CBNationI AM CEO PODCAST

IAM752- Business Coach Helps Entrepreneurs Accelerate Their Growth

Podcast Interview with Shawn Johal

Shawn co-founded DALS Lighting, an LED lighting business, in 2009. He implemented the Scaling Up Growth System and led the company to 3X its revenues well into the 8-figures. Shawn went on to found Elevation, a business growth coaching firm, working with entrepreneurs & their teams to help accelerate their growth – while helping them find personal balance and happiness.

Business Coach, Entrepreneur, Speaker, Shawn is also the Author of “The Happy Leader,” a business and leadership fable released in September 2020 (Leaders Press). Former President of EO (Entrepreneurs’ Organization) Montreal, Shawn remains an active member & mentor to numerous young entrepreneurs, helping them improve as business leaders and as individuals. A Finalist for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year, Shawn also sits on the Board of Directors for “Champions for Life,” a non-profit foundation helping children develop their physical literacy.

Shawn’s WHY: To Help LEADERS Find Happiness and Success.

  • CEO Hack: Meditation, visualization, and integrating meditation with clients
  • CEO Nugget: Systematically recognize your employees
  • CEO Defined: Understanding your leadership type and finding ways to implement that in your company

Website: http://shawnjohal.com/

FULL INTERVIEW


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Transcription

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[00:00:02.20] – Intro

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

[00:00:32.00] – Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Sean Johal of Elevation. Sean, it's awesome to have you on the show.

[00:00:40.70] – Shawn Johal

I'm very happy to be here. Thank you.

[00:00:42.79] – Gresham Harkless

No problem. Super excited to have you on. And before I jump in, I want to read a little bit more about Sean so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. And Sean's why is to help leaders find happiness and success. Sean co-founded DLS or Dolls Lighting and LED lighting business in two thousand nine. He implemented the scaling-up growth system and led the company to three times its revenues well into the eight figures. Sean went on to found Elevation, a business growth coaching firm working with entrepreneurs and their teams to help accelerate their growth while helping them find personal balance and happiness.

Business coach, entrepreneur, and speaker, Sean is also the author of The Happy Leader, a business and leadership table released on September twenty-twenty. He's the former president of EO, Entrepreneurs Organization in Montreal. Sean remains an active member and mentor to numerous young entrepreneurs, helping them improve as business leaders and as individuals. He's a he was been a finalist for the Entrepreneur of the Year, and Sean sits on the board of directors for Champions for Life, a nonprofit foundation helping children develop their physical literacy. Sean, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

[00:01:45.29] – Shawn Johal

I am ready. Thank you.

[00:01:46.70] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Let's do it. So to kick everything off, you're doing so many phenomenal things, but I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit and hear a little bit more about how you got started. Could you take us through your CEO story? We'll let you get started with your business.

[00:01:56.59] – Shawn Johal

Sure. Absolutely. I won't go as far back as when I was born. I don't wanna bore the audience with that crazy story. I'll kinda kick it off, you know, into my entrepreneurial journey when I joined the family business. That was in two thousand four, and that was in the lighting industry. That's where I came up in the roots. And it was a public company. It was a company that was founded by my father-in-law, my mother-in-law, and my brother-in-law. So the in-laws, good times jumping into a family business. Yes. Very excited. My father-in-law, being very financially savvy, was able to take a small business and take it public on the TSX Stock Exchange and then just started doing mergers and acquisitions with different businesses and took the company from nothing to fifty million in revenue very quickly. But, you know, within four years, amazing journey.

So I came on board in that company as a national sales manager, basically handling sales. And, you know, things are going well and then the economic crash happened in the US. Very devastating time for many, many people. We're living through something similar now. I don't think we're seeing the full effects yet, but we'll that's another discussion for another day. Right. But the company struggled and what happened was, you know, they were not the family was not able to sustain that business, and it was kind of very difficult. I had a lot of learning, let me tell you.

And then from that, you know, from a lot of different and difficult situations, sometimes I have new opportunities that come up. My brother-in-law and I decided to relaunch and basically, buy the assets and bring back the employees because we wanted to save all those employees' jobs, and we were able to work out a deal where we could relaunch the company under a new name, d a l s, Dallas Lighting, in two thousand nine. And that was when the new journey started, coming from the ashes, if you will, of this terrible situation in the family and, you know, just starting over from scratch.

