Jon Acuff: New York Times Bestselling Author on How to Change Your Company’s Culture
This week, we sit down with Jon Acuff, New York Times bestselling author of seven books, including his newest release, Soundtracks: The Surprising Solution to Overthinking. He’s an INC Magazine Top 100 Leadership speaker and has spoken to hundreds of thousands of people at conferences and companies around the world including: FedEx, Nissan, Microsoft, Lockheed Martin, Chick-fil-A, Nokia, and Comedy Central. His large and highly engaged social media following includes nearly 300,000 Twitter followers, more than 187,000 Facebook followers, more than 125,000 Instagram followers, and more than 90,000 email subscribers who look to him for his unique blend of humor, honesty, and hope. He lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife and two teenage daughters.
The views, information, or opinions expressed during this show are solely those of the participants involved and do not necessarily represent those of SouthState Bank and its employees.
Announcer: Helping Community Bankers grow themselves, their team, and their profits. This is the Community Bank Podcast.
Erik Bagwell: Welcome to the Community Bank Podcast I’m Eric Bagwell Director of Sales and Marketing with the correspondent division of South State Bank and joining me today on the show is Caleb Stevens. Caleb is the Business Development Officer and the producer of the Community Bank Podcast. Caleb, what’s going on?
Caleb Stevens: I just got back from the breakers in Florida, and it was a great trip, good to see some folks I told Tom a few episodes ago, you’re kind of having to remember how to talk to people because you’ve just been used to doing zoom calls and phone calls. You know so it’s fun to shake some hands and see some real people live in person.
Erik Bagwell: No doubt, I think we all got to kind of hone up on our polish on upon our people skills in person because no doubt we were not used to seeing folks again, but we’ve got a great show today. This one was a long time coming, Caleb, I remember when you book this you sent me an email or a text and you’re really excited. You sat down with Jon Acuff. Jon’s a New York Times bestselling author and speaker. He’s worked with Dave Ramsey in the past, he’s taught the company or talks to companies all over the globe, tell us about this interview and I know he’s got a new book out as well talk about it.
Caleb Stevens: Yeah, Jon’s got a knack for communicating business principles in a way that’s packaged with humor. His books are hilarious he’s written a book about finishing goals he’s written a book about starting over a brand-new career. This latest book is kind of all about unwritten rules he calls them soundtracks that sort of play in your head or plays in your company’s culture, and then I like when he talks about an interview, he talks about how oftentimes we say one thing in the boardroom, but we say the truth in the break room. And so talking about how you really want to have consistency across your culture, and so this was a good discussion he is very well known in a lot of circles like you said he worked with Dave Ramsey. He’s spoken to Boeing and Chick-fil-A and Home Depot and a lot of big companies all across the globe and so really excited for folks to hear this interview and I hope you get a lot of laughs out of it I know I did. He’s a really funny guy.
Erik Bagwell: All right, well let’s get to the interview with Caleb and Jon Acuff. Thanks, guys for listening
Caleb Stevens: Jon Acuff, it’s good to have you on the Community Bank podcast today thanks for joining us this Friday afternoon, how are you up in Nashville?
Jon Acuff: I’m good, thanks for having me. I’m looking forward to it.
Caleb Stevens: Give us A little bit of your background so for a lot of folks listening this may be their first introduction to Jon Acuff I’ve read. I think five out of your seven books in fact I remember I was a senior in college when I read Do-Over, and that book hit me at the perfect time it’s funny. It’s funny how whether or not you love a book I think isn’t so much I think the content really matters, but I think it’s also the time in your life, which you read that book that has a huge impact on how you view it.
Jon Acuff: Oh totally, I 100% agree. Background it’s fun to talk to somebody from Atlanta, we actually live in Atlanta at one point. So, grew up in Massachusetts, went to school in Birmingham, Alabama, a school called Sanford. Studied marketing and advertising and journalism, worked in Boston at some big companies like Staples and Bose moved to Atlanta with my wife, she’s from Atlanta. I worked for Home Depot Corporate and Autotrader and some other great companies out there. And then started blogging on the side and that blog turned into a book turned into a speaking career turned into spent three years working with Dave Ramsey up in Nashville, which brought us here where we live now. And then eight years ago realized you know what I want to start my own business, I want to be an entrepreneur full time and so I started my own company, eight years ago and in the meantime, I’ve written seven books and I tell people I do two things all year.
