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Podcast Interview with Greg Smith

Greg Smith loves to help people have a greater impact with their communications and leadership. Beyond his duties at his family business, Compco, he is a public speaking coach and business collaboration catalyst with specialties in personal/team development and leadership expertise.

Born into an entrepreneurial family in Youngstown, Ohio, Greg Smith first learned about leadership from his Grandfather and Father’s stewardship of their family business. Over the years, he watched them successfully manage a diverse workforce during both good and bad economic times maintaining a 1% turnover rate. Greg now serves as a third-generation Chairman of the Board and Chief Culture Officer at Compco Industries; the steel products company his Grandfathers founded.

  • CEO Hack: Using assessments
  • CEO Nugget: Invest in yourself
  • CEO Defined: Being the greatest servant

Websitehttp://www.gregsmithleadership.com/


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Transcription

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[00:00:23.10] – Intro

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO podcast.

[00:00:50.70] – 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 Greg Smith of Comco. Greg, it's great to have you on the show.

[00:00:58.39] – Greg Smith

Well, thank you very much. I appreciate being here.

[00:01:01.20] – Gresham Harkless

Definitely super excited to have you on. And before I jump into the interview, I want to read a little bit more about Greg so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. Greg loves to help people have a greater impact with their communications and leadership. Beyond his duties at his family business, Comco, he is a public speaking coach and business collaboration catalyst with specialties in personal team development and leadership expertise. Born in an entrepreneurial family in Youngstown, Ohio, Greg Smith first learned about leadership from his grandfather and father's stewardship of their family business.

Over the years, he watched them successfully manage a diverse workforce doing doing during both good and bad economic times, maintaining a one percent turnover rate. Greg now serves as a third-generation chairman of the board and chief cultural office officer at Comco Industries, the steel products company his grandfather founded. And he has a phenomenal podcast and loads and loads of information and business insight and so many different things. Greg, thank you for coming on the show. Are you ready to speak to the IMCL community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

[00:01:59.00] – Greg Smith

Absolutely. I'm excited. Awesome. Let's get some value going today. Right?

[00:02:03.00] – Gresham Harkless

Let's make it happen. Let's do it. This is the time and place for it. So, I know I touched on what I like to call your CEO story. We'll let you get started with all the awesome work that you're doing. Could you tell us a little bit more about that, Will you start making all this impact?

[00:02:14.40] – Greg Smith

Well, my father often told me my grandfather, said, that when you hire great people and you get out of their way, and when things are going well, I've gotta find something else to do. So I study the human organizational theory. I study communications because that's when things go bad, that's the first thing you gotta do. You gotta communicate and you gotta get better communication than you've ever been. And that's what I study. I take a lot of time with that and makes a difference. Makes a huge difference.

[00:02:44.69] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. And I feel like there could be so many great things that happen when you do sit down and study that and understand that. And I always say, like, we forget about the human aspect of business, and communication is the glue of that.

[00:02:56.40] – Greg Smith

Right. Well, you gotta get stuff done. I mean, there's just no doubt about it. And I'm one of the bleeding hearts, so I gotta stay away from the money. I'm giving everything away. And I like to hear people's stories and then you have the people that make sure everything gets done. So there's a good balance you have to have between that. You have the right people in the right place. But when it comes down to it, if people don't feel valued or they don't feel they matter, you're not gonna get the best work. You're not gonna get people to go home. They wanna feel they made a difference. The only way that happens is if you know their name, hello, and you let them know you care about them and they get things done.

They gotta get stuff done. You can't this world can't turn sitting in a boardroom the whole time. You gotta get your hands dirty. So we've been very good at that. We've been very blessed to have an amazing, amazing workforce. Fourth generation in some instances. And it's just been a godsend. It's something that, we've our culture, we protect. It's my father who just passed away in April. And we've already gotten a letter from the competitor to buy us, we're we're shooting a video tomorrow to let them know that's not gonna happen. You don't spend four generations on culture and then just give it away to somebody who wants to pilfer your company. So that ain't gonna happen.

