Five Steps to Crush Your Competition

In this episode of “The Faces of Business,” Dave Dodson, General Partner at Futaleufu Partners, Faculty Member at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and best-selling author, delves into strategies to help you crush your competition.

In this episode of “The Faces of Business,” Dave Dodson, General Partner at Futaleufu Partners, Faculty Member at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, and best-selling author, delves into strategies to help you crush your competition.

Dave shares thoughts from his book, “The Manager’s Handbook: Five Simple Steps to Build a Team, Stay Focused, Make Better Decisions, and Crush Your Competition,” to provide insights into effective leadership that has the potential to revolutionize your management style and yield unparalleled results.

Dave Dodson is not just an academic. Besides, he’s a living testament to the principles he teaches. With experience spanning roles as a serial entrepreneur, board member of over 40 companies, an active investor in over 100 businesses, and a co-founder of Sanku, a social enterprise that’s changed the lives of over 5 million people across rural East Africa.

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At the heart of his teachings is the belief in tactical execution, drawing from his vast real-world experience. He emphasizes the five fundamental skills every exceptional leader should master.

Damon excitedly begins the show to uncover Dave’s insights to outmaneuver the competition and streamline the leadership approach. He sets the theme of an engaging discussion, asking the guest about his journey and professional background.

Dave discloses the factors that shape his journey to where he is today. He values his educational background, particularly his degrees from Stanford University. Similarly, he attributes his path mainly to his family, his father and grandfather, who were both entrepreneurs and ran their businesses together. His grandfather was in the coal mining business, which faced challenges from Wyoming coal. Dave’s father was in the farm equipment business, which encountered difficulties due to shifts in Washington, D.C.’s foreign policies.

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Despite these challenges, Dave’s family experiences don’t deter him from taking risks and building businesses.

Damon inquires about the essential lessons David has learned on his journey to take control of his destiny. Dave responds by recalling an event from three years ago when he had lunch with his friend Tom Staggs, the then-CEO of Disney. This encounter sparked Dave’s fascination with why some individuals excel at getting things done. He began to explore this idea more deeply, focusing on three companies: Facebook, Apple, and Walmart.

Moreover, Dave discusses Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, who faced formidable competitors like Target, Kmart, and JCPenney when he started. Sam Walton outperformed his competitors through his exceptional ability to execute. Likewise, Steve Jobs at Apple reinforced this notion. Steve Jobs didn’t invent many of the technologies

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Apple used but was renowned for his effectiveness in execution.

Damon asks whether Dave initially intended to write a book about his discovery of the unifying theory of execution or if the idea for the book emerged later due to his remarkable findings.

Dave explains that he initially didn’t intend to write a book. Instead, he wrote up some papers on his discovery and distributed them to students and colleagues. However, he received repeated requests for more information, which led him to compile his findings into a concise 125-page book. He distributed the book to his students and other CEOs, and it was well-received.

Dave shared a revelation regarding Steve Jobs. He dispelled the myth of Jobs being a magical visionary. Rather, Jobs’ exceptional talent was in building and leading teams.

Dave also discusses his second insight, inspired by his niece playing the piano. He likened learning critical skills to learning an instrument or a sport. Breaking these skills down into sub-skills makes them more manageable and teachable. His book, “The Manager’s Handbook,” aims to demystify legendary leaders’ skills by breaking them down into sub-skills.

He suggests streamlining essential priorities to avoid distractions and that important tasks are accomplished.
In Dave’s view, the success of companies lies in prioritizing their tasks. He shares the example of Herb Kelleher, the founder of Southwest Airlines, who practiced concentrating on a single priority: turning around planes quickly on the ground, known as the “10-Minute Turn.”

The discussion transitions to the five steps in Dave’s book, “The Manager’s Handbook.” Damon also inquires about Dave’s feelings regarding the book’s impressive debut on the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller lists.

“I felt great,” reveals the guest. This achievement rendered him in high demand among managers and organizational leaders. He observed that these individuals don’t seek the business section’s typical inspirational or biographical books. Instead, they crave a practical handbook that outlines attainable skills and provides actionable guidance.

Dave reveals that he deliberately structured the book as a handbook, organizing chapters with varying lengths to avoid a cookie-cutter approach. His goal was to convey each concept succinctly. He included summaries at the end of each chapter, capturing the key takeaways in just a page. This design ensures readers can quickly reference and apply the insights without revising the chapter.

Presenting the concept of democratizing essential skills for accomplishing tasks, Damon asks Dave about his insights while working with people implementing his book’s principles.

