George McGehrin is the President of the McGehrin Group, one of the U.S. top executive placement and recruitment firms of C-Suite executives and he’s also a professional executive branding coach. In this episode you can learn from George:
- Why you need a broad number of clients to survive a crisis
- Top exec’s need support just like everyone else
- Use your brand to find more opportunities
- How your Network leads to your Net Worth
Transcript:Thanks to Jermaine Pinto at JRP Transcribing for being our Partner. Contact Jermaine via LinkedIn or via his site JRP Transcribing Services
The Leadership Hacker News
Steve Rush: As various parts of the planet return to work and start moving towards getting back into a rhythm of productivity. Organizations still suggest that their productivity levels are down roughly 30% year on year, because of the way that we are adjusting and getting used to new things. So I’m going to share with you some top hacks around productivity to help you and your teams start moving your productivity forward.
- Number one. Arrange your day in boxes of activity, so you can focus only on that box that you are in, being out of control and being far forward thinking sometimes creates anxiety, but being in control would mean you stay calm, stay focused.
- Number two. Take regular productivity breaks. Our brains can really only work for about 90 minutes full on where we’ll need to take some time out to recover. Make sure we get those recovery breaks on regular occasions throughout the day so that we can keep our brain focused.
- Number three. If you have a to do list, don’t put more than five things on it. Just focus on five things at a time. You will force to figure out what is really important to you, what the priorities are and therefore discount some of the things that really are wasting space and taking up time.
- Number four. When you get to read emails, just read one email at once. When you open an email, decide what you want to do with it. To reply, delete, forward or archive it. What you can’t do though, is go back to it later. It just creates anxiety and of course, it impacts on our productivity because we know that there’s something haunting us for the rest of the day. Get to the habit of doing this is not easy. It takes a bit of discipline. It takes a bit of time.
- Number five. Scheduling distraction time. What do I mean by that? We all know that there are going to be things that we want to look out through the day. Maybe Facebook, LinkedIn, things that are going to just curiously drive us to do stuff could even be research, right? Aimlessly browsing through Facebook and social media in and out through the date will do nothing but distract us. So plan some time in, but use that time to get really focused, so that is it for The Leadership Hacker News on this episode. If you have any insights, information or just some funny stories and you want us to listen to them, please get in touch.
Start of Podcast
Steve Rush: I am joined on today show by George McGehrin. George is the president of the McGehrin Group, which is one of the U.S. top executive placement and recruitment firms of C-Suite executives. He is also a professional and executive branding ambassador, George, welcome to The Leadership Hacker Podcast.
George McGehrin: Yeah, I appreciate you having me. Thanks for having me on today.
Steve Rush: Before we got into the world of executive search and C-Suite placement, how did you career take off?
George McGehrin: Right, so it is a very open-ended question. Back in the day, I mean, I had sort of a normal, you know, I guess you would say you know, you go to decent schools, go to decent universities, land a job, and then do that for the next 50 years. That was what I was taught when I was younger. I worked for a bit for the BitForest, for Pricewaterhouse, as well as Elmstead Young and found myself with an opportunity in Miami. I am from originally from the New York area, New York City area. Found an opportunity in Miami, and next thing I know I was hanging out in Miami for a Consulting Company and three months into it, I literally walked into the office.
It was it was a German Consulting Company and they said, hey guys. We are closing down the office, so all of you are kind of out of work. Right? And so I found myself unemployed, right? Other people have called it sort of pedigree background, but I don’t, I never saw it that way, but you know, I had this very sort of strong career going and then I was unemployed and I found myself literally in the unemployment line. And I don’t know if you’ve ever had that aha moment, right? Where you say, where you start to evaluate and just say, listen, I don’t think I want to do this again. I literally in the unemployment line, I decided to start a business. I did not know what business that would be.
And the game plan was, you know, and I do executive recruiting, but the game plan was just to go to a bunch of these recruiter guys, get a job, let them finance me for a little bit, and then I can start a company. And I walked into a recruiting company, I just thought I could do this easily and that was sort of it, I worked with the recruiting firm for a couple months, and then I decided to do my own thing. And next thing I know I had a recruiting firm by myself. Right, I used to say we but it was me.
Steve Rush: Right.
