Episode 144: TPE: Think, Plan, Execute – Achieving Entrepreneurial Brilliance With Sean Gagnon

Entrepreneurship is fueled by the unwavering commitment to turning dreams into reality. It’s the relentless pursuit of innovation, the strategic planning of every move, and the fearless execution of bold ideas that sets true entrepreneurs apart. In this episode, Sean Gagnon, CEO of the Abs company, introduces the TPE mindset (Think, Plan, and Execute) and its profound impact on achieving entrepreneurial success. Sean takes us on a journey through his own experiences, sharing how he transformed his vision into a thriving business. He shares how he built a culture of excellence within his organization, where employees are not just valued but truly believed in. Sean explains why creating a workplace that aligns with personal values and fosters a sense of pride can lead to extraordinary results. His discussion extends beyond business as he reveals the power of believing in others and the profound impact it can have on their growth and development.

 

What This Episode Will Teach You:

  • The TPE (Think, Plan, Execute) mindset and how it can propel your entrepreneurial journey to new heights.
  • The importance of meticulous planning and how it can shape the trajectory of your business.
  • How to execute your plans with discipline, resilience, and a relentless pursuit of excellence.
  • How to create a workplace culture that attracts and retains top talent by aligning with personal values.
  • The transformative power of expressing pride in your team members’ accomplishments and believing in their potential.
  • Techniques for building strong relationships, fostering collaboration, and maximizing the collective energy within your organization.

 

Resources:

  • Book Recommendation: “The Attributes: 25 Hidden Drives of Optimal Performance” by Rick Diviney – Explore a Navy SEAL’s perspective on leadership and the attributes that drive success.
  • The Abs Company – Visit the official website of Sean Gagnon’s company and learn more about their innovative fitness equipment and entrepreneurial journey.
  • Connect with Sean Gagnon on LinkedIn – Stay connected with Sean on LinkedIn for more inspiration and insights on entrepreneurship.
  • Elite Entrepreneurs – Discover a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and access resources to support your entrepreneurial journey.

 

Don’t miss Sean Gagnon revealing the secrets of the TPE mindset. With this framework, you can equip yourself with the tools and mindset needed to achieve entrepreneurial triumph. Get ready to think bigger, plan smarter, and execute with purpose as you embark on your own entrepreneurial journey. Tune in now!

Watch the episode here

 

Listen to the podcast here

 

Welcome to the show. I always have the privilege of introducing amazing people on this show. It boggles my mind consistently how many great people we have that will come and share their real insights from their real experiences. This episode is no exception whatsoever. I’m pleased to be able to introduce somebody that I’ve known for several years. He just came and did us the honor of speaking at one of our Elite events.

His name is Sean Gagnon. He is the Cofounder and CEO of The Abs Company. I would love for him to tell you a little bit more about The Abs Company before we dive into the episode. Let me say before he does how amazingly genuine a human being he is. It was not even a thought when I asked him to come to be on the show. He said, “I’ll do that.” He is always giving, always sharing, and has great insights. I’m thrilled to share Sean Gagnon with all of you. Welcome, Sean, to the show.

Thank you very much. I appreciate the kind words and the introduction. At the end of it all, if somebody can say a few kind words about you and they reflect the way that you tried to live your life, then you did okay. Genuine is a word that I tried to live by. I appreciate you saying that.

You are doing it. You’re doing okay. It’s fun to see you doing it. Tell everybody a little bit about The Abs Company. It’ll be better coming from you than from me. We’ll then jump into some of the lessons learned as you’ve been growing your company.

The Abs Company is a fitness company. We are on the equipment side of the industry. There are a lot of areas in fitness. When we started, we were on the health club side where we owned and operated health clubs. Through some zigs and zags, we were able to get into the supply side of the industry, which I personally enjoyed much better because there are a lot bigger opportunities there. It allows you to be truly global if that’s what you choose, and we are. We do business in 68 countries around the world. It’s also neat to see the creations that you’ve either developed, created yourself, or acquired, and be able to bring those to the market.