Dave shares two significant insights that occurred after writing the book. The first insight comes from Professor Michael Porter at Harvard Business School, a renowned figure in strategy. Dave had initially positioned the book as a checklist, suggesting readers could choose what to implement. However, Professor Porter explained that the book presented a unifying theory of execution, with all five skills interconnected. To truly excel, individuals must embrace all these skills as they complement and rely on each other.

The second insight stemmed from a conversation with the CEO of a large real estate company. Dave initially thought about the book regarding individual managers but realized that successful organizations, like Apple under Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, incorporate these five skills.

Damon’s next question revolves around the potential changes in Dave’s perspective on accomplishing tasks based on what he has learned so far.

The guest says his book isn’t about his personal experiences as a CEO of multiple companies. Instead, it focuses on how the best people manage and get things done. His approach to running meetings has also evolved significantly based on the lessons he learned from top managers like Jeff Bezos. Due to its profound lessons, Dave wishes someone had written this book and handed it to him 35 years ago.

Damon appreciates Dave’s approach of harmonizing the best practices from various successful leaders into one coherent method. He then asks Dave about any surprising feedback he has received.

Among many encouraging feedbacks Dave has received, the most satisfying one is from someone in a large company who wanted to implement the book’s concepts and asked for guidance on how to start. Another email came from someone who bought three copies of the book for their management team.

In Dave’s view, quality is driven by an obsession with specific measures and actions, not just slogans or platitudes. One example is Safelite, where the CEO, Tom Feeney, fashioned the “power of verbatim” to understand customer needs. This involved structured conversations with customers to gather insights and improve services. Another example is Intuit, which has maintained dominance in accounting software for decades due to its relentless focus on quality.

Before departing, Dave discloses that he wanted to finish the book and hand it over to his students and business associates. However, as he observed the book’s reception in the market and received reports from his publisher about stock shortages on platforms like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, he realized that he had unintentionally addressed a significant need. He encourages people to believe in improving their management skills, regardless of their background or starting point.

The conversation ends with Damon thanking Dave for his precious time.

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Damon Pistulka, David Dodson

Damon Pistulka 00:02
All right, everyone, welcome once again, the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And with me today, I am excited because was because I’ve got David Dodson here. And we’re going to be talking about five steps to crush your competition. We’re gonna be talking about David’s new book, The managers handbook. David, welcome.

David Dodson 00:25
Him and I’m excited about this.

Damon Pistulka 00:27
Yeah, it’s gonna be great, man. It’s gonna be great. Well, you know, let’s just let’s just go here. Gonna go back and talk just a little bit about you who we’re talking about. So David, you got to you’ve got a degree in economics from Stanford, you’ve got a master’s degree in MBA from Stanford, and you are a on the faculty of the Stanford Graduate School of Business. You’ve been a guest on Fox, CNBC. Yeah. And you got a book out now. So, David, let’s talk a little bit about how you got here today, what I mean, you’ve done a lot of things, but how did you really get to this point?

David Dodson 01:13
So I kind of think about what are the what are the dots that connected that got you where you are today. And certainly I have credentials from going to school. But I know that pretty soon we’re going to start talking about something that I feel really strongly about which his credentials are not the same as skills. But I think the path that got me to where I am today, is not unusual for most people, it principally comes around my parents. And the first in my father and my grandfather, in particular, because they were both entrepreneurs. And they were both in business together. And, you know, I teach at Stanford and I went to Stanford, but my, the bulk of my career has been as a CEO, and as a manager and as an entrepreneur. And they were both CEOs of their own companies. What was interesting is that my grandfather was in the coal mining business line that went completely out of business, because of external forces, mainly coal in Wyoming, was able to to burn hotter and harder. And my dad essentially went out of business in the farm equipment business, when foreign policy is changed in Washington, DC. Now, that didn’t leave me not wanting to take risk and not wanting to build a business. But it did lead me in this mindset, which is I don’t want external forces to determine whether I’m successful or not, I want to be in control of my own destiny. And that has led me to be very focused on implementation, and how people are really, really good at getting things done.

Damon Pistulka 02:47
Very cool. Very cool. So in your quest, to be in the control of your destiny, what are some of the things that you’ve learned along the way that are critical to that?