George McGehrin: So that is how I got into it. At the time, it was not executive recruiting. It was just very, there is the sort of lower level roles. I did that, built it up to about 50 people, the company and all my clients by the way, were banks and financial institutions. And, you know, and so this is from 2000-2009 and one day I got a call from literally all of my clients saying, Hey, George, you know, the world has gone.
Steve Rush: Absolutely right, yeah.
George McGehrin: You know, thanks for playing, but you are not welcome anymore. And I went from 50 people back to zero. It was sort of a zero to hero back to zero story. You know, for me, I learned a lot of lessons on the way.
Steve Rush: Yeah.
George McGehrin: Mean, now I’ve got a 30 person team and, you know, I made a lot of changes in 2008-2009 that had impact us today, which has helped us quite frankly, with this whole Coronavirus thing. But that was the, you know, it’s kind of a zero to hero back to zero back to hero story. If you want to call it that. If you were to paraphrase it,
Steve Rush: And the work you do now is about placing top executives. Typical salaries kind of $300 or $400,000 dollars up to 5 million plus. Right?
George McGehrin: Exactly.
Steve Rush: Tell us a little bit, about what you are doing at the moment?
George McGehrin: Exactly and a lot of these executives. I mean, they run global brands, they run global companies, and they have lots and lots of responsibility. We do retained search, which means that a lot of times a company will say, you know. We need to replace somebody confidentially and put somebody else in there. And usually it’s, you know, it’s sort of a, I guess in a very cliché way, they call it needle in the haystack recruiting, but that’s kind of what we’re doing, right? We are finding sort of that impossible person and we are getting retained by these large corporations to find talent for them. Usually they either can’t find the talent themselves, or secondly, it might be too risky, right. From an internal sort of political landscape arena.
So they hire firms like myself and we compete with, you know, Korn Ferry and Spencer Stuart, and that’s who we compete with on a global level. So we have clients that are literally in every industry, geography, revenue stream you could think of, but we’re working with people that are making from $300,000 a year to 4-5 million. It is a super interesting group. I mean, I can tell you, there is a lot of commonalities between. There is very few differences between somebody who makes half a million dollars a year and somebody who makes 6 million, which I found.
Steve Rush: Yeah sure.
George McGehrin: Just a very interesting group from a leadership standpoint.
Steve Rush: And having had all of that experience where you pick out some of the key attributes that you observe in some of those that you placed too, but also as part of your work, George, you have become a renowned on helping people with their branding and placement of their own brand within these organizations. And you have that claim to fame that out of all of the fortune 500 companies, at least one of those executives you’ve really helped with their personal branding too. Right?
George McGehrin: Exactly and that was a mistake turned into a business model. And I don’t know if that as ever happened to you and your side. But, you know, just from dealing with recruiting and, you know, folks at that level. They would always come to me and say, hey, George, you know, there is a board role available, or I might be open for another opportunity. Do you know somebody? That can either take care of my CV or, you know, LinkedIn or biography? And they would ask me sort of, you know, just these questions, you know. I took on one client and it snowballed into, you know, just a different beast, right? So that is more of, I guess, a B2C play if you call it that. But the interesting thing about that is some of the B2C business that we get on that. It turns into B2B, right. Because they are running.
Steve Rush: Sure.
George McGehrin: You know, if I’m introduced to a CEO of a large corporation, because of the relationship is formed. They then, you know, sometimes become a recruiting client for us. Which is the other part of it. A lot of these folks, I mean they feel very, you know, kind of lonely at the top. Right and they are extremely talented. But they also see the value in coaches and they see the value of getting help, you know, with outside sources. And they understand a lot of these and this is how I see this as well. They understand that maybe a coach cost, I don’t know, 30, 40, $50,000 a year, you could say, right. But they understand that they have a $5 million problem, you know, or let’s say they run a $90 billion dollar company in revenue, but they understand they have a bigger problem than just whatever fee they’re going to pay to a coach, you know, for some advice. That’s one of the common denominators I would say about some of these guys and girls on the show, yeah.
Steve Rush: Got it, yeah. So with all of the leaders that you have worked with over your career, which is extensive across lots of different sectors. What are the key attributes that you observe that your clients are looking for when they are hired?
