ll go alignment with vision even more so than core values. Everybody has to know where you’re going. Right? If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there, right? It’s the Cheshire Cat from Wonderland. I have a big picture of the Cheshire Cat on my wall in my bedroom to remind me on vision. So the idea is that most entrepreneurs have an idea of what their company looks like. They can visualize every aspect of their company three years from now, but nobody else around them has any idea of what they’re building or what it looks like or what it feels like.
And I mean describing your meetings, describing marketing, describing what your customers are saying, describing what the employees are saying, and describing your leadership team, and your meeting rhythms, and how you handle conflict, describing almost as if you were walking around your company three years from now filming it, describing what you see. And then ending up with a five-page written description of what your company looks like, acts like, and feels like. When you roll that out to every employee, customer, supplier, potential employees, when they read that vivid vision and align with it, that’s where culture starts first and foremost.
Secondly, it’s an obsession about the core values. So I see every business like a jigsaw puzzle, and the four corners of your jigsaw puzzle are your vivid vision, your core values, your core purpose, or your why. And then the BHAG that Jim Collins term, that Big Hairy Audacious Goal that most people completely screw up. And they say it’s a million somethings or a billion whatevers and that’s not a BHAG.
So the core values, the second cornerstone, or second corner of your jigsaw puzzle have to be four or five core values, they have to be very easy to understand. The reason you can’t have like 10 core values is it’s too many. These have to be the core, that you’re willing to fire people, if they break them. You can have others that are aspirational values that you’ll work towards. But what are the ones that you’re willing to fire people if they break them, right?
[10:51] Give us some examples, maybe from Junker or one of the other companies.
- Deliver what you promise, respect the individual, pride in all you do, find a better way, have some fuckin fun. Like just those are so simple, right? Like, nobody’s coming to the office every day. And they’re a stress case, and they’re so serious, they’re not having a good time. It doesn’t matter how good the results are, they’re throwing off so much toxic energy through the organization that they’re actually slowing things down. But when you bring in people that have good energy, regardless if they’re a play payroll clerk or a product engineer, or customer service person when they have that good, amazing fun energy aligned with the vision, aligned with purpose, that energy begets more energy, it transfers to the customer, it transfers to profitability.
So it’s four or five core values, very easy to understand. They should be simple phrases, not single words, just single words can be confusing. In fact, the only time I’ve let any of my clients have a single word as a core value, and this is a company that went from 40 employees to 700 while I coached them. One of their core values was the word simplified. I’m like, “Fuck, you nailed it. Like it’s so good. Oh, my god, yes,” that one, you can have a single word, but the rest have to be short phrases. It’s so good.
And Bobby Harris, the CEO repeats the core values all the time. He calls people on the core values. He praises people on the core values, he mentioned them, he holds them up to you like a mirror. And that’s where culture really comes from is when you obsess about and then you recruit people who already live them. They asked Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines, “How do you get all your employees to smile like that?” He said, “We hire smiley people.” So how do you get your employees to live core values? You hire people who already live those core values, period. You recruit for it, you polarize, you push the wrong ones away in your job postings, you push them away in the interview process. So you only end up with that magnetic force like a cult, right?
The third is that core purpose. It’s understanding why you exist. So for my organization and all my employees, my core purpose is helping entrepreneurs make their dreams happen. That allows me to say yes to projects and no to projects. So saying yes to be on your podcast is easy because we help entrepreneurs make their dreams happen. My Second in Command podcast, all five of my books, my coaching, my COO Alliance—everything I do helps entrepreneurs make their dreams happen.
And if a government group calls me to say to be all, “I know. I don’t want to work”—government wants me to speak, no, a big corporate group, nope. It’s all got to be in—because I come off wrong. If I’m in a corporate world, I don’t resonate as well, right? I need to be in that entrepreneurial kind of 20 employees to a thousand employees is my zone.