I write books and then I go give speeches about the books at corporations and so that’s kind of how I spend my time I got two teenage daughters one’s a rising senior one’s a rising sophomore, and yeah, we’ve been in Nashville for 11 years now, which doesn’t make us a local but comparatively to everybody new here it does.
Caleb Stevens: Yeah. What’s the joke everyone from Nashville is not from Nashville.
Jon Acuff: Yeah, exactly. It’s rare to meet somebody who’s actually an original if you will or a real local so it’s the city’s growing like crazy so it’s been super fun to see it happen.
Caleb Stevens: Yeah, I remember going down there I don’t know a year or two ago and the cranes My goodness downtown, it’s absolutely insane.
Jon Acuff: Yeah, if you don’t visit like I didn’t go to this one coffee shop for a few months I went back to go downtown and where I liked the park was now a building. And it was like a whole building that sprung up and it felt like overnight, so it’s I mean Atlanta certainly did that in the 80s in the 90s. So I think it happens in a lot of cities but it’s definitely on the move, Nashville is having a moment.
Caleb Stevens: It’s a kind of call it the third coast, in a sense, you’ve got New York you’ve got LA and then Nashville sort of this kind of southern but the creativity you know.
Jon Acuff: Nashville in Austin are kind of, I would say like Twin Cities that way. Where there’s a lot of my friends from California if they’ve moved this year, they have moved to one of the two they’ve gone to Nashville or Austin. And if you leave California, you’re super rich wherever you move, because you sell your crazy expensive house and then you get to ball out in the state of Tennessee, which is pretty fun.
Caleb Stevens: Yeah, well all your books have made a big impact on me like I said Do-Over especially when I was a senior trying to figure out what am I going to do with my life. I mean just the whole idea of the career savings account was like, Man, that’s so helpful like it just really reoriented how I think about my career. And so, give us the lowdown on your latest book soundtracks you just came off writing a book called Finished a few years ago but how to finish goals, how to accomplish goals. Soundtracks are all about overthinking and who doesn’t overthink, and I can’t think of anybody in my life who that wouldn’t be at some point, a struggle and a challenge. So what kind of got you on to this topic of overthinking. And what’s the book all about?
Jon Acuff: Yeah, so I mean one of the things that got me on the topic was, it was 2008, and I was in Atlanta, and felt stuck at a job. I had hit a career ceiling as an early 30s guy, and you want to hit those in your 50s and not in your 30s and I realized okay I have to do something else. And so I started this blog on the side of my life and somebody out of nowhere said hey, would you ever come to speak at our event and I didn’t know that that was a thing people did I didn’t know you got paid for it, I didn’t know if it’d be a job, but I just had this tiny little thought of I think I can do this, I think I can be a public speaker, and I really leaned into that thought and I turned that thought into actions and those actions turned into results and so that was my first foray into going. I think the right thoughts can work for you. I think if you are deliberate about your thoughts, they can change your life.
And so I did that it brought us to Nashville and helped me at the New York Times bestsellers list it really changed my life, changing how I thought. And so then I got curious. Would it help other people, like I’m an overthinker, and learning how to overthink the right things versus the wrong things really helps me do other people struggle with overthinking. And we did a survey I have a friend of mine named Mike Peasley who’s a Ph.D. And he’s a researcher and we asked 10,000 People Fischer with overthinking and 99.5% of them said yes. And so I knew I had an idea that I thought would be helpful to people, it certainly helped me for 13 years. And so that’s what got me on to the topic of overthinking as you know as it fits in the context of, I want to accomplish things I want to be high performing. I want to kind of build the kind of life I want. And a lot of people don’t know how much their thoughts get in the way of actually doing that.