George McGehrin: Number one, I guess the best word is that they are engaged. You know, and engaged is, even when they interview, or if it is a phone call or even if it is a private or just a personal conversation about. How the family is? or how the kids are. They are extremely engaged with whatever and focused on the opportunity and opportunity does not mean just job opportunity, but they are just focused on what they are doing. And I think that the reason they’re able to be engaged is because they show up very well prepared. I’ve had situations where, you know, we’re candidate walked into the organization with, you know, like a 28 page business plan of here is exactly what we’ll do the first, you know, they just show up engaged. I think that is probably the number one attribute.
Number two. They treat everything as if it is their own business, even if it is not. They have so much skin in the game. It is just not a 9 to 5 gig for them.
Steve Rush: Right.
George McGehrin: I always ask the question. Sometimes I will say to them, you know, just in passing, you know, have you ever thought about just running your own show? Like why do this for, why not just do your own thing, you know. There is a lot of similar things going on and some of the response will be, yeah, that’s my next play. Or some of the response will be, I really love running a global team and I love the fact that, you know, what I’m doing. I can make it or I can break it. You know, this 150 year old company, you know, it’s like, I can either destroy them or I can make them something that they never even imagined. You know and they’d like that sort of risk.
Steve Rush: There is a bit of myth, isn’t there? That if you are working for an organization, you can’t be entrepreneurial, but of course you can. It is just different bets, right?
George McGehrin: Of course. Yeah, I would say everyone at that level is entrepreneurial and there is not really one person that isn’t. They are all entrepreneurial, right. And you are dealing with very similar people.
Steve Rush: Right.
George McGehrin: Right, in terms of some of the clients you are dealing with, I mean, would you agree. I mean, do you think there is a better word than the word engaged? I mean, has that been your experience with some of these folks as well?
Steve Rush: Yeah, absolutely. If lack of engagement from the very get go, means that you are never going to find that if you haven’t got it to start with. Right?
George McGehrin: Exactly. Well, the other thing too is, and I don’t know if you’ve, what I’ve noticed is the higher you go up in the chain, the more detailed questions you can ask and they really know their business.
Steve Rush: Yeah.
George McGehrin: And I think the ones that are sort of, you know, working on it, and there is a book on this, right? The E-Myth Revisited, but the ones that are really working on the business and not in the business, you know, they have a great hold of how to run a strong operation, right. They also understand the value of people.
Steve Rush: Yeah.
George McGehrin: They talk about people, processes. There people, skills are amazing and I was speaking to somebody last week. This individual, he runs a company, they do about $50 billion in revenue, right. Obviously super busy and I was on the phone with them for about 25 minutes, even on the phone, you know, he made me feel like I was the only person in the world, right. When obviously he has other, things going on and I think they have that special leadership glow. Right.
Steve Rush: That connection isn’t it?
George McGehrin: Totally, totally. And I’ve met some, you know, I’ve seen some of these world leaders speak, you know, live in person and they had that spark to them. And I think that’s one of the things that a lot of the leaders that I deal with, they have this amazing innate spark and an energy that they make you feel like you’re the only person really that matters in the world, at least for that 25 minutes and I think it’s a special skill.
Steve Rush: It is for sure it is and brand is also a skill, and often people don’t perceive that actually building your brand comes with a set of skills. What would be your experience as to what brand means for you and for your clients?
George McGehrin: Brands can be use in different ways. Right? So as a leader, you can use brand from a personal standpoint to find more opportunities for yourself. You can use it and this is a way that a lot of leaders use it. Brand also is a great talent acquisition tool, right? Where people want to work for interesting people, right. I mean, it’s very rudimentary basic sort of way to say it, but by having a strong brand presence. You are also able to attract way better talent than somebody that just has a very, you know, just a kind of, I don’t know if the word boring is correct.
Steve Rush: Yeah
George McGehrin: But the ones that do a better story and sort of that frame their story better and market, their own personal story, as well as the company story in a better light. They just in general. They just attract better talent, so that is another piece of it as well, that some folks don’t think about it. They think about brand just in terms of how they can, you know, more job opportunities, but partners and vendors and new deals, and there is all these other facets of why brand matters. At the executive level, you know, they are constantly selling the vision of their company. The culture of their company, sometimes the, you know, the good and the bad of their company. So the brand piece is extremely, extremely important. And this is a change that I have seen in the last 10 years. I would say, thanks to like LinkedIn, but you know, 15-20 years ago. I would never have a conversation with an executive about, hey, George, let’s talk about brand or let’s talk about my image, or let’s talk about, let’s talk about some of the bad news, right?