David Dodson 03:05
About three years ago, I can’t remember Damon, exactly what the precipitating event was. But I got really fascinated with Oh, I remember what it was. I was having lunch with a friend of mine, Tom Staggs at Stanford University had come to visit, he was a classmate of mine. And at the time, he was the CEO of Disney. So we had about 200 250,000 people within his part of the organization. And I got there and I was a little bit late, and I was behind my email, and I wasn’t totally present. And there’s Tom, who helped to him, in every continent in the world, just calm as a cucumber. And I got thinking, why, why are some people so much better at getting things done than others? And that is a string that I started to pull on it. And I started pulling on that. I got really obsessed with two companies. Facebook should be three companies, Facebook, Apple, and Walmart. I’ll just give you one example. Take Walmart. All right. Sam Walton. When he got started, he was behind Target, Kmart and JC Penney’s. He didn’t invent the department store. He didn’t invent soap or toys, or any he didn’t invent anything. And yet he crushed them, clobbered them. And I thought, well, how can that be? And I realized that Sam Walton was really good at getting things done. And then I look for modern to modern day examples, which were Facebook and Apple. You know, Steve Jobs, did not invent the mouse. He didn’t invent the PC, didn’t invent the portable computer didn’t invent that. He didn’t invent the iPhone. He was just really, really good at getting things done. I thought there must be some unifying theory on why some people are so much better. And sure enough, as I studied this over a three year period of Time, I found five skill areas that every one of these managers, not just the three, but I looked at many, many managers that they all were really good at. And by the way, Damon, there were no exceptions. And so I realized that the unifying theory of execution is you have to learn these five skills, and they’re pretty learnable. And if you learn, and if you learn them, then you can do things like what Sam Walton did for automotive supply shop, I mean, you don’t have to be Sam Walton. But you’re good at getting things done.

Damon Pistulka 05:32
Yeah. Yeah, that’s so. So you’re learning this? So So were you intending on writing a book? Or did the book come? After you went, Wow, this is a heck of a discovery.

David Dodson 05:48
Most definitely the second I, I came up with a discovery, and I wrote up some papers that I was handing out to students and handing out to people that I’m on the board of, and they kept coming back with the same question over and over again. So I said, alright, well, I’m gonna put this all together in a little, you know, 125 page book that all Yeah, published and handed out. And so I handed out the book to my students and other CEOs. And surprise, surprise, they said, I want more copies, I want more copies, I need to give this to other people. And I realized that what I had done in my head is I’ve written, I just need to get it down on paper. But now what I didn’t realize, is getting it from your head onto a into a book. It takes a very, very long time. I’m proud of the book but oh my god, did it take a lot of hours to write?

Damon Pistulka 06:38
Yeah, so if if people don’t know the book, the title of the book is the manager’s handbook, five simple steps to build a team stay focused, make better decisions and inspiration for the title the day crush your competition. And this is this is incredible, because getting things done is something has been at the core of what I really thought is one of the things that’s helped me throughout my career is to really separate through and get the critical things done. And I love your five steps that you’re that you’ve outlined in the book. It’s incredible. So what what we’ll talk about the five steps, but what were some of the things that really surprised you about these people you studied that we’re really getting things done.

David Dodson 07:30
For example, in the case of Steve Jobs, I had been led with this myth that he was this magical personality that could see around corners and predict the future and invent it. And what I realized is that actually was not that was not the case. And that one of the things that make Steve Jobs and Apple Computer, which is now worth a trillion dollars, so amazing, is for example, that Steve Jobs was phenomenal at building a team, he attracted people, he motivated them. He knew how to get rid of people who were not going to be able to perform at the level. Because if you think about the things that Apple did, it would be impossible for Steve Jobs, to have done that on his own, he had to have an entire team. But let’s go one step further. I actually think that his single biggest accomplishment was how he transitioned to Tim Cook when he died. That company did not skip a beat at all, not. And that’s because Steve Jobs surrounded himself with a phenomenal staff. And we all know companies where the CEO leaves and there’s a huge vacuum stock price drops, people start to leave competitors start to come in, because that person didn’t do what Steve Jobs did. By way of example, you know, same thing with Sam Walton. You know, I just only Damon because I’ve mentioned him earlier. You know, he’s a little bit of an easier example to get your arms around quickly, because of course, we knew he didn’t invent the department store. We knew he was way behind JC Penney, KMart and Target. When he got started and he annihilated them. He annihilated them because he out executed them every single day, using the you know, the five skills that I talked about. The first one of which, of course, is is the ability to build a team. And the second thing you asked about what surprised me the second thing, or I can’t really say that it was a surprise, but it was really an insight or epiphany that occurred to me. I was listening to my niece play the piano. She’s phenomenal at it. And I was watching her hands fly over the keyboard and how do you do that? And the lightbulb went off. It’s a well, she learned how to sit at the piano. She learned how to position her fingers over the ADA keys. She learned the difference between a sharp and a flat. She learned what the pedals did, she learned how to read music, and she then combined all that to be able to play the piano And I thought, okay, that’s also how we learn to play sports. For example, if you want to learn how to build a team, or how to be a fanatical custodian of your time and other one of the five skills, break it down in the sub skills, and when you start to break it down into the sub skills, you go, Whoa, I get my arms around that I can I, I can be taught how to interview well, I can be taught how to onboard Well, I can be taught how to manage and run a meeting well, and you combine those, and you master the primary skills. So the whole purpose of the book, the managers handbook, is to take these five sort of mythological skills that these larger than life leaders do, and break it down to the sub skills and say, This is how you do it, you master the sub skills, then you’re going to master the primary skill.

