Relentless Improvement with Preston Weekes

Preston Weekes is the Co-author of, “How To Be Up In Down Times” he’s a business builder, an entrepreneur and Chief Strategy Officer/ Co-founder of Operations X. We can learn this from Preston in today’s show:

  • How your passion can become your career
  • How outsourcing can support your virtual working even more
  • Explore soul tips, mind tips and body tips
  • The power of relentless improvement

The Leadership Hacker News

Steve Rush: Do you believe in fate? In the news today, we explore a really strange twist of fate. A kayaker who discovered a message in a bottle floating in the Delaware river was able to reunite the letter with the woman who wrote it 35 years ago. Brad Wachsmuth, thought the bottle bobbing in the water about two miles off shore of the Broadkill River was a piece of trash when he spotted it in August.

It was just a few days after a tropical storm that swept through the area. He told WBOC-TV, as we usually do as characters, we try and pick up the trash out the water as in when we can, but Brad friend noticed there was something inside. And the two fished out the letter written by Cathi Riddle and their cousin, Stacey Wells dated 35 years ago, 1985. They described their family pets and they asked future potential readers if they had any of their own and amongst other things, any childhood musings. Brad took the letter to the Milton historical society and a curator had reached out to the family and put the two in touch. Riddled still only lived a few miles away in Milton, and Brad was able to reunite that letter to her that week. He said he was really surprised it ended up in the same waters decades later after the storms and tides, but maybe it was fate and maybe the letter had gone all the way around the world and the ride back in the same place, who knows? What we do know is two people come together for no other reason through connectivity.

And the leadership lesson here is whenever you send a message, you never know how it’s going to be landed. And indeed, when it’s going to be truly understood. And it’s fair to say, it’s unlikely that your method of communication is going to be a letter in a bottle, but please be making sure that you know what you’re saying, how you’re saying it and who it’s going to cause we all receive communication and we will interpret data and information subtly differently. That’s been The Leadership Hacker News, if you any quirky, funny, interesting stories you want our listeners to hear, please get in touch.

Start of Podcast

Steve Rush: I’m joined on the show today by Preston Weekes. He’s an author, a business builder, an entrepreneur. He’s a chief strategy officer and co-founder of Operation X and to boot, he’s at super, super car enthusiast. Preston welcome to the show.

Preston Weekes: Thank you. Thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here with you today. I’m excited.

Steve Rush: I asked you before we got on the show, you know, as a car freak, what’s your wheels? And I’m sure as people hearing your occurrence enthusiastic, just tell us a little bit about where the car enthusiastic come from and what is your drive at the moment?

Preston Weekes: Yeah, yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, I’ve been a car nut ever since I was a little kid. I was two years old and I’d ride around when kids didn’t have to sit on seatbelts, I’d ride on the bumper of my dad’s big Cadillac and he’d have challenges with his friends to name every oncoming car that we pass. And I could beat all his friends at two and three years old. So, I’ve been a car nut ever since I could walk or ever since I was born, but, and then I bought and sold cooler cars too. So, I could up my car from ever since I was 16. And but now, I’ve been lucky. I’ve had a lot of amazing cars. I don’t have anything too crazy right now, but I’ve got an old Z3M Coupe, they call it for the car enthusiasts. It’s got the nickname, the clown shoe. It’s a little hatchback, M3 motor. That’s pretty much full track-built car and got a few other fun toys up my sleeve too. But yeah, I absolutely love cars and anyone that likes cars or my immediate best friend.

Steve Rush: So, you’re the kind of guy that we want to be on a long journey with when we try and spot the oncoming cars and guess, the car game, right?

Preston Weekes: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. You want me on your team, yeah for sure with that. I’ve done a lot with cars. I’ve done a little racing. I was in Porsche Club and some different things like that. So, I just, I love, love, love cars.

Steve Rush: Awesome and of course you’re now co-founder and chief strategy, officer Operations X. We’re going to learn a little bit about what you do in the moment, but tell us a little bit about the backstory as to how you arrived in what you’re do now?

Preston Weekes: Yeah. So, I actually started in the car business. So indirectly led me into what I was doing today. So, I had to figure out how to pay for college. That was one of my challenges, I wanted to go to college, decided I wanted to go and so I was ready to go and had to figure out how to pay. I knew cars, so I bought and sold cars and helped me pay my way through college, paid my tuition. And when I graduated, I couldn’t find a job that paid me better. And so I went on and I went on doing it and I built a dealership and then built more dealerships and then ended up owning and co-owing 15 different car dealerships with a lot of verticals that came out of that from, you know, paint shops, to mechanic shops, to finance company and all the other things that went with it.