There is, you know, the reputation piece of it. And now it’s a common conversation I have with people about just the storyline and how they’d like to be perceived. You know, when you and I are talking from different parts of the world.
Steve Rush: Yeah.
George McGehrin: And the market is just a global market, you have to be aware and have to control some of that elevator pitch. And I’m not talking about embellishing the story, but you need to be able to be aware that somebody from, you know, I don’t know. If you are in the state, somebody from England might be checking out your LinkedIn profile, right. You might be doing business in Africa through a client that you met in Australia, right. It is just much smaller market globally.
Steve Rush: I like the principle of the story being the brand, because actually that is how it arrived in the first place. If we go back to when we lived in cave 50,000 years ago. The brand then was just about the emotional connection and the ability for me to tell stories and to hold court and to create that persona. And I guess that’s just morphed to the world that we’re in now, the corporate world that we’re in now, right?
George McGehrin: A hundred percent. I mean, I was on a webinar yesterday. It was not a webinar. It was one of these, I guess, these Facebook live events. And they were interviewing me and I didn’t say this, but the host did. I just thought it was an interesting, but they said, you know, perception is reality, right. And to some extent, that is correct. I think at the executive level, though, you have to obviously back it up with proof, you know, the proof is in the pudding, but people will only know about you, what you tell them. Right. Especially with all the access to information and all of the noise that goes on and all the, you know, I mean, it is unbelievable in terms of news stories, right? Like if something happens in Indonesia, you and I will find out about it within about two minutes of it happening, right? Now you know 60 years ago would have been, let’s say 30 years ago, it would have been in the next day, right. 30-40 years ago in the paper, maybe, but people have so much more access to information and there is this sense of being an obscurity. Being able to build your brand, takes you out of obscurity in some sense or another.
Steve Rush: It does, doesn’t it? And also I think perception is reality to a point and because we are connected across the world and we’ve got lots of different mediums. We can validate that much quicker too, can’t we? So if I think I’m right about this individual, I might double check that and I might look at LinkedIn, I might look at their social media profile. I might read some articles to get verify and validate whether or not the emotional connection I am feeling is the right one.
George McGehrin: Exactly, they call that I think social proof, right? and I have, you know, on the branding side, sometimes I’ll get referred to people and they, you know, when we start talking about pricing and everything else, you know, obviously they’d like, sometimes they’d like to do their due diligence, right? You know, what do they do? They go on and I think you have had the same experience, right? They will go online and they will just Google me, right? To see what I am about. You know, some people don’t pass the Google test, right? And some people do. So you have to be conscious of that now, as well. I mean even this podcast, for example, that you know, that you and I are on later on, if we Googled each other’s names, I mean, we’ll show up on Google, right? as part of a, you know, it will show up as a link.
Steve Rush: That is right.
George McGehrin: So you have to be conscious of that. You know, I guess, I don’t know if it’s a play, but I think you have to be conscious of the things that you do. And also the things that you don’t do. I mean, you have to be careful of what you say, and don’t say sometimes it will get out very, very quickly. And sometimes in the wrong way, by the way as a service and we were thinking about this, just because people are asking for it. They are asking now, executives are saying, hey, George, you know, how do I repair some of my reputation, right? Because sometimes, I mean, you know, but like a 25-30 year career, somethings, you have employees that were not happy.
Things happen, maybe negative news, right. With the company, as and ask, you know, we are thinking about offering as a service rep. It is almost like a reputation prepare, you know, for executives. Because it is like I said before, a lot of these folks have a half a million of, you know, $4 to $5 million dollar problem, you know, one ding and when you’re looking people up is a problem, right? I think you and I are sort of old enough. To realize you also have to deal with the person and see what your take is.
Steve Rush: Sure, yeah.
George McGehrin: You know, because sometimes people get, you know, what is out there. It is not always true. Right?
