When your team member FAILS, guess whose fault it is?

If they failed for not having enough skill, YOU should have trained them better.

If they just don’t seem to get it, YOU should have put them in the right role.

If they’re not motivated, YOU should have aligned with their goals and actively have helped them get there.

If they don’t treat your customers well, YOU should be treating them better to set the example.

If they stole from you, YOU should have a stronger qualifying process.

I had a co-founder rip me off blind, rationalized away— and I know it’s my fault for letting it get that far.

Real leaders know that 99% of the time, it’s a problem with management, not your team member.

The rookie manager blames his people, while the pro manager knows that their job is to take care of their people and help them succeed!

Instead of being a policeman, be a coach, mentor and cheerleader.

Partner with someone who can teach you.

Someone just asked us what they should send to a potential client who is asking for case studies– but they have none.

My answer:

You partner with an agency that does.

Trying to sell without authority is not only hard, but it sets you up for failure on something you’ve done before many times.

Would you trust a heart surgeon to operate on you if they’ve not done heart surgery before?

I feel for consultants who are trying to get their first few clients– it’s hard.

If I were starting from scratch, I’d find a mentor who has done what I’d like to do and work for them for free– doing anything necessary to build their business, while having the chance to learn from them.

Maybe they aren’t paying you– but consider how much you’d have to pay them for mentorship and to grow your career.

I believe teaching is the highest professional responsibility we can have.

Even if you are not a Karen Freberg, you can still teach others from right where you are, to lift where you stand.

Formal educators must work with private sector professionals like us to bridge the training gap that students face when they graduate- so we can help them get great jobs and be awesome employees in our companies.

Karen not only is an incredible professor, but somehow finds the time to train up professors who want to teach social media to their students, write textbooks, speak at conferences, and be a practitioner herself.

We are all teachers, even if not formally, and can learn from her example.

How do you get a job without experience?

How do you drive warm leads without a network?

How do you own a niche when you don’t have industry authority?

I get thousands of these questions, so let me tell you the “secret”, okay?

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1) Find someone who is successfully doing what you’d like to be doing.

2) Study what they do and what they’ve written, so you can stand out among the many others who hit them up all the time.

3) Offer to work for them in whatever way they see fit– whatever tasks at whatever pay.

4) Become so valuable that they pull you into projects of greater and greater importance, to where eventually you become their confidant and indispensable.

5) Before even have to ask you to follow up on something, you’re already there– you anticipate their needs before they even realize it.

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And pretty soon, their network has become your network.

You’ve not needed to cold-call or grovel for business, since you’re drafting off the power of your mentor.

You don’t need to worry about pricing, since your mentor already commands top dollar.

You’ve completely side-stepped the pain of years of foraging for pennies in the gutter, hoping to trade up to nickels.

Instead, you’ve taken the express elevator straight to the top, where the clients treat you well, pay you well, and provide you the best education possible.

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This is the path I took 20+ years ago with the CEO of American Airlines.

And it’s the path most of the young adults in our program are benefitting from– the deserving and hard-working ones that have earned their spot.

But even if you’re not a young adult, you should still be seeking out industry mentors. Find ways to add value to them before you ask, ask, ask.

Are you trying to valiantly survive in business by “hustling” harder and praying that something things will turn out well?

Or are you guaranteeing your success by tying yourself to someone who has already achieved it?

What if you could have anyone on the planet as your mentor?

Who would you pick?

I had the CEO of American Airlines and the CEO of Allstate Insurance as mentors.

And they opened doors I never knew existed, providing me opportunities that felt like cheating.

They filled my brain with knowledge and believed in me more than I did myself.

All the success I’ve had is because of what my mentors have done for me. There was no way back then I could have repaid them.

But if you don’t have a mentor, how do you convince someone super successful to take you on?

Here’s the “secret”:

Study their materials and know it by heart– that will place you ahead of 99% of the random people that hit them up for free consulting, money, introductions to Mark Zuckerberg, or whatever.

Write articles and make videos about what you’ve learned from them, demonstrating mastery of the material– not blowing faint praise.

Boost your top posts for a dollar a day, building up your personal brand and getting exposure of what you’ve said to this person and their peers.

They will see it and maybe even reach out, like your tweets, etc…

As you’re doing this, you’ll see the alignment between what’s important to them versus what matters to you– your 3×3 grid and their 3×3 grid intersecting.

Hint: don’t make it about money or the external trappings of wealth.
That means you must have a solid mission and demonstrated competency.

After you’ve done this for a couple months, only then reach out to them. And instead of asking for favors at your first encounter, ask what you can do for them.

The reason I know this works is because this is what I do– at scale.

And it’s what our young adults do to build their network.

And it’s what our clients do to build their personal brands systematically.

I spent the first 10 years of my career learning.
I spent the last 10 years of my career doing.
The next 10 years of my career, I’m focusing on teaching.

#LDT (Learn > Do > Teach)

Find people like me who are wanting to give back.
I’ve had 50,000 hours of digital marketing experience and there’s nothing that makes me happier than seeing other young leaders get the same opportunity that I got 20 years ago.

The best things in life are free!

You’d not pay for a best friend or a wife. So why would you pay for a mentor?

They’re doing it because they are about you, not because they are being paid.

They expect more of you than a boss, being willing to call you out in love, because they see a higher standard for you.

So your role as a mentee is greater than an employee.