[00:04:12.09] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Well, I'm sorry to hear about your father, but I love that your grandfather and your father's legacy are continuing. You're still gonna make sure that that's imprinted. And I can imagine as we're talking about the human aspect of business, we're talking sometimes from an organization or business standpoint, but that impact goes into the families. It goes to the society. The cold I imagine so many different impacts that you have from being able to have that pillar in the community.

[00:04:33.30] – Greg Smith

Well, yeah. We get involved in the community. We we give, maybe more than we should, but we enjoy it. We enjoy it. My father could have had, all kinds of sports cards when he was growing up, but he decided to drive a Buick and and help the community, and we've continued that. I mean, it is really, one thing my father always looked at is people's motivation versus the potential. I mean, that that's a that's a big, big secret. You've got to see where people's hearts are and where they what their passion is. They can have all the potential in the world, but they don't have any desire. You're wasting your time.

And look at all these coaches that that they repurpose. Like, they pay millions of dollars to pay them when they're not even working there. I mean, that's crazy. And we do that in business sometimes too. We just repurpose people who have not been successful and have no motivation. You gotta know people's heart. You gotta know what they wanna do and how they wanna be a part of the process and make a difference and an impact. And you have to talk to them.

And that's the biggest part. You have to have a conversation with them. You have to have to ask them, see what their values are. I mean, the one thing I would say that makes Comco's culture so incredible is we interview for values. We do value questions. We find out what drives the human behavior. And when you find people don't get along, along, it's probably because their values don't match up. You could have complementary values, but you can't have conflicting values. Somebody can't be in there all for the money and somebody can't be there in their service. Service and profit-minded and service-minded are two different things. And you have to want profits, yes, but it shouldn't be your driving force. Serving people and solving their problems should be, and the money will come.

[00:06:05.10] – Gresham Harkless

I guess, could you take us through a little bit more on how you work with clients and how that process goes? And I wanna hear more about your podcast too and what you're talking about?

[00:06:11.50] – Greg Smith

Well, with clients, I'm sure you know as well as I do. I mean, everybody listening to this audience. You have clients with whom you have relations. It's personal relationships. You'll get you'll have those. And when those people move or leave or transfer, it's panic attack time. Right? Okay. Very seldom anymore do you have a relationship with the whole company. I mean, that used to be like that anymore. And relationships are tough because there are so many moving parts. And the minute somebody new comes in there, they wanna get their own they wanna do their own thing.

So it is a constant battle but sales is it. I mean, the one thing we had in Youngstown, we had IBM and IBM had an office here. And there are a lot of wealthy people in Youngstown, Ohio because of IBM back in the sixties and seventies. And their philosophy is sales. You sell, we'll figure out how to make it. That's still true. I don't care what anybody says. You can spend all the time in the world trying to make the best perfect product, but if you don't sell it, it doesn't go anywhere. But if you sell it and you gotta make it, there's a whole different whole different pressure. And I think that's the pressure you want. You know, with our podcast, it's a VIP cafe show.

That's the one we do and we focus on local businesses and people that have been successful. Entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial spirit is just an amazing spirit. They just don't listen to anybody and they never give up. They don't believe in rules or statistics or anything. They're just an incredible group of people. And we talk to them and let them promote their business. And we just do it for the local area. And it's the trillions of listeners we've had so far have been great, but it's it's going well. I mean, people are starting to call us and ask if they can be on the show, which we never expected. We were just doing it for fun, and it turned out to be a wonderful thing.

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[00:07:49.89] – Gresham Harkless

Absolutely. And so I want to ask you this. What would you consider to be what I like to call your secret sauce? The thing you feel kinda sets you apart and makes you unique. Is it that ability to synthesize this, incredible information that you have and be able to learn and get even from the family business over the years and be able to communicate to people? Do you feel like that is part of your secret sauce?

[00:08:07.10] – Greg Smith

I think the secret sauce is we put people first. Our most valuable asset is our people, and we do that. It's important. We also know that getting things done in production is important. It's not, you know, there's just like a there is people are just slightly above that. But it's important. And we protect our culture. I mean, we will if our culture is being, threatened, we will we're we quickly jump on that. Like, fast. And whatever we have to do, we do. But we don't I mean, this COVID thing has been quite a challenge. I mean, communication because a lot of people had to go home and work from home, and keeping that culture is a challenge. I mean, Gallup did a big study on it and we read up on Gallup and got some insights from them and we applied some of those things.