And then the last one is the BHAG. It’s the Big Hairy Audacious Goal. And what Jim
Collins talked about was it needs to be a 20 or 30-year push that from the outside world seems impossible, from the inside world seems plausible. And it has to be that kind of, it’s non-measurable. So it can’t be a million customers. It needs to be like—Nike’s BHAG back in the early 70s was to crush Adidas. Microsoft’s BHAG in the early 80s was to put a computer on every desktop. And they later added to that and said and in every household. What was really cool was Microsoft never made computers. But their Big Hairy Audacious Goal was to have a computer on every desk because their operating system DOS and all their software like Word and Excel would be on all those computers. Right Boeing was to democratize air travel.
My BHAG is to replace mission statements with vivid visions worldwide. So culture, the cult starts with the alignment of those four things. alignment with BHAG, alignment with core values, alignment with core purpose, and clarity of vision. Right and then you can get into the four sides of your jigsaw puzzle. Like, people, and strategic thinking, and meetings, and financials.
[15:03] So I read your book Vivid Vision, now, I think, a couple of years ago, and we do have a vivid vision, I actually pulled it up while you were talking. And I went through your book, and I followed your instructions and so forth. And I gotta be honest, as much as I completely agree with everything that you’re saying, and I run a small, tight team. I haven’t looked at my vivid vision, and I don’t remember the last time when and I probably will—not probably afterwards, I’m gonna, I have a document that I look at every day. And I’m gonna put a link to this thing to remind me to look on an ongoing basis.
But my question is, for someone who’s read your book and thought, “Okay, that makes sense. I’m gonna write that vivid vision,” and they spend however long it takes them to make the thing. You’re still, like, you can be like me, and you can forget about it, “Oops,” or…
- You didn’t follow the rest of the book because the rest of the book talks about how to roll it out and how to execute the vision, right? It’s how so? Thomas Edison, right? Thomas Edison said, “Vision without execution is hallucination.” So you can’t just it’s like a shovel doesn’t dig a hole, you got to pick up the fucking shovel and dig the hole with the shovel.
So the key with—here’s the keys to executing a vivid vision. Every quarter, you share your vivid vision with your employees, and you have them read it. Every quarter, you share your vivid vision with your customers, and your suppliers, your accountant, your lawyer, your banker, every single interview before the candidate shows up for the company, they get the vivid vision before you even decide to interview them, saying “Please read our vivid vision and this recent article about us in the media. If this sounds like the kind of company you want to help build, send us a three-minute video of how you want to make our vivid vision come true. And then we may bring you in for a group interview.” So you’re literally screening people with that vivid vision.
Every time you run a quarterly planning meeting, you pull out the vivid vision first, you review the vivid vision first. And then you decide where you are today with your SWOT analysis, and you map out which sentences to start making come true this year in this quarter. So you kind of reverse engineer it. But it can’t just be a document that you put up and post, right? There’s a methodology behind execution now.
So the vision, if you visualize your company, like a pyramid that’s upside down, the CEO is at the bottom supporting the VP, supporting employees, supporting the customers, everyone can see the vivid vision, and you build the company inside your core purpose and your core values. So then, that provides—the vivid vision provides a framework for the goals, and then your projects are how you make the goals come true.
[17:37] So let’s—I know that a good chunk of my audience are very small businesses and startups. And that’s a space that I know very, very well. And I know that a lot of our mental bandwidth is consumed within “I got to grow sales,” “I got to make sure cash is flowing,” “I got to make sure I don’t run out of money.” Like there’s just a lot of tactical stuff that’s going on to make sure that the business continues to exist.
And then if you’re good enough at all of that stuff, at some point, you get to the point where you’re starting to hire some people and you’re creating a little bit of breathing room for yourself to be a manager instead of a ditch digger. Talk me through for that type of entrepreneur. And I’ll put myself in that category.