Caleb Stevens: Yeah, and we’ve got a lot of listeners right now who are CEOs, but they didn’t start there, you know, there was a struggle there was a process and I’m sure they were key moments and key decisions that they had to make throughout their career that required some risk and had a lot of fear involved and certainly a lot of indecision. Do I go this way, or do I go that way, or how do you define overthinking in the book?
Jon Acuff: So I define it as when what you think gets in the way of what you want. So you see something that’s clear, you know what you want to do and then all these thoughts get in the way and a great question that I often get asked is, okay, well how do I know the difference between overthinking and just being detailed or overthinking and I’m analytical. I mean we’re talking about people who run banks like you’re detailed, you’re organized, what’s the difference? The difference is being prepared always leads to an action overthinking always leads to more overthinking.
If you’re a prepared person there’s a series of evidence, there’s, you know, you open a new branch you launched a new program you did like there’s evidence of you finishing things. If you’re stuck in overthinking and there’s just more thinking, more thinking, you know leaders. An example that would-be leaders who say, I can’t make a decision until I have all the information are usually stuck in overthinking because we haven’t lived in an all-information world in 100 years, you’ll never have all the information. It’s better to say okay, we make a decision when we have enough information as we need enough not all and so that’s a pretty simple example, of overthinking versus being prepared.
Caleb Stevens: And you define a soundtrack as a thought that just plays in your mind, over and over and over and that could be a negative soundtrack or that could be a positive soundtrack. I love that concept because it’s kind of an easy handle to grab onto and say okay, I see it because when you think about your own life, you start to see the soundtracks pop up that you play over and over and over. I’ll talk a little bit more about that.
Jon Acuff: Yeah, so a soundtrack is just my phrase for repetitive thought. And sometimes you’ll say A thought is a leaf on a river, it’s like a cloud in the sky or a car on the highway, but for me, I like soundtrack because a soundtrack, often plays in the background but has the ability to change the entire moment. So the example I always give is if you think about a movie scene, and it opens up and there’s this small little house and a white picket fence and some kids are frolicking down the street, but then the soundtrack they play is ominous or creepy suddenly go. Be careful there’s a crazy clown in the sewer or don’t go in the house is too quiet. Where if they play a positive song if they play Vanessa Carlton’s 1000 Miles suddenly it’s a rom-com and it changes everything. So what happens is in our own lives. We have soundtracks for every person that we know every project that we do every opportunity we have. Everyone listening to this right now.
Has somebody that when they see the text message from them, they don’t even have to read the message just seeing their name starts playing a soundtrack like oh this guy only bothers me when he wants something oh here, we go, and a soundtrack kicks off. And the problem is a lot of people don’t understand that that’s happening. And they certainly don’t understand that they have the power to change that. Most people think a thought is something you have versus something you hone versus something you pick and choose and control and cultivate. And that’s where it’s really fun the book, the main goal of the book is to help you go okay, how do I create new thoughts that lead to new actions that lead to new results. There’s a lot of people that are really good at that action part but they never start with the right thoughts and so they tend to not finish the goal, tend to not complete the thing and so it’s really, really simple and really fun once you figure it out.
Caleb Stevens: And you could scale that all the way out to a company’s entire culture, you know if the company’s culture just made up of all the identities of the people inside the company and you add all those soundtracks up and there’s your culture, and you speak, and you go ahead. Yeah,
Jon Acuff: Well yeah that’s all culture is that a company is a group of soundtracks, a group of people are listening to at the same time, sometimes are intentional. A lot of times they’re not, a lot of times it’s something that happened, you know it can be as simple as you launch a big project that doesn’t go well and you never admitted didn’t go well, you just kind of stopped talking about it, and now everyone there knows it didn’t go well. And one of the broken soundtracks is we don’t talk about things that don’t go well. So then you’ll never be able to fix them, you’ll never be able to grow, you’re never going to learn because you’re, you know, you were not supposed to talk about that and as a leader, you never want there to be two different conversations one in the boardroom and one in the break room, you never want people that cheer and clap in the boardroom, and then tell the truth in the break room and go wow that’s a terrible idea.
