Businesses and money come and go, but legacy, ethics, and character are everlasting, and that’s what prosperous leadership is all about.
Successful companies and leaders start internally first, and my guest, Jacob M. Engel, author and CEO at The Prosperous Leader Workshops and Training, shares the five steps to becoming the prosperous leader that can scale your business, without doing it all by yourself.
If you’d like to develop a team that allows you to stay in the role as a true visionary leader, while they push forward your objectives, you’re going to love this segment!
Listen to the podcast here:
Prosperous Leadership with Jacob M. Engel [Podcast 216]
Have you ever struggled in your business with being able to get it to that next level, being able to surround yourself with a great team, maybe being able to let go of your role as the leader and as the entrepreneur, yet still, have the company grow and scale without it all being required of your effort? Have you battled and struggled with the idea that, “To be a successful entrepreneur, I’ve got to be willing to hustle and I’ve got to be willing to grind it. I’ve got to be willing to give up my family time and my personal life and my passions at home or my family and kids.”
What if I told you that many of those thoughts are wrong? We’re going to have a great discussion with Jacob Engel. He’s the Founder and CEO of an incredible leadership organization and we’re going to talk about The Prosperous Leader. As a son of a Holocaust survivor and self-made man, he quickly learned the value of hard work. He has become a certified positive psychology coach, certified Myers-Briggs Evaluator, certified 7 Habits Facilitator and has also been trained by Roy Cammarano in his methods. His leadership training hinges on the people that make a company. If you’d like to be able to have yourself surrounded by a team maybe even better than you, so you can wear the hat as the true visionary leader and innovator, then you’re going to love this segment. Jacob, welcome to the show. How are you?
Thank you, Dan. I’m great. It’s nice talking to you.
I’m looking forward to this conversation. You have such a fascinating background and we’re going to get into a lot of that here as we roll. Just to give context to our audience, Jacob, you talk about the idea of helping a thousand entrepreneurs and CEOs each year in this role of prosperous leader. Why are you doing what you’re doing? I always find there’s typically a fascinating backstory that goes to this. Why are you doing what you’re doing now?Understand your strengths and abilities and have an honest understanding of what you bring to the table. - Jacob M. Engel Click To Tweet
The reason why I do it is I started my career straight out of high school working for my dad who was a Holocaust survivor and a self-made man. He built a huge enterprise and I learned almost everything from him. He was a hard taskmaster, to be honest about it. I learned everything about business and we had a very successful business. When I became a COO, I had to reinvent myself but my father passed early on. He was about 65. It’s a huge void for me and I’m perpetuating his legacy by helping others because I was so helped. He was so gracious with his time and obviously, we did very well and that’s my opportunity to give back and perpetuate his legacy as well.
How prevalent do you think it is that most business owners take the Stephen Covey advice of beginning with the end in mind? Look at the idea of what’s this legacy as a leader I’m leaving in my business? What do you find out there as you’re talking to a lot of your clients and a lot of the people you’ve worked with over the past several decades?
Stephen Covey was famous for saying it’s all common sense that’s unfortunately not so common or not practiced. I would believe that people understand what legacy is all about and I’m surprised that so many people don’t get it. You mentioned before people give up their lives, their passion, their family, things that are sacred to them for the sake of something that should not be so sacred. Because they don’t know how to do both, they give up one or the other. The truth is that if you define your legacy, your why, your purpose, your mission and your vision, you can have both.
As you’re reading this right now, wouldn’t you love to have both? How great would it be if you could start now living and leading a legacy that carries forward and perpetuates the legacy and perpetuates The Prosperous Leader? Jacob has a lot of insights, wisdom and strategies to share with you. You’ve had this in many ways, amazing success. You’ve one way or another been involved since 1994, that’s a couple of decades and you started working in the family business in the ‘70s. This perpetuating legacy is not just languaging. This is a reality, like multiple decades. Certainly, I imagine some ups and downs as we all face in business. What would you say has been your hardest time or maybe your biggest failure so to speak? What did you learn from it and what can our audience learn from your experience?
I would probably say what I would call a failure but something that allowed me to reinvent myself was the statistics to family business is very dismal. Unfortunately, only 75% or so make it to the second generation. I know that we had this optimistic outlook of we can take this family business and perpetuate it for generations, but we didn’t prepare properly for it and we paid the price. That was probably one of the greatest failures in terms of as a family and as an entity. The entity is continuing so they’ve done well, but we didn’t understand the dynamics of a family business and how to take that to the next generation. That’s always been a very tough spot for me.