Talk me through some of the most common mistakes you see us making. And maybe there’s some mental shifts also that we should be making to go from founder, CEO, trying to do everything that I can work in like a dog to starting to think about, “Okay, well, I need to build a team. And if I’m gonna have a team, I got to have a culture,” like there’s a bunches it’s just it’s tough.
- It’s tough. So I first started coaching entrepreneurs, small ones, it’s typically like in the less than 10 or 12 employees in 1989. I started coaching entrepreneurs before coaching was a thing. I had coached 120 entrepreneurs by 1994, one of which was Kimball Musk, Elon’s brother who built, and his cousin who built Solar City. They were both franchisees of mine. So the thing is that I got them to do very quickly were—number one, if you don’t have an executive assistant, you are one. So try some of the EA stuff off your plate. So you’re working on higher impact areas or areas that give you energy or areas that are worth more, right? So that’s one.
Secondly, is obsessive about revenue-generating employees—projects first. There’s not a single problem that exists that a check can’t solve. So the more you focus on revenue and gross margin, you can buy your way out of every problem. So don’t worry about the system and the perfect manual and the perfect IP, those—that’s overhead. That’s expensive stuff. Focus on more customers, more customers, more customers. And if you feel like you’re going too fast, step on the gas and go faster because then that revenue you’ll be able to hire people to do that stuff, right? So that’s second.
And then the third would be raise your prices. Most of you can’t make enough money charging what you charge. So charge more, market better, service your clients better. Repeat, rinse and repeat.
[20:12] And I’m feeling like a genius, I’ve got an EA, I spend all of my time on revenue-generating projects, and we’re just rolling out new pricing for the software. That’s significantly higher than what we had before here this weekend. We’ll see you later, man.
- That’s what scales, right? Now revenue scales, revenue, and marketing scales. I also like to do activities that I can get leverage. So I don’t want to do something that will just give me the one thing. So I would never just be on your podcast. To be on your podcast is a single thing. But if I can now have your podcasts linked to my media page of my two websites, if I can share that link three times on Facebook, three times on LinkedIn, five times on Twitter, if I can email the link with three or four other links to my speaker’s bureaus once a month, if once a quarter, I can email 10 or 20 press articles that I’ve been in, to all of my customers. If I can, then buy ad traffic to it on Facebook, and so more people will see it, that I’m getting leverage off of this podcast. So everything I do, there has to be a lever opportunity for everything I do. Otherwise, I kind of say no to it.
[21:27] I love it.
- It’s kind of like—as a single dad when I make dinner for me and my kids, or if I just make dinner for me, when my kids are at their mom’s, I make dinner for four. So that I have leftovers. Like, if I’m going to make food, I may as well make too much of it. And then I’ll pack it all up, and I’ll put it in the freezer or put one in the fridge and two in the fridge. You know what I mean? Like, there has to be leverage that time.
[21:51] Yeah. There’s a concept called batching. There’s a woman, Rachel Miller, who is the first person I heard speaking at the Mastermind event, and she is a mother of six and is remarkably successful in business. When you think mother of six, you think like, “How would you have any time to do anything?” And yet she’s done quite well. And the secret for her is batching. So she blocks time and produces a bunch of content in one block where she blocks out everything else.
And I’ll tell you having always struggled—if some people obviously who listened to me think, “Oh, man, you produce a lot of content.” But I always think that I don’t produce enough content. And it’s just a huge challenge to try and get it all done. And this concept of batching, which I have since adopted has definitely been very, very helpful in that regard.
- Yeah. Batching and then also outsourcing, right? It needs to get done, but not by us. There’s a lot of freelance. It’s not it’s—Dan Sullivan and Ben Hardy disrupt their new book, Who. It’s not a how do I do this problem? It’s who can do this for me problem.
- Right? So I’ve coached this woman, Suzanne Evans, who runs a big, he actually runs a coaching program. And she’s got like, hundreds and hundreds of people that are in her coaching program, I was coaching her. And she sits down at the beginning of her week on Sunday night, and she creates a list of all the stuff she needs to do that next week. So she has this long list.