[00:03:38.69] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Well, I definitely appreciate you for telling that story. And I think so many times, you know, as you said, and I think we even talked about when we first connected about how kind of, like, the ashes, as you said, sometimes happen, allows certain opportunities we maybe we didn't see before and us to kinda show and re sometimes invent ourselves differently to kinda see the light.

[00:03:57.69] – Shawn Johal

So true. I totally agree with you. It was a really tough time, but, obviously, looking back, phenomenal learning, a phenomenal journey along the way really, taught me a lot about myself, and about how to run a business. And especially when you're coming out of a tough time, there's a lot of desperation. So you're just kind of jumping in Yeah. And taking a lot of big risks.

[00:04:14.80] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. You just kinda have to increase your scrappiness if that's the right word in in order to make things happen. So I know you've been able to do that and you have your business now elevation. Could you take us through what you're doing with your clients there, and how you serve clients? And then, of course, I wanna hear, about your book as well too, and all the awesome that you have there.

[00:04:30.89] – Shawn Johal

Sure. Absolutely. So, you know, I'd like to tell the story of why this new business Elevation came about. It was really the fact that in two thousand thirteen in the LED lighting business, we hit a bad wall. I mean, we had, you know, we had inherited teams, so we didn't vet the employees. Right? We're just taking teams that already existed, and then we started realizing that our team wasn't the best team that we could have. You know, I'll give you one story as a terrible example of how what type of thing that was happening. we had two customer service people, and we didn't have enough money for a receptionist. So we asked them, can you just answer the phone, as phone calls come in?

They disliked each other so much and had no teamwork that every time the phone would ring, they would just stare at each other and stare at the phone, and no one would answer. And it was and my partner and I would be, you know, in another office, and we could look at them and see them avoiding picking up the phone. And, you know, we're freaking out because customers are calling, and they won't even answer for god's sake. So, that was one of the things. As a small example, there are bigger issues than that. And so we hit this wall. We had no new products being developed. And what happened was one of our big competitors launched a product line that was directly competing with us to the point, Gresh, where they actually took out all the same products we had at a dollar less.

[00:05:41.10] – Gresham Harkless

Oh, wow.

[00:05:41.39] – Shawn Johal

It just that insanely, you know, difficult and an attack directly on us. But it was again a blessing in disguise. Super happy that happened because it woke us up. It was a big slap in the face, and we realized that we were not innovating anymore. We weren't disrupting our market, we weren't moving forward with technology. And so what we did is that's when we found a coach, a woman named Cleo, a very, very wonderful coach. She's still coaching today. And she was one of the first scaling-up coaches in our city. And the thing to remember is that we come from Montreal, so we have a lot of French-speaking population where we live.

And, most of our staff where we are are French. So we had to find a coach who could actually speak in French. She was the only one, so she kind of had the market cornered. And so we brought her in. At that time, scaling up didn't exist. It was called The Rockefeller Habits, which is the first book that Verne Harnish wrote. And she came in and she helped us implement all the methodologies. So daily huddles, weekly meetings, quarterly, you know, strategic planning sessions with a lot of strategic tools. And basically, we started looking at the four big pillars of business, which are people, strategy, execution, and cash. And so, basically, without going through all the details, we did that for six years and I'm counting.

We're still doing it. And, we had a lot of success with the methodology. It brought a tremendous amount of alignment, vision, and focus to the organization, and so I've lived it. Know, I actually put in place this methodology with this coach, and so that's a very easy sell to clients moving forward and whom I help now. So that's where the journey happened. About eighteen months ago, I was so passionate about the methodology that I decided to pursue being a business growth coach full-time. And now I help them. I'm working with approximately twenty clients right now, across mostly across Canada, and one in the US, and helping them implement the same methodology in their businesses.

[00:07:22.60] – Gresham Harkless

That's extremely powerful. I appreciate you again, Talon. And I think so many people look for people to take their own medicine, so to speak, and to hear that you've been able to kinda execute on those different aspects of kinda like different, you know, I guess, rungs of a chair or different, legs of a chair or as a better term way to say it. But it allows you that opportunity to really grow and scale because it sounds like if you have one of those kinda out of whack, everything could completely fall down and fall apart.

