611: Calling All Leaders: A Lesson You Need to Hear in 2018 w/ JT McCormick

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

In this episode we talk to JT McCormick, President and CEO at Book in a Box and Author of I Got There.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jtmccormick/

Wouldn't it be nice to have severalfaugtleaders in your industry Kno and love your brand start a podcast inviteyour industrys thought leaders to be guests on your show and start reapingthe benefits of having a network full of industry. influencers learn more atsweetfish media DOTCOM. Your listening to the B Te B Gros showpodcast dedicated to helping B to B executives, achiev explosive growt,whene you're, looking for techniques and strategies, tools and resources,you've come to the right place. I'm Jonathan Green, I'm James Carbary.Let's get into the show, welcome back to the beautby growth show.We are here today with JT McCormick he's the president and CEO book an abox GT. How are you doing today? I am excellent Sir appreciate you have Meln,I'm excited it's out with you at. I heard you on Noakagans podcast a fewweeks ago and as soon as I soon as I finished, the episode I reached out, Ican't remember if it was on twiter or Lincon, and and and asked you to tojoin, is sombody to be Grounh. You just wear our wealth of knowledge aroundleadership. I think your story is fascinating, we're going to be talkingabout leadership and, and a little bit of BTO be marketing as well. Somethings that you guys have planned in twenty eighteen, but before we do that,JTII'd love for you to just tell our listeners a little book in a box andwhat UANDER team are up to over there. So what book in a box is we? We havecome up with a new way for people to publish their book. You you and I bothknow, you've met so many people that have said I've been wanting to write mybook for the last two years, five seven years, and so what we've done is madeit easier for people to publish their bookand we've done it to a series of of interviews. So a high level. What weask of you is to sit back grab your beverage of choice. Let us interviewyou pull that information out and structure the book for You, a the bookis done in your content, your voice, your tones, so we're not ghostwriters.You don't come to us and say: Hey Jt. We go off and write a book about the UHiphone. No, that's not what we do. We use your content, your voice, your tone.I love it. I Love I've been fascinated with the concept and you guys have havebeen growing like crazy. Really, since, since since I startedthe company, Zaq and and Tucker Max started the company, I think threethree and a half years ago, something like that is that right about yeah alittle over two and a half years ago, so we're just just right at three yearsthat is tnot is wild. Can you speak to some of the growth that you guys haveexperienced? Oh Gosh, so so one thing that we're incredibly proud of thatthat it's it's a little cocky, but were we're really proud of it? Is that we'rejust at three years old and we have no debt, no loans, no private equity money,an no VC money and, most importantly,...

...we are profitable. So we we we like tojoke that we are the other UNICORS. Everybody celebrates the H, the billiondollar valuation, this mythical number, but we can actually show you a bottomline. So it s our our growth has just been incredible right now, we're justthe the greatest unknown. So many people don't know about us and so intwenty eighteen, that's a big part of our focusis to get the word out and letmore people know about it. So, thus far right now, we've worked with six hundred and fifty plus authors,Thats Ala cat yeah in three years. That's insane that is that's phenomenal,so so jt you've got bit of an interesting journey because you, youcame on board a little bit later in the book and a box story. Can you talkabout and f what? What led you to the team and and ultimately you know,you're H, you're in the CEO now hat talk to give us a little bit of contextas to how that came to be yeah. So I was at the time I was president of asoftware company that we had grown from. I was there five years we had grownfrom thirteen people to well over a hundred people, and I wanted to reach out and figure outhow to write. My Book Truth be told. I I can't tell you an adbern from aPronoun, so I knew there was no way I was ever going to write the book. So II got introduced to Takamenzak and I started writing my book and so, as Iwent through the process, I I realize wow. This is a great company and andTucker had asked me he said Hey. Can you give us feedback on our company asyou go through the process? I said Yeah sure why not one thing led to another.I called Tucker up after my first interaction with the company. I said:Hey, do you still want to have feedback and he says yes, I said: okay, you allare doing this great. This great keep doing this over here. This is horrible.This suck- and I don't know why you ever thought about doing this- a ND. Sohe goes Jamn you. You got that out of an email and I said yeah and so onething led to another. He invited me to one of their executive meetings. Headvi invited me to sit on their advisory board next thing. I know Iwake up anl morning and I'm ceoof the company so that', that's the high levelover and I'll say this to to to use. Well, I have the rare luxury to knowthe company from the outside in and now the inside out, and so when, when weapproach anything, I'm able to sit there and view it from okay. How willthe author view this? How would the author h perceive this and what's theexperience going to be like from the author for the author, because well I Iwas an author with the company before I became the Co Yeah? No, I I love thatDT. I love that story. I remember the blood post that that Tuck a wrotewhenever I think they they officially announced it, and I've been following along eversince and and love to grow out to your...