Steve Rush: Yeah, absolutely right. That is very true, and also people do screw up with good intention too, don’t they? And as long as we’ve used that as a learn in our life, and that’s been a positive experience for us, then we shouldn’t necessarily come with that worldview that because something’s gone wrong in the past, it means it’ll go wrong in the future either.
George McGehrin: Well, I think that is the only way to learn, right? and you know, just to give you my story. So we’ve got 30 people, the recruiting is an eight figure business. The branding piece is a seven-figure business. That is right, on those fronts, but you know, I think everybody has those. When I had to let go of the 50 people in 2009 you know, I also lost three houses as well, right. Everybody that has done, you know, if you have done it even remotely well, I am sure you have. I used to feel like it was a skeleton in the closet, but I feel like it was a learning, you know, you learn how to deal with things. And everybody has that story, that is what I’ve noticed, right? The ones that take risk.
Steve Rush: Demonstration an element of resilience that bounce back ability or whatever it was called.
George McGehrin: Yeah, you also learned to suck up your ego, right. Your ego is you have to learn how to, but everybody has that in their background. I think the ones that have taken risk and you could see it as two ways. Right. You could see it as, okay, the guy failed, or you could see it, the guy failed, but he got up and he did it again. Yeah, but it is just social media and the brand, and all of this comes into play. Also for candidates and this is just, you know, for people that have kids out there who are in university. You have to be careful of your kid’s brands, your children and sort of their brand as well on Facebook and Instagram and everything else. Because employers, you know, look at this and they look to see, you know kind of what they are up to before they hire somebody.
It is also important for somebody who is younger. Maybe this show, it does not matter to them but if you are in your fifties and let’s say, and you’ve got some kids that are finishing University. Their next employer, 110%, I know for a fact. They will be looking them up in Facebook and Instagram and see what they are up to, right. Before they even make a decision. Before they even interviewed them by the way. Not even just to see if they. They will look at the CV. Look at the LinkedIn profile.
Steve Rush: Of course, yeah.
George McGehrin: But then they’ll look at the other social media, you know, obviously Tik Tok and other things that are showing up now, you know, you have to be very careful as a younger person as well. And I see this as a mistake, a lot of the younger people are not being careful because I just think there’s a sense of immaturity. They don’t realize that in 30 years from now, you know, they’re going to, all these things will pop up and their kids will probably ask them certain questions about them.
Steve Rush: And I wonder if you notice whether or not employers are looking at parents, siblings, the social connectivity, does that feature now, as part of, you know, who you connected with, does that play out at all?
George McGehrin: I would say directly, no. I would say indirectly you see kind of who is in someone’s circle. We were referred to hire somebody on our team for an inside sales role. And it was a referral and, you know, from a Facebook group, that’s one of my team members was on. So then you can see who, you know, you can see the profile, you could see who they are connected to and some of the comments and to be fair, I think it gave the wrong impression of the person, right? Because you can kind of see the circle of people that they hang in, right? I don’t think it’s a tool that people directly look for yet, but indirectly, you know, I’m sure it plays a little bit, I mean, it did for us, at least, even for a basic inside sales role,
Steve Rush: It’s part of that social proofing, isn’t it? It is part of that validation.
George McGehrin: And maybe that goes back to a larger theme about sort of classism and right, and judgments of people before you even know them.
Steve Rush: Sure.
George McGehrin: And where people come from. I have a friend of mine; by the way, this is interesting. He is a multimillionaire, right. He grew up literally with nothing and he literally, you know, he moved out of the, he grew up in this very poor area. He literally, you know, he has business relationships. He does very well, but all of his friends, like his inner circle. They are all his buddies from where he grew up and he refuses, refuses. I was invited to a baptism from a friend of a friend and he just refuses to even justify, you know, like he hasn’t changed. His inner circle is the same as when he grew up. I tell him sometimes, you know, I don’t know who is right or wrong, right? Like maybe, he’s got it right. But he’s able to be himself sometimes, but I’m sure, you know, I’m sure. He has probably lost business opportunities because of sometime the people he is hanging out with.
Steve Rush: Yeah
George McGehrin: And they are nice people, just people make these judgements about others without knowing much about them. He is like the typical rags to riches story, just happen to keep the friends, you know, he didn’t get rid of their friends.