Damon Pistulka 10:46
Yeah, yeah. And for those that we I don’t know if we’d said it, but the five skills that you talked about our team building time savings, using advisors, and quality, obsession, correct.

David Dodson 10:57
And the ability to seek and take advice I get Oh, yeah. See, could take advice

Damon Pistulka 11:01
ability. So you can take advice. Yeah, sorry. But that’s so this is incredible, because I read some of the excerpts. I haven’t read the book yet. But it’s on the list. It’s common. The

David Dodson 11:17
bracing should be a Matt Damon, the one that was missed was the ability to set and then adhere to priorities. Oh, yeah, certainly here, Brian, everybody focused on two or three things that is going to allow you to win and not be chasing shiny objects and so forth, which is harder than it sounds. Oh,

Damon Pistulka 11:34
super hard. I was just with a client today we were talking about it, we’re talking about at the director level that we have to we have to scale this back, get it to the to the bare essential priorities that they need the big things that they need to be working on. Because there’s too many others that are distracting us. And nothing’s getting done. It’s it’s, it plagues every company I think,

David Dodson 11:55
say Herb Kelleher who was the person who, who founded and created Southwest Airlines. I was blessed with the opportunity. And he told me about how this ability to focus is what not only saved his airline, but allowed him to clobber American Airlines. And what he told me was he said, planes only make money in the air. So how we saved our airline. And this he was actually describing at a time when he had less than $200. I’m not kidding you $200 In his checking account, and he had to sell one of his planes just to make payroll. And he said, we just we realize planes only make money in the air. So we’re going to focus on one thing, which is how quickly we can turn around a plane on the ground. He called it the 10 Minute turn. And you go to southwest airlines website, especially the weather employee newsletters, they credit the 10 Minute turn that one thing and how focused they were on that one thing with 50 years later, how many years later, it is the single reason why that airline became what it is today.

Damon Pistulka 12:59
Yeah, that’s incredible how that focus really can drive a company. And that’s a great example. So as you’re looking at, at these, these different companies, and you talk about some of these five steps, let’s walk through them. So your let’s see, they and I want to make sure I’ve got my list up here because I wrote it down. I swear that this was the list of five oh, I’ll make sure I got them right here. So it doesn’t happen often I write them down wrong. So the the managers handbook. So first of all, let’s get back to you just released this book recently. And you already hit the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestseller list. How did that feel? I mean, first time out of the gate.

David Dodson 13:47
I felt great, obviously, but it also reinforced for me that there is a huge appetite for people who are managing who are running organizations who do not want to go to the business section and get a inspirational book, come larger than life person is doing kind of a victory lap and they want to talk about how great they were, or a biography and you read it and you go into that, that Elon Musk is quite something, but I don’t think I’m going to be sending spaceships to, you know, Mars anytime soon. People want a handbook. That’s why That’s why I call it a handbook, a handbook that says, These are the skills you need. They’re very attainable, and here’s how to do it. And I organize the book, Damon in a way that each chapter, some chapters are longer, some chapters are shorter, I didn’t want to do anything cookie cutter. And I said, I’m going to describe each of these in as few words as possible. I’m not trying to fill a book. And then at the end of the book, and each chapter, I summarize the chapter in a page basically 12345 the things that you need to learn so that you read the chapter and then you’ll never have to reread the chapter. Again. If you’re going to onboard an employee, or you’re going to get ready for a management meeting or you’re putting together your annual operating plan. You can just Go to that one page in the book and go, Oh, yeah, yeah, I got I got I got it. It’s not to be read, but a book to be used. And when I hit the bestseller list, it really enforced to me that there is a real need for this out there in the marketplace.