As you’re reading this right now, have you faced your series of setbacks, mistakes, failures, where it hasn’t quite worked the way that you thought it would? Think about this, as you’re running your business now, what do you want? Our show is Growth To Freedom, you probably want more of “Ah” and less of “Ugh.” What would happen to you if you became the leader to run your organization, to lead your organization, to grow it, to scale it with less stress and more freedom? What would that be worth to you? We’re going to take a deep dive into some of the insights and strategies that Jacob discovered in almost four decades of building success and success in leaders as a prosperous leader. If you’re looking for a way to become a prosperous leader and to spend less time on your business, wait until you hear the lifestyle that Jacob has and how he is living more, “Ah” and less, “Ugh.” There are so much you’ve learned in four decades about being a prosperous leader, talk about what is a prosperous leader and why should we care?
One of the biggest discoveries I made when I became a Chief Operating Officer is that I was in the people business. I started to search for all kinds of leadership training and growth training. It started to popularize in the ‘70s and ‘80s. I chanced upon the Covey Institute in Utah. That was probably my first foray into it and I spent there quite a few days immersed in the leadership training. Stephen Covey had just written his book which had become a bestseller and then translates that into courses and seminars. I attended one of his significant seminars and what I realized was that Covey has this great insight which is that it’s the private victory first, then the public victory. Victory over self, character, ethics and everything about internalizing first and then going to the external wording with it.
What I find is unfortunately too many books and too many people focused on the outside first, how am I going to impress people? How am I going to post all these? Social media is becoming the thing to do, but very few people put enough energy and insight into the internals. How do I become a person of character? How do I become ethical? How am I a person of legacy? Those things are so much more important because those are everlasting. Businesses come and go, money comes and goes, economies come and go, presidents come and go. Everything comes and goes but the legacy, the ethics and the character, that’s what prosperity is all about.Give your people the opportunity to grow, including yourself. - Jacob M. Engel Click To Tweet
That is such a powerful and simple insight. Start internally first because think about it, we all have seen social media. You’ve seen social media as you’re reading right now. Maybe you’re on social media. Is that social media truly an extension of who you are and your character and your values? Is there a disconnect? As you’re looking around in a lot of the different companies or organizations or leaders in the world, do you feel that it’s truly an extension of their character and their values or is there a disconnect? You can probably feel it. You might be saying to yourself, “There’s something off here.” What if you could get that in alignment? You could get it congruent. Jacob, if we’re going to start with the internal, if someone is I don’t know that I’d call it complete startup, but let’s say they’re interested in taking their business to the next level. What are some of the leadership strategies of beginning with the internal that you have found to be a transformation or a huge breakthrough for a lot of the different clients you’ve worked with?
I have a simple formula. I put it together for a presentation I’ll be doing and it’s five steps to becoming a prosperous leader. Step number one is to know yourself and know your strength. Benjamin Franklin said, “Know thyself.” Understanding your strengths and abilities and having an honest understanding of what you bring to the table. There are multiple ways of how we do it. I’m a big fan of assessments. You can do multiple assessments. I’m a certified Myers-Briggs, there’s DISC, there’s EQ emotional intelligence, growth versus fixed mindset and Carol Dweck’s work. Really understand yourself, what motivates you and drives you, your nature and your nurture. It’s hugely important. I find unfortunately people don’t spend enough time on that.
The second part is what I call to invest in yourself. I argue with people, “Did you buy a home? How much did you invest in it? Do you have a wife and children? How much have you invested in that or in other things, in your hobbies or in your cars? Every boy needs this toy, but how much did you invest in yourself, in your knowledge, in your mental capacity and in your ability to grow? We don’t invest enough in ourselves. I heard a question that somebody asked an MBA graduation group, “How many people since their MBA graduation have read a book?” None have. They’re like, “Forget it.” Reading is one of the most important things to do. I was a lousy student, but I was an avid reader and everything was through reading. Investing in yourself is hugely important. Get coaching therapy if you need to, leadership seminars, mentoring and self-improvement. That’s step number two.
Step number three is to believe in yourself. That is hugely important. According to research, we have over 50,000 thoughts a day and if they’re all negative, if we’re prophesizing our demise and our failures, that’s 50,000 times a day banging your head. There’s something called ANTs, Automatic Negative Thoughts. We continuously are consumed by them. We need to believe in ourselves. That is a hugely important thing. Positive psychology is very important in that aspect. There are a lot of great books out there, believe in yourself. Number four is to be accountable to yourself. According to Harvard, those people that have written goals are a lot more successful. Have an accountability partner if you need to. Review at your milestones and inspect what you expect because what you inspect gets respect. Number five is to celebrate for yourself. It’s okay to celebrate. You’re going to have a mini celebration. Celebrations are good ways of how to stop and look at what you’ve been able to achieve and it’s okay to celebrate.