We have nearly 50 worldwide patents on products that we have created or brought to the market. Our niche is in three key areas of fitness. Abs, hence the name of our company. That’s where we started. It is always an evergreen area of fitness. We’ve also branched into HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training type products, and glutes, which is a tremendous trend in the industry.

We try to focus on areas that are hot in the industry. We follow those trends and put our spin on them with unique products. We don’t bring out what we like to call me-too products that anybody can make. Anything that we have is proprietary to us. That’s why we’ve been able to have the longevity that we’ve had. We’ve been doing this for over 25 years in the industry. The Abs Company has been around for sixteen, but we had other operations before that that paved the way.

Our products can be found anywhere where you can find fitness. We sell direct-to-consumer for their homes. We started in the TV infomercial side of the industry. We also sell at health clubs, the military, and universities. We sell all over the world. The great thing is that the products that we create, we try to make them super intuitive so that anybody can use them, whether you are a true beginner, an elite athlete, Navy SEAL, or so on down the road. We believe in the fact that fitness truly does change people’s lives. We want to be able to be a part of that journey for people.

Thank you for teeing that up for us. I want to challenge our audience. The next time they’re at the gym or they’re working at home on their abs, doing high-intensity interval training, or working on their glutes, whatever products they’re using, there’s a pretty good chance that they’re coming across something from The Abs Company. Take a look. It might be one of those nearly 50 products that you guys have put out. Did you say 68 countries?

Yeah.

That’s fantastic. You guys are having a big impact on the world. What I want to do is transition to sharing some of your insights that can have a different kind of impact on our audience than their physical health. There is a leadership health game that we’re all involved in as seven-figure business owners. We need ideas. We need products that can help us figure out that journey that we’re all on.

If you think back to when you were in that lower seven-figure range, and you were moving past that, or you were in that transition from scrappy founder-entrepreneur to capable business-building CEO, there’s a transition from learning and doing to leading and leading leaders even. A lot of business owners get stuck there. I don’t want to direct this too much, but if you think back to some of your early growing lessons or your own leadership lessons, what are some of the things that stand out to you as key growth moments for you?

There are so many. I’ll try to pick out a few that are relevant. One thing I’ll say before I do that is you mentioned transitioning from the scrappy founder-entrepreneur into the CEO and business builder. One of the things I’ve always tried to do because it is in my DNA, is to remain a scrappy entrepreneur because we have to be. No matter what level of entrepreneurship you’re in, there’s always somebody bigger. There’s always somebody with more resources. Being that scrappy entrepreneur allows you to be nimble. One of the lessons that I’ve learned is to move at speed.

Back when I was starting out, probably like a lot of early-stage entrepreneurs, I tend to overthink everything. You say, “Is this the right move? What if it doesn’t work? What happens if?” It’s so on and so forth, and you get stuck. I came up with a framework that we use at The ABS Company. I call it TPE. That stands for Think, Plan, and Execute.

The think part came from working with you and your organization with Tyler Norton. He gave a whole talk about thinking. I made T-shirts that said Think. His contention came from his father back in the early days that most people don’t spend enough time thinking. That resonated with me because sometimes, as an entrepreneur, someone who is willing to jump into this game wants to do it. They want to be a doer, so they jump in to execute. If you execute before you have a plan, there are going to be problems. Sometimes, you can get lucky. You could hit one out of the park, but that doesn’t mean you’re successful.

Even before planning, you have to think. What I mean by that is you got to take time to not figure out what all the steps are, but to think about what it is you’re trying to achieve. A lot of people miss that step. I missed it for years. You jump right to the very end and say, “We want to be successful. We want to have this much revenue.” Is that really what you’re trying to achieve? Are you trying to achieve some form of sustainability or some form of impact within your industry, which will lead to that ultimate success?