Damon Pistulka 15:17
Yeah, you’re very few times you find a handbook, as you said that you can say, hey, let’s follow the steps here. Let’s go through the process. And let’s do this. And it’ll, it’ll help you improve this area. So that’s cool. So you, you talked with before we got on about the purpose of the book, let’s spend a little little time on that. Because I think it’s interesting, as you said, the purpose of the book, you know, like you said, it’s a handbook. But let’s, let’s hear a little more about that.

David Dodson 15:49
You introduced me a few minutes ago. And you mentioned that I have an economics degree at Stanford, I have an MBA at Stanford, I had some fancy jobs like McKinsey and Company. And when I when I was first. Earlier earlier today, I said that’s when I realized that credentials weren’t skills. And the purpose of the book is to try to democratize, how you manage things, and how you get things done that you don’t have to go to Harvard Business School, and you don’t have to look a certain way and act a certain way. You don’t have to come from a certain zip code. Your parents don’t have to be certain in a certain profile, that everyday people can become really, really good at getting things done. And if your quest is to run your Lumberyard Fantastic, fantastic. That’s wonderful. If your quest is to become senior vice president General Motors, that’s fine too. But those both of those profiles share the same, share the same need, which is to master these five skills. And I had in my mind, as I was writing the book, and I wrote, I wanted to write the book and nice, simple, easy to understand language. And I said, I want this book, if it were in the hands, woman who had a dry cleaning business in Alabama, and she picked up this book and she read it, when she’d be able to go page after page after page and not stuck in jargon and NBA talk and all this stuff and say, I got it, I got it, I can do this. And that’s that that was the purpose of the book. I wanted to democratize the important democratize the skills of how to get things done. So you don’t have to go to Harvard Business School, which you don’t or Stanford Business School, which is my employer

Damon Pistulka 17:34
democratize the skills to get things done. That’s cool. That’s cool. So as you as you’ve been working with people, helping them go through, you know, with the book, implement the things that he’s talking about, what are some of the the things you’re seeing in the field when people are using this when they’re working together to try to really get better at getting things done?

David Dodson 18:02
The to mind is you said, what are people doing together? And that was an insight that I didn’t have that I want to give you. Let me let me back up. I want to give you two insights that happened after I wrote the book. That combined for the point that I want to make. The first is I’ve written the book, I was really proud of it. I had all the right words in the right places. And I was working on the introduction. And I handed the introduction to a writing mentor of mine, Professor Michael Porter at Harvard Business School, I said, and he had read drafts of the book and so forth. And he wrote basically the the Bible on strategy. There is no business school professor out there, who has more books, and has sold more books than Michael Porter, okay. He read my introduction. He sits back, I was in his house in his kitchen table, he sits back he looks at me, and I really just want him to say, Oh, my God, this is so good, right? He’s back. He goes, you got it all wrong. Oh, my God, first I thought I was gonna have to write rewrite the whole book. What he said was that I had positioned this book, as if it was a checklist or a laundry list, and you could do some of the stuff, do the easy stuff, don’t do the stuff you don’t want to do. I kind of liked this, this resonates with me. And he said, If you do that, your readers are going to miss the real opportunity, which is you’ve created this, what he said to me said you’ve created a unifying theory of execution. And they all go together. For example, He said, If you want to be able to run a good meeting, which is part of being a good custodian of your time, he said, You can’t do that unless you have really good people. And you can’t set in here to priorities. If you’re not able to set key performance indicators, they he instantly things very fast. The incidence sort of woven all together and I realized, Oh yeah, you can’t just pick and choose. You have to do all five of these things. If you Really want to excel. So I was the first one, the SEC Hillary very large real estate company. And he was interested in the book and I was kind of telling him about it. And he said to me, so what companies do this? Well, believe it or not, I never thought about it in terms of organizations, I always thought of it in terms of individual managers. And that’s when I started to think about what I was talking about earlier about, for example, Steve Jobs and Apple. And I realized that Apple is not worth a trillion dollars, because Steve Jobs did all these five things. Apple’s worth a trillion dollars, because Steve Jobs and then Tim Cook created an organization that does all these things. Which is why this morning, and I was telling you earlier before we started the broadcast, this morning, I was on a meeting a presentation with a management team, where the CEO said, I don’t want to I don’t want to be the only one who does this, I want to transform my management team. And so that was the second big insight that I had is that each individual has to weave all these five things together. Not that hard. But you can’t you got to do the stuff you don’t want to do as well as the easy stuff. And

Damon Pistulka 21:23
you cut out for just the last of the last five seconds for some reason it cut out. Could you even repeat that? I’m sorry? Sure. I

David Dodson 21:28
just said it, that as individuals, you need to be able to knit these five things together. You can’t just say I don’t want to do this one, because that’s kind of yucky. You got to do them all. Yes, part of management is hard work. And then the second thing is, especially if you’re the leader of the organization, or leader of a department, you then have to be a teacher. And you have to you have to get everybody to be doing this together. And then and only then are you transforming an organization?