...experiencing se, something that I tooknote of whenever I wa. I was listening to the episode with noakegain. It'sjust you. You are just a wealth of wisdom, around leadership when you'retalking to a young leader or when you're you K. now, when you're, whenyou're coaching, you know other companies, I'm sure you sit on. Youknow some advisory boards and what are some of the biggest leadershipprinciples that you find yourself talking about over and over and overagain Yi would say. First and foremost is leadership is not free letters. So,just because you receive a CEO title that does not make you a leader, that'sa role. What makes you do a the actual leader are the people that you areworking with. They choose to make you a leader they choose to allow you to bethe leader you receiving three letters after your name, that's nothing butinitial's hell. I already had two in genly. I didn't ead three more. So the biggest piece that I I express topeople is in leadership, eliminate the word I and my stop, making it a apossession. No one I'll give you another one that I share with withindividuals. No one works for me. People work with me, I'm no moreimportant in organization than those who are, let's be honest, doing all thework. If you go to our website, you canactually see that you go to most company websites and the first thingyou see on the about US page. You see the C sweet executive, CEO, Blah BlahBlah Blah. If you go to arts, I'm at the bottom of the page, why? Because Isupport the organization and in fact to be you know, we're talking marketing. Iwant you to see all of the individuals in our tribe who actually do the workbefore you get down and see me. I love it. I love it. That's a a concept thatI that I hear that I've heard before, and so I'm glad you you reiterated thisidea that you were. You are not those initials, don't make you a leader, it'sthe team, choosing to to follow you that that makes you a leader what weresome things that you did kind of taking over an existing tem team jt? What weresome of the things that you made sure that you wanted to do andthose first maybe three to six months to to get a pulse of and of what whatthe experience was going to look like and and like real, practically speaking,just what were the things you implemented early on that our listenerscan learn from you know I it's it. Reallyc comes down to in in so manycompanies, the relationship and so for me. I realized early on that. We're notonly a product company were a service company and what I mean by that is youhave the actual author experience? What...

...is that experience like as you gothrough writing the book in the book is the product, so our service is theauthor experience and the product is the book. The worst thing that Coulhappen for us is that you go through our process. You come out with thisphenomenal book that you're proud of. But when someone says to you hey, howwas the experience you go? Oh, my God, it was horrific. Well, NAN, that'shorrible! So we we have to perfect both sides of the house. The experience hasto be great and the product has to be great, which is the book itself soogediately when I came in I I asked okay, what's the number one touchpointfor our authors and I wentan served in that role for about ninety days tounderstand all of the different touchpoints that would h go on with with the authors themselves.So I I came in with this again three letters after my name, but immediately,I went into our publishing manager role because I wanted to work hand in handwith our authors and understand all the different touchpoints gi, so you wereworking alongside those, the those publishing managers or, or you justkind of took over their responsibilities for for the FE tremonths. How did that work at? It was great because I got first handknowledge of what it was like. I said I was an author first withthe company, so I knew it from the outside in and now I was understandingit from the inside out. So I I literally came in d became a publishingmanager and some of the authors I worked with knew I was the CEO some didnot so I got to approach it and really walk the authors through the processguide them through this author experience to to ensure that wepublished an incredible book for them, and so when, when you went through thatprocess, you were in that role. For you know the first ninety days, what did itlook like then, to assess okay? This is this is wherewe need to shift these ARD, the things that we need to do, how how did youcommunicate those changes to the team in a way that actually made them want to implement it, as opposed to just kind of being theIron Fist that came in and said: Okay, I've I' I've gone. You know ve I'veexperienced Ond of th the front lines, and- and this is what we're doing now-is there any nuance to that or or is there an approach that you took so thatyou could and take what you gathered and then implement h, changes thatactually make them product and e experience better? So so, I believe,there's a combination there wh when you're talking leadership, now veryeasy to come in and play dictator and say: Okay. This is what we're doing andthere's the Iron Fist as Y, as you said, but there's also the combination ofokay, here's what I've seen through the process. You all tell me where we canenhance this. What am I not seen? Is...