The thinking part is really important. It’s something that I had to learn. I and probably a lot of others can relate to this. If we’re not doing it, sometimes we think that we’re being lazy. We’re sitting around. We’re not taking action. I had to learn that. I had to be able to stop, get away, and sometimes remove myself from the environment.

One of the things I learned is that success is part mental and part environmental. If you can change your environment, then sometimes it allows your mind to expand. The key thing that I learned on think was this simple start to a question, “How do I?” As soon as we ask, “How do I,” your mind opens up. It’s not, “We’re going to do this.” That’s not really thinking. “How do I” says, “What if it’s this or what if it’s that?” What are all the angles that you can go to? That’s step one.

Once you have all the “How do I” thoughts, you have to start to eliminate them because you can’t do everything. That’s another area where entrepreneurs get stuck. They try to do everything. It is the shiny object syndrome. It is like, “I’m going to go here. I’m going to go there. What about this?” The what-abouts, I call those. The what-abouts are good. You have to say, “What about this?” because it brings you back to thinking.

You can’t follow them all. You have to eliminate the things that you’ve thought about. You have to sit down and make a plan. This is the next area where I and many entrepreneurs get stuck because we get nervous. You worry that your plan is not the right one, and it very well may not be. If you only stay in the planning phase and you never jump to execution, you’re not going to know. You have to be willing to have the courage to step into the execution of the plan that you came up with through thought. That’s our process here at The Abs Company, and it took me a long time to learn that.

If you come to my business and ask anybody what TPE means, they know it is Think, Plan, and Execute. When we sometimes start to move too fast or too slow, we say, “Where are we getting stuck? Are we overthinking? Did we not come up with a plan there? Did we forget to execute on the plan that we came up with?” I like things that are simple frameworks that we can remember. I do believe that great leaders don’t always try to find something new to say. They find the things that work, and they say them again and again.

Great leaders don't always try to find something new to say. They find the things that work and they say them again and again and again and again. Share on X

TPE is one of the things that helped me in an area I got stuck in. If I’m being completely honest, the area that I got stuck in the most was the thinking. I was pretty good at planning. I could come up with a plan. I was pretty good at jumping into execution. I wasn’t scared at that phase, but in the early days, I didn’t take enough time to stop and do the thinking. That’s probably the number one tip that I would share about those phases. Go through that, and then watch what happens to your levels of execution.

That’s a great simple framework. I appreciate you sharing that. I want to go back to something you said as you were sharing that. You were one of these guys that was like, “If I wasn’t going, I thought I was being lazy. I wasn’t working hard enough.” I might be putting words in your mouth, but how do you take somebody who’s so driven and so wired to be on the go to slow down enough to think? At first, it feels like an unproductive activity. What did you have to do to say no to all the noise? There are all these things coming at you. You had to either slow that down or stop it long enough to think. Is there something you did to build that into your weekly rhythm? What did you do to think?

I get a lot of influence from Tony Robbins. He is one of the guys that I listened to a lot. For probably over 30 years, I’ve listened to his materials and stuff. One of the things he says is if you want to change your life, change your questions or ask better questions. The question that I learned to ask myself was very simple. How is that going for you? I would look at the things that I was doing and I would have to ask myself, “How is that going for you?”

You did not put words in my mouth. I did feel lazy if I wasn’t doing it or if I was just sitting and thinking. On the other side of that equation, sometimes we are doing too much. We’re not taking the time to measure the result of the work that we’re doing. It’s very easy to be busy, but it’s much more difficult to be effective in what you’re doing. You have to measure those results.

If you’re somebody who’s struggling with sitting down and thinking, take a look at your entire ecosystem and ask yourself the question, “How is it going for you?” That very question alone will force you to stop. It will force you to then think about all the things that you are doing and the ways that you’re analyzing the ways in which you’re doing things.