[00:07:45.50] – Shawn Johal

Yeah. You're so right about that. And having lived it and understanding that, you know, it's a program, it's a methodology. There are ups and downs. There are good things, but there are things that may not be as good. Being able to go into the client's place and say, well, actually, I did exactly this way. Here's how it turned out for me. You know, I think we could, have success at your place with it. that experience, I think, is beneficial to help them see, okay, this guy knows kind of what he's doing, and he's also made some mistakes that he could share with us. And so it's a beneficial way of moving forward.

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[00:08:13.00] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. And, again, I love kind of like, kind of, like, so many times you hit those roadblocks or you hit that, wall or whatever that might be. Obviously, as you said, we're going and experiencing one now all across the board. But I think that when you understand that there's obviously the difficulty, but there's a method sometimes you can take to kind of maybe not completely get rid of it but to get you to take those steps to kinda continue to get better. I think that's extremely powerful.

[00:08:38.29] – Shawn Johal

I agree with you completely.

[00:08:40.10] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. So what would you consider to be, like, what I like to call your secret sauce? And that's the thing that kinda sets you apart and makes you unique. It could be for yourself or it could also be for your business.

[00:08:49.29] – Shawn Johal

Sure. Absolutely. Also, I think it's very different because not that many coaches are entrepreneurs. And so what I explain when I'm going into my clients is I'm not there to show them tools. I'm not there to be a moderator or just a guide. My goal is to come there and I always put this into my agreement. It's a business partnership proposal. And I expect them not to come in there as a partner. I wanna be clear that because I'm an entrepreneur and I have quite a few ideas and I've seen, you know, I spent time with a lot of other entrepreneurs. I want you to be comfortable with the fact that I'm not just gonna come here and help you along the way.

I'm actually gonna participate, and I'm gonna give you ideas. I'm gonna challenge you. And when I don't agree with something, you know, I'm really gonna put it in your face and say, well, why are we doing it that way? Are you sure this is the right way to do it? Wanna challenge you on the type of people you have because, you know, we have the wrong people forever. And that's one thing I noticed going to businesses. They protect people. It's an emotional thing, and I wanna be careful, You wanna be, empathetic and understand where people are coming from.

But at the same time, someone who's not a fit at one company could be a great fit elsewhere. But, you gotta be able to identify that very quickly. And so, I think for me, it's taking the entrepreneur aspect and bringing it to coaching, which is a little bit different from a lot of coaches who may have more, of an academic background or have studied a program. I think I can bring something a little more edgy, And not everybody likes it, so some clients feel a little bit, they just want the tools and let us do it. And usually, that doesn't work out as well for us. I like to go in there and say, well, no. I'm gonna challenge you. Like, you better be ready to be challenged because how are you gonna grow if not?

[00:10:15.60] – Gresham Harkless

I wanted to switch gears a little bit, and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be an Apple book or habit that you have or even more about your book, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:10:26.20] – Shawn Johal

So I have a lot of them and, you know, I wanna make sure I kinda provide you with the best one. For me, it's kind of a two-sided coin. So it's meditation. I practice a tremendous amount of meditation and visualization. I also integrate that with my clients, which is bizarre because, we'll be in have a meeting and then I'll say, okay, guys. Great. Everybody's about to pull up their phones. They're like, woah. Wait. The break is not a phone break. It's a meditation break, and we're gonna do a meditation right now. You know, it's a very popular thing these days, but, Greg, you'd be shocked how little people do it. I mean, anytime I integrate this with a company, it's always one out of eight people who have tried it.

You know, two out of eight people max. Like, you'll never have a bunch of people in that room who have done it consistently. And so, you know, what I explained to them is I say, well, we just did a super heavy strategic session. Now you're gonna go on break. You're gonna look at your phone. You're gonna freak out because you have five fires to put out. And now you're gonna come back in ten minutes. You won't have time to deal with those fires, by the way, because we're our meetings all day. You're gonna come back, and now I'm expecting you to have a clear mind to jump into a full execution module. It's just not realistic. And the same thing happens at work every single day, I think. We get caught up in answering emails getting on phone calls and dealing with the day-to-day stuff.