And then she thinks about how many hours or minutes will each project take. And then she delegates 80% of the list before she checks a single email or works on a single project. It’s fucking brilliant. She literally delegates 80%. And all she works on is the 20% that she loves doing and is high enough leverage for her. So it means she got that by us.
[23:43] That’s a mistake, man, because I’ve coached not nearly as many people as you, not even close, but I’ve done a decent amount of coaching, and that is the biggest thing that I see entrepreneurs doing. And you said it earlier, if you don’t have an assistant, you are the assistant. I see folks trying to do everything themselves.
Just about an hour ago, my wife sent me one of our latest blog posts. And I looked at it and I thought, and I said to her, I go, “Did you write this?” And she goes, “No.” And I said, “This is a brilliant post, like who wrote this thing? And where do we get all the graphics?” And she goes, “Well, we use this writing service and your executive assistant from Mexico who we pay a whopping six bucks an hour, she did all the graphics, and blah blah blah.” And it was a really badass post and the whole thing cost us like 110 bucks plus two hours of my wife’s time.
- So check this one out. Now I just learned about it so I’m trying to jump over the “Who” I’m trying to go over to the next, like, what’s the most efficient who to delegate to and it’s a computer, it’s AI.
[24:42] Yeah, we talked about this on text the other day
[24:48] Tell me about that.
- Wow. Mind blown. So copy.ai is built off of—I’m not sure which AI tool it’s built off of. But let’s say it’s built off of Google’s AI platform. They’ve downloaded 10% of the Internet and 100% of Wikipedia into this platform. So you can go on and you can type up like let’s say, I put in, “COO Alliance, the only network of its kind in the world for the second in command” or “a mastermind group for second in command,” and press enter. It will start spitting out subject lines, and blog copy, and post copy, and Instagram copy, just off of those two things from matching out. Some of it is gibberish. But some of it is like “Shit really good.” And maybe it gets you to 80 or 90%. And if you tweak it right like it might say Trent is the founder of the COO Alliance, no, Cameron is, like, you have to kind of edit a couple of things. But it’s pretty incredible how you can pull this stuff together.
So an example, what I do when I interview guests on my Second in Command Podcast, it’s just automatic. As soon as the podcast is done, the files automatically get uploaded to Dropbox from Zoom. My team in Israel takes the podcast episode and does all the post-production, they then push it up on Blueberry and it goes out on all the networks. But it also then triggers to get sent over to the team that puts it out on YouTube and caption it and then it gets sliced into snackables for Twitter and blogs and Instagram. So all that stuff just happened using, what’s it called? repurpose.io.
So there’s sites that will take all this and repurpose it and have it ready. And then my team can sit down and say, “Yes, yes. edit, edit, yes, yes, edit, edit.” And as long as for me, what’s being put out has the right graphic overlay, which I just signed off on. It’s good to go. So each of my podcast episodes takes me one hour to produce. But all of that content that happens either automatically or outsourced, is where all my content comes from.
[26:56] Mine, same way. Absolutely. I was actually just thinking of some things the other day and ways to enhance it even further. So we’ve got much the same process as you. I’ve got an editor that does all the editing. They then will take a bunch of clips out of it and turn those into little Instagram feed posts that are shorter clips to promote the episodes. And we’ll put those on Twitter as well, we get a transcript done. So there’s, obviously, people want to read it, they can read it. We’ve got the YouTube video that is—because, obviously, I recorded video format.
Something that we’re going to experiment with—and I wonder if you’ve tried is and this is one of the guys I follow on Twitter @Julian, I can’t remember his last name, but he’s super well known if you just type in @Julian, he’s like take your video portion of your podcast and chop it up into eight-minute clips and then find some SEO title that represents whatever is the best piece of content in that little eight-minute clip. Rather than just posting your whole episode as like a 40 or 50-minute episode as one video, maybe in replacement of or in addition to and he didn’t specify. So we’re testing both chop this up into a bunch of shorter videos to see if you can get more views in aggregate than you could off the one video. Have you experimented with that at all?