Steve Rush: I was out in San Francisco doing some business a few years back and bumped into a venture capitalist and we are having a coffee. And the one thing that resonated with me that kind of stuck with me from that point on was your Networth is equal to your Net work.
George McGehrin: Right.
Steve Rush: So if you’ve got a broader Network, it’s diverse and it can help support your growth of your business, that’s more like to help you succeed and conversely, of course, if it’s very narrow and very short.
George McGehrin: Well, it is also the mind-set, right. It is the mind-set of who you hang out with sometimes and sometimes the mind-set. I mean, I find that as well. I mean every client that we have now in recruiting, it’s based on relationship, it wasn’t because I, or somebody on my team sent the best, you know, sort of best email ever, you know, or it was the best, you know, it was the best call. It is mostly because of relationships, right. By the way, for some of your listeners that have, you know, businesses, there is a model. I mean, I call it the pay to play model. Where you can join some of these, some of these exclusive clubs or you can go to some exclusive restaurants or you can, you know, even politically, there is that pay to play model.
And that’s what people are doing, right? They are paying for access to make sure that their Networth is connected to their Net Work, right. I think that is what people do. I have a coach that I work with, and that was one of the recommendations, he had made. Is like, listen, you got to a certain level, maybe you now move to the pay to play model.
Steve Rush: Really interesting.
George McGehrin: Instead of, you know, you can get pretty much your whole core audience, right. In one room, you know, through a $3,000 dollar dinner, you know, maybe like in, you know, for some sort of appreciation, right. You have everybody there rather than spending 15 years to try to make that network up, right.
Steve Rush: It then can seem quite cost effective marketing in many respects, cant it.
George McGehrin: Of course, you are totally right. I see that a lot, right? Your Network is your, is your Net Worth. It is fairly true, I think to digress on that though, a little bit is. You have to give to people, and this is a networking tip, but you have to give to people, you know, give, give, give before you take. And I think the ones that play that, you know, the me, me, me, me game, it doesn’t really work out well for them later on.
Steve Rush: No, trust either. Right? No trust.
George McGehrin: I mean you have had that call, right?
Steve Rush: Sure.
George McGehrin: Where it is just, you know, you go at a dinner party and it’s, you know, it’s, but the ones that give. There is a book written, I think, in the twenties, 1920, so it is called Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. This gentleman, for 25 years of his life, literally all he did was interview extremely famous people, wealthy people, successful people, and he created this book for sort of common denominators and that’s all he did. His life passion, his life mission was to interview these people. He talked about all those secrets to some of these folks success and one of the pieces was the law of, I think I might be paraphrasing it wrong, but it is Reciprocity, right?
Steve Rush: The Law of Reciprocity, yeah for sure.
George McGehrin: Where I give you five or six people, right. Eventually, you know, things come full circle. You start throwing things my way and being genuine about it. You can brand yourself as well as you want, but you also need to be, in terms of networking. You need to be conscious of that rule. It is a great book, by the way. He also talks about; you have seen all these masterminds pop up in the last 5-10 years. I mean, you have seen that everywhere. Right?
Steve Rush: Yeah.
George McGehrin: So the original idea for, I guess, concept actually comes from that book. I think it is the number one, the most sold book ever, you know, business, self-help book ever. I don’t know if there’s another book that’s sold more copies than that book. So it’s a terrific book, so Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill written in like 1920s, but there’s so many things that are relevant to today.
Steve Rush: Still holds true!
George McGehrin: Oh yeah. It is a terrific book
Steve Rush: Thinking about then having created my brand, I have been really thoughtful about the stories I’m going to tell. And I’m now to take me to market, how do I do that without appearing needy, without appearing I’m selling or overselling myself?
George McGehrin: Well, I think the first thing, and this sounds pretty basic, right, but I think you need to think about what is your end game and what kind of client is your end game and who you’re selling to. I think that is the first piece, right? I mean, in our case we target executives. So our messaging is a little different than if I were to targeting, I don’t know, 18 year old kids, right. Or 17 year old kids, so I think the first piece is you need to figure out who your audience is right before you even start. The second thing is. I see this problem a lot, right. So somebody will start, you know, they will start a YouTube channel and a LinkedIn page and this page and that page, and then they don’t do anything.