It’s a powerful thing to celebrate self. Think about as you’re reading this right now, when was the last time you gave yourself a pat on the back? Maybe pulled out a sheet of paper and just said, “What have you done well now?” You’ve written in your journal, “What have you done well now?” You’ve gone and had a party for yourself for no apparent reason. When was the last time? I know that sounds a little corny and out of the ordinary, but in order to be extraordinary, you got to do out of the ordinary. If that’s what you want, if freedom, growth, innovation and being a prosperous leader is what you want then by all means, follow these five steps. I want to make sure I’ve got it clear because I’ve got a couple of pages of notes already.
Number one is to know thyself. Number two is to invest in yourself, believe in yourself, be accountable and celebrate. Imagine as you’re reading this right now, what would happen for your team, your company or your family? A family unit is a leadership unit. What would happen for you, your family and your business by applying these five simple yet very powerful steps and strategies? Where would you be in the next year, the next two, the next three if you put a focal point on mastery? Not just playing half-butt at this, but true mastering each of these five simple yet powerful areas. What would it do for you? Jacob, you have such a fascinating background. There are so many areas that I’d love to dive into. These five steps are powerful. What do you see is the biggest mistake that most business owners and entrepreneurs make on this path of leadership in being a prosperous leader?
I’ve befriended some Navy SEALs. At least, what I’ve read on social media is that up until a certain period of time they were not allowed to talk about their experiences. There seems to be some let up on that and it’s fascinating. Their history, their training and then they’ve gone into Corporate America. I saw two guys here in New York talk about what are the two greatest mistakes entrepreneurs make? They were so spot on. There’s a tremendous value in the Navy SEALs training. They say that number one is entrepreneurs believe nobody understands them, “My business is unique. You don’t know my problems. You’ve never been there and done that.” Therefore, they will not look for help because they’ve got this misunderstanding that nobody understands their uniqueness.
The truth is that anybody that deals with entrepreneurs, and I’ve had hundreds and hundreds of entrepreneurs, there are so many scenarios that are similar. It’s almost predictable what their mistakes are going to be. They have this feeling and I know because when we were in the family business, we also thought nobody understands us. Then I met a family business consultant and he knocked off everything that we’re basing in challenge because it’s so commonplace. That’s one of the big mistakes. The other thing is that there is this notion that people can’t be trained, people cannot be taken to the next level. We don’t give them the opportunity for growth and we write them off. I hear that a lot. A lot of write-offs, “This person will just never amount too much.” Honestly, there are a huge percentage of people given the right coaching and mentoring, including the entrepreneur, they can grow to that next level and give your people the opportunity to grow, including yourself.When you are delegating to people, delegate responsibilities, not tasks. - Jacob M. Engel Click To Tweet
Years ago, I had a chance to work with a guy named Marshall Thurber who works side by side with Deming with Toyota. Deming was famous for the idea that 94% of problems are system problems, not people problems. Then Michael Gerber who was one of my first early mentors and coaches in the early ‘90s, he says, “You want to build great systems so good people can run them.” We build good people to run the systems and it’s the systems that are the issue more than the people. When you build strong people, you can create records, you can create movements, you can create impact, growth, contribution and a whole lot more.
I want to talk about it. This is something that we’ve been having many conversations with some of our clients about. This idea of delegating and abdicating. We meet some clients who go, “I love the idea of automated marketing,” for example, but I need to abdicate it to somebody else who knows more than me. Whenever possible bring in a who that’s an expert, but there’s a difference between delegating it and abdicating it. First, as you listen to your leadership expert, define abdicating in layman’s terms for our audience to understand it. Then what would you say would be the difference between good delegation versus abdicating?
I know you mentioned that I spent time studying with Roy Cammarano. He is my mentor. I discovered him many years ago. He wrote a great book called Entrepreneurial Transitions: From Entrepreneurial Genius to Visionary Leader. It’s a great read and a must read by the way. He’s very big on the abdication versus delegation. There are a few very key important points. Number one, when you are delegating to people, delegate responsibilities, not tasks. Meaning, let them understand what they’re trying to accomplish. What are the goals, what are the objectives, the bigger picture objectives and how their work fits into the goal? When you delegate responsibilities, then you can hold people accountable for the results. Otherwise, what people tend to do is they go either one extreme or to the other, which is, “If I can control my people and I can keep my thumb on their heads, keep track of everybody and tell them what to do, I can control my business.” That’s a quick way to a heart attack and burning out.