- We’re doing it, we’re doing that in a way. Yeah, we’re getting two to three-minute clips from each podcast episode. And then we’re running those on the Facebook pages. And we’re boosting them or buying traffic to them. And we’re also posting them on LinkedIn. And we’re putting them on Instagram reels, I think or Instagram stories, I think it’s Instagram reels and LinkedIn stories. So we are—and then we’re captioning them all as well. What we’re finding is that people on their phones aren’t sitting in their office doing work or wherever they are. And they’re kind of reading the content in the doctor’s office. And so we’re captioning everything as well. And I think we use—is it, Skippy? Or, maybe I don’t remember who we’re using for the captioning.
[28:52] Yeah, I don’t even work captioning as well. And I don’t even know because again when you add a team, when you get systems and a team in place, you don’t have to be down in the weeds on all this stuff.
- Well, and remember, like so a couple parts on a team, or let’s say you just need someone to do things. First off, like, don’t say to yourself, “Oh, that’s gonna be $60,000 for that person this year.” Because you may not need a full-time person, you might only need somebody like four hours a week or ten hours a week. So now it’s like $30 an hour times 10 hours a week. Now it’s $300 a week. That all of a sudden got affordable, right?
Or even if it is full-time, let’s say you’re hiring a full-time Executive Assistant. It’s gonna be 50 grand. Not all today. You’re not paying her 50 grand right now. You’re paying her $4,000 a month. You’re paying her $1,000 a week. It’s like, “Oh shit I can afford $1,000 a week.” Yeah. And imagine if you were paying $1,000 a week, how much more you would get done to pay for that 1000? So we often get trapped in the overall annual cost of something. But when you pay it out over the course of 12 months, all of a sudden it’s irresponsible not to do it.
[30:01] By the way, for anyone that’s listening and wants to have your own show, or maybe you do have a show already, and you’d love to have the processes that I use, they’re actually freely available in the Flowster marketplace. So if you just go into the marketplace and search “podcast,” you will find it and you can easily add it to your account and customize it in whatever way that you would like. So if you don’t have a process now, and you want one, you don’t have an excuse anymore because I just gave you one for free.
- Do you? I love that, by the way, that you have that in the marketplace. Do you have—I’ll give you some of the things I have—not in my marketplace, but similar. I introduce CEOs all the time to fractional CFOs, fractional CMOs, copywriters, PR firms, M&A firms, executive search firms, a book authoring company called Scribe.
[30:54] Yeah, Tucker was just on the show, I actually recorded with him last week.
- I’m their number one referral source, I’ve referred 48 authors to them, and I get paid $3,000 per author.
- So, and I—but my M&A one, my M&A checks are six-figure introductions, and everybody knows I’m making the transaction fee. But the reality is all in digital marketing firms, but they can spend 10 years trying to figure out who to use, or they can use mine as a shortcut. But there’s a lot of passive income that could be there for you as well because all of your listeners need to know to use Triveni as virtual assistant firm. She can find killer virtual assistants or anyway. Yeah, it needs to be done, but not by us.
[31:39] Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. Well, how long are we in here? We’re about a half an hour. So I think we’ve got enough to make this a really great episode. I’m looking forward to the feedback on this episode. So folks, if you’ve enjoyed this, make sure that you leave a comment or a question or some type of feedback because both Cameron and myself are—we love to hear the impact of our work. You can do it on Twitter, you can come to the show notes, or you can yell it in the sky or whatever you wanted to to get the feedback to us. But preferably in a way that we’re going to see it.
So Cameron, before we wrap, if there was any one thing that I didn’t ask you about, and we didn’t talk about that would close out this interview with an extra star, what do you think that would be?