But we're getting back into breaking bread. I mean, there's a great secret of our company. I mean, my grandfather there paid for lunches for people that when they ate together and they were from the same company, not guests, and we would buy their lunches for them. I mean, and people go, that's expensive. No. It's pretty cheap because they get to know each other better. Breaking bread is one of the greatest ways to do it. And some people play golf. They use that too. But golf is four hours and lunch is a half hour. So we'll go for lunch.

[00:09:28.60] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah.

[00:09:29.20] – Greg Smith

But I mean, we buy once a month, we buy we bring in a food truck or we cook dinner for the guys in the shop. We go over all the numbers. We show them everything. They have four they understand how they impact the bottom line in their work, and they get bonuses based on their performance and the company's performance and how they impact the company. And I think it made a tremendous difference.

[00:09:51.89] – Gresham Harkless

Tremendous. Absolutely. And I love that culture piece that you talked about. You said multiple times that protecting that culture, and I think part of that is keeping those lines of communication over and baking breaking bread and making sure that you have ways by which people could communicate is probably just as important as, being able to have those communications. So truly, appreciate that. And so 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 like an Apple book or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:10:20.39] – Greg Smith

Well, I've spent a lot of time, with Gallup. I got my MBA through them in Nebraska on the strength finder system, which is a great system. I also have worked with, Trent's partnership, which is mostly in England, but its validity is, like, I think, ninety-ninety-three percent because it's used in South Africa. And the only way you can be in South Africa is if you're above ninety percent validity. And then I've also used, one called professional development, Pro d, there's a lot of that in France and Europe, but it's growing in the United States. And they're just snapshots. You can't live your life off of assessments, okay, or surveys.

However, their insights into how to structure a job around somebody where they're most efficient. Everybody sees them as strengths and weaknesses. I don't. After doing this for thirty years and over three thousand assessments, I've learned that you talk to people about what they're brilliant at as far as efficiency goes. Because we can all do anything we need to do. If it comes to our survival, we'll figure out a way to do it. But it just wears us out. I can get on if you told me to go speak to a hundred people out back, I'd say, sure. What do you want me to say? And I just walk out there and do it. I'd have no problem. Some people would say it energizes you. It doesn't energize you, but it uses less energy and it gets you excited.

But if you told me, hey, Greg, the books are off by a penny. Can you figure out why? I'm gonna, like, look at you like, oh my gosh, there goes my life. That's just me, but some people would love, where's the penny? I'd love to find the penny. And understanding that, understanding everybody's different, they're not like you. Nobody is like you. Everybody's unique and special and just as good as you. You should celebrate that life and figure out what makes that life tick and how you can tap what they need in life, that's the hack.

[00:12:13.89] – Gresham Harkless

Appreciate that. And so I wanted to ask you now. I know you already gave us one, what I like to call a CEO nugget. So it could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice like you gave us before, or it might be something you would tell a client. Or if you hopped into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

[00:12:27.39] – Greg Smith

Well, I think it's a boulder versus a nugget. I was I took an assessment and it was the pro d. And Davis Taylor who owns the company, I think he sold it to, Arnold Smythe. But, Davis said you're a public speaker. It came out as a public speaker. I said, well, I'm not good at it. What seminars have you gone to on public speaking? I go, none. He goes, what if you've had to read books on public speaking? I go, there are books on it? He goes, oh, yeah. He said if you have a voice coach. I go, no. He says you have a physicality coach. I go, well, no. What's that?

And he goes, do you have a content coach? I go, no. He goes, no wonder you're no good. Because you gotta invest in yourself. I mean, you can have talents, but unless you put time and sweat and blood into it, you're not gonna be any good. So I did. I hired a content coach. I hired a physicality coach. I hired a voice coach. I read books. I went to seminars. I got training.

And within eighteen months, I wrote my book. I got a job at Youngstown State University teaching public speaking. And now I love it. And I would say, you want the nugget and want the boulder, invest in yourself on what you're good at because on what you are naturally efficient at it's multiplication, it's not addition. And you will be blown away. Your five-year plan will be done in eighteen months, especially if your heart's in it. And your impact on people and adding value to people will go through the roof.