You know, they work it hard for about three weeks and then they leave it alone. I think the second piece is consistency in terms of the brand. So I think you need to constantly, you need to be out there and active and that is a way not to screw it up. The third thing is I highly recommend this. I mean, you need to fish where the fish are. You might be able to sell your brand better in a Facebook group. Right. You might be able to sell it better in a LinkedIn group. You need to fish where the fish are and where the correct fish are. So make sure you do, you know, do your research to figure out where your audience is hanging out. I would probably dig in with one platform and just be the subject matter expert without taking, just give advice, advice, advice, advice.
I mean there is technique where they will go in and they will answer a question, right. About something, and then they will say. How do I know the answer to this? I know this answer because I run a successful executive branding company. That is why I am able to give you some great advice. There is no sales thing. You know, like if you need advice, call me. You are just a very subtle PS. I am giving you this advice because this is what I do for a living, and that is a great way.
Steve Rush: I call it brand gifts. In other words, I am going to give you a gift of information and I am expecting nothing back in return. So I saw this, it is yours. Here is my gift of information of insight and it strikes them as thought leadership, doesn’t it?
George McGehrin: A hundred percent, but you need to make sure that you are giving the advice to the right people, right? Like you’re not, if you’re a vegetarian, you know, giving, you know, you’re not, if you’re, you know, if you’re, let’s say you’re a meat eater, you are going to make sure that you’re in the right group, right? And maybe the advice is spot on, right? What you and I are talking about right now for a 17 year old is probably, they are 17 going on 34, right? You have to make sure the audience is correct as well with your brand. That is the one thing. I think one of the big mistakes is people. They sell this brand. Like they are going to conquer the 7 billion people in the world. And I don’t know if you need to conquer 7 billion. Conquer the 300 people that might buy your product later on.
Steve Rush: So, this part of the show George. I am going to ask you to turn the lens a little inward now and learn from your leadership because whilst you have been an ambassador and advisor and a coach to some of the top U.S. execs. What would be your top leadership hacks that you would share with our listeners?
George McGehrin: And this is what I do and this is what other folks sort of very well paid executives do. I would say they are experts at delegation. I mean, just without facts, just they are just experts at delegation, right? So I think the first thing is, you know, figure out what you make hourly. If you really, if you want to think about it, you can divide it by 2080 hours of work hours in a year. Let’s say like to make a million dollars a year, that’s $500 an hour, roughly. Be conscious of that task. You know, of even basic thing like email, right. You know, one hour of email for you would cost about $500. You could probably find somebody cheaper for 20 or $30 an hour, right. They delegate, but with a purpose, they know exactly what their hourly rate. They know what their costs are, right. They know what their hourly rate is.
The second thing I would say is. I am a big fan of the 80/20 rule. I mean, focus on two or three things that you are great at, and then the rest, let somebody else do it. That is the second thing, you know, and if you get caught in doing things that you’re not great at, then don’t do it. That drives revenue unbelievably well. And the third thing is, I think you just need to let go, like you need to not micromanage your team. Like your team develop their own skillset, let your team develop their own habits. You will find eventually that they can do the task much better than you can.
I was joking. I was on a call a couple days ago and I had to log into a website. I did not know the password to my own Gmail account. Right. You know, we use we used Google Business Apps for the business. But this is account, I didn’t know my own Gmail password because my team manages my email, right? So I don’t do email, but you need to let go and let other people do some of these administrative tasks. I think that is the number one thing I see for entrepreneurs and leaders. The ones that are like in the weeds, it just does not farewell for them later on.
Steve Rush: Super great advice. Thanks, George. This part of the show we affectionately call it Hack to Attack. And it’s where we are able to explore with our guests on the show. Times where they may have screwed up, things have not gone well, but they have used that as a learning experience. Now you have intimated a couple of those already on the show today, but what will be your Hack to Attack?
George McGehrin: Right, things I messed up on, I mean, number one, and I learned this the hard way, you know, 2000-2009 cash flow king, right? If you have none, you have to make sure they have some sort of reserves. You know, so cash flow is king. The other mistake that I have made constantly, you heard this before. Be very slow to hire people, but you know, fast to fire. I think, you know, the hiring process, you need to take your time and do your due diligence and make sure you get the right person because it is a disaster when they don’t work out well. Right. My team retention rate, I mean, I have not had somebody leaving and literally, it must be like six years now. And we haven’t had anyone to go. It just because we took our time to hire people, right. That was the number two mistake that I made over and over. I mean, I must have made that mistake a hundred times, right. Hiring the wrong people very quickly because I like the guy or the girl, or I just thought they were cool and they were energetic and they just didn’t have the skillset.