But it all started with one $1,600 dollar car. And I invested in myself and I had that $1,600 dollar car. The first time I went to the auction and went up there, got up to the auction and bought the car. I get 10 minutes out of the auction, the car overheats. And I chalk it up to a learning curve and I didn’t even have enough money to tow the car back to my area to my mechanic. So, I take like five hours and I limped the thing home and let it cool down and drive a minute and let it cool down drive a minute. But I ended up taking that and I thought, okay, what can I control? What do I know I can do? You know, I know I can do this. I know there’s different investments and things like that. But if I invest it in myself, I’m not afraid to work. I’m not afraid to do it. And I know I can have control over it. So, I did it and I kept doing it and reinvesting in myself and learn the business. And then I got two cars and then I got to 10 cars and then I got into my second dealership and then it just kept growing and growing from there.

Steve Rush: And little would your dad know that sitting on his Cadillac at two would create a business empire that allows you to then pivot away from cars to do what you do now. So, tell us how that came about?

Preston Weekes: Yeah, so the transition, so back in 2010, I was running my dealerships and trying to figure out things and build and grow. And as a business owner and an entrepreneur and especially a small business owner or start-up, you know, money’s always a problem and personnel is always a challenge. And I had the lucky, lucky blessing of someone coming to me and saying, hey, there’s another option. And I had a cousin that worked in an outsourcing office. It was based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She connected me with my first overseas employee. So, I started in 2010 outsourcing work overseas. And that became the weapon that all the other car dealerships didn’t have. It gave us the cutting edge above everyone else. It gave me the ability to not only, you know, grow and expand and be able to afford to do it, but also hire on people on my front-line staff too. And what it did was take my frontline salespeople and actually allow them to focus on the customer and allow them to focus on the sale and allow them to focus on what actually made the money.

And so, you know, going through that and seeing that, and, you know, really having that helped me so much and help me grow and, you know, do all those things. I thought, how cool would that be to be able to provide that for other people someday. And I continued to use that in my businesses throughout. And so, I was in the car business. I actually got recruited by a gentleman named Mark Victor Hansen, who is a famous author, one of the top selling authors in the world, known for Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, a One Minute Millionaire, lightning factor and a number of other things he’s got 59 New York Times, number one, best sellers. 309 best sellers, he’s just been amazing, but he sold the chicken soup company in 2008 and wanting to invest in renewable technology. So, he pulled me out of the car business.

He knew me, we knew each other and he had seen what I’d done in the automotive industry, pulled me out of there and we started renewable energy company. So, we went off that way for a while and built that and sold that, which was great. Now it’s put me in the position to where I can focus on helping other companies and helping these people that are going through the challenges that I’ve been through and that are trying to make it, or they’re trying to, you know, be more successful or grow their business or the ability to do all these things. And so, I love being able to do that and I love being able to be a part of that. And now I still work on projects all the time with Mark and I have these great people and we wrote this book together, How To Be Up In Down Times with Mitzi Perdue. Mitzi, her background is from a company called Purdue Farms. I think the third largest chicken company in the world and she’s just an amazing person. They ran Purdue Farms. Her dad actually started shared in hotels, which is you know, one of the more well-known hotel chains around the world.

Steve Rush: Certainly is.

Preston Weekes: So, she’s a pretty amazing person, but yeah, I’ve been fortunate to you know, be able to surround myself with all these amazing people and keep doing business to serve others. Because I think that’s all it’s about really.

Steve Rush: Serving other is the kind of core proposition isn’t it of Operations X now. So, when you start to think about how businesses are set up, one of the common mistakes I often observe in other businesses is that whole resistance to outsource. And you called it early by saying that you focused on getting your frontline people focused on the key activities, where they could add most value and removed some of the noise. What do you think the reason is that some businesses just get stuck and don’t embrace the opportunity?

Preston Weekes: Well, you know, people like control. You have an alpha, you know, red leader of a company, you know, they want to have control over their company. And so remote work has been, you know, a learning curve for people. And thankfully for me with this whole COVID thing, it’s proved it. Now I don’t have to prove remote work anymore. Now either people know, okay, remote works for me or I absolutely hate it. And it doesn’t work for my company. It’s going to make me fail, but you’ve got an opinion one way or another. You’ve got an opinion on remote work.