On the other hand, what Roy Cammarano shows is when people are burnt out and then they say, “Just do what you want and don’t bother me,” then that’s the abdication part. They step away from it and then either they lose control of their businesses, which is not too smart or worse is they jump back in. According to Roy, they create the fire to jump back in. That’s terrible. That’s when you’ve messed it up big time. If you focus on results, you focus on goals and objectives, you can hold people accountable for the milestones, which is a lot easier than trying to hold on to your people and keep your thumb on their head.
A lot of entrepreneurs seem to love the idea of coming in to save the day like a superhero. They put their fire chief hat on and run into a fire and save people out of the burning building because things got to the last minute or a crisis mode. What do you see are some of the reasons for that and what can leaders do to hedge against that to have more success with sanity?
The metaphor is the firefighters. Even Covey in Habit 3 talks about urgent versus important, where leadership needs to focus on the important things, the effective things versus the urgent things. He’s got this great question, which is the best firefighters, “What percentage fight actual fires?” According to his statistics, only 2% fight fires. 98% is planning, prevention, training and systems. The more you do that and the more you plan, prevent and build systems and bring in people and empower them, the fewer fires you get to fight. The rule of the game is if you’re fighting fires all day, you’re doing something terribly wrong.
As you’re reading this right now, is there a possibility that you feel like you’re firefighting all the time or you’re fighting fires all the time? What if you made this three-degree shift and started realizing it’s about the systems, it’s the planning and it’s the people. The prevention ahead of time to focus on the important things way ahead of when they’re due so that you can avoid putting on the fire cap and having to run into a burning building in crisis mode and in distress and all these sorts of things. What would that be worth to you? That’s what being a prosperous leader is all about or at least a piece of it is about.
You mentioned Michael Gerber. I have a great story in my book about Michael Gerber having mentored me in my book. He is very famous for saying, “Leaders should focus more on their business than in their business.” That’s exactly what we’re talking about. Create the systems, create the plans and help others implement.If you do have a business, that's a great place to be investing. - Jacob M. Engel Click To Tweet
If you’re looking for a way to work more on your business instead of in it, become a prosperous leader. We’ve scratched the surface here. I wish we had more time to be able to spend, but where can people go to learn more about you? What are you up to? How can they reach you?
I’ve got a book and a website, TheProsperousLeader.com and the book is also The Prosperous Leader. There’s a lot of information there and a lot of great stories. On my website, I’ve got a blog, video and podcast. Hopefully, yours will join it. People can reach out to me through my website. I’m available and accessible and I’d love to hear from your audience if it makes sense for them.
If you’re looking for a way to have more clarity around being a prosperous leader, if you’re looking for a way to get greater confidence as a leader, to step in as the leader that you deserve to be, if you’re looking for direction and having a blueprint or a playbook or a map like what to do, it’s one thing to talk about, but what do you do? How do you build these core values from the inside out? How do you build internal systems and planning and such to stay out of the fire? If you’re looking for that, I encourage you to go check out what Jacob is up to. As we come down the home stretch here, there are several things that come to mind. We did some prep work beforehand. You have this unique way of thinking about diversifying that I found simple and yet powerful for people. Markets go through ups and downs, businesses go through ups and downs, but you have this unique three-part framework of diversifying. Can you share that and what can our audience learn from your diversification strategy?
There are few diversification strategies in terms of overall diversification. I’m assuming we’re talking about diversification in terms of investments.
Yes, diversifying your investments.
There is an age-old wisdom that I’ve been following for a long time and I’ve heard it again and again, which is, “If you’re going to invest, don’t place all your eggs in one basket.” It is a very famous expression but place them in three different baskets. Basket number one is if you do have a business, that’s a great place to be investing. Also, make sure that you diversify into real estate and real estate is a long-term investment. Markets will go up, markets will go down, but if you do it the right way, it can have long term sustainability. The third type of investment is what we call financial products. Now, they tell you to keep a certain amount of money in cash, CDs, liquid so that there’s money for all kinds of emergencies or in urgencies. If you have a business, think of how you can diversify out of the business into some other things as well. If you’re in real estate, the other way. A third, a third, a third is a great age-old wisdom that works. Ups and downs, it will work.
You have been at work since the ‘70s, multiple decades with lots of experience. Jacob is the CEO of Yeda and TPL Consulting. It’s been a privilege to have you here with us now. What’s something I should have asked you now that I didn’t?
You’ve asked a lot of great questions. I know that we’ve covered a lot.You got to be good to do good. - Jacob M. Engel Click To Tweet
What were you known for in high school?