One of the things that I had to learn also in those early days is to become much more data-driven in what I was doing. You can get a feel for things. You ask most people, “How is it going?” They’re like, “It’s going good.” A seasoned entrepreneur or a true leader is going to say, “Explain that to me. How is it really going? Give me some numbers around that. Give me some statistics about how that social is going or what happened when we put out this blog,” and so forth. It gets you to go deeper.

A true leader will say, “Well, explain that to me. How is it really going? Give me some numbers around that. Or give me some statistics about how that social is going or what happened when we put out this blog or so forth.” And it gets you to go deeper. Share on X

I had the experience with a friend of mine who’s built a very large company in our industry. He said, “What’s your midyear EBITDA?” I was like, “Huh? Oh, boy.” I tried to get off the hook by saying, “It’s not the end of June yet. We’re not midyear.” He is like, “You got to know by this point.” It forced you to stop and think about what you’re doing. You can keep trying to go that million miles a minute, but asking that simple question, “How is that going for you?” caused me to slow down.

I believe this is important for success being part environmental. A lot of people will tell you about who you hang out with. I believe all of that. You got to be in the right circles. That is why I grew up so much being a part of Elite Entrepreneurs in my journey because you were around the right-minded people. It’s also your physical environment. You have to take that time.

I travel a lot because we do business all over the world. In the early days of my career, I would go where I was going, do what I had to do, and I would leave. There’s a time for that. I’m not suggesting that we become business tourists where we stay and do it, but I have learned to say, “Let me get there one day early. Maybe let me stay one extra day after the trade show to decompress and think about, how did that go? How could I do it better? What did I miss?” If you just leave wherever you are, in my world, and you go to the next thing, did you go back and analyze what happened? Those are the tips I would give in that area.

Those are great tips. I hear some version of this all the time. They have a good idea or they have an intent. I’ll call it intent. They’re like, “I intend to start spending more time thinking.” I like what Sean said, “I’m going to do more thinking.” They then follow that up with something like, “As soon as this big project is done,” or, “As soon as I get through this season,” or, “As soon as I get this other thing out of the way, then I’ll start doing that thing that will make me more effective.”

It is understanding that there are realities. There are those times in our lives when it is busy. The first thing when you wake up all the way to the end of the day, you are slammed. What would you say to somebody who has good intentions, ideas, or desires to change but then find themselves saying, “I’ll get to that after,” and then gets stuck in the perpetual loop of being busy?

I don’t believe in intention. Some people will tell you intention matters. I don’t believe that it does. I believe that commitment matters. We don’t get our goals. We get our standards, end of story. It is exactly what you said. If you intend to do something, you can allow a million other things. I’m from New Jersey originally. In New Jersey, we have the Jersey Turnpike. As every highway does, we have these off-ramps. If you’re from New Jersey, people say, “What exit are you from?” It’s a jersey joke, but what off-ramp is what they’re saying.

If you intend to do something, you can allow a million other things. Share on X

The same thing is true in leadership, business, and success. There are a million off-ramps that you can take. If your intention is to get from A to B, but you’re like, “That looks interesting over there,” or, “This is coming. I’ll take the off-ramp.” Now, you are off course. If I’m committed to getting to B, that’s a different story. One of the things I teach myself every day and my team is to never negotiate with yourself. Once you’ve made a commitment to something, that’s it.

Your superconscious mind is a very powerful thing. If you say, “We’re going to do this,” and then you start to take those off-ramps because your intentions got interrupted, your superconscious mind says, “When this guy or girl says something, they don’t mean it, so don’t worry about it.” When I say something, I do it. I was talking to some people at the event. We were talking about working out and training. My alarm goes off at 4:30 every morning. That’s when I get up to train. People are like, “Do you like doing that?” I say, “There was never a day in my life that that alarm went off and I’m like, “This is awesome. Let’s go,” but I do it. I get up and go train because I’ve made that commitment to myself.

