Before leaving for the holidays, Glenn left a book on the desk of every employee of Mercury Radio Arts and TheBlaze. It was The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea. The book presents a new way of doing business, one that puts the customer front and center. Glenn plans to use The Go-Giver as a model for his company in 2015, and invited author Bob Burg onto the radio show to talk about the incredible book
Listen to the interview below at 38 minutes into today’s show:
Below is a rough transcript of the segment:
GLENN: I have Bob Burg on the phone. He’s the author of a book that I absolutely love. It’s called The Go-Giver. I don’t even know how long this thing came out.
Bob, are you on the phone. How long did you put this out?
BOB: Oh, John David Mann and I wrote this in 2007, was in the bookstores in 2008.
GLENN: Okay. So I’m right on top of things. But I read this, I don’t know this fall and I’m changing my company a great deal. And someone gave this to me and said, Glenn, this is what you’re trying to do with your company. You have to read it. I was so moved by this book, I bought all 300 employees, I bought everybody a copy of the The Go-Giver and gave it to them for Christmas. You know, Merry Christmas.
BOB: I cannot tell you how honored I am by that, Glenn. To have one of my heroes embrace the book like that and give it out as a gift. It’s beyond being honored.
STU: Now you’ve lost credibility.
GLENN: Shut up. I didn’t know you knew who I was. But I’m flattered. But, Bob, tell the story of this book.
BOB: It’s about a young up-and-comer. Ambitious, aggressive well-meaning guy who is really frustrated. As much as he’s working hard, he’s very much focused on himself. He’s what we would call a go taker. We love go-getters because they take action. He was a go-taker. A guy focused only on himself. Who owed what to him and everything was about him. The very valuable lesson he learned was that shifting his focus from getting to giving.
In this context, when we say giving, we mean consistently and constantly providing value to each other. It’s not only a nice way to live life, it’s a very profitable way as well. It’s the actual ultimate embodiment of a free market-based economy. It’s about liberty. People willingly buying and selling and trading with one another. If you want to be successful in a free market-based economy, you have to focus on value, on thinking more about others than yourself. Bringing value to others.
GLENN: No. Capitalism done wrong is selfish. And you will never get anywhere. In the long-run it will all end. It’s the reason why Goldman Sachs has fallen so far. They used to be, let’s do the right thing for the client. Even if it’s the wrong thing for us in the short-term, it will be the right thing in the long-term. Let’s do the right thing for the client. It becomes service oriented. And capitalism at its best, how can I make somebody’s life better and easier? How can I help people? And if you truly love whoever it is that your customer is, if you truly love them —
I remember my father. He used to love watching people — he would come out in front of the bakery. My mom would run to the bank or something, he would work the counter. I remember my father used to give taste tests all the time to people. They would come in, oh, no, you have to try this. He would cut a slice of whatever and he would give it to them because he loved watching them eat it. He loved his customer. He wanted them to be happy. That’s the secret to capitalism, is love the people you’re serving.
BOB: You mentioned about Goldman Sachs and others — capitalism is the best regulator. It’s the best natural regulator because it punishes the bad. Punishes those who do not care about the customer and rewards those who do. This is why John and I say, money is simply an echo of value. It’s the thunder to value’s lightning, which means the value must come first. One of my great Libertarian heroes Harry Brown used to say, in a free market-based economy, profit is simply the result of satisfying the need of another human being.
PAT: Bob, something we’ve been talking about is this new net neutrality thing they’re talking about and trying to regulate the internet, which is the freest medium we have in the world today.
GLENN: Never been more free or freeing.
PAT: Never. Senator Ted Cruz has been talking a lot lately about this. And he brought up the telephone and the telecommunications act of the late 1930s. And that froze any — any sort of innovation for about 50 years. He said, oh, yeah, we did have the major innovation of touch-tone dialing. As soon as they took those regulations off, what happened? The world was revolutionized.
GLENN: We had the answering machine, the fax machine, all that within ten years.
PAT: Cell phones. Long-distance service went away. Just unbelievably revolutionized the world. How do you get it across to people that government regulations are not the way to go? The free market is the way to go.
GLENN: With that being said, how do you get it across to people that the best deal for you, if it’s not the best deal for the end user, it’s not the best deal for you.
GLENN: Stop thinking so short-term.
BOB: Here’s the thing: I truly believe this. The biggest challenge and the most important thing to do is to always go back to the basic premises. For example, we know that capitalism has resulted in a higher standard of living than any other system ever. Unfortunately, because of the government or the public school system or if the media, the mainstream, what have you, most people in America — not most, but many people in America today, they confuse cronyism with capitalism.
What you were talking about earlier, you know, buying special favors from government, from these bought and paid legislators and the lobbying. So I asked people, I explain what the difference is. And I often say that, you know, to make it stick, you know, cronyism is to capitalism what — or I should say because sometimes people will say crony capitalism and I hate that term because it misleads. But crony capitalism is to what capitalism what Chinese checkers is to checkers. Absolutely nothing.
Only when you — you know, when you can explain to someone — we have to do it keeping in mind their ego and keeping in mind that they’re probably well-meaning in what they’re thinking. They have been educated in a certain way. They have a certain worldview. As we talked about it in The Go-giver, all things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to people they know, like, and trust.