[00:13:55.20] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. Well, Greg, truly appreciate that. And so I wanted to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different CEOs on the show. So, Greg, what does being a CEO mean to you?

[00:14:07.20] – Greg Smith

Wow. Being the greatest servant. I mean, honestly, the most important person on your staff is the one you just hired because you've got some time to train them so they're long-term employees. And without good training and without, you know, bringing them along and serving them, you don't have a company in the future. And as the CEO, you have to be the greatest servant. You have to set the greatest example.

[00:14:29.29] – Gresham Harkless

Greg, truly appreciate that, and appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is just pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional that 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, listen to the show, and all the awesome things that you're working on.

[00:14:43.89] – Greg Smith

Well, my book is Speak Like a Pro Without Looking Like a Jackass. So, and it's Greg Smith and, you can get it on Amazon. I mean, there's some there's some, you know, the billions have been sold, you know, you're still they still have a few left, so but it is a really good book. I mean, I work with Roger Love with it Bo Eason, and Jonathan Allfield. These are just tops in their areas of communication and abilities. And they all had a say in it, and they looked at what I wrote about them in it and John Maxwell also.

Just some lessons. I've known John since nineteen ninety-six. He's a great mentor of mine, a great friend and I've learned a tremendous amount and that's a lot in that book. And there's a lot more in communication than just being able to say the right words. You have to understand the story. You have to understand how important a story is, how to integrate it, how to integrate a talk, and how to use voice right. And that's all in that book. So it would be helpful for people who wanna get a good fresh start on public speaking and impact people more, to use that book. It's a good book.

[00:15:47.39] – Gresham Harkless

Absolutely. And and anybody that wants to get a hold of you for anything additional, what's the best way for them to do that?

[00:15:52.10] – Greg Smith

Well, yeah. You can go to my website. It's gregsmithleadership.com or greg@gregsmithleadership.com.

[00:16:01.20] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Greg. We will have the links and information in the show notes for the site as well as the book. And I and I appreciate, you know, those those last kinda, you know, points about communication. I think we talked about it, in the very beginning about how impactful that can be, whether you are publicly speaking or you're talking with a team member or you're trying to have a lunch and learn and breaking bread as we talked about as well. So I appreciate you for giving the tools us to get better at that. And, of course, appreciate your time, and I hope you have a great rest of the day.

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[00:16:25.20] – Greg Smith

Thank you.

[00:16:26 – 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.

[00:00:23.10] - Intro

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO podcast.

[00:00:50.70] - 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 Greg Smith of Comco. Greg, it's great to have you on the show.

[00:00:58.39] - Greg Smith

Well, thank you very much. I appreciate being here.

[00:01:01.20] - Gresham Harkless

Definitely super excited to have you on. And before I jump into the interview, I want to read a little bit more about Greg so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. Greg loves to help people have a greater impact with their communications and leadership. Beyond his duties at his family business, Comco, he is a public speaking coach and business collaboration catalyst with specialties in personal team development and leadership expertise. Born in an entrepreneurial family in Youngstown, Ohio, Greg Smith first learned about leadership from his grandfather and father's stewardship of their family business.

Over the years, he watched them successfully manage a diverse workforce doing doing during both good and bad economic times, maintaining a one percent turnover rate. Greg now serves as a third-generation chairman of the board and chief cultural office officer at Comco Industries, the steel products company his grandfather founded. And he has a phenomenal podcast and loads and loads of information and business insight and so many different things. Greg, thank you for coming on the show. Are you ready to speak to the IMCL community?

[00:01:59.00] - Greg Smith

Absolutely. I'm excited. Awesome. Let's get some value going today. Right?

[00:02:03.00] - Gresham Harkless

Let's make it happen. Let's do it. This is the time and place for it. So, I know I touched on what I like to call your CEO story. We'll let you get started with all the awesome work that you're doing. Could you tell us a little bit more about that, Will you start making all this impact?

[00:02:14.40] - Greg Smith

Well, my father often told me my grandfather, said, that when you hire great people and you get out of their way, and when things are going well, I've gotta find something else to do. So I study the human organizational theory. I study communications because that's when things go bad, that's the first thing you gotta do. You gotta communicate and you gotta get better communication than you've ever been. And that's what I study. I take a lot of time with that and makes a difference. Makes a huge difference.