How often do we take a step back to really just breathe and say, okay, am I working on the right things right now? Do I need to go take a walk? Do I need to get away from my computer screen? So that's something that I'm doing myself quite a bit and that I teach people, and I've even taught some companies how to integrate a meditation practice into their companies. Where they get a meditation room or they get a space for employees to go and have that clarity of mind or even go outside. And so for me, I would say that's my number one hack because it keeps me grounded and balanced. And most importantly, it allows me to work on the right things and not get caught up in just, you know, the rat race.

[00:12:07.50] – Gresham Harkless

I appreciate that. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. So this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or if you happen to be a time machine, you would tell your younger business self.

[00:12:19.60] – Shawn Johal

Great question. I would say the number one nugget is something that you see said a lot and quite often from some of the best business leaders in the world, and it comes from Jim Collins. It's first who people first above all else. I see it time and time again going to businesses with the wrong people in the wrong seats. we're not taking care of the people that we have there. And so I explain to people, that your process has to be all-encompassing. Meaning, from the day you're gonna start recruiting someone, are you writing what we call a scorecard that tells the person what success looks like? I got this from a wonderful friend and author, Robert Glaser, who wrote Elevate.  he explained this to me a long time ago and he sent us,  examples. , in his job descriptions, put something called What Success Looks Like in Six Months and What Success Looks Like in Twelve Months.And you tell a future story to the employees of all the amazing things they're already gonna have accomplished.

And what this is is not only does it serve as a vision, but the employee looks at it and says, well, oh, I can do that. Like, I think I could really accomplish this. And so it brings it attracts the right type of potential candidates to apply for your company, which is great. And the other part,  the people side that is not done almost ever anywhere that I see is what we call systematic recognition. So, I force my clients to systematically recognize their employees every single quarter without fail, those who are doing really well. Those are the employees that are going above and beyond. And I always explain to clients, this is not about, you know, giving them just money. it's not about saying, okay, you get a bonus because you did good work. Obviously, bonuses are integrated into a lot of companies. What I'm saying is, why not get the entire strategic team, eight people, let's say, for example, you know, you go to to a store, you buy a card, it costs you ten cents, you know, a packs of tender are very inexpensive.

And in that card you write, listen, Josh, for example, love the work you've done over the last quarter. You've been an exceptional employee. We appreciate everything you do day in and day out. We just want to give you this card and sign it from the entire strategic team. Thank you for being you. what? That person's gonna go home with this card and they're gonna show it to their, you know, their spouse, their friends, their family, and they're gonna feel so appreciated by you, and that's gonna keep them in your company on the long run, you know, this employee retention. So I always try to explain to business leaders and to clients, you really have to take care of your people. You have to find the right people, and when you have them, that's not good enough. You have to keep recognizing them and taking care of them when they're in your business.

[00:14:41.00] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. And, so now I wanna ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO, and we're hoping to have different quote-unquote CEOs on the show. So, Sean, what does being a CEO mean to you?

[00:14:51.70] – Shawn Johal

For me, a CEO is understanding your leadership style and finding the best way to, implement and use that in your company. So, I think what often happens is that you know, we have different leadership styles and we might try to transform ourselves and budget to different types of leaders. I think that could be a mistake in some cases. For me, you know, being a CEO means understanding your leadership type. Are you more of a collaborative leader? Are you more of even if you're more of a directive leader, that's okay. It means you just surround yourself with different people that can compliment you.

[00:15:23.00] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. Well, Sean, truly appreciate all the awesomeness you provided. Appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know, and, of course, how best they can get a hold of you, get a copy of the book, and find out about all the awesome things that you're working on.

[00:15:37.60] – Shawn Johal

Yeah. Absolutely. So, the Happy Leader book, it's going on, Amazon and, you know, full-scale sale on September thirteenth. That's the launch date. The reason we chose that date is it's a positive thinking day in the world, and so that's why we want to do it. So you'll be able to find that, The Happy Leader, and then you could find that also at my website, which is at sean hell dot com. You'll find all the information there too with the book and with all the coaching services that we do there. You can always reach me at sean at sean johell dot com. Easiest way to reach out to me, and, I'll get back to you pretty quickly. I'm kind of obsessed with productivity, so I'll get back to you quickly.