The same has to be true in this example of your commitment to spending time to think. Some people say, “Build it into your calendar.” That is a great idea. Monday between 3:00 and 5:00 is my thinking time. Don’t let anything interrupt that, just like you wouldn’t let anything interrupt your leadership meeting or when you have a meeting with your attorneys or a key customer. You’re not going to let something interrupt that because you made a commitment. You can’t negotiate with yourself and give up on the commitments or you’re never going to accomplish anything. That’s why I say forget intentions. People are like, “All intentions are all good.” Not in my world. I don’t believe it. I believe that what you commit to is what you’re going to ultimately get.

What a great example of being your word. Any real successful people, by my definition, have mastered that part of their life of being their word. It is total commitment and no negotiation. I’m either on that path or I’m not going to do it. It is intention versus commitment. I love it. Thank you. What else? I prompted you with some questions, but let’s get off of my questions and be broader. What are 1 or 2 of those things that you could only learn by going through that growth process for yourself and your business, and it has shaped who you’ve become as a leader?

The first thing you have to understand is how hard it’s going to be. Especially in this day and age, the age of social media, everybody is showing you the highlight, whether it be in fitness, relationships, business, or whatever. There are very few people that are giving you that real look behind the curtain. What’s interesting is a couple of people, and I say couple as a representation of how many profiles there are, who have had the courage to do that well because they resonate with what’s going on in people’s lives.

EEP 144 | Think Plan Execute

Think Plan Execute: You have to understand how hard it’s going to be. Especially in today’s day and age, where in the age of social media, everybody’s showing you the highlight.

 

When it comes to entrepreneurship, there are a lot of people out there selling a book and courses, but they’ve never built anything. That’s why I love being a part of the Elite community. These were people who still to this day are building real businesses. You and your background experience. You came to us, and Clate and all the guys. When I learned that story that these guys sat around a table with cereal and all this stuff, and they concocted this idea for this business and grew it into a massive business, I said, “That’s the people I want to be around because they know how hard it’s going to be.”

I learned a lot by hearing, “These are the sticking points.” What happens at that $1 million, $2 million, $3 million, $5 million, $10 million phase, or whatever it is? It’s hard, and a lot of people aren’t built for it. Some people say entrepreneurship is for everybody. I say it’s not. You have to be willing to go through it, and that’s okay.

Some people make a great number too. Anybody who’s a CEO needs great people around them. There’s nothing wrong with that. Maybe you work yourself into an equity position and you can call yourself an entrepreneur or whatever it is. You don’t have to start the business to be an entrepreneur because ultimately, at the end of the day, you are an entrepreneur of yourself. Some people call it an intrapreneur. You’re working inside the business. You still have to lead and manage yourself.

You don't have to start the business to be an entrepreneur, because ultimately at the end of the day, you are an entrepreneur of yourself. Share on X

That’s probably the key lesson. It is hard. I don’t care if you’re at $100,000 a year or $100 million a year. There are different challenges that you’re going to be going through, and you have to be willing to take those hits. What you have to remember is the good book says, “This too shall pass.” Even though you are going through that hard time, if you just keep going, the sun is going to come up tomorrow. You’re going to find a way through it.

We saw that during the last couple of years when a lot of businesses were shattered. There were economic implications with everything that was going on, but I also believe that a lot of people gave up. There were a lot of resources that were out there. In my industry, in America alone, 25% of health clubs shut their doors never to reopen again. That’s a huge part of my business in there. What are we going to do? Crawl under a rock? You got to keep going.

After all these years, you keep taking the hits. The more hits you take, you realize the hits aren’t that bad. There hasn’t been one in 25 years that sunk this ship. I don’t know what one would be because entrepreneurs find a way. That’s probably the key lesson there. If you’re going to go down this path, expect it to be hard. Don’t expect it to get easier because your business is growing. You’re going to face all new challenges.

