Robert D. Smith is a master of branding and a creative force. For decades, he has managed the career of best-selling author and speaker Andy Andrews. In addition to his work with Andy, he is regularly sought after by some of the biggest names for his expert advice, creativity, and innovative approaches.
“Whether you think it or not, you are a brand.” @TheRobertD
Most people know Robert as THE Robert D. His energy is so intense that, to prepare, I downed a double espresso before our interview. I shouldn’t have bothered because just talking with him is like plugging into an unending energy source.
In our video interview, you will hear THE Robert D’s advice on building a personal brand.
What’s the number one question that THE Robert D asks himself to know whether a person will succeed? Drum roll….
Are you coachable?
Interestingly, when I hire an executive, that is also my number one question. Because if you are not teachable, it usually means you are arrogant. If you aspire to serve others, you are always trying to remain coachable.
“Winning is defined by the legacy you create.” @TheRobertD
Recently, I was visiting Nashville and met Jimmy at an event to raise money for the Salvation Army.
Saved By Love
Do you know how this country music star got his first guitar? If you have participated in the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program, you will have the answer. That anonymous gift was the beginning of a musical journey. Each year children in need fill out angel tags containing gift wishes and place them on a tree. Jimmy received his first guitar through this program. You can make a dream come true by helping others through the Salvation Army’s program.
After reading his compelling story and speaking with him, I thought about 7 lessons Jimmy Wayne taught me about giving and sharing.
Jimmy taught me to:
1. Give the gift of encouragement.
As a homeless teenager, Jimmy befriended an elderly couple, who took him in. When he speaks of this couple, and the words of love and appreciation they expressed to him, you will be reminded of the power of encouragement. Contrast that to the words spoken by a prison guard; words that, to this day, still seem to haunt him.
Use every opportunity to encourage others with words of love and appreciation.
Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Bob speak. His platform skills were on full display. I watched him mesmerize the audience with his energy and command of the stage. He inspired everyone to make a difference with his message of service and influence.
After his terrific presentation, I had the opportunity to talk with Bob about serving others and influence. In this video, we discuss:
After the interview, I decided to follow up with him to ask when leaders need to abandon or re-evaluate a strategic plan. I have seen executives stick with a plan and others modify or abandon a plan. Most leaders don’t want to open up the plan over and over because it shows indecisiveness, a lack of confidence or it creates confusion. That said, there are times when a major review or rewrite is important. So, I asked Rich:
When is revisiting the plan the right thing to do?
The ability to modify strategy at the right time can literally save or destroy a business. Here is a checklist of five moments when it is critical to evaluate your strategy.
1. Goals are achieved or changed.
Goals are what you are trying to achieve, and strategy is how you’re going to get there.
It makes sense then, if the destination changes, so too should the path to get there. As you accomplish goals and establish new ones, changes in resource allocation are often required to keep moving forward. In some cases, goals are modified during the course of the year to reflect changes in the market, competitive landscape, or customer profile. It’s important to reflect on the strategy as these changes occur to see if it also needs to be modified.
“Goals are what you are trying to achieve, and strategy is how you’re going to get there.” -Rich Horwath
The endgame of business strategy is to serve customers’ needs in a more profitable way than the competition. But, as the makers of the Polaroid camera, hard- cover encyclopedias, and pagers will tell you, customer needs evolve.
The leaders skilled in strategic thinking are able to continually generate new insights into the emerging needs of key customers. They can then shape their group’s current or future offerings to best meet those evolving needs.
“The endgame of business strategy is to serve customers’ needs in a more profitable way than the competition.” -Rich Horwath
Innovation can be described as creating new value for customers.
The new value may be technological in nature, but it can also be generated in many other ways including service, experience, marketing, process, etc. It may be earth shattering, or it may be minor in nature. The key is to keep a tight pulse on your market, customers, and competitors to understand when innovation, or new value, is being delivered and by whom. Once that’s confirmed, assess your goals and strategies to determine if they need to be adjusted based on this new level of value in the market.