[00:16:09.70] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. I truly appreciate that, Sean. We will have the links and information that's shown us as well too just so that it's even easier for people to reach out to you get a copy of the book, and find out about all the awesome things you're doing. But I appreciate you, my friend, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

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[00:16:22.29] – Outro

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Title: Transcript - Fri, 03 May 2024 10:19:17 GMT

Date: Fri, 03 May 2024 10:19:17 GMT, Duration: [00:16:58.25]

[00:00:02.20] - Intro

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

[00:00:32.00] - Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Sean Johal of Elevation. Sean, it's awesome to have you on the show.

[00:00:40.70] - Shawn Johal

I'm very happy to be here. Thank you.

[00:00:42.79] - Gresham Harkless

No problem. Super excited to have you on. And before I jump in, I want to read a little bit more about Sean so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. And Sean's why is to help leaders find happiness and success. Sean co-founded DLS or Dolls Lighting and LED lighting business in two thousand nine. He implemented the scaling-up growth system and led the company to three times its revenues well into the eight figures. Sean went on to found Elevation, a business growth coaching firm working with entrepreneurs and their teams to help accelerate their growth while helping them find personal balance and happiness.

Business coach, entrepreneur, and speaker, Sean is also the author of The Happy Leader, a business and leadership table released on September twenty-twenty. He's the former president of EO, Entrepreneurs Organization in Montreal. Sean remains an active member and mentor to numerous young entrepreneurs, helping them improve as business leaders and as individuals. He's a he was been a finalist for the Entrepreneur of the Year, and Sean sits on the board of directors for Champions for Life, a nonprofit foundation helping children develop their physical literacy. Sean, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[00:01:45.29] - Shawn Johal

I am ready. Thank you.

[00:01:46.70] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Let's do it. So to kick everything off, you're doing so many phenomenal things, but I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit and hear a little bit more about how you got started. Could you take us through your CEO story? We'll let you get started with your business.

[00:01:56.59] - Shawn Johal

Sure. Absolutely. I won't go as far back as when I was born. I don't wanna bore the audience with that crazy story. I'll kinda kick it off, you know, into my entrepreneurial journey when I joined the family business. That was in two thousand four, and that was in the lighting industry. That's where I came up in the roots. And it was a public company. It was a company that was founded by my father-in-law, my mother-in-law, and my brother-in-law. So the in-laws, good times jumping into a family business. Yes. Very excited. My father-in-law, being very financially savvy, was able to take a small business and take it public on the TSX Stock Exchange and then just started doing mergers and acquisitions with different businesses and took the company from nothing to fifty million in revenue very quickly. But, you know, within four years, amazing journey.

So I came on board in that company as a national sales manager, basically handling sales. And, you know, things are going well and then the economic crash happened in the US. Very devastating time for many, many people. We're living through something similar now. I don't think we're seeing the full effects yet, but we'll that's another discussion for another day. Right. But the company struggled and what happened was, you know, they were not the family was not able to sustain that business, and it was kind of very difficult. I had a lot of learning, let me tell you.

And then from that, you know, from a lot of different and difficult situations, sometimes I have new opportunities that come up. My brother-in-law and I decided to relaunch and basically, buy the assets and bring back the employees because we wanted to save all those employees' jobs, and we were able to work out a deal where we could relaunch the company under a new name, d a l s, Dallas Lighting, in two thousand nine. And that was when the new journey started, coming from the ashes, if you will, of this terrible situation in the family and, you know, just starting over from scratch.

[00:03:38.69] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Well, I definitely appreciate you for telling that story. And I think so many times, you know, as you said, and I think we even talked about when we first connected about how kind of, like, the ashes, as you said, sometimes happen, allows certain opportunities we maybe we didn't see before and us to kinda show and re sometimes invent ourselves differently to kinda see the light.