As you grow and get bigger, you need to bring in better people to the team. That’s a mistake a lot of entrepreneurs make. They don’t want to let go. They don’t want to give up control in areas that they’re like, “I can do it better.” Maybe it’s true. As an entrepreneur, you are like, “I can do every job individually better than the people around me.” Work on your hiring a little bit, but even if everybody on your team was doing it 80% to 90% as well as you think you can, imagine that momentum that starts to build. That’s lesson two. You have to let people do their job. You have to first have the courage to bring people onto the team.

A lot of entrepreneurs, and I made and still make this mistake, wait too long to bring people onto the team. They’re like, “When we get to this point, that’s where we’re going to need them.” You needed them before then, or you may never get to that point. You have to have the courage to bring people on even a little bit early in the journey. Let them grow into that position that you hired them for, and then you have to get out of their way.

The great John Maxwell gave a simple framework that we use here at The Abs Company all the time. He calls it the 10-80-10 principle. What that means, if you’re not familiar, is that the first 10% of the work goes back to that thinking and the planning. We get together and make sure everybody understands where we are, where we are trying to go, and the steps to get there.

The 80% is getting out of the way. Let them do their job, whoever it is that you hired. I don’t believe in micromanaging people, but I do believe in micromanaging results. That’s where accountability comes in. During that 80% when they’re out there doing the work, you are not interrupting the process but you are looking for updates. You’re like, “Where are we with this?” It is the framework you taught us, the UAC, Understanding the Agreement and Commitment.

EEP 144 | Think Plan Execute

Think Plan Execute: Don’t micromanage people; micromanage results. And that’s where accountability comes in during that 80% when they’re out there doing the work. You’re not interrupting the process, but you are looking for up updates.

 

Once we have that commitment of this is going to be done by then, get out of the way. Let them do what it is they’ve committed to doing. Once they’re done, you jump back in with the other 10%. We say, “How can we make this 10% better?” This is something that the great violinist Roddy Chong said. If you ever heard of him, he was part of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. I heard him speak once. He said, “There is 10% more in everything that we do.” He was teaching us to stretch. He goes, “I bet you can stretch 10% higher in that.” The same is true in business and life. There’s always another 10%.

You’ve gotten out of people’s way. You’ve allowed them to do their work, the 80%. It is work that they’re probably proud of. They’re bringing you their best work, but then they have to have the humility to allow us to step back in as leaders and say, “I bet you there is 10% more we can do. Let’s take a look at it.” That’s how you create world-class results.

It’s something I had to learn. In the early days of hiring people, I didn’t hire soon enough for a lot of people, but then I would be sitting there and watching them do what it is that I hired them to do. If that’s what I was doing, then why hire them in the first place? Just continue to do it all yourself, but you’ll never grow that way.

Those are two of the key areas. Number one is it’s going to be harder than you think, and it doesn’t get easier. You have to be willing to do that. You have to be willing to sacrifice for the results that you want, and then you have to surround yourself with great people. When you do, get out of the way. That’s how you stop being the bottleneck in your organization.

I want to follow up with one question. I can talk to you for hours about this stuff if it were practical for the episode. You talked about hiring great people. I happen to know that you have people that have been with you for a long time. You mentioned this business being around for 25 years. I know you have at least one team member who’s been with you for more than twenty years.

Not only have you hired great people and gotten out of the way but somehow, you’ve created a place that they want to be part of. Somehow, you’ve created a place where they enjoy being. Somehow, you’ve created a place where they’re sticking around for twenty-plus years. As small and impactful as you can here, talk to us about the keys to creating a great place where people can thrive, not just get out of their way. What do you do to invest in them? What do you do to create an environment where they want to be and stay?

At the end of the day, it’s culture. You and I have spoken about this many times. We could talk about it many more times. I learned a lot of what I know about culture from you and all the great folks at Elite. Culture is what attracts people to your organization. I’ve talked about vibrational frequency. A lot of people are like, “What is that?” We know what it is because the root of that is a vibe.