First, we need to create the relationship with them where they trust us enough to say, hmm, okay, maybe I’ll listen to this person and allow what they say to kind of sink in.
GLENN: So, Bob, I actually am very — at some point I’m really pessimistic because I see people just going down this road of, you know, giving government more power and giving crony capitalists, you know, a pass time and time again. But other times, I look at the younger generation, and I think, they’ve never been more free. They’ve never had more opportunity ever in the history of the world. And I really think that the younger generation actually does get it.
They want to do — nobody wants to go to work and just be part of a machine or a cog. They want to go to work because they want to feel like they’re making a difference. They’re changing something. They’re doing something of value. And do you have faith that in the world as it’s changing so rapidly, that without a real champion for, you know, the principles laid out in your book the go giver, that this will catch on?
BOB: No matter how much over the last 100 years, we’ve grown from basically a free market economy to more of a socialistic economy, no matter how much that has happened, especially of late, the entrepreneurial spirit of the American individual is so strong, that I don’t think it can be denied. And that’s why despite, you know, what we’ve seen with all the — the business unfriendly measures that take place, the economy still continues to grow. Not like it could if capitalism was unleashed. If government fulfilled their, you know, legitimate function as article four, section four in the Constitution. Protect from force and fraud and otherwise just create the context where people can live their lives however they see fit. If that happened, of course, we would absolutely explode.
But if I think you said, the youngsters today they kind of get it and they want to be free and they know they can create. And the thing about value is when value for value is exchanged, it creates a bigger pie. It creates a pie of abundance. We don’t need to redistribute a limited pie. Instead, we create a bigger pie. And that’s really what I hope The Go-Giver is about. That’s exactly what I believe true free market capitalism is about.
GLENN: Tell me what the big the biggest hurdle is. When people read this big, for me, it’s been hardest to convince businesspeople, old, lying businesspeople that being selfless and just saying, look, you know what, I don’t want to go out of business and I won’t do things that hurt our company, but I’ll take the hit here because it’s right for them. Let’s do things — like, for instance, next year I’ll give away one of my books. I’ll just give it away because I know that by giving it away, it will actually become bigger. The message is more important than any money I could make on the book. So I’ll just give it away. That is a hurdle to get businesspeople to say, wait. Wait. What? I need the exchange here for that.
No, you don’t. You don’t. You can do things differently and look for a long-term relationship of trust and decency that will far outweigh anything you can make in the short run. Is that the hardest thing to convince people of or what is the biggest hurdle?
BOB: I think the key is to act in alignment, act congruently with your values. The people that write the check for $10,000 for their local animal shelters, they’re doing that because it aligns with their values. They feel better about doing that than not doing that.
I love it when people make a profit because profit helps everyone. But the key though is to make a profit by providing much more in use value than what you take in cash value.
The accountant who charges $1,000 to do someone’s tax return, but through their effort, their diligence, their caring, they save that person $5,000 in taxes. They provide them with peace of mind and security, so the person who is the buyer gets much more in value than what they’re paying, but the accountant is very happy to sell his or her time for a thousand dollars.
But I love the idea you’re giving away the book because you also make a profit. Your profit is the joy of spreading a message that you just really love.
GLENN: In a world that is increasingly, A, you didn’t build this, it was the collective that built this. And then, B, you don’t deserve it, so I’ll just take it. How does a book like The Go-giver make the dent?
BOB: I have to say, that was a discouraging thing to hear from our president. To actually say something like that. I was hoping that was taken out of context, Glenn.
GLENN: I remember when I was young and naive too.
BOB: Yeah, that was like three months ago for me. And just, you know — when candidates — Hillary Clinton, you know, a couple of months ago states make no mistake about it, businesses don’t create job. I mean, oh, my goodness, gracious. You know what, I just hope — and The Go-Giver has sold about 500,000 copies. And John and I both really want to just keep moving it. We really think the message of free markets, of kindness, of doing the right thing, because you’re really authentically want to be part of the solution and be part of the value giving process. I speak at a lot of sales and leadership conferences, and I always within the messages of the The Go Giver want to — I want to point out the people like John Allison, the CEO now of the Cato Institute. The Libertarian think-tank.
And John Allison for 20 years, he led BB&T. Hugely profited. One of the few, one of the few banks in the country, one of the few banks that did not participate in subprime lending, making only conventional loans. Why? Because it was contrary to the values of the bank, which was to provide value for their customers, and he knew that didn’t.
He knew that the fiddling between government and the government-sponsored entities such as Fannie Mae as well as the cronyism, he knew it wasn’t beneficial. He did the right thing. When the cards came crumbling down, he didn’t need or want the bailout. The tax funded bailout money. Of course, they made him take it under a veiled threat. There are a lot of people doing the right thing. I want to focus on them and use them as examples of how go givers really do better.
GLENN: Bob, I’d love to have you back on television, maybe spend an hour, and you can go through the five laws. If you really want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem and you just want a new way of looking at business, I can’t recommend highly enough the The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea
. It’s how I’m building my company and resetting things. As I said, I bought 300 copies and gave it to every employee at Christmas. The Go-giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann. Thank you so much, Bob, I appreciate it.
BOB: Glenn, I’m totally honored. Thanks for having me on.
GLENN: God bless. We’ll talk to you again.