...there anything additional? We can dohere and lay out the facts of what I've taken from from going as a publishingmanager. Itlets me honest: There are certain things that, yes, you just comein and say: okay, we're not doing this anymore and that really happened morewithin the operational aspect of the company. We we needed to put adashboard together things of that nature, so there ase certain piecesthat you just come in and say: okay, this is going to happen and thenthere's other pieces that you're going to say. Okay, how do we collaborate andtell me when I'm not seeing what don't I understand or from the perspective ofthe people already with the company, the other tribe members? Where do youall see that we can improve mm? What's what's your relationship been with withZaq and with Tucker th the two founders of of the company with you coming inand and now being the CEO? What's that dynamic been like o? Well any anybodythat knows Tucker well that an itself tells you something, but you know I I will I I say this toeveryone: full transparency. It was a struggle early on because I had twofounders that now I'm coming in as the CEO and their expectation was o kjttell us what to do, and I I in manyways treated them as the PRIMADONNA COfounders didn't want to step on their toes, so it it took time for me torealize that Oky on the CEO there, the Co founders, a and the other dynamicthat was interesting as well is izaentucker. Also provided me equity inthe company, so that really changed the dynamic as well, because now we hadthree owners and it it enabled me to put that relationship together a bitfaster but agait in full transpiracy it'sta time, because I had these cofounders, one who has experienced incredible, fame and success, one, that's a twenty seven year oldmillennial, so you've got two different dynamics and what I I I express toeveryone- and this is so important. It was incredible for me to see twofounders willing to swallow their pride and say: Hey. We don't know how to dothis. We don't know how to scale a company. You know as well as I do so many peoplecan't get out of their own way and it it's very hard for someone to releasethat quotlqute ce o title and in many ways. That's all it is it's a title. Doyou want a title, or do you want a successful company? A One? That's sogood, that's so good, so jt with obviously a lot of marketers. Listeningto this 'cause, we were talking offline. You mentioned that there there'se somemarketing things that you guys are doing a booking a box ind twentyeighteen that you're really excited...

...about. Can you give us a bit of a peak into what you guys areplanning for this year N and hopes to give some some in inside to maybe someideas for for the marketers listening to this interview, so you know it'sit's interesting. What we have found over time is that we are a brand andwhat I mean by that is we don't actually sell anything. I can't call upJamie diamond to see yo chase and say: Hey Jame. You want to write a book. Youknow he's going. What the Hell is this and so people either understand what wedo and want to write a book or they don't. WE CAN'T COL call people and-and you know, sell Ur. Our quote: UQUOTE services are our process in whatwe do either you want to write a book you like how we wilwe will take youthrough our process to publish that book or you don't so. Ours is brandawareness and, and one of the things that we're doing this year is we'redoing more conferences. So we can get outspread the word sponsorship. What wehave found between the the EO WYEPO H, some of the professional servicesconferences, financial planners things, to that nature- is that many of thesepeople don't even know that there's a service out there available for them tobe able to write their books. So ours is really getting the word out, becausethere's no real quonical hardcore cell with what we do. Okay, so you're.Looking at more, you know sponsoring more more conferences and and reallybuilding building the brand an and got a top of unal awareness, so that peopleknow that hey, there's, there's actually somebody out there that cantake the ideas out of my head and turn it into a book exactly exactly and andfor me to to do a lot of these conferences. Ithelps as well because, like I said, I actually get to go out, speak and sayhey. I I can't spell can't tell you an advert from a pronile, but here Icreated my book. Here's how I did it no by the way I just happen to be the CE O,the company and heres. Why so that that in itself has his lintedself as a agreat marketing tool? I love it. I love it. Woald have been jt from you know: YYou'e Workd. You guys h work with six hundred and fifty plus authors. Whathave been the most strategic ways that you've seen authors kind of leveragehaving a book. There's there's the obvious. You know you know if they wantto speak at more conferences and o kind, O build thought leadership, but e arethere other benefits that you've seen that have com even yourself having abook now, but particularly you know, the six hundred and fifty plus authorsthat you guys have worked with. Is there anything that that you've noticedthat you thought man that's a really strategic way to leverage having a book.You know the great majority of the authors that have come to US use thebook for three reasons: Thought Leadership, credibility, legeneration,most use it for all three and I'm going...