EEP 144 | Think Plan Execute

Think Plan Execute: Culture is what attracts people to your organization.

 

You’ll say, “There’s a great new restaurant. What’s the vibe like?” or, “I’m going to a party or meeting these new people. What’s the vibe like with that group?” That’s what they’re saying. What’s the vibrational frequency of it? We all give that off in the world. Our vibrational frequency either attracts people and things to us or repels them from us.

In my organization, the vibe is rooted in gratitude, which is the culture, hands down. If you are someone who is not a grateful person in your spirit, you’re not going to last with us. We’re not going to do well together. The opposite of that is the entitled person. It is creating a culture where people are attracted to it. If the culture that you’ve created does not attract the right people who are aligned with it, their own personal cultures will ultimately override the organization’s cultures. That’s a recipe for disaster. I had to learn that too.

This is not unique to my company because every company in the world has gone through this. A lot of times, you find that person who’s a star performer. You think that is strong enough to allow them to not be a cultural fit for your organization, and it is not. The converse is also true. I’ve had people that were certainly aligned with some of our values, whether it be gratitude, leadership, or big thinking.

Our last core value is winning. You have to produce results. Sometimes, you give people a pass because, in a sports analogy, they’re a great locker room guy or girl. You want them around. In growing organizations, you can’t have those people. You can get to a certain point where not everybody is that A-plus player. You need some Bs and Cs to do the work, and that’s okay. Ultimately, even if they are B and C, they have to be winning. Whatever their task is, they have to be winning.

This is a reason I believe people not only have stuck with me that long but have brought their family members to work for us. You were referencing Kim earlier. Her son is one of my key salespeople. I mentioned at the talk that my marketing director, Cindy, has two of her sons working for us. It is because they see the culture.

One of the things I had to learn in my journey to creating a great culture is to spend more time with your people. Just like you have to commit to the thinking part of growing your business, you have to commit to the time part of strengthening your culture and learning what makes your people tick. You’re not going to know truly if they are a cultural fit if you don’t spend time with them.

EEP 144 | Think Plan Execute

Think Plan Execute: In creating a goal or a great culture, spend more time with your people. You have to commit to the thinking part of growing your business. You have to commit to the time part of strengthening your culture and learning what really makes your people tick.

 

I mentioned in the talk that there’s a great book called The Attributes by a Navy SEAL by the name of Rich Diviney. One of the statements he made in that book is time is the currency of leadership. It is so true. As busy entrepreneurs, CEOs, or top leaders in an organization, sometimes we are so busy that we push time with our people to the back burner. Even in a remote world, many organizations are remote. How do you spend time with your people? You have to commit to it. There’s an energy transfer that happens when people are together.

The greatest energy transfer is when people are one-on-one together. The next level would be a small group together. After that, it goes one-on-one on Zoom. Don’t always have group Zoom meetings. Do one-on-one Zooms if you have a remote culture. The last stage is getting the group together as a collective because a lot of great things happen there too. The key to great hiring and keeping people around is creating a culture that they want to be a part of and that aligns with their own personal values.

The last thing I’ll say about this is I had to learn a couple of key phrases. I’m a parent of three. I try to use this both at home and at work. I had to learn this because it’s not in my nature to be overly complimentary. I’m a hard charge in a lot of areas, and I believe that results matter in the world, and they do. The key phrase that I had to learn is that when somebody is doing well or they’ve accomplished something great, you must say these words to them, “I am proud of you.” It’s one of the things we long to hear as human beings, whether it be from our parents or our spouse. When was the last time you told your spouse, “I’m proud of you.” When was the last time you told your kids, “I’m proud of you.”

The other side of that coin is also as powerful, and that is when somebody is not doing well. They’re not meeting the standard. That’s a time when we can often come down on people, but that’s the wrong time to come down on people and try to push them harder. When somebody is not doing well, we address that, but we have to leave that conversation with, “I believe in you.” Once somebody knows that you as the leader, spouse, parent, or friend believe in them, that gives them an energy like no other. When they accomplish, you follow that up with, “I’m proud of you.” You’ll see this flywheel begin to turn faster.