I know we can’t say that, but that’s a terrible idea, and leaders, you know, one thing I say about leaders is that leaders who can’t be questioned end up doing questionable things. So when a leader gets isolated and can only be told the things they want to hear, there’s now a broken soundtrack that plays in that culture. Every employee knows. Don’t tell the leader that, don’t tell the leader this type of things, or always sugarcoat this or always spin this, and then the leaders no longer getting accurate information so they can’t make good decisions because the information they have isn’t even accurate, and you’ve got this really kind of toxic collection of broken soundtracks.
Caleb Stevens: It kind of reminds me a little bit of the quote from Andy Stanley where he says leaders who refuse to listen, will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.
Jon Acuff: Exactly because they learned they learned, okay. You get in trouble if you speak out, or you get in trouble if you share the truth, so you better not share the truth. So then you’ve got an environment, is no longer telling the truth about what’s really going on, it’s really hard to leave that environment.
Caleb Stevens: So, I mean you speak, and you consult with companies all over the country even globally, what are some of the most common soundtracks that you see inside of companies, big and small?
Jon Acuff: Well, I mean, a really simple one is when I say it’s the first quarter and you’re kicking off a brand-new year, and you come out and you have crazy large goals because you think I want to be a strong leader, I want to be optimistic I want to be positive, and you launch these huge goals that are not tied to reality at all. And everyone there knows that they’re not tied to reality. And the problem is a goal is never just a goal. A goal is a promise. That’s a promise you make to your people. It’s a promise you make yourself and every time you break that promise it gets harder for them to believe it again. So for instance, I spoke the other day with a woman who runs multiple dental practices, there’s a lot of, you know, fascinating things that happen inside of dental practice because usually, a dentist gets two weeks of business training, so multiple years of medical training and then at the end like oh, by the way, you’re now a CEO, So good luck. Here’s how to, like, here’s two weeks of how to run a business and be a leader, and it’s just a mess and so she said, You know, I’ve got this one office that I work with. And they want to get better, but their habit is they hire a new consultant, and they say no, we’re going to change, they never change a single thing.
And then after six months, I fired that consultant, and they find another one. They’ve done that four times. And so now every time they announce Hey, things are going to change here their dental hygienists say to each other. No, it’s not, but at least we’ll get a free trip to Arizona like we’re going to go to a resort that’ll be fun, and I said how much money they spent on that she said half a million dollars. $500,000.00 of broken soundtracks going, we want to change when nothing about their actions indicates that. And so they just keep jumping from consultant to consultant to consultant, and now they’ve got broken soundtracks within the office where their team won’t even support the new thing because they don’t trust it. And so those are the kinds of things I see often.
Caleb Stevens: Here’s what I see that I’d love for you to riff on because we’re bankers right then you mentioned earlier, we’re a numbers-driven we’re a little bit risk-averse because I mean we’re loaning people money so by nature we’re managing risk for a living. So one I hear pretty often as I meet with other banks is this phrase, and this is the way we’ve always done it. In other words, why should we change, and I mean if you’ve ever followed banking there’s fintech there are so many different pressures that are disrupting our environment we have to change but it’s so easy to get stuck in. This is how we’ve always done it.
Jon Acuff: Yeah, so that that’s a really common one too, especially with the pandemic I mean everybody on some level had to say. So think about I’ve spoken this, probably, I don’t know a dozen sales teams in the last year and they’ll say you know what I was amazing at the popping, you get me in the room with somebody like I bring over coffee to the client or donuts the popping and I can close the room, all of a sudden, the popping was illegal. So, the sales team said, Well, my strength isn’t available anymore so I’m just going to wait until it is lost. Every good sales team that said, I’m great in a room, but now I have to learn how to be great on Zoom, it’s going to take me some time I’m going to have to learn some things, but I don’t have the luxury of going, that’s not how we do things, guess what, for this season and maybe in a hybrid way going forward. This is how we do things. I better learn how to adapt those old talents to something new, because eventually, I become a dinosaur-like it’s not a matter of if you’ll change it’s a matter of if you’ll enjoy it, it’ll be part of it if you’ll lean into it, like change is going to happen, like, you know I was thinking about that the other day. So there’s this YouTuber named Mr. Beast he’s like the number one YouTuber in the world.