Steve Rush: Sure.

Preston Weekes: And often times remote work is incredibly successful, especially now with the emerging technology platforms and different things, the way we connect with people. And so, I think a lot of times, you know, that transition of going okay, you know, to go from, you know, overseas, people don’t want to give away control. And people also think about risk, you know, naturally, you know, I was like, oh, I send all my stuff away somewhere, someone I don’t know, you know, kind of a thing, but what’s interesting. And what’s really great that when people get into remote work, they realize these are just people. They just live somewhere else. It’s not liked some big, crazy conspiracy thing. If you find the people that have the skills that you need and communicate the way you want them to communicate, then there’s no reason not to work with people around the world. I’m going to get into it a little bit, I really think there’s some big changing trends coming up. Obviously, we we’ve gone through crazy trends, 10 years of change in three months across the world. I really believe that and I could probably go off for a long time about that, but I won’t right now.

But you know, looking at more changes in the pipeline, all the real estate and workforce situation is going to change. You know, what our office is going to look like for companies? What is a home environment look like for work? Who is the computer and the family and everything planned together with that? And so that stuff’s happening and a trend is going to follow that. Like now a lot of people are liking working from home because they go, well, shoot, I just had to commute an hour to work. Say, let’s say you have to commute an hour to work. We just picked up an extra over a work day by working from home. Cause over your five-hour work week, you just picked up 10 hours. If you work in an eight-hour day, you have over an extra day of your life back every single week if you’re working from home.

And so, you know, I think the trends going, keep going that way. And then I think another you know, side effect thing that’s going to fall out of that if people aren’t paying attention to right now and keeping their head up, they’ll find themselves behind the eight ball a little bit. Because let’s say remote works adopted. Let’s just agree on that.

Steve Rush: Right.

Preston Weekes: Let’s just say some percentage remote work, the world adopted it. So now, what’s stopping us from having borders on remote work?

Steve Rush: Exactly. What do you think is stopping us? Is there anything?

Preston Weekes: Nothing and it’s past perception. It’s trust, it’s control, you know, it’s those things. And in certain businesses, you know, there’s some of those things that you can’t overcome, like highly sensitive information and certain processes or Government things but most businesses, you know, you can get around that once you kind of open yourself up to it. It’s just been amazing; our offices are based in the Philippines. Most of the remote employees we’ve worked with have been in the Philippines, which has been a really great fit for our culture here because it’s predominantly, they follow a lot of predominantly western culture. There is things line up that are similar, you know, they tend to make those transitions easier. So, there’s less teaching, less understanding, less breakdowns and things like that. Once people understand, you know, that this sounds strange. I mean, saying it out loud, but when I meet with clients or companies here in the United States, initially they immediately think less of the people that are not around them. You know? So, they go, oh, if I’m going to hire a remote team, they’re not going to be as good as the team, you know, that lives on my street.

And there’s this weird kind of thing that happens. There is a breakdown and actually a lot of these people, I mean, they’re just as good or better than people you’d find. Because they’re just people, they’re just normal people. You’re going to find good ones. You’re going to find bad ones. And there’s some of the most hard working and talented people know all over the world. So, it’s going to be interesting to see, you know, what that looks like in the future with like the breakdown of work orders and then incorporation of AI into different things. I think our world’s going to get so fast in the next 10 years and I could go on and on for that.

Steve Rush: I wonder also, if you think about the dynamic of recruiting, somebody remotely, you haven’t got the physical biases that you might have when you first meet somebody, right? So, you haven’t got the handshake, you haven’t got the broader perspective of them. You might not be able to see their height, their size, their weight, all of which unconsciously, we carry some of these biases around with us, whether they’re good, bad, or indifferent, we all have them. And given that the fact that they’re not present, I suspect and I wonder if we’re more thoughtful about the recruitment process for hiring the person to their skillset directly.

Preston Weekes: And that’s actually, you know, an interesting thing because if you look at the mentality of hiring, it is very natural for companies to hire demographically, similar people. And you look at that as the culture of a company and you go well, and maybe there’s some advantages if there’s a very narrow niche market company that they’re dealing with, but you know, maybe they’re lacking some diversity and they’re missing out on some market opportunity or, you know, different things like that too. You know, that actually naturally happens in the hiring process where you go, okay, you know, you see a lot a company with a lot of older people in it. They hire a lot of older people. You see a company with a lot of younger people and they don’t hire a lot of older people.