[00:03:57.69] - Shawn Johal

So true. I totally agree with you. It was a really tough time, but, obviously, looking back, phenomenal learning, a phenomenal journey along the way really, taught me a lot about myself, and about how to run a business. And especially when you're coming out of a tough time, there's a lot of desperation. So you're just kind of jumping in Yeah. And taking a lot of big risks.

[00:04:14.80] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. You just kinda have to increase your scrappiness if that's the right word in in order to make things happen. So I know you've been able to do that and you have your business now elevation. Could you take us through what you're doing with your clients there, and how you serve clients? And then, of course, I wanna hear, about your book as well too, and all the awesome that you have there.

[00:04:30.89] - Shawn Johal

Sure. Absolutely. So, you know, I'd like to tell the story of why this new business Elevation came about. It was really the fact that in two thousand thirteen in the LED lighting business, we hit a bad wall. I mean, we had, you know, we had inherited teams, so we didn't vet the employees. Right? We're just taking teams that already existed, and then we started realizing that our team wasn't the best team that we could have. You know, I'll give you one story as a terrible example of how what type of thing that was happening. we had two customer service people, and we didn't have enough money for a receptionist. So we asked them, can you just answer the phone, as phone calls come in?

They disliked each other so much and had no teamwork that every time the phone would ring, they would just stare at each other and stare at the phone, and no one would answer. And it was and my partner and I would be, you know, in another office, and we could look at them and see them avoiding picking up the phone. And, you know, we're freaking out because customers are calling, and they won't even answer for god's sake. So, that was one of the things. As a small example, there are bigger issues than that. And so we hit this wall. We had no new products being developed. And what happened was one of our big competitors launched a product line that was directly competing with us to the point, Gresh, where they actually took out all the same products we had at a dollar less.

[00:05:41.10] - Gresham Harkless

Oh, wow.

[00:05:41.39] - Shawn Johal

It just that insanely, you know, difficult and an attack directly on us. But it was again a blessing in disguise. Super happy that happened because it woke us up. It was a big slap in the face, and we realized that we were not innovating anymore. We weren't disrupting our market, we weren't moving forward with technology. And so what we did is that's when we found a coach, a woman named Cleo, a very, very wonderful coach. She's still coaching today. And she was one of the first scaling-up coaches in our city. And the thing to remember is that we come from Montreal, so we have a lot of French-speaking population where we live.

And, most of our staff where we are are French. So we had to find a coach who could actually speak in French. She was the only one, so she kind of had the market cornered. And so we brought her in. At that time, scaling up didn't exist. It was called The Rockefeller Habits, which is the first book that Verne Harnish wrote. And she came in and she helped us implement all the methodologies. So daily huddles, weekly meetings, quarterly, you know, strategic planning sessions with a lot of strategic tools. And basically, we started looking at the four big pillars of business, which are people, strategy, execution, and cash. And so, basically, without going through all the details, we did that for six years and I'm counting.

We're still doing it. And, we had a lot of success with the methodology. It brought a tremendous amount of alignment, vision, and focus to the organization, and so I've lived it. Know, I actually put in place this methodology with this coach, and so that's a very easy sell to clients moving forward and whom I help now. So that's where the journey happened. About eighteen months ago, I was so passionate about the methodology that I decided to pursue being a business growth coach full-time. And now I help them. I'm working with approximately twenty clients right now, across mostly across Canada, and one in the US, and helping them implement the same methodology in their businesses.

[00:07:22.60] - Gresham Harkless

That's extremely powerful. I appreciate you again, Talon. And I think so many people look for people to take their own medicine, so to speak, and to hear that you've been able to kinda execute on those different aspects of kinda like different, you know, I guess, rungs of a chair or different, legs of a chair or as a better term way to say it. But it allows you that opportunity to really grow and scale because it sounds like if you have one of those kinda out of whack, everything could completely fall down and fall apart.

[00:07:45.50] - Shawn Johal

Yeah. You're so right about that. And having lived it and understanding that, you know, it's a program, it's a methodology. There's ups and downs. There are good things, but there are things that may not be as good. Being able to go into the client's place and say, well, actually, I did exactly this way. Here's how it turned out for me. You know, I think we could, have success at your place with it. that experience, I think, is beneficial to help them see, okay, this guy knows kind of what he's what he's doing, and he's also made some mistakes that he could share with us. And so it's a beneficial way of moving forward.