Damon Pistulka 21:54
Yeah. Yeah. Because you have to have everyone working together in the same way to transform that’s for sure. Sure, sure. So what what do you think will change in the way that you look at getting things done? From what you’ve learned so far?

David Dodson 22:17
This really appreciate that question, Damon, because this book is not about how CEO of five companies. And I could have just written a book about how I manage things. Yeah, that’s not what I wanted to do. I want to figure out how like the very, very best people do it, their entire chapters on things that I never did, I’ll just give you an example. One of the things that I identified in the ability to build a team is to do exit interviews, when somebody leaves when you’re breaking up. That’s an incredible opportunity to get gather information about what your organization is doing what people are saying some of the informal norms. I never did exit interviews. Now part of it is that it recognize how important it is. And second is maybe I didn’t always want to hear what people had to say. So the entire chapter on exit interviews has nothing to do with anything I did. It’s what I observed among the best best managers. I run my meetings completely different than I did before I wrote this book, because I looked at, for example, Jeff Bezos, and Jeff Bezos not only runs his meetings a certain way when he was CEO of Amazon. But he made every single person on Amazon, run their meetings in a certain way. He wanted to transform and create an organization that would crush his competition, which as we know, he did. So I learned so much, I just wish wish wish that someone had written this book instead of me and handed it to me. 35 years ago, I would have loved to have had this book.

Damon Pistulka 23:50
Yeah, it sounds like it. Because in your study of all these people that have really excelled using these principles, you are probably finding that Steve Jobs might do something Sam Walton something else and and Jeff Bezos does something else differently. Yes, they do some forms of all of them. But combined, they do them a little differently. So you were able to pick the best of the best.

David Dodson 24:18
Well, and not only that, let’s just go to the example I just I just mentioned about about running a meeting. Well, it turns out that the people that you just mentioned, all run their meetings differently. Not exactly the same. They all run really what I did is I said, Okay, well, I don’t want to just tell a story about Jeff Bezos, and then a story about Bill Gates, and then a story about Andrew Carnegie. And then the reader gets on with the chapter and going oh, I mean, these guys are all really ran good meetings, but I’m not sure how I’m supposed to read it. So I looked at all of all of the ways that these meetings were run and I said, Okay, I want to harmonize it into a single great way to run a meeting. not the only way to run a meeting. But a really, really good way to run a meeting, which is good enough. And for your listeners who are running things and managing, they recognize, like, I’m sure they’re five to 10 great ways to run a meeting, just give me one way, spell it out nice, simple terms that I can do. And then I can hand to my team and say, This is how we’re going to run a meeting. And they have good now let’s get on to something else. And that’s a theme throughout the whole book. As if there’s not, there’s not just one way to onboard. But I present a way of onboarding that harmonizes all of the best.

Damon Pistulka 25:45
So it’s harmonizing the best writing some notes here. So you’re trying, you’re you’re using all these blending them together in one way that harmonize the best of all of them. That’s cool. That’s cool. So as you’re looking, looking at the book, now see it in application, what are some some of the surprising things that you’ve seen? Like, I didn’t ever think that this was going to be a result? Or you’ve got a comment back from somebody that that really, really struck you?

David Dodson 26:19
I think the comment, the comments that I’m getting back that I’m not quite sure, I would say struck me, but our most satisfying to me, is a comment. I got an email about an hour or so before you and I started this broadcast. And the person said, I read your book, I need to order a hot aprons a very large company said I want to run i What’s the easiest way to do it? And then a couple of days before that, someone sent me an email and they said, I read your book. I bought three copies for my management team. That’s what really makes me satisfied. Oh, yeah. By the by the way, it is not about selling books. Yeah. Anybody who thinks Writing a book is a way to make money is so wrong. It’s it’s a it’s about an eight cent an hour endeavor. That’s not That’s not why I get excited. I get excited when I read an email like that. Because I feel like maybe all of that work is going to help transform organizations. That’s what I really want to do.