Yeah, there’s interesting dynamics with hiring. And if you go back to, you know, just basically skillset, I mean, that does bring this raw authenticity to it. It’s kind of great and that’s where our company comes in is, we’re trying to help people because people don’t know, you know, people don’t know. How the heck do I do this? How can I trust them guy, give him my information, they are across the ocean, I can’t, you know, go knock on their door if there’s a problem? So, you know, we bring connectedness and we bring local representation too. So, say if you were replacing employees with me and I was your account rep, you know, you’d have your team there and they’d be working in our offices and we’d help them all set up and everything. But if you ever had a problem with it, you’d call Preston, say, hey, hey Preston, there’s a problem here. Can you help me figure this out? And we sorted out and we off boredom, we hired someone else. We figure out if there’s a breakdown in communication and try and resolve it. And so, we do all those other things to help support it because it’s our goal to make successful outsourced relationships work and make them last and make them strong.

Steve Rush: Super fascinating. You’ve written a book. How To Be Up In Down Times with Mark Victor Hansen and Mitzi Purdue. How did the book come about?

Preston Weekes: Yeah, so it was actually funny. I was in a consulting meeting with Mark and Mitzi. They’re both very good friends of mine. And we were talking and Mitzi was saying, it was very, very, very early when the first words of the whole COVID thing were happening. Mitzi is really, really smart lady that has a lot of a medical background and things like that. And she says, hey, I want to do a book that’s 52 ways to help keep people safe from COVID and her legal team said, no, no, no, no, no, you can’t do that. Someone’s going to get sick. You’re going to get sued. You know, you can’t go out there and provide medical advice to an emerging disease and no one knows anything about. And so, you know, she said that and she was disappointed. We were on a phone call and I said, well, how about you just do a book 52 ways to stay positive during isolation.

Because now the world’s going on lockdown. And she’s like, I love that idea. And basically, we started collaborating and just had this mind melt of, you know, flow of great ideas and brought Mark in. And it was just this brainstorm of positivity, our goal was to help people and give people what they needed right now. And so, we took all the information we knew and we took all the information from all the experts that we know, which that you could ever even want to access. But yeah, we put this together and we did it to serve people and we did it, you know, I mean, if you look on Amazon, we priced the thing as low as possible because we want to help people. We want to pay it forward. I want to up people’s lives right now when they’re having a challenge, when they’re having a downtime and that’s how all this came about. And so, it’s really from my heart and Mark heart and Mitzi heart to go on and help the world.

Steve Rush: And I love that principle because it is very philanthropic when you read it and you’ve got three kinds of approaches when you look at the book. You’ve got the soul tips, the mind tips and the body tips. And I thought, what would be kind of neat is if we maybe just take a couple of those tips out of the book, just to give a flavour to our listeners as to kind of how you’ve kicked it around and what that means. So, under soul tips, you’ve got negative news, how to deal with it. How do you deal with negative news?

Preston Weekes: Well, this is a big, big, big issue, you know, right now. I mean how I deal with it, tell you the truth. I’m probably a little more extreme. I don’t even have TV in my house. We’ve got all of our, you know, digital things and I get the news and I listen to news briefs every morning and you know, those things and we’ve got every sort of, I think, online streaming thing you could possibly have, but yeah, I don’t have any network television in my home because, you know, it’s just this pounding, pounding, relentless negativity, and really what you surround yourself with weighs so heavily on yourself. And a lot of times we don’t realize it, and so now I had a conversation with a good smart friend the other day, and he had a great reverse engineering idea, which I love that approach in life to reverse engineering everything.

But he said, if you’re stressed out or if you’re feeling anxiety, or if you’re feeling these things, he’s like, take a look, hey, just take a conscious look at what you’re watching. Are your TV shows, stressful TV shows as the news you’re watching, you know, stressful news that you’re consuming because you’re putting in all these subconscious factors into your body and into your mind and it sits in you and it stays. And I mean, in the beginning of the soul kind of section, I have a chapter called your position in the world really quickly to kind of pin that down. It all comes down to yourself. We really need to take care of ourselves because if we can’t take care of ourselves, then it’s so much harder to go take care of. It’s inauthentic to go take care of other people.

Steve Rush: It is.

