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IAM2112 – Focusing On Specific Pillars That Can Elevate Your Business, Closer To Your Goals

Special Episode by Gresham Harkless Jr.

In this episode of the I AM CEO podcast, host Gresh dives into the importance of not trying to do everything in business to avoid exhaustion and inefficiency.

Instead, he emphasizes focusing on specific ‘levers' or pillars that can elevate a business closer to its goals.

Highlighting the transition from covering a myriad of topics to concentrating on eight business pillars, Gresh explains how this sharper focus aims to provide more effective insights for listeners aiming to level up their businesses.

These pillars include people, operations, strategy, planning, product and service, financial visibility, technology, and entrepreneurship.

The episode encourages leaders to identify and leverage their strengths within these pillars, use the ‘One Thing' strategy for efficiency, and focus on what excites them the most to drive business success while ensuring their effort aligns with making a significant impact.

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Gresham Harkless Teaser 00:00

What I want to really hammer home for you in this episode is that you don't have to necessarily focus on all the things.

And actually, just as I would say in building a media company, if you do try to focus on all the things, you're probably going to reach some type of exhaustion. You're going to be overextended. You're not going to be able to make the impact that you ultimately want to have.

So it's important on you as a leader to be able to understand what are the levers that you can push or pull that are going to help you to get closer to level up, get closer to what your goal is, get closer to what that success is.

Intro 00:32

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.

Gresham Harkless 01:01

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast. And I'm super appreciative of you listening to this episode 2102 of the I AM CEO podcast, I'm going to drill down a little bit deeper on these eight business pillars and why they're important for you within the business.

Just to give you a little bit more of a backstory, check out episode number 2100 of the I AM CEO podcast, where I go through a little bit more in depth about those eight pillars. And of course, they're going to spend more and more time throughout these different episodes, drilling down on some of those, giving you some tidbits and some tips and tidbits from different episodes of the podcast that's going to focus specifically on these eight pillars and why they're important.

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So One of the things that I really wanted to do was drill home that as we start to delve down deeper and we start to really figure out how best we can serve these builders you really can be, for lack of a better term, overwhelmed with the amount of things that there are within business that to focus on.

And one of the reasons that I wanted to transition from the. Hundreds of things, which were all the nuggets in the hacks that we heard from each of the 1600 episodes to those 16 kind of topics or themes that people can learn from each of the episodes. So now these eight pillars is because 1 of the things I wanted it to be effective for people that are listening to this. And for people that are looking to try to level up their business.

It's the understanding what things to focus on and when what are all the aspects of business. And the reality is that we all as CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners want to be expert at all the things we want to make sure all the things are perfect. All the things are exactly how we envisioned them to be, because that's how we build the next unicorn, the next trillion dollar company or whatever it might be our vision to be.

But the reality is that often we're going to have to continue to work on certain aspects of the business. You might have a phenomenal HR department and then all of a sudden your head of HR decides to leave and take on another position.

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So all of a sudden your processes, your systems might be in place, but that person might have taken things to an entirely different level. So now you're in a different spot than you were maybe six months or a year ago. So the reality is to really pay attention to each of these things. But I think as the leader, as the CEO, entrepreneur, business owner, the decision maker, the C suite, you're trying to determine what might be the best ways to help your organization to level up.

And what I wanted to pull on was, if you listen to or taken the course, the, You Are a Media Company Course where it talked a lot around building a business and building a marketing strategy and getting your ideal clients and customers to connect with you based off the media company that you build.

I basically create an analogize that to building and making your favorite. When you are making your favorite dish, you figure out what ingredients are going to be integral to that dish so that you can get those ingredients when you go to the quote-unquote grocery store to stack up your card and to of course, be able to execute on the recipe, it's going to be very similar for this.

When I talk about building a media company, I always say that you don't necessarily want to choose all the ingredients. You want to figure out what you're trying to make. I often go to my mom's sweet potato pie and I always will probably go on that because it's amazing and I love it and it's going to be good no matter what time of the year that there is.