Caleb Stevens: And I’ve got a story on that in just a minute but keep going.
Jon Acuff: Massive YouTuber. And he started doing cheeseburgers, he now dropships cheeseburgers and what they call ghost kitchens, so a ghost kitchen would be like Buca di Beppo in our area isn’t super full right now so they have staff that can make cheeseburgers, so he opened up 600 locations almost overnight. He doesn’t own a single piece of real estate, and kids that are 12 and 13 who are buying all these cheeseburgers have no idea that they thought they brought in Mr. Beast burger. My oldest daughter her friends work at Buca di Beppo and they’re like yeah, we’re making these cheeseburgers. There’s not a single restaurant owner in the world who thought we got to keep an eye out on Mr. Beast, the 23-year-old, you know like YouTuber who does prank videos, no one saw that coming. Yeah, so there’s some sort of change right now that’s headed your way. And you want to be as ready for it as you can be, and you want to lean into it.
Caleb Stevens: Yeah, shoot where the birds are flying. So one of our top salesmen, in our division his son goes to the University of Georgia, and one of his fraternity brothers happened to be the 40 million subscribers to Mr. Beast. And so Mr. Beast brought like 40 of that guy’s friends down to South Georgia, and they just gave away these cars Porsches cars with Anna Mae Ottoman his son got a car and so there you go, right there.
Jon Acuff: See, that’s crazy. Like, that’s what’s so fascinating about the world we’re living in is that the disruption isn’t over, it’s you know it’s just coming in ways it’s growing it’s changing. I mean I think about that, like, we’re going to Montana next week and we couldn’t find a rental car, the rental car market is insane. And so we had to try to rent a U haul cargo van which is not the best solution and then we went on Toro, which is like Airbnb for rental cars and so there are just waves of change coming and so the soundtrack I tell people to use especially leaders is, be a tourist. When it comes to change be a tourist, you know, what a tourist has in common, they ask lots of questions. They don’t pretend to be experts, they request help from experts, they make mistakes they have fun versus going, I have to be amazing.
One of the craziest things about change is that people that are your highest performers are often the hardest to change. Because they’re so good at the old way that they have the most to lose. People who are average at their job can’t wait to do the new way because they’re not even good at the old way, whatever. But somebody who’s really proficient at the old way that you think is going to be amazing to lead, often fights it to the nail because they have more to lose.
Caleb Stevens: So, in the book, you talk about the keys to replacing your old soundtracks and replacing them with new ones you say retire your old soundtracks replace them with new ones, and then repeat them until they’re automatic. Talk about that three-step process you outlined in the book to help us overcome overthinking either individually or as a collective company culture.
Jon Acuff: Yeah, so when it comes to retiring, a great way for a leader to kind of expose a broken soundtrack is to imagine. Imagine you set your team down and said hey here’s this new direction, here’s where we’re going, here’s what we’re going to do and it was something, you know, a new plan a new goal a new launch. What would the pushback be? What would the reaction be? Because every reaction is an education. You know, maybe it’d be, we’ll never get there. That’s not how it’s going to work, and we don’t do things that way, so you’ll probably go into quickly expose some broken sound traps and that’s what you need to retire, need to actually say okay, we see this, we’re going to retire there, but it’s not enough to retire then we have to replace them. And an example of a good soundtrack, you could create like one of my favorites Signet jewelers, which is one of the largest jewelry companies in the world. They own, Kay and Zale’s and Jared, one of their soundtracks for their team is to match the pace.
Match the pace, so what does that mean it means? When somebody comes into the store. We match their pace we don’t try to put our pace on them, so some romance have a romance pace, they come in and they want to hear the story of the ring, they want to tell you their engagement story, they have a romance pace and it’s going to be a certain speed, some people have a speed pace, you’re the last stop on their Christmas shopping list, they want to get in and out, they went really fast, they don’t want to talk they want to chat, people have a value pace they want to know they’re not getting taken advantage of. So imagine at a bank. A bank, the same way where somebody comes in. How can your team match the pace so that becomes a soundtrack that they’ve now replaced, you know, it’s easy to say like we do good customer service, but everybody says that, but not everybody says to match the pace and then has examples of that.