Preston Weekes: And so, we really need to have that solid, solid grounding. And then that, you know, we give a lot of different tips to do that and go through these different, you know, methods to go, okay, you know, how can we get cantered? How can we do this? How can we be better? How can we, and then, you know, move on from there. What’s the next step?

Steve Rush: That’s great and under mind tips. One thing that really intrigued me when I read that was around how music brings results. Just tell us a little bit about the research that you’ve done that.

Preston Weekes: Yeah, so I am friends with a guy named Dr. Bernard Bendok. He’s the head of neurology for Arizona. And he’s a head of neurology for the Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinics are really a really prestigious hospital. So, he is like literally one of the top, top guys with brains. And I had the amazing experience of sharing Easter with him. And so, we were just sitting there chatting. He was telling me about the two ways to basically, you know, make your brain strong and make your brain last. Because there’s always things like Alzheimer’s and dementia and things that people fight. And how do we make that better? How do we make our brain more powerful? And he said, he gave me the two tips and one of them is music and the other one is actually language. He said the two most powerful, interactive things in all the studies they’ve done when they tear apart the top of your head. And they plug in all those electrodes and they see what’s firing when they do these tests because you’re awake when they do the brain surgeries, which is so amazing anyway, but they actually have people come in and they’re playing the piano and doing things. And they’re doing these tests on them and music lights up more places in your brain than pretty much any other function of what you can do. And so, it’s one of the top exercises. And what Dr. Bendok says is that your brain is like a muscle, you know, and just like exercising, like if you get a cast, if you break your arm and your arms stuck in a cast, can’t use it. You get your cast off four weeks later and your arm is weak, it’s not strong, it’s fatigued. Well, your brain’s the same way.

And so, if we’re not doing things and you know, daily, to push our brains to try to do something, to try to learn, to try to do that, then our brain is like that muscle its fatiguing. I mean, it might be kind of, you know, staying there. So, I have a mantra called, I like to say relentless improvement, and I have this theory that the world’s always moving. So, it’s literally is, the world’s moving. I am sitting here in my office. I’m not moving, but everything around me is moving. All these people are doing things, always, you know, people are getting things done, they’re working, they’re learning, you know, life’s happening around me. And so that’s creating this motion, this inherent motion around me, that’s always happening. And so, I am either progressing or digressing, if everything around me is moving forward. And I’m not, then I’m going backwards.

Steve Rush: That’s really a neat way of looking at it, actually.

Preston Weekes: Yeah, that’s a little personal, you know, that’s from my life of action training stuff. So back to the music thing, you know, if we can do things like, you know, learn a new instrument that will help your mental acuity, you know, throughout late into your life. So, we should always be trying to do those things. I bought a drum set the other day. Well, not the other day, a couple months ago, but I don’t know how to play drums, but I’m stuck at my office. And when I want a break, I put my headphones on and I just go rock out. And it probably sounds terrible, but I’ve got noise cancelling headphones on my head. And I sound like a rock star, I don’t care. And I’m having a lot of fun.

Steve Rush: But it’s also a kind of therapy as well, Isn’t it? Because from mindful perspective, when you really focus on a piece of music, you just love.

Preston Weekes: Oh yeah.

Steve Rush: You don’t think of anything else. You just get focused in the moment, which also not only is it a stimuli, you become more centred because you’re more mindful.

Preston Weekes: Oh, and the drums are too. Because it’s like a physical manifestation of your, you know, beating of your rhythm and so, I like it.

Steve Rush: Yeah Lovely. And then in your body tip section, one thing that I found really fun to get my head around was you have this section called, don’t forget your thumbs. Tell us about that?

Preston Weekes: Well, you know, what’s funny, I myself personally am kind of an OCD hand cleaner.

Steve Rush: And even more so now, I guess?

Preston Weekes: Yeah, even more so now, but you know, just going back to it, like the body tips, you know, the body tips itself, don’t forget your thumbs. These things that we do to our body and we have that Tyler, your health as well, but kind of starts out, you know, the body section, but you know, really taking care of yourself and paying attention to those details and not missing it and thinking about it and being conscientious, you know, I mean with the whole pandemic thing and the whole, you know, getting sick thing. And I think a lot of times people don’t realize, and I think it’s just being aware, you know, how much you touch things and you know, like I watch it because I’ve got kids.