- I don’t know if it would be anything you would ask me. But the reality is, none of this actually matters. Not like this is just what we do to make money. And then we die. What really matters is who we hug today, or who we get to spend time with today, or what we do to have fun today. Because this is just—like when I go to a cocktail party, I don’t want to hear about your business, you don’t want to hear about mine. I want to hear about your hobbies. I want to hear about your motorbike thing that you just didn’t have a clue. I want to know about what you’re cooking and who you liked. Like, I want to know what your hobbies and your passions are. And I think we forget that as entrepreneurs, we often get so self-absorbed in what we do. That doesn’t fucking matter what we do. What matters is what we’re doing with our friends and our family. And while we’re on this planet.
[33:16] Oh, hallelujah, brother. The question that I do my best to avoid asking when I’m at a cocktail party is “What do you do for a living?” That is the worst conversation starter on planet Earth. Instead, I like to say “So what do you like to do for fun when you’re not working?”
- Well, yes my brother does when somebody says to my brother, what do you do? And he goes, “I hunt, I fish, and I golf a lot.” And they look at him and they go, “Are you retired?” He goes, “Oh, to make money? Yeah, I don’t talk about what I do to make money. I talk about what I do for fun.”
[33:49] I like it.
- “Motherfucker.” And they’re just like, “Oh,” it’s so good, right?
[33:54] And it’s a dangerous question to ask because if you ask somebody, and they’re like, “Oh, I’m an actuary.” You’re like, what do you say then without…?
- Because we don’t really care what somebody does. We don’t know what else to ask. So what we need to do is like you said, “What do you do for fun?” It’s not so hard.
[34:13] Yeah. And then, but what do you do if the person’s answer is, “Well, I don’t have any hobbies.” And I’ve had that. I’m like…
- I actually want to speak to somebody else. I was that guy. I was that guy in 2003. One of my employees came up to me Gillian Boxer, and she said, “Cameron, you’re fucking boring. All you have to talk about is 1-800-GOT-JUNK?” And I was like, “Oh my god, you’re right.” And that was a shift for me. That was like now I got to go to Burning Man. I want to go travel the world. I want to get engaged in food. I want to go find out what my son’s learning in poker, like, I want to go and engage in life and all focus on business and make money while I’m doing that, but it’s not my reason for being.
[34:50] Yeah, man. I couldn’t agree more. There’s a little of—and folks if you want a little Trent hack for how to keep thinking about that stuff, that’s not work. I’m not affiliated with this app at all; it’s on my iPhone. It’s called Productive. It’s the little one with little bars—it’s probably hard to see anyway. It’s a habit tracker. And so I’m a big believer in gratitude. And so to make sure that I think because it really wires your brain for happiness and for joy, when you’re continually reinforcing and thinking about gratitude, there you go, you got a book for it.
Every day, I take a moment. And I think about what I love about my wife, and why I’m grateful that she is my wife. And what I love about my daughter, who’s almost seven, and has temper tantrums still that some like every other parent, they drive me nuts when she has them. But I don’t want to be remembering those. I want to be remembering why she’s sweet, and why I love her. And so little tiny things like that part of my morning routine, I think helps me to remember, like what you’ve just said, there’s so much more to our lives than just how we make money. Maybe that—and not maybe that is the most important part of this interview. So I thought you forgot.
- I want to share one thing on gratitude that really shifted me a couple years ago. And it was a note that a woman had written and it was 10 things. And it was like, “I’m grateful for the dirty clothes on the floor of my kids bedrooms because it means they still live at home. I’m grateful for my husband’s socks that are thrown around our bedroom because we’re still married. I’m grateful for the crumbs under the kitchen table because we have family meals.” I was like, “Fuck, she took all the things that classically drive people nuts. And she found a reason to be grateful for them.” Like, “I’m grateful for, like, the lights that I have to turn off at night before bedtime that are on because we have electricity,” like, it’s a really cool mind shift.
[36:48] It is. I’m grateful for the amount of tax that I had to pay because I earned that much money that I had to pay that much tax.
- All right, man, Trent, thank you for this time.