...to steal this. I told him I wouldthere's a financial plainter that we work with that we worked with. He didhis book with US and he goes. Oh, this is gold and I go WHA. Why is that tellus how you're going to use the book he said? Well, when I have a High Networthclient my office and we're wrapping up and I hand them two business cards, andI say: Hey can you you know anybody you can refer over to me. Can you give 'emmy card? He goes, I know before they leave my office. They probably throw mycards in the trash, but if I had them two of my books- and I say hey, if youknow anyone can you give them a copy of my book, He goes now they'reincintivized, because now they look good to say, Hey, my guy wrote the bookon retirement planting. He says so now they're incentivized, to give that bookout, because it makes them look better. Handing a card doesn't do anything fromthere. It's just another card and to be able to say my guy wrote the book onretirement planning. He goes thatinsenivizes them when he told methat I go wow. That is pretty powerful. That's that's super powerful JT. I Iwant to close with a question that I've been asking for the last few weeks andand ar are ave really been enjoying the responses that I've been hearingasthing to do with a legacy jt. What would you say is is the legacy that youwant to leave, so the legacy I want to leaveinteresting enough is how I actually got two book in a box. I was travelinga lot and I realized. If something happened to me, my children would notknow where I came from, and I wanted my children to understand that we don'tknow where our last name came from, because my mother was raised in aorphanage. I wanted my children to understand that my father was a blackpimp and drug dealer in the Nineteen Seventies. The fact that I had been inand out of juvenile three different times that I've been sexually molested,that I've been left with my half brothers and sisters that I've gottwenty three half brothers and sisters all of those things. I wanted mychildren to understand. Where I came from that I've gone to bed, Hungary, Ilived on welfare, I was homeless. I barely have a high school diploma.There is no college degree. I wanted my children to understand where I camefrom and, more importantly, in that book, I wanted them to also see that Iwant you to hustle in life, but I also want you to give back, and one of thebig pieces of the legacy for me is to give back to that very community ofwhich I come from. I am hell bit and I have this massive responsibility that Ibelieve we can change the lower economic part of our society. Peoplejust don't know. If, if someone understands that hey you can be anentrepreneuer, you can be a stockbroker, you can be a financial planner, but ifyou don't know those things even exist, how am I supposed to aspire to be thosethings? So that's the legacy I wan no...

...leave is to one give back to mychildren. Let them know where I came from, but two changed that lowereconomic community, regardless of race and let them know you can be whateveryou want to be in this country. You really can't, but if you don't know howthe hell am I supposed to do it, that's so powerful, so powerful jt how youknow if, for t person listening to this first off, you just dropped a lot thereabout your background that that I knew that we weren't going to be able to getinto in this interview. But if, if you're interested, if you're listeningto this you're interested in hearing more of JT's story, go check out thetwo interviews that he did on Nolake and presents NOAS POCASS is incredible: You're goingto get way more insight into into a lot of what jt just mentioned. As far ashis background is, is dad being a pamp and and mean it's it's a fascinatingstory, so make sure and go subscribe to. NOIS picasts, listen to those episodes,but if folks want to check out your book jt or they want to you know,follow you on social stay connected with you or learn more about book ind abox. What's the best way for them to go about doing those things? Oh Wow,bookibox is easy. Bookbox, DOT com. Tell you everything you want to knowabout is phenomenal tribe, phenomenal company, so we're we're going likecrazy. Like you said me personally, easiest way to find meis en linkin. That's that's a great place and n thebook itself. It's called. I got there how I overcame racism, poverty andabuse to achieve the American dream that you can find that on Amazon I loveit. Wonderful RJT will. Thank you so much for your time today. This has beenfantastic and I really appreciate it. Oh Yean, I appreciate your have a meal.It's always fascinating to me that that people actually want to hear what Ihave to say to ensure that you never miss anepisode of the btby growth show subscribe to the show in Itunes or yourfavorite pot gass player. This guarantees that every episode will getdelivered directly to your device. If you are someone you know would be anincredible guess for the be to be groshow. Email me at Jonathan thatsweetfish media Dotcom, let us know we love connecting, would be to beexecutives nd. We love sharing their wisdom and perspective with ouraudience. Thank you. So much for listening until next time.

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