Damon Pistulka 27:27
Yeah, yeah, you can feel the impact when you get the real world feedback like that. Yeah. What were some of the surprising things that you learned about these individuals?

David Dodson 27:42
I did not start out saying I want five things. Because again, you asked me earlier did I set out to write a book, I didn’t set out to write a book. I just wanted to learn more about it. The last in the book, because in a lot of ways, it’s sort of my favorite chapter, which is an obsession with quality. Yeah, and I didn’t, I didn’t expect that to be the case. But if you step back and you think about you say, if you’re if you’re in a competitive environment, what do you fear more? Do you fear that you’re a competitor that has an unbelievable marketing department and a great sales force? Or do you fear more a competitor that has a better product or service? And of course, it’s the second. And what I realized is go down the list of all the names we’ve mentioned, but we’ve mentioned already, plus plenty more, is they had an obsession for quality. They knew that it didn’t matter how well they ran the meetings, what kind of people they had in place, they had to have a product that was better than their competition, and that came through obsession. Now I could I could just say, Okay, well, that’s a nice platitude. And you know, let’s let’s put a poster up in the lunch room with a little kiddie hanging on a bar saying you know, you know, hang in there, quality is king, all those kinds of things, encouraging not, what drives quality among these people. What drives quality among these people is they have very specific things that they do to measure and make quality happen and none of it has to do with slogans, by the way, so for example, Safelite AutoGlass I just love this discovery. So Tom Feeney, who was the CEO of Safelite AutoGlass by the way, I think everybody kind of knows the company but they replaced chipped windshields Okay, couldn’t be more prosaic than bending the iPhone, okay. They just chip they just replaced chip windshields and Feeny worked his way up there. Safelite AutoGlass in all outward facing customer facing roles, sales, marketing, etc. But when he became CEO, where his instincts brought him to his he said, I want to know more about what’s going on in the mind of my customers. And he created this expression, which I love, which is called the power of verbatim. And he realized that NPS scores and customer satisfaction scores and go down the list and one to five and emails and did you were you happy with your flight on? Something there, you have to get in front of the customers and have a structured way that you talk to them. And as a result, they learned some things that were pretty interesting, which is, for example, with our customers wanted to have an app on their phone, where they could see where the technician was kind of like what you would get if you run Uber or Lyft. And the technology is there. How are you going to find that out? If you haven’t say, for you know, did you like your experience was Safelite AutoGlass, on a scale of one to five. And so, so that power of verbatim, gave Tom Finney and his team, the tools to say, This is what our customers want. It’s not that hard to do. And let’s go do it. Give me another example. into it. So into it, as many people know, they do TurboTax, and QuickBooks and all of those software products. Now just take a pause. Intuit has been around, I could look it up, but you know, 35 years, very, very long time. Think about it, they own those categories. How many software companies can you say have owned a category as basic as accounting? For decades?

Damon Pistulka 31:26
Now, they’re the one.

David Dodson 31:27
So how did they do it? It’s not because they’re magicians. They have a institutional policy called follow them home, which is very much like safe flights, verbatim, where they watch the user use the product, no surveys, no talking to middlemen, they follow them home, figuratively and literally, and watch them use the product. And as a result, they constantly have this competitive weapon that everybody else doesn’t have. They know more about the customers than anybody else. So so let’s say Damon, you and I said, Well, let’s let’s go after the tax market, okay. We don’t stand a chance, because they know so much more than we will ever know. Because they follow the room. Okay. My point is this, that quality is not a slogan, among the people who are fantastic at getting things done. Quality is about specific steps in in specific steps where they implement tactics that allow them to do it there. They can’t see through walls they have no, it’s not about X ray vision. It’s about going through those particular steps.

Damon Pistulka 32:31
Yeah. Yeah, that’s super cool. And wow, just just the power of verbatim when you think about asking people to answer a question, rather than just go one through 10, the, the nuances that you are, and the things you’re going to discover are massive in any industry.

David Dodson 32:57
But like you said, if it weren’t if it works for one of the most successful software companies into it, and it works for a company that replaces chipped windshields, that’s got to tell you something. Yeah,

Damon Pistulka 33:09
I mean, look at look at the edge of the spectrum. Right, right. And, and no one can deny how QuickBooks owns the market anymore. It’s gotten Yeah. Very cool. Very cool. We got Ron stopping by said really good stuff. More people, sir. Watches. Thanks, Ron. And don’t forget to to check out David’s book, the managers handbook. And so how long has the book been out? David?