But the reason I bring that up is because so many times when we go to the grocery store, we go to the grocery store hungry. The way that people execute on their marketing strategy is they literally throw everything into their cart. They hear that there's a new platform and they have to be the first mover on it so they spend time there.

And neglect all the other aspects of building a business or some people are tried and true. They will not try anything out. They've done. This is how I built my business. My business has been nothing but word of mouth. I won't try anything else. And they have kind of like the same recipe, same thing that they're executing on.

And while that might achieve some type of success at some form, shape, or fashion. What you start to realize is that maybe the ingredients that you were using are not quite set up. Don't quite have the ingredients within the ingredients that they did before. It doesn't actually mix the way that it used to mix.

It doesn't cook the way that it used to cook the actual products that they're using aren't the same products that we're using before. And of course, I'm going a little bit further on this analogy, but the point that I want to make is you always want to approach your marketing strategy very similar to you building a media company, very similar to you actually creating your favorite dish and understand that you constantly want to test.

Try out different things and you don't do it at full scale, but you do it in a way that can help make the impact that you ultimately want to make, within your business. So going back to these eight business pillars, I'm going to go over them really quickly, just in case you haven't listened to episode number 2100.

They're people, c. So those are the eight things. And what I want to really hammer home for you in this episode is that you don't have to necessarily focus on all the things.

And actually, just as I would say in building a media company, if you do try to focus on all the things, you're probably going to reach some type of exhaustion. You're going to be overextended. You're not going to be able to make the impact that you ultimately want to have.

So it's important on you as a leader to be able to understand what are the levers that you can push or pull that are going to help you to get closer to level up, get closer to what your goal is, get closer to what that success is.

You don't throw all the ingredients into your cart to tie this, to try to create that favorite dish. You figure out what are the one or two ingredients that are going to be Potentially more impactful than anything else. One of my favorite CEO hacks is the One Thing. And the One Thing, the whole entire thesis of that book is what is the One Thing that by doing it, everything else is easier or unnecessary.

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This is where you want to look for the One Thing. When I speak to building your media company, I'm saying you pick one to maybe max three things, but because this is business pillars, you're going to understand that they're a lot more complex than they seem. And they are very much so intertwined. So while I wanted to use the analogy of pillars, because they helped you build up your business, understanding these Pillars are very much so intertwined.

I often say success is very much so like a plate of spaghetti. These pillars are very much so like that plate of spaghetti, because you can have all the operations in place. But if you don't have the people, it's not going to go quite as well. If you have all the people, but you don't have the operations in place, it's not necessarily going to help you to reach and crush those goals that you really hope to achieve.

So, keep in mind that as you start to look and evaluate your business, you'll see that there are more impactful things within your business than there might be at other times. For us specifically right now, we're looking a lot at our operations and seeing how we can clean that up so that it helps us to run at a better final machine.

And I'll be completely honest. I thought. That at some point our operations were there where we started to realize those ingredients we were using for a long period of time weren't giving us that same taste and excellence that it had before. So it was important for us to start to level up and start to look at that in a completely different way.

So know that even as you have your operations, your sales strategies, your technology, your visibility, whatever it is at that level, you might have to go back and really look at that again. So what I really want you to do, if you're listening to this today just to give you a little bit of homework, just to give you a little bit of an idea to ponder, take a look at those eight things that are within your business and start to evaluate what are probably three impactful questions that I, want to leave you with.

First and foremost, you're gonna say, and try to understand what. Within these eight pillars, the people, operation, strategy, product and service, financial visibility, technology, or even the entrepreneurship business, do you feel like you have the best strength in? What is the thing that you feel like in comparison to the other pillars is the strongest out of all of them?

And the reason that I want you to answer that first is because I would say. You should probably lean more into that. How can you take what is your strength and make it even better? I mentioned a lot around the operations. I felt like that was strong, but I felt like there was another level to that.