And the third thing is to have diversity in your clientele, right. So just don’t get sucked into like I did, with the Banks, or don’t get sucked into one type of, you know, you needed to have a different type of portfolio so that.
Steve Rush: Yeah.
George McGehrin: If one industry, you know, sort of hits the fan, you’ve got another industry to fall upon from a revenue stream standpoint. Those are the three things, so the cash flow, be careful to hire too quickly and then number three is diversity in your portfolio and your client portfolio, right? So just, don’t have one type of industry. All of these three things literally cost me two years of my life. Right, because it took me two years to rebuild, right? Just disasters, problems I don’t have now, but problems I had because I didn’t have that advice.
Steve Rush: Big lessons. Well learn as well.
George McGehrin: Oh yeah.
Steve Rush: Final thing we want to do with you George is just explore a little bit of time travel. And I’m going to ask you to pump into Georgia 21. What would be the advice that you would give him?
George McGehrin: I mean, at 21, my stupidity was greater than my intelligence. I would say, you know, maybe be wiser to the people that were giving you great advice and listen to them a little more and understand that they have been around for, you know, 40, 50, 60, 70 years. So I would say, listen to some of the older advice. Number two, especially as a businessperson and even if your work for a company. Focus on process improvement and focus on to some extent automation, right. Where everything today is really a big math problem and most of it comes down to process improvement, right. And continuous improvement and if you can slowly improve something, you know, 1%, 1%, 1% then later on you. The third thing I would say would be to make sure that you take. I probably take more risk. You know, I mean, I think I was a little too safe with some of the things I had done. I would have thought a lot bigger, you know, like, you know, for me thinking big was I’m going to make 200 grand next year, right. And then I made 200 grand. I was like, okay, I am going to make 300 grand and I am going to make 500 grand. You know, I never thought of; let me make a hundred million dollars. You know. I mean, let me make 300 million. And I think if you’re an entrepreneur, you need to think bigger and I would do that all over again and you know, if I could, I think bigger,
Steve Rush: That is great advice, and I am sure those people listening can resonate with that too. Final thing I want to spin through with you is that firstly, it has been super chatting with you, George. It has been really fascinating. You have a super handle on branding and placement and it goes without saying that, you know, in order to get into the space of competing at the top U.S. executive search firms, you get a lot of this right. If people want it to connect with you from today, whether they be future clients or indeed people just interested in the work that you do, how can they best do that?
George McGehrin: Right. So they can, so there is two ways. So first way is just to send a basic email, right? They can email us. It is George, G-E-O-R-G-E at, and then my surname, right. McGehrin, M-C-G-E-H-R-I-N, group.com. That is the first way. The second way is my LinkedIn is literally as 30,000 connections on it. It is maxed on LinkedIn, so now we are moving things to Instagram. Instagram it’s just exec_headhunter, right? So it’s e-x-e-c_headhunter. And those are the two ways and they can just google me. If they could just Google me, if they spell it 75% correctly, then they will find me.
Steve Rush: George, we will make sure that we put all of your contact details in our show notes, along with your email address, as long with your Instagram handle too, so that when folks are finished listening to us, they can click on them straight away and bump into you much quicker than having to search through Google. And from my perspective, I’m just delighted that we had the opportunity to meet George and thanks ever so much for appearing on our show today. I wish you every success with McGehrin Group and what, happens next.
George McGehrin: Steve I appreciate it and thanks for having me on, and then you are doing great stuff and I appreciate all that you are doing for everyone else as well, so thank you for that.
Steve Rush: Thank you, George.
Steve Rush: I genuinely want to say heartfelt thanks for taking time out of your day to listen in too. We do this in the service of helping others, and spreading the word of leadership. Without you listening in, there would be no show. So please subscribe now if you have not done so already. Share this podcast with your communities, network, and help us develop a community and a tribe of leadership hackers.
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