[37:03] It’s been a pleasure to have you on Cameron. Thank you so much.
- Appreciate it.
[37:07] Thank you so much for listening to today’s episode if you enjoyed this episode, and you’ve not already done so I would be massively grateful if you would take a moment right now on your favorite podcast listening app. And like rate and review the show it makes a huge difference because it teaches the algorithm that the show is really worthwhile, and that more people should become aware of it. So a tip of the hat and a huge thank you for doing that.
To get to the show notes for today’s episode. Just go to brightideas.co/359. Thanks so much for tuning in. We’ll see you in the next episode soon. Take care.
Cameron Herold’s Bright Ideas
- Understand What Culture Means
- Build Your Company Culture
- Implement Your Vivid Vision
- Outsource and Delegate Your Tasks
Understand What Culture Means
In this episode, Cameron shares the importance of building a company culture in scaling a business with us.
Reflecting on how culture helped him grow 1-800-GOT-JUNK, he says, “Culture is a core strategy for our growth.”
But what is culture anyway?
For Cameron, culture is aligned with the vivid vision, and everyone in the company must see what you see. Together with the culture, you should also understand your core purpose.
“Culture will help motivate people and will hold them accountable,” he says.
Everyone around you should also understand your purpose and vision to see meaning and value in their work.
Furthermore, culture also entails getting rid of toxic and negative energy in your workplace. It also involves laying off employees who are unable to live out your core values.
Build Your Company Culture
Cameron sees every business as a jigsaw puzzle, which has four corners to it. These four corners are:
- Vivid Vision
- Core Values
- Core Purpose
- BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal)
The creation of your company culture relies on these four jigsaw pieces and how you make sense of them.
- Be aligned with your vision.
Many entrepreneurs have an idea of what their company will look like in the future, but nobody around them knows what they’re trying to reach. If others do not understand your vision, then this will be a hindrance in scaling a business.
When your employees, customer, supplier, or even potential employees share your vivid vision and align with it, then that’s the start of culture.
- Be obsessed with your core values.
Cameron says you have to have core values that are easy for everyone to understand. They can be in the form of:
- Deliver what you promise
- Respect individuals
- Take pride in what you do
- Have fun
It is also crucial to hire people who already embody the ideals that your business stands for.
- Know your core purpose.
Recognize the company’s mission. Knowing this allows you to say yes to projects that align with your goals and vision. The core purpose will head towards successfully scaling a business.
- Have a BHAG.
BHAG stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goal. BHAG is a long-term goal that you want to achieve in the future and pushes your employees to take action.
According to Cameron, this requires a 20- to 30-years drive that would seem unlikely on the surface but is feasible on the inside.
Implement Your Vivid Vision
All of these will be all for nothing if you don’t make it into action. Cameron quotes Thomas Edison in saying, “Vision without execution is hallucination.”
In one of his books, entitled Vivid Vision, Cameron shared how to implement your vivid vision and apply it to reality. Here are a few ways how:
- For every quarter, you share your visions with your employees and clients.
- When you hire new employees, make sure that they know your visions.
- Every time you run a quarterly meeting, start with your vision and assess your status based on that.
With this, everyone in your company can see your vivid vision while building the company following your core values and purpose.
“So then, that provides the vivid vision, provides a framework for the goals, and then your projects are how you make the goals come true,” Cameron says.
Outsource and Delegate Your Tasks
Scaling a business is impossible if you do all of the tasks. So, for Cameron, there’s a need to get more people and divide the tasks.
Following what Dan Sullivan and Ben Hardy mentioned in their book, it’s not a problem of “How can I do this?” but more of a “Who can do this for me?”
- Get some things off your plate. Hire an Executive Assistant and dedicate your energy to areas where you’re most needed.
- Be obsessive about revenue-generating projects. The more you focus on revenue and gross margin, the more you can buy your way out of every problem.