[00:02:44.69] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. And I feel like there could be so many great things that happen when you do sit down and study that and understand that. And I always say, like, we forget about the human aspect of business, and communication is the glue of that.

[00:02:56.40] - Greg Smith

Right. Well, you gotta get stuff done. I mean, there's just no doubt about it. And I'm one of the bleeding hearts, so I gotta stay away from the money. I'm giving everything away. And I like to hear people's stories and then you have the people that make sure everything gets done. So there's a good balance you have to have between that. You have the right people in the right place. But when it comes down to it, if people don't feel valued or they don't feel they matter, you're not gonna get the best work. You're not gonna get people to go home. They wanna feel they made a difference. The only way that happens is if you know their name, hello, and you let them know you care about them and they get things done.

They gotta get stuff done. You can't this world can't turn sitting in a boardroom the whole time. You gotta get your hands dirty. So we've been very good at that. We've been very blessed to have an amazing, amazing workforce. Fourth generation in some instances. And it's just been a godsend. It's something that, we've our culture, we protect. It's my father who just passed away in April. And we've already gotten a letter from the competitor to buy us, we're we're shooting a video tomorrow to let them know that's not gonna happen. You don't spend four generations on culture and then just give it away to somebody who wants to pilfer your company. So that ain't gonna happen.

[00:04:12.09] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Well, I'm sorry to hear about your father, but I love that your grandfather and your father's legacy are continuing. You're still gonna make sure that that's imprinted. And I can imagine as we're talking about the human aspect of business, we're talking sometimes from an organization or business standpoint, but that impact goes into the families. It goes to the society. The cold I imagine so many different impacts that you have from being able to have that pillar in the community. 

[00:04:33.30] - Greg Smith

Well, yeah. We get involved in the community. We we give, maybe more than we should, but we enjoy it. We enjoy it. My father could have had, all kinds of sports cards when he was growing up, but he decided to drive a Buick and and help the community, and we've continued that. I mean, it is really, one thing my father always looked at is people's motivation versus the potential. I mean, that that's a that's a big, big secret. You've got to see where people's hearts are and where they what their passion is. They can have all the potential in the world, but they don't have any desire. You're wasting your time.

And look at all these coaches that that they repurpose. Like, they pay millions of dollars to pay them when they're not even working there. I mean, that's crazy. And we do that in business sometimes too. We just repurpose people who have not been successful and have no motivation. You gotta know people's heart. You gotta know what they wanna do and how they wanna be a part of the process and make a difference and an impact. And you have to talk to them.

And that's the biggest part. You have to have a conversation with them. You have to have to ask them, see what their values are. I mean, the one thing I would say that makes Comco's culture so incredible is we interview for values. We do value questions. We find out what drives the human behavior. And when you find people don't get along, along, it's probably because their values don't match up. You could have complementary values, but you can't have conflicting values. Somebody can't be in there all for the money and somebody can't be there in their service. Service and profit-minded and service-minded are two different things. And you have to want profits, yes, but it shouldn't be your driving force. Serving people and solving their problems should be, and the money will come.

[00:06:05.10] - Gresham Harkless

I guess, could you take us through a little bit more on how you work with clients and how that process goes? And I wanna hear more about your podcast too and what you're talking about?

[00:06:11.50] - Greg Smith

Well, with clients, I'm sure you know as well as I do. I mean, everybody listening to this audience. You have clients with whom you have relations. It's personal relationships. You'll get you'll have those. And when those people move or leave or transfer, it's panic attack time. Right? Okay. Very seldom anymore do you have a relationship with the whole company. I mean, that used to be like that anymore. And relationships are tough because there are so many moving parts. And the minute somebody new comes in there, they wanna get their own they wanna do their own thing.