The third thing is you repeat it. Sometimes what happens is, and you see this with certain goals like, say like, even software somebody launched a new system, and they’ll go, and we launched this new CRM system, and our team is having a hard time with it. And you go how long has it been out? You go 10 days, you know how long was the Old one running? You go 5 years.
Caleb Stevens: We just went to Salesforce six months ago and the same thing.
Jon Acuff: Exactly and you’re like, and you go, well we haven’t even given the new one time enough to be adopted and it’s celebrated and learned and so I always say like never give the problem or ever give the old way, a decade and the new way 10 days, because then, of course, it doesn’t, doesn’t work for us, I mean, right. And so that’s what I mean by repeat you have to be willing to repeat it again and again and again so that it becomes part of your culture.
Caleb Stevens: Yeah, great, great advice. And what I love about it too is kind of going back to, you know, giving somebody an easy handle to grab on to the way. You define them as soundtracks as these phrases as these sticky statements, make them portable, because they’re memorable. So I think that’s an awesome way you do that.
Jon Acuff: Well and they don’t have to be, you know, elaborate or fancy it doesn’t have to be amazing, like, you know it can be simple match the pace is simple, that’s not, it’s not complicated like that, you know, another one Drury hotels. I spoke to their team. One of the things they say is heads and beds, like that’s what we care about, we measure 1000 different points of data at the end of the day though, heads in beds, how are you going heads in beds like that’s what we’re trying to do is a hotel head in beds. One of the Ritz Carlton’s you know, [inaudible22:03] who I’m sure you’ve seen speak before. He said that one of theirs was always walked never point. So when somebody asks you where something is you never point to it like oh the pool it’s down around that corner, you always walk with them. So those become the kind of things that you repeat them they become part of your culture, they become the kind of things that your employees actually about versus just hoping. I hope they give good customer service today like, that’s too vague to actually live against.
Caleb Stevens: Yeah, for sure. Well, on a personal note, one of the things I love about the way you write and the way you communicate ideas is that you communicate these really big challenging ideas, but they’re packaged with a lot of humor. Talk about why humor is important to you and then talk about why for a company and culture. Why is humor important and what’s the value there are a lot of people I think could easily say humor that sounds kind of silly you’re corny, is that really beneficial? Talk about that.
Jon Acuff: Yeah, well I mean, I’m kind of the Chris Rock School and he said that there are some things people will listen to him as they’re laughing at the same time. So I think humor. Humor really makes an idea sticky, and it makes it easy for people to identify with to get it, you know, improves relationships. You know, when you’re using humor, it’s a vehicle for truth, and that you know, it’ll amplify a point, it’ll you know, it’ll be something that you can kind of exaggerate something to go like why would we ever do that like that’s crazy like here’s, you know, and so what I say to leaders is because leaders will say to me, Hey, I read a book about giving a keynote and it said I should be funny, so I told the joke at the beginning, it didn’t work.
Now I say be your type of funny if you’re funny at a dinner table and you’re sarcastic be sarcastic and you’re sweet. If you’re dry at a dinner table, be dry as, you know, be authentic humor is authentic, so you shouldn’t leave that part of you in the parking lot as you go into the business, because that’s not authentic you’re leaving some part of you out. That doesn’t mean you’re slapstick it doesn’t mean you have to be hilarious all the time. Of course not. But I think that when you share humor, it connects you to the people you’re leading it connects you in a really powerful way. And so that’s why I like to use it, it’s something that’s authentic to me, but I also like to use it to illustrate a point so like for instance, I say like one of the things I say is that 2020 Was catnip for overthinking. Like because it was, and then the point I illustrated with is I say the other day and this is true, but I amplify with humor.