“Focus on more customers, more customers, more customers. And if you feel like you’re going too fast, step on the gas and go faster, because then that revenue you’ll be able to hire people to do that stuff,” Cameron mentions.
- Raise your prices. Most of the businesses don’t make enough money with what they’re charging. So, charge more, build a better market, and service your clients better.
Some technologies can help you with tasks in your business. Like copy.ai, which is an online platform that helps generate marketing copy in seconds.
What Did We Learn from This Episode?
- Building a company culture is essential in igniting massive growth in your company.
- To build a company culture, you must have core values, a vivid vision, a core purpose, and BHAG.
- Your vivid vision guides your path in growing and making your business a success.
- It’s important to hire people who possess the values your company stands for.
- You should delegate your tasks and spend your energy on the more essential tasks.
[03:19] Cameron introduces himself and his entrepreneurial career
- His father highly influenced Cameron in seeking an entrepreneurial life.
- He’s the former COO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK.
- Cameron now coaches CEOs all over the world and founded a new company – COO Alliance.
[04:53] Why build a world-class culture?
- Culture will attract the talent you need in your business.
- Culture also energizes your employees to move forward.
- For Cameron, culture is a core reason for their growth as a company. Culture provides the means in scaling a business.
[06:13] What is culture?
- It is aligned with your vivid vision and core values.
- Culture also entails getting rid of toxic negative energy, meaning getting rid of employees who don’t live under your core values.
[09:03] How to build culture for scaling a business
- Step 1: Be aligned with your vision. The vision must not only be held by you but also by your employees and business partners.
- Step 2: Have an obsession with your core values. You should understand your core purpose. Focus on four or five core values.
- Step 3: Have a big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG) and commit to fulfilling that goal in mind.
[16:12] What are the keys to executing your vivid vision?
- Let your employees, customers, and even potential employees know your vivid vision.
- Use your vision as a guide in your executive meetings.
[18:44] How to avoid common mistakes within the company
- Outsource people who can help you with your tasks.
- Outsourcing lets you delegate tasks to other people.
- Obsess over revenue-generating projects. Raise your prices and charge more.
[24:50] How can you use technology to lighten your work?
- All of Cameron’s content is either automatically done or outsourced.
- Technology helps lighten the work for the team.
[32:08] Cameron shares wise words for every entrepreneur
- There’s so much more in life than making money. Your business and money should not be the reason for your being.
- What you do with our friends and family while we are on this planet is far more important than money.
- Take a moment in your daily life and be grateful for the things you are having now.
Cameron Herold is the mastermind behind hundreds of companies’ exponential growth. Cameron’s built a dynamic consultancy, his current clients include a “Big 4 wireless carrier and a monarchy. Cameron speaks only from experience. He earned his reputation as the business growth guru by guiding his clients to double their profit and double their revenue in just three years or less.
Cameron was an entrepreneur from day one. At age 21, he had 14 employees. By 35, he’d help build his first TWO $100 MILLION DOLLAR companies. By the age of 42, Cameron engineered 1-800-GOT-JUNK?’s spectacular growth from $2 Million to $106 Million in revenue, and 3100 employees. And that took just six years. His companies landed over 5200 media placements in that same six years, including coverage on Oprah.
Not only does Cameron know how to grow businesses, but his delivery from the stage is second to none- The current publisher of Forbes magazine, Rich Karlgaard, stated “Cameron Herold is THE BEST SPEAKER I’ve ever heard..he hits grand slams”.
When Cameron steps off the stage, he doesn’t stop teaching. He is the author of the global best selling business book DOUBLE DOUBLE– in its 8th printing and in multiple translations around the world. He’s also the author of the top selling books MEETING SUCK, VIVID VISION, MIRACLE MORNING FOR ENTREPRENEURS and FREE PR.
Cameron is a top rated international speaker and has been paid to speak in 26 countries. He is also the top-rated lecturer at EQ/MIT’s Entrepreneurial Masters Program and a powerful and effective speaker at Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer leadership events around the world.