I think I mentioned that before, but quite honestly I was a lousy student. I can’t say that my high school years or my school years was anything to write home about. My saving grace was I was an avid reader always. There’s this famous clip with George W. Bush who said, “For all A students who became professors and B students who became doctors and C students who became presidents,” it was in this commencement address. Even if you haven’t done well in school, you can be self-taught. You can go out there and invest in yourself. Leadership is a great part about investing in yourself and building up that repertoire of a lot of great things and reading is a good part of it. Spend your time reading. That’s what worked for me.
What was your greatest inspiration as a kid?
As a Holocaust survivor, my father in our family, I would hear those stories continuously. The impact of being uprooted from a country, losing family members, going through all the horrors, yet people coming to a new country, a new beginning, a new start and making it work. Obviously, necessity is the mother of all inventions but that tenacity, that grit, what they call it now, that willingness to start all over again was something that I grew up with. It probably a little bit rubbed off on me or at least I hope it rubbed off a little bit on me, but that’s something that was very inspirational.
You have a unique family life. You are home most days for dinner at 5:00. You have most of your weekends free for family stuff. You have many holidays that you take these days off. I don’t know many entrepreneurs that have that. What would you hope would be one to three action steps that our audience take from our time together now?
We touched on that at the beginning, the point of legacy. Legacy is greater than just the business that you’re going to build. It’s the impact you can have in a family, impact you can have in your children if you have children, the impact you can have in your community. Giving back to the community is huge. The more you give, the more you get back. Believe it or not, many of my clients come, not that I intentionally, but giving back to the community has brought me clients. Giving is receiving. At a certain point, you need to define what success means. I think balance, community, family, children if you have and helping other people will enhance your life. It will give you purpose, value and it’s very gratifying. Those are some of the things that people need to learn how to do it well. Obviously, you’ve got to be good to do good. If you have that opportunity to give back, you have the opportunity to mentor, you have the opportunity to create a better scenario for other people that might not have that opportunity, that is a great place to be.
Speaking of navigating, being good and doing good, we often say, “Leadership is as leadership does.” It’s a reflection. If you are going to turn to your wife who’s been there through many years, ups and downs and all these things and she’s shown up a certain way for you to champion you as a leader, an entrepreneur, a visionary, a creator, a builder, an artist in many ways and a scientist in other ways. What would you thank your wife for in how she’s shown up to support you to be you?
The greatest compliment is that my wife in her own right is a super successful person. She’s in the healthcare space but she has a huge purpose and mission and impact that she wants, that she does have people in the community and out of the community. Unbeknownst to herself, she emulated a lot of things that I’ve been preaching. She has a great impact on a significant mission and purpose. I think that her emulating a lot of things that I speak about is probably my most gratifying and probably my biggest compliment.
There you have it. I want to encourage you to take action with what Jacob has shared with you. I’ve got multiple pages of notes here. He gave you five steps to being a prosperous leader. He shared action steps as far as leaving your legacy, giving is receiving, giving back, be good to do good. Diversify not only your investments but diversify how you invest your time. Don’t leave the most important things for leftovers. That’s really critical. If you never want to miss an episode, go to GrowthToFreedom.com/subscribe. Jacob, thanks for being with us. It’s been a pleasure to have you here.
I appreciate it. Thank you.
Take action with what Jacob has shared with you. Go and be a prosperous leader first with yourself at home, then be able to spread that with your company. I encourage you to go deeper with Jacob’s resources at his website. You can check out what he’s got going on. Take action, seize the day, make it a great week. We’ll see you next time on GrowthToFreedom.com.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Jacob Engel
- The Prosperous Leader
- Entrepreneurial Transitions: From Entrepreneurial Genius to Visionary Leader
- Blog on The Prosperous Leader
- Podcast on The Prosperous Leader
- TPL Consulting
About Jacob M. Engel
Jacob M. Engel is Founder & CEO of Yeda LLC & TPL Consulting and leadership coach. As a son of a Holocaust survivor and a self-made man, Jacob quickly learned the value of hard work.
In 1976, as soon as he finished school, he started working in the family business. The business was growing quickly, so he had to learn and adapt just as fast. In 1994, he became the COO, and that meant he had to learn more about being on the business and good business leadership. In order to do that, Jacob read a lot and attended multiple trainings and courses.
Jacob became a Certified Positive Psychology Coach, Certified Myers-Briggs Types Evaluator, Certified 7 Habits Facilitator, and has also been trained by Roy Cammarano in his methods.
Jacob’s leadership training hinges on the people that make up a company; as a result, he encourages his clients to connect and empower their own employees. He has given numerous seminars, worked with many companies in training their managers and leaders, consulted for organizations big and small, and wrote “The Prosperous Leader.”