I say everything’s a thing right now everything’s a thing I say I met someone the other day and they went to shake my hand and right before they shook my hand I thought, Should I refuse Should I give him a fist bump, so I turned my elbow should I shake their hand but immediately put my hand into that, up to the elbow of hand sanitizer and say, Excuse me, sir, while I scrub off a deadly pandemic you just tried to murder me and my grandparents with. And I started looking around the room like, is this a room full of shaking hands, like, what does it say about us politically like I exaggerate a true thing to say. That’s why overthinking is so common right now we’re all overthinking, and everybody’s had a moment like that that’s the other thing for sure humor, makes it easy for somebody to identify with the truth, you’re trying to share. When you find a common situation and go, oh that’s so funny said that like a friend of mine at the grocery stores, stood too close and I pulled away like, oh, like that’s a funny thing that somebody could exaggerate, that’s where I think humor really does.
Caleb Stevens: Well someone who’s written seven books I’m sure we have a lot of CEOs listening who have done a lot of great things in their careers and maybe they’re getting to retirement want to share some of that wisdom or maybe they just always wanted to write a book. Any thoughts on what is what’s kind of filtering process that you go through as you decide what to write on, is there a market for this? What does that look like?
Jon Acuff: I look at three things. This is kind of my Venn diagram of a best-selling idea, and I thought I did an episode on this on my podcast I have a podcast called All It Takes Is A Goal. And you look for three things one a personal connection so that you’re personally passionate about the idea that you’re connected to it because if you write a book, you’re going to talk about it for years. The second thing is you look for a need that people really need. When I’m at the neighborhood pool, people talking about it online too. I see people talking about how I’ve been reading articles about that when I get together with other CEOs’ other leaders does this keeps coming back up. The third thing is, is there a spot for it in the marketplace, like is there actually a spot for it? So with the finish for instance my book before soundtracks. I wasn’t good at finishing, and I wanted to get better, so I had a personal connection, I was passionate about it.
People started coming up to me and saying hey we read your book Start, it was helpful, but I’ve never had a problem started, how do I actually finish and so I saw a need. The third thing is I went to Amazon, check the marketplace and if you search to finish the word finish on Amazon, the first thing that comes up is dishwasher detergent. So I knew, Oh we as a culture over celebrate the beginning and we ignore the end, I think I can, I think there’s a spot for me. So that’s kind of if I were a leader and I thought okay, I’ve got this idea or maybe my as my leadership style has always been different than other people, but it’s been really effective and I want to do it, I would look for those three things.
Caleb Stevens: That’s awesome. Jon, you’re all over social media, you’re on Instagram, you’re on Twitter. You have a great podcast that you put out each week, you’ve got an email list, or you send out blogs, what are some of the easy ways folks can get in touch with you if you’re hearing this and they’re wanting to engage with you read more of your stuff, get your book, how can they find all that?
Jon Acuff: Yeah, definitely, Acuff.me is my website, ACUFF.ME. And then, All it takes is a goal is my podcast where I talk about, you know, how do you actually finish the things you start, what does it look like for you to lead people through goals, and then on Instagram, Twitter, I’m Jon Acuff so I’m all over the place on all those and then it’s fun. I’ve done a number of speaking events with banks, and so it’s always fun. You can see my speaking information on acuff.me. So it’s always fun when I get to go, you know, talk to a bank, talk to leaders talk to groups of employees so that’s it’s always a good time for me.
Caleb Stevens: Well we appreciate your time. Let me close, really quick with this question if there was a common theme that runs throughout all the Jon Acuff books if you could think of one or two words or a sentence or a phrase. To me every time I read your book I was saying earlier, it feels like it’s a familiar voice and we’re sort of picking up where we left off in a sense, but we’re coming at it from a different angle. Is there any kind of theme that you would say sort of run through the Acuff books?
Jon Acuff: Yeah, I think that’s a great question. For me, I think the theme is you’re capable of more than you think. That’s what I believe. I’ve seen it in my own life, and I’ve seen it in 1000s of other lives that I’ve worked with in the last you know dozen years or so. So I think the theme I like to write about is you’re capable of more than you think and where that expresses itself is. So let’s talk about what it would take to finish goals, let’s talk about what it takes to build a career do-over, let’s talk about how to make overthinking work for you, not against you. So that you can be capable of more than you think. That I would say that’s my common threat.
Caleb Stevens: That’s a great place to bring it home, and then we appreciate your time and we’ll be looking out for you in all the other places. Thanks, Jon.
Jon Acuff: Thanks for having me.
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