So even though it might be something that you consider to be a strength, what ways can you make that even better and how can those ways help you to improve other aspects of your business case in point by building up your operations, getting more SOPs, getting more quality Training videos and support for the people are going to help support that people pillar because you have a lot more clarity around what it is that you're doing and how you're doing it.

And then all of a sudden, your product and service starts to look better, and then your financial projections start to look better. And then, because you are really showing the excellence that you have, you're starting to get your name out there a little bit more.

So just keep in mind that as you start to look at these pillars, while I wanted to outline these eight pillars, because I feel like they're all important understand that they aren't necessarily all equal at any given point in time within your organization. Maybe you do absolutely have quote, unquote, all the things in place, except for getting the leads and opportunities.

You don't have enough visibility. You're not getting enough sales. You're not getting enough at bat, so to speak. So that's what you really want to focus on.

So as you start to go through and look at these, make sure you ask your question. What are you doing better than anything else? Next, you really want to ask yourself that One Thing question, what is the One Thing that by doing it, everything else is easier and necessary. Now, I would really, really love to hear how you go through and look at these pillars and where you settle on, because I wonder.

If nine out of 10 times the thing that you do the best is actually the One Thing by leveling that up, you're going to be able to create more strength in the thing that you do already so that you can make more and more of an impact. So I would definitely look at that, that One Thing and ask yourself if there was one aspect of our business that we can literally focus on.

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Would that make everything else easier or necessary within the business? And here's One Thing I want to leave you with as well, too, with that question. One of the things I listened to, and I'll, I'll put a link in the show notes as well, too for a blog post and a video that I first heard about the One Thing an interview with an author.

And one of the things that he really left me with, and I really remember even to this day after reading the book and listening to it many times over and over again, is that often when you do focus on that One Thing, especially in the beginning, sometimes things are just going to be chaotic.

And what that means is that you're trying to put more time and energy into one pillar and the other pillars are going to look like they're neglected, that they're not going to be supported. And it's not going to help you get to where you want to be. But the reality is that One Thing ends up being like a domino and that domino starts to.

knock over larger dominoes and larger dominoes and larger dominoes. And you start to realize that it's not so much you figuring out how to knock over all eight dominoes is figuring out how you can line up each of these eight pillars so that you can knock them over. Or you can knock over three of them.

And then you might have to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to knock over, the, the, the six or seven more, or the, it'll be, I guess my math bad, the five after that. So whatever your math looks like, whatever those one, that One Thing is, that's going to knock over those eight domes, make sure that you look at that.

Because that's going to be one of the most impactful things. And then the reality is the next question that I have, it's probably gonna be the question that is probably. Going to be the same answer, hopefully for all three of those. And it's going to be the thing that makes it the most fun.

What is most exciting to you to work on? What is going to be the thing that you're going to put in the time and energy?

So many times on the podcast, I say you don't have to necessarily choose. Something that you're passionate about when you're starting a business or you're thinking of buying a business or whatever and however you get into entrepreneurship.

But the reality is that you want to choose that because you have an opportunity to choose that. You don't have to choose something that you don't like just to make a quick payday. You could choose something that you can make a quick payday with and something you like, and you don't have to choose either where you can choose both and better and that both and better mentality speaks directly to that abundance mindset.

So when you're looking at these eight pillars I'd be curious if the thing that you like and love to do the most is not, is it's probably that thing that also will help you to move the business forward. So answer those three questions, be very clear on what you feel you're through your strongest with what you feel is the thing that can ultimately excite you the most , and be very clear on where you think that needle can be moved the most in what that looks like.

So that's just me understanding these pillars are not silo, they're very much so intertwined again, envision that plate of spaghetti, but this is grass signing out.

I'll be talking more and more and more about these eight pillars in business. Of course, you're going to see it across CB nation and across our different sites as well, too. So hopefully that's helpful. We'd love to hear how you're answering those three questions. And I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Outro 14:03

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I AM CEO is not just a phrase. It's a community.

Check out the latest and greatest apps, books, and habits to level up your business at This has been the I AM CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless Jr.

Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

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(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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