And so, you know, my kids, I will go wash your hands, you know, say, go wash your hands, make sure they wash your hands really well. And then they turn around and they grabbed a toilet and like, well, okay, that was pointless now. And so, if we’re washing our hands, I mean, it’s such a silly thing. You know, you wash your hands and people don’t think about their thumbs. They would rub their hands together and they don’t get through. So, it’s their attention to detail. Like bringing that little attention to detail, but that’s one thing with the book is, you know how to be up in down times with having soul mind and body tips. You know, they’re fun tips, they’re quick, easy reads. And what we want to do is look at it comprehensively, because if you’re sick, you know, your mind’s not going to be doing well. You can’t be focusing. You can’t be exercising. You can’t be doing all these things. So now all these things go all hand in hand together to make us be vehicles and positivity and to be vehicles of change and to be able to make a difference and to be able to help come out of, you know, these crazy things and these crazy times that are happening.

Steve Rush: Right, definitely so. So, at this part of the show is where I get to turn the leadership lens on you. So, you’re not only a business builder for others, but you run your own businesses. And as such, you’ve been a leader for a number of years. So, this is where I want to tap into your leadership thinking, your leadership brain. And the first place I’d like to start is if you could just share our listeners, what would be your top three leadership hacks?

Preston Weekes: Top three leadership hacks. I would say my mantra. Number one is relentless improvement. You always need to be improving. So, leadership hack, you got to keep your head up. So relentless improvement. Leadership hack, number two. I would say is don’t be afraid to fail and an extra one too, that kind of goes along that don’t be afraid to fail is if you do fail, you’re not a failure. And you know, I think a lot of people have a hard time differentiating that. If they have a business that fails or an idea that fails or a part of a business that fails or plan or product, you’re not a failure, it’s just that thing. You just got to get back up and keep that relentless improvement, so don’t be afraid to fail.

Steve Rush: Right.

Preston Weekes: And then find, you know, a leadership hack is, know deeply what your weaknesses are and fill those weaknesses with people that are strong in those areas. I would say that is huge, huge. Being able to acknowledge, you know, what your weaknesses are because a lot of times leaders have challenges doing that. And because we want to be that person that knows everyone, everything and can do everything. And if you can go, no that’s not me. And surround yourself by a team that is that then you can be really powerful.

Steve Rush: They are Super great hacks Preston, and thank you. So, the next bit of the show is we call Hack to Attack. And this is where something in your past, hasn’t gone as well as you’d anticipated, and maybe something screwed up or we’ve bumped into some adversity. But as a result of whatever’s happened, we’ve now learned from that. And it’s become a lesson in our life. What would be your Hack to Attack?

Preston Weekes: Yeah, Hack to Attack. I think a hack to attack. It goes back to a story that I would say, I would title, let people fail. I’m a hard worker. I’m a doer, like figure things out. You know, I’m the type I think I can do anything. And, you know, leaning teams, I found back a long time ago that I was leading these teams and I had a number of employees and I’m bouncing around from location to location. Things are good, but I’m just busier than I’ve ever been in my life. And I’m doing everything, you know, someone’s got a problem I’m running over there. You know, trying to get things done and trying to get fast. I’m fixing it, so my assistant comes up and they say, hey, I can’t figure out how to do this. So, I just do it and I fix it and my account comes up and says, hey, you know, I don’t know how to do this. So, I just kind of do it and fix it. And then my sales guy goes, oh, I can’t close this client, can you come help me close this client? And then the detail guy is like, I can’t fix this part or get this stain out of the car. So, I go over and I just do it, but it hit me that this epiphany of growth, you know, transition in a company to go, hey, I am growing and I’m doing all these things. And I’m the one who knows how to do all these things. Because I built this business and I have a certain way I want them done, but I need to let these people go out and fail so they can learn because if I don’t let people fail and I don’t let people learn, I don’t let people go out and do it on their own. Then I’m just creating more jobs for myself and I’m not replicating myself. I’m just creating more burdens for myself.

And so, you need to have that runway with your employee team, you know, to have them go out and fail and do and go out and fail and do. It’s just liked my virtual assistant that I have for myself that she helps me with. She’s doing stuff for me right now as we’re talking. But there’s things that are probably beyond her ability level from me learning. I have her do those things all the time. I go, hey, go write this. I might not even use it, but it might give me some good ideas, you know, of what I’m going to do. But I like to push people and push my employees so that they can learn and they can grow, which was the opposite of what I was doing, which was a big failure. All of a sudden, you know, I’m at one of my locations, I got 11 employees at the lot and I show up at that lot, all of a sudden, I have 11 jobs. And everyone’s running up to me to do all those jobs. And so, it’s really differentiating that from management position going, okay, you know, you set your employees up for success and let them fail.