[00:08:13.00] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. And, again, I love kind of like, kind of, like, so many times you hit those roadblocks or you hit that, wall or whatever that might be. Obviously, as you said, we're we're we're going and experiencing one now all across the board. But I think that when you understand that there's obviously the difficulty, but there's a method sometimes you can take to kind of maybe not completely get rid of it but to get you to take those steps to kinda continue to get better. I think that's extremely powerful.

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[00:08:38.29] - Shawn Johal

I agree with you completely.

[00:08:40.10] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. So what would you consider to be, like, what I like to call your secret sauce? And that's the thing that kinda sets you apart and makes you unique. It could be for yourself or it could also be for your business.

[00:08:49.29] - Shawn Johal

Sure. Absolutely. Also, I think it's very different because not that many coaches are entrepreneurs. And so what I explain when I'm going into my clients is I'm not there to show them tools. I'm not there to be a moderator or just a guide. My goal is to come there and I always put this into my agreement. It's a it's a business partnership proposal. And I expect them not to come in there as a partner. I wanna be clear that because I'm an entrepreneur and I have quite a few ideas and I've seen, you know, I spent time with a lot of other entrepreneurs. I want you to be comfortable with the fact that I'm not just gonna come here and help you along the way.

I'm actually gonna participate, and I'm gonna give you ideas. I'm gonna challenge you. And when I don't agree with something, you know, I'm really gonna put it in your face and say, well, why are we doing it that way? Are you sure this is the right way to do it? Wanna challenge you on the type of people you have because, you know, we have the wrong people forever. And that's one thing I noticed going to businesses. They protect people. It's an emotional thing, and I wanna be careful, You wanna be, empathetic and understand where people are coming from.

But at the same time, someone who's not a fit at one company could be a great fit elsewhere. But, you gotta be able to identify that very quickly. And so, I think for me, it's taking the entrepreneur aspect and bringing it to coaching, which is a little bit different from a lot of coaches who may have more, of an academic background or have studied a program. I think I think I can bring something a little more edgy, And not everybody likes it, so some clients feel a little bit, they just want the tools and let us do it. And usually, that doesn't work out as well for us. I like to go in there and say, well, no. I'm gonna challenge you. Like, you better be ready to be challenged because how are you gonna grow if not?

[00:10:15.60] - Gresham Harkless

I wanted to switch gears a little bit, and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be an Apple book or habit that you have or even more about your book, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:10:26.20] - Shawn Johal

So I have a lot of them and, you know, I wanna make sure I kinda provide you with the best one. For me, it's kind of a two-sided coin. So it's meditation. I practice a tremendous amount of meditation and visualization. I also integrate that with my clients, which is bizarre because, we'll be in have a meeting and then I'll say, okay, guys. Great. Everybody's about to pull up their phones. They're like, woah. Wait. The break is not a phone break. It's a meditation break, and we're gonna do a meditation right now. You know, it's a very popular thing these days, but, Greg, you'd be shocked how little people do it. I mean, anytime I integrate this with a company, it's always one out of eight people who have tried it.

You know, two out of eight people max. Like, you'll never have a bunch of people in that room who have done it consistently. And so, you know, what I explained to them is I say, well, we just did a super heavy strategic session. Now you're gonna go on break. You're gonna look at your phone. You're gonna freak out because you have five fires to put out. And now you're gonna come back in ten minutes. You won't have time to deal with those fires, by the way, because we're our meetings all day. You're gonna come back, and now I'm expecting you to have a clear mind to jump into a full execution module. It's just not realistic. And the same thing happens at work every single day, I think. We get caught up in answering emails getting on phone calls and dealing with the day-to-day stuff.

How often do we take a step back to really just breathe and say, okay, am I working on the right things right now? Do I need to go take a walk? Do I need to get away from my computer screen? So that's something that I'm doing myself quite a bit and that I teach people, and I've even taught some companies how to integrate a meditation practice into their companies. Where they get a meditation room or they get a space for employees to go and have that clarity of mind or even go outside. And so for me, I would say that's my number one hack because it keeps me grounded and balanced. And most importantly, it allows me to work on the right things and not get caught up in just, you know, the rat race.