David Dodson 33:37
I’ve been very long. Now. It’s been out almost five weeks to the day.

Damon Pistulka 33:42
Yeah. So we’re early on this. This is cool. This is cool. I like it. Like you said, you made it to the Wall Street and USA Today. Best Sellers list. That’s that’s incredible, man. I mean, did you did you ever sit back and think that I’m going to i, i Someday I’m going to write a book that’s going to be on the bestsellers list?

David Dodson 34:01
No, I just wanted to get to the last page, so I can. So my wife and I joke with my wife. And I must have said I was done with this book 100 times. Now I just I just wanted it done. And I wanted to get the hands of my students and people that I work with that I’m on the board of or I’m an investor in. And but then when I saw what the market was and how people were grabbing the books, and I was getting these reports from my publisher saying Amazon’s out of stock or Barnes and Nobles out of stock we I mean, we’re already on our second printing. Nice, then I then I said you accidentally discovered something. You discovered something that, you know, a real need out there. And that’s satisfying. I can’t lie about that.

Damon Pistulka 34:46
It’s cool as heck. I mean, because like you said, they talked to a few authors and when you talk about everything, universally everyone talks about how hard it is to write a book. And and like you just mentioned the times when you you swear I’ve got to quit, but you make it through it’s it’s great to see that there’s there’s a bit of of connection out there with the audience and seeing the books move off the shelves sure means there’s there’s a lot of connection. So what are what’s up with you next? I mean, are you are you got book number two in the in the wings are

David Dodson 35:28
what I really want to focus on now yes, there are some ideas that I have about how to take this a step further. But what I really want to do is I want to spend the next year or so focusing on how an organization uses the book to transform their whole team. And that’s where my passion is now the books written. There’s, you know, the words are what they are. I’m proud of the book. But I want to try to figure out as much as possible a paint by numbers approach. So someone who’s running a Department of 100 people or like I said, the lumberyard or they’re running General Motors, they can that’s organization to be more like Sam Walton or to be more like Jeff Bezos.

Damon Pistulka 36:14
Yeah, that’s, that’s really cool. Because that is, is one of the things that will allow you to get this out and implemented and utilized by more people. Very cool. Very cool. So good. Luck, David, it’s been awesome talking to you today. I just so thankful to be able to listen to what you learned, and what you learned from studying these great companies, these great people and just how they’re getting things done. Any last thoughts you’d like to leave? Leave the listeners with today?

David Dodson 36:51
I think, yeah, I do have something that I that I feel pretty strongly about, which is, well, I’ve, I’ve talked about some fancy names. The book also talks about some everyday leaders. And what I’d like to leave people with is this is that running an organization is not about as is not about attributes awarded at birth, it’s about learning basic skills. And if your dream out there is to run something, or you’re running something in your dream out there is to run it better. And you look over your shoulder and said, Well, how come? How come those guys are running faster than me to just say, You know what, again, not to sell a book, you’re gonna say, You know what, I’m gonna go pick up that book that how to manual, and I’m going to learn those five skills. And I can be like those other people. And that that’s if there was any one thing that I would I would like to leave people with it, which is that which is just that is, you can do this, it’s not that hard. You can do this.

Damon Pistulka 37:58
We’re just gonna hold that thought for a second, because that’s awesome. Got me to show them our man. Because if you’re, you know, it could be the entrepreneur starting the business could be the managers that’s been in there, you know, has the department like you said it could be the the owner that’s had a business for a very long time. And they’re going through that plateauing, moving from one, one area to the next and their business. So many people are sitting there today, wondering, you know, what’s next how to do it. And I think that’s inspirational. I think the managers handbook is a great place for them to reach into and really start to do like you said, Put these practical things is in place to get things done. So thanks for being here today. David, I really appreciate it. And you stopping by. I’m going to say thanks to everyone that stopped in we had MD Ron and save and everyone else is listening and not commenting. I’m telling you, if you didn’t listen to this, hear this from the beginning. Go back to the beginning. David shared so much gold about the book about the people that he studied the companies and what was unique about them. Thanks so much for being here today. David

David Dodson 39:12
came in the Time flew I really really enjoyed myself. So thank you for having me as a guest on your show. I really really had a great time.

Damon Pistulka 39:21
Oh, that makes my heart feel good. Hang out for just for a moment. David will be back again with the face of the business. We got a hiatus we’re going to be out of town the next week and but we’ll be back right after that. Have a great time everyone.

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