Steve Rush: And reframing the failure of a task is just another way of saying I’ve learned something new.

Preston Weekes: Yep, exactly. And then it goes back to relentless improvement.

Steve Rush: Yeah, definitely. The last thing we want to explore with you today Preston. Is if you had the opportunity to do a bit of time travel now. You get to go back to when you were 21 and give yourself some advice. What’s it going to be?

Preston Weekes: You know, if I were going to go back and give myself advice, I would say, there’s so many things I would want to say, but yeah, I really, really like starting things grassroots. And I had a bunch of car dealerships that I started, you know, with my own money and finance and then I had a business partner and then I got to this point where I had some issues with the business partner. So, I wanted to leave, so I left the business partner, started up another company and replace that business partner with financing, his portion of that company. My 2020 hindsight and advice to look back is if you have the ability to not finance anything in your company and do it from a grassroots to build equity, do it because in the beginning it might be worse, but in the long term, it’s in the end. And I mean, I’ve done okay. I’ve been fine, I’ve been aggressive and keep fighting. But I look back at that and go, okay. If I had done that with that company, you know, differently, I might have more money to do more things with. So that’s, that’s one of those, you know, learning courses to go, okay, if you can build your own equity instead of building financing and working for the banks, start small and get nitty gritty and fight it out because 10 years later you’ll be happy you did it.

Steve Rush: I like that. People often have the perception that, you know, financing helps you grow quicker, but actually can hamstring you if you don’t get your supply chain, right. You don’t get your inventory right, et cetera, versus that does come with it though. The rub of, you need to be more patient if you’re going to grow organically. And that’s the rub I guess, isn’t it?

Preston Weekes: And just to bring even a little bit more depth to that comment of my story, you know, on that lot, when we shut that lot down you know, I had 15 dealerships. And when we shut that lot down, you know, that was one coming out of the partnership. And, you know, we had car inventory that we owned, which was fine, and it was good. When we shut that lot down, but we also had a million and a half in financing. And if we didn’t have a million and a half in financing during the course of that car lot existence, that million and a half would have been equity.

Steve Rush: Right.

Preston Weekes: And so, life would look a little different in between. But yeah, so that’s my look back, old wise words.

Steve Rush: Great lessons. Thanks for sharing that with our listeners too. So as folk have been listening to you speak today Preston and they may be thinking, where do I find out a little bit more about Operations X? How do I find out a little bit more about How To Be Up In Down Times? And what about the work that Preston doing? Where would you like to send them?

Preston Weekes: Yeah, I mean, mostly everything you can find is on operationsx.com, it’s operations with a plural and then just the letter x and so you can check me out on LinkedIn. LinkedIn, I think it’s backslash energy guy is my profile or whatever, but yeah, Preston Weekes, W-E-E-K-E-S and I’m happy to help people, you know, it’s just truly, truly my mission to make other entrepreneurs succeed. And I absolutely love and appreciate all these amazing business owners and CEOs that I get to coach and consult with and work with to help grow their businesses. It’s absolutely so much fun. I met so many amazing people along the way, like Mark Victor Hanson and Mitzi, and just these crazy big leaders of, you know, our country, billionaires and Andy Stevens and Traymore Crowes and Ben Carson and all these cool people, I have had a lot of fun.

Steve Rush: And you know, the best thing about working with great people like this is that you never stop learning either. And that’s what I love about what I do too.

Preston Weekes: Yep, That’s your relentless improvement!

Steve Rush: And it is, for sure.

Preston Weekes: Yep, awesome.

Steve Rush: Preston from my perspective, I just want to say massive thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to be with us today on The Leadership Hacker Podcast, you’ve been a super guest and good luck with whatever you do next.

Preston Weekes: Absolutely, thanks so much for having me. Stay safe, great talking to you. Keep up the amazing work and everyone out there have a fantastic day.

Preston Weekes: Thanks very much Preston, take care.

Closing 

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.

Finally, if you would like me to work with your senior team, your leadership community, keynote an event, or you would like to sponsor an episode. Please connect with us, by our social media. And you can do that by following and liking our pages on Twitter and Facebook our handler their @leadershiphacker. Instagram you can find us there @the_leadership_hacker and at YouTube, we are just Leadership Hacker, so that is me signing off. I am Steve Rush and I have been the leadership hacker

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