So it is a constant battle but sales is it. I mean, the one thing we had in Youngstown, we had IBM and IBM had an office here. And there are a lot of wealthy people in Youngstown, Ohio because of IBM back in the sixties and seventies. And their philosophy is sales. You sell, we'll figure out how to make it. That's still true. I don't care what anybody says. You can spend all the time in the world trying to make the best perfect product, but if you don't sell it, it doesn't go anywhere. But if you sell it and you gotta make it, there's a whole different whole different pressure. And I think that's the pressure you want. You know, with our podcast, it's a VIP cafe show.

That's the one we do and we focus on local businesses and people that have been successful. Entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial spirit is just an amazing spirit. They just don't listen to anybody and they never give up. They don't believe in rules or statistics or anything. They're just an incredible group of people. And we talk to them and let them promote their business. And we just do it for the local area. And it's the trillions of listeners we've had so far have been great, but it's it's going well. I mean, people are starting to call us and ask if they can be on the show, which we never expected. We were just doing it for fun, and it turned out to be a wonderful thing.

[00:07:49.89] - Gresham Harkless

Absolutely. And so I want to ask you this. What would you consider to be what I like to call your secret sauce? The thing you feel kinda sets you apart and makes you unique. Is it that ability to synthesize this, incredible information that you have and be able to learn and get even from the family business over the years and be able to communicate to people? Do you feel like that is part of your secret sauce?

[00:08:07.10] - Greg Smith

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I think the secret sauce is we put people first. Our most valuable asset is our people, and we do that. It's important. We also know that getting things done in production is important. It's not, you know, there's just like a there is people are just slightly above that. But it's important. And we protect our culture. I mean, we will if our culture is being, threatened, we will we're we quickly jump on that. Like, fast. And whatever we have to do, we do. But we don't I mean, this COVID thing has been quite a challenge. I mean, communication because a lot of people had to go home and work from home, and keeping that culture is a challenge. I mean, Gallup did a big study on it and we read up on Gallup and got some insights from them and we applied some of those things.

But we're getting back into breaking bread. I mean, there's a great secret of our company. I mean, my grandfather there paid for lunches for people that when they ate together and they were from the same company, not guests, and we would buy their lunches for them. I mean, and people go, that's expensive. No. It's pretty cheap because they get to know each other better. Breaking bread is one of the greatest ways to do it. And some people play golf. They use that too. But golf is four hours and lunch is a half hour. So we'll go for lunch.

[00:09:28.60] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. 

[00:09:29.20] - Greg Smith

But I mean, we buy once a month, we buy we bring in a food truck or we cook dinner for the guys in the shop. We go over all the numbers. We show them everything. They have four they understand how they impact the bottom line in their work, and they get bonuses based on their performance and the company's performance and how they impact the company. And I think it made a tremendous difference.

[00:09:51.89] - Gresham Harkless

Tremendous. Absolutely. And I love that culture piece that you talked about. You said multiple times that protecting that culture, and I think part of that is keeping those lines of communication over and baking breaking bread and making sure that you have ways by which people could communicate is probably just as important as, being able to have those communications. So truly, appreciate that. And so 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 like an Apple book or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient? 

[00:10:20.39] - Greg Smith

Well, I've spent a lot of time, with Gallup. I got my MBA through them in Nebraska on the strength finder system, which is a great system. I also have worked with, Trent's partnership, which is mostly in England, but its validity is, like, I think, ninety-ninety-three percent because it's used in South Africa. And the only way you can be in South Africa is if you're above ninety percent validity. And then I've also used, one called professional development, Pro d, there's a lot of that in France and Europe, but it's growing in the United States. And they're just snapshots. You can't live your life off of assessments, okay, or surveys.

However, their insights into how to structure a job around somebody where they're most efficient. Everybody sees them as strengths and weaknesses. I don't. After doing this for thirty years and over three thousand assessments, I've learned that you talk to people about what they're brilliant at as far as efficiency goes. Because we can all do anything we need to do. If it comes to our survival, we'll figure out a way to do it. But it just wears us out. I can get on if you told me to go speak to a hundred people out back, I'd say, sure. What do you want me to say? And I just walk out there and do it. I'd have no problem. Some people would say it energizes you. It doesn't energize you, but it uses less energy and it gets you excited.