[00:12:07.50] - Gresham Harkless

I appreciate that. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. So this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or if you happen to be a time machine, you would tell your younger business self.

[00:12:19.60] - Shawn Johal

Great question. I would say the number one nugget is something that you see said a lot and quite often from some of the best business leaders in the world, and it comes from Jim Collins. It's first who people first above all else. I see it time and time again going to businesses with the wrong people in the wrong seats. we're not taking care of the people that we have there. And so I explain to people, that your process has to be all-encompassing. Meaning, from the day you're gonna start recruiting someone, are you writing what we call a scorecard that tells the person what success looks like? I got this from a wonderful friend and author, Robert Glaser, who wrote Elevate.  he explained this to me a long time ago and he sent us,  examples. , in his job descriptions, put something called What Success Looks Like in Six Months and What Success Looks Like in Twelve Months.

And you tell a future story to the employees of all the amazing things they're already gonna have accomplished. And what this is is not only does it serve as a vision, but the employee looks at it and says, well, oh, I can do that. Like, I think I could really accomplish this. And so it brings it attracts the right type of potential candidates to apply for your company, which is great. And the other part,  the people side that is not done almost ever anywhere that I see is what we call systematic recognition. So, I force my clients to systematically recognize their employees every single quarter without fail, those who are doing really well. Those are the employees that are going above and beyond. And I always explain to clients, this is not about, you know, giving them just money. it's not about saying, okay, you get a bonus because you did good work.

Obviously, bonuses are integrated into a lot of companies. What I'm saying is, why not get the entire strategic team, eight people, let's say, for example, you know, you go to to a store, you buy a card, it costs you ten cents, you know, a packs of tender are very inexpensive. And in that card you write, listen, Josh, for example, love the work you've done over the last quarter. You've been an exceptional employee. We appreciate everything you do day in and day out. We just want to give you this card and sign it from the entire strategic team. Thank you for being you. what? That person's gonna go home with this card and they're gonna show it to their, you know, their spouse, their friends, their family, and they're gonna feel so appreciated by you, and that's gonna keep them in your company on the long run, you know, this employee retention. So I always try to explain to business leaders and to clients, you really have to take care of your people. You have to find the right people, and when you have them, that's not good enough. You have to keep recognizing them and taking care of them when they're in your business.

[00:14:41.00] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. And, so now I wanna ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO, and we're hoping to have different quote-unquote CEOs on the show. So, Sean, what does being a CEO mean to you?

[00:14:51.70] - Shawn Johal

For me, a CEO is understanding your leadership style and finding the best way to, implement and use that in your company. So, I think what often happens is that, you know, we have different leadership styles and we might try to transform ourselves and budget to different types of leaders. I think that could be a mistake in some cases. For me, you know, being a CEO means understanding your leadership type. Are you more of a collaborative leader? Are you more of even if you're more of a directive leader, that's okay. It means you just surround yourself with different people that can compliment you.

[00:15:23.00] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. Well, Sean, truly appreciate all the awesomeness you provided. Appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know, and, of course, how best they can get a hold of you, get a copy of the book, and find out about all the awesome things that you're working on.

[00:15:37.60] - Shawn Johal

Yeah. Absolutely. So, the Happy Leader book, it's going on, Amazon and, you know, full-scale sale on September thirteenth. That's the launch date. The reason we chose that date is it's a positive thinking day in the world, and so that's why we want to do it. So you'll be able to find that, The Happy Leader, and then you could find that also at my website, which is at sean hell dot com. You'll find all the information there too with the book and with all the coaching services that we do there. You can always reach me at sean at sean johell dot com. Easiest way to reach out to me, and, I'll get back to you pretty quickly. I'm kind of obsessed with productivity, so I'll get back to you quickly.

[00:16:09.70] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. I truly appreciate that, Sean. We will have the links and information that's shown us as well too just so that it's even easier for people to reach out to you get a copy of the book, and find out about all the awesome things you're doing. But I appreciate you, my friend, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day. 

[00:16:22.29] - Outro

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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