Once somebody knows that you as the leader, the spouse, the parent, and the friend, believe in them. That gives them energy like no other. Share on X

Those two simple phrases can change everything. I had to learn that in my journey but I try to use those a lot in my organization. Most of us as leaders, in trying to accomplish this, get it backward. When things are going well, it is the time when we over-celebrate things. There’s a time for that. You have to tell people that you’re proud of them, but that’s also a time when you can push them because they’re high already. When things aren’t going well, most leaders tend to come down on people. That’s the time when you need to lift people up. You need to put your arm around them and tell them that you believe in them, and watch what happens.

That would be my answer to how you create hires that want to stick with you. Number one, make sure they personally align with the values of your organization. If they don’t, you got to let them go regardless of the result. Number two, make sure your people know that you are proud of them when they win and that you believe in them when they don’t.

You saved the best for last. That was great. As you were saying that, I was thinking about moments when somebody has been proud of me and moments when somebody believed in me. Sometimes it feels like those can happen around the same situation or scenario. How meaningful is it when you say, “I’m proud of you,” to somebody who you’ve previously said, “I believe in you.” There is that sense of change, growth, and development. On the flip side, to say “I believe in you” when they’re going through something hard before you’ve told them “I’m proud of you” for something else, that combination is powerful whichever leads out. It’s not always the same conversation.

The majority of people will never believe in themselves if they don’t feel that somebody else believes in them too. There are certain people who can. They can be out there and they have this iron will. They go out there and go, whether somebody believes in them or not. Most people in our charge are not that. They need to know because it’s hard. It’s what I said before. It’s hard, especially if you’re dealing with salespeople. Every day, they are kicking their feet. They’re like, “No.” You’re like, “You got to go. Keep going. I believe in you,” and they go. They get a little charged, and then they get a win. You’re like, “I’m proud of you.” I watch the wheel turn. It’s fun.

What a virtuous cycle. This has been incredible. Thank you. I knew it would be. I appreciate your willingness to share the time that you’ve given. I want to have everyone understand the impact of creating a place where people can come to do great work, be inspired, believe in, and have somebody tell them that they’re proud of them. That’s a different thing than, “I’m doing a job. I’m punching a clock.” You create something special that people want to be part of for generations. I didn’t realize you had a couple of team members who had children there working at The Abs Company. It has been a pleasure. Thank you so much for being our guest and sharing your experience with us.

It is my pleasure. As I’ve said many times, I attribute so much of my entrepreneurial journey to what I learned from you personally and to all the great people at Elite all those years ago. They stick with me, and they always will. Thank you.

Thank you. I’m sure there will be people who want to look into The Abs Company or connect with you on social. What is the best way for people to check out The Abs Company or connect with you?

On the web, it is TheAbsCompany.com. All socials are @TheAbsCompany. You can find me personally on LinkedIn at Sean Gagnon.

Thank you, everybody, for tuning in to this episode. Please share it with as many seven-figure business owners as possible. We want to help everyone who’s making that journey and trying to figure it out by putting them in front of these great guests that we’re bringing like Sean. Share, like, and do all those things so that we can help as many people as possible. We’ll see you next time.

 

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About Sean Gagnon

EEP 144 | Think Plan ExecuteSean Gagnon is the CEO of The Abs Company. As a lifelong entrepreneur, he is responsible for creating, inventing and marketing 10 multi million dollar brands including Nukkles®, Ab Coaster®, Ab Solo®, and TireFlip 180®. He has over 42 WorldWide Patents and Trademarks on the products which are sold in 68 countries around the globe. These products generated well over $100 Million in World Wide Sales. Sean is a fitness enthusiast and a lifelong student. His passion for business, leadership and growth drive him to be the next best version on himself every day.

 

 


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