But if you told me, hey, Greg, the books are off by a penny. Can you figure out why? I'm gonna, like, look at you like, oh my gosh, there goes my life. That's just me, but some people would love, where's the penny? I'd love to find the penny. And understanding that, understanding everybody's different, they're not like you. Nobody is like you. Everybody's unique and special and just as good as you. You should celebrate that life and figure out what makes that life tick and how you can tap what they need in life, that's the hack.

[00:12:13.89] - Gresham Harkless

Appreciate that. And so I wanted to ask you now. I know you already gave us one, what I like to call a CEO nugget. So it could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice like you gave us before, or it might be something you would tell a client. Or if you hopped into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

[00:12:27.39] - Greg Smith

Well, I think it's a boulder versus a nugget. I was I took an assessment and it was the pro d. And Davis Taylor who owns the company, I think he sold it to, Arnold Smythe. But, Davis said you're a public speaker. It came out as a public speaker. I said, well, I'm not good at it. What seminars have you gone to on public speaking? I go, none. He goes, what if you've had to read books on public speaking? I go, there are books on it? He goes, oh, yeah. He said if you have a voice coach. I go, no. He says you have a physicality coach. I go, well, no. What's that?

And he goes, do you have a content coach? I go, no. He goes, no wonder you're no good. Because you gotta invest in yourself. I mean, you can have talents, but unless you put time and sweat and blood into it, you're not gonna be any good. So I did. I hired a content coach. I hired a physicality coach. I hired a voice coach. I read books. I went to seminars. I got training.

And within eighteen months, I wrote my book. I got a job at Youngstown State University teaching public speaking. And now I love it. And I would say, you want the nugget and want the boulder, invest in yourself on what you're good at because on what you are naturally efficient at it's multiplication, it's not addition. And you will be blown away. Your five-year plan will be done in eighteen months, especially if your heart's in it. And your impact on people and adding value to people will go through the roof.

[00:13:55.20] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. Well, Greg, truly appreciate that. And so I wanted to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different CEOs on the show. So, Greg, what does being a CEO mean to you?

[00:14:07.20] - Greg Smith

Wow. Being the greatest servant. I mean, honestly, the most important person on your staff is the one you just hired because you've got some time to train them so they're long-term employees. And without good training and without, you know, bringing them along and serving them, you don't have a company in the future. And as the CEO, you have to be the greatest servant. You have to set the greatest example.

[00:14:29.29] - Gresham Harkless

Greg, truly appreciate that, and appreciate your time even more. What I wanted to do is just pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional that 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, listen to the show, and all the awesome things that you're working on.

[00:14:43.89] - Greg Smith

Well, my book is Speak Like a Pro Without Looking Like a Jackass. So, and it's Greg Smith and, you can get it on Amazon. I mean, there's some there's some, you know, the billions have been sold, you know, you're still they still have a few left, so but it is a really good book. I mean, I work with Roger Love with it Bo Eason, and Jonathan Allfield. These are just tops in their areas of communication and abilities. And they all had a say in it, and they looked at what I wrote about them in it and John Maxwell also.

Just some lessons. I've known John since nineteen ninety-six. He's a great mentor of mine, a great friend and I've learned a tremendous amount and that's a lot in that book. And there's a lot more in communication than just being able to say the right words. You have to understand the story. You have to understand how important a story is, how to integrate it, how to integrate a talk, and how to use voice right. And that's all in that book. So it would be helpful for people who wanna get a good fresh start on public speaking and impact people more, to use that book. It's a good book.

[00:15:47.39] - Gresham Harkless

Absolutely. And and anybody that wants to get a hold of you for anything additional, what's the best way for them to do that?

[00:15:52.10] - Greg Smith

Well, yeah. You can go to my website. It's gregsmithleadership.com or greg@gregsmithleadership.com.

[00:16:01.20] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Greg. We will have the links and information in the show notes for the site as well as the book. And I and I appreciate, you know, those those last kinda, you know, points about communication. I think we talked about it, in the very beginning about how impactful that can be, whether you are publicly speaking or you're talking with a team member or you're trying to have a lunch and learn and breaking bread as we talked about as well. So I appreciate you for giving the tools us to get better at that. And, of course, appreciate your time, and I hope you have a great rest of the day. 

[00:16:25.20] - Greg Smith

Thank you.

[00:16:26 - 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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