Our new episode of the Super U Podcast is live! The Super U Podcast delivers curated tips from top performers and thought leaders to help unlock and unleash your inner superpower. This week’s episode features tips from Kevin O’ Leary, the second richest Shark on Shark Tank and the co-founder for O’Leary Funds and SoftKey. Click here to subscribe to the Super U Podcast. Need a sneak peek? Below are the main takeaways from
Kevin O’ Leary | Super U Podcast:
[00:45] Episode Intro — Welcoming Kevin O’ Leary
Kevin O’ Leary gained his market experience at Nabisco before he founded SoftKey Software Productions, a technology company that sells software geared toward family education and entertainment. He eventually acquired The Learning Company, and SoftKey took the company’s name. His riches come from his success with selling The Learning Company to Mattel, making O’Leary a multimillionaire.
[01:36] Don’t Let Emotions Interfere with Business
Your allegiance has to be to the business first. As your business grows and you start making decisions about individual people, you can’t let emotions get in the way of the goal — the business’ success. Oftentimes, entrepreneurs fail to understand that they are always going to be serving someone — a shareholder, a customer, the business, etc. A lot of people start a family business or start a company with friends and often, nepotism kills the golden goose. Better management typically does not end with loved ones, so you can’t ever let that type of emotion interfere with the success of your business. Similar to Steve Jobs’ business practice, it’s about making money, not making friends.
[04:05] Listen to Your Instincts
Every entrepreneur should trust their gut. Successful entrepreneurs have a spidey sense. The minute you second guess yourself, you’re screwed. It’s about trusting yourself and for others to feel trust in you in return. O’Leary’s trust in himself has earned him $400M in net worth.
[05:02] Control Your Own Destiny
O’Leary’s first life lesson was at his first job. He managed to get hired at the mall in an ice cream shop across the way from this girl he had a crush on. At the end of his first day, O’Leary was ready to leave, but his boss told him he had to pick all of the gum off the floor first. Noticing the girl watching him across the way, O’Leary realized this wasn’t a look he wanted to wear. So he told his boss that she hired him as a scooper, not a “scaper.” The boss replied, “no, I hired you as an employee, do whatever I say, I own this establishment.” So O’Leary said ‘no way’ and his boss fired him in response. What was the life lesson? In life there are two types of people: there are those who own the store and there are those who scrape the sh*t off the floor. Since then, O’Leary has never worked for someone else.
[08:10] Execute Your Goals
What matters most in a leadership role is execution skills. Every entrepreneur that O’Leary meets is passionate and ready to take on their entrepreneurial journey, but the ones who keep doing it years down the road have execution skills. The difference with these successful entrepreneurs is they set goals, tell you what these goals are, talk about whether or not they were achieved, and explain why or why not they were achieved. That’s the building block of business. There’s nothing worse than only having a ‘vision’ all day long and not partaking in the day-to-day execution.
[10:05] Focus on What Matters
One of the great benefits of technology is productivity; one of the downsides is distraction. At work, you may have employees who are frequently checking their Facebook messages, scrolling through their Instagram feeds, or anything else that has nothing to do with making money. The reason you go to work in the morning is to make money. So why would you spend time doing something that is distracting? As a manager or CEO, when you see someone failing and you look at how they’re managing their time, it can be easy to put two and two together. Simply put: they’re not managing their time correctly. Those who win, eliminate the crap. According to Digital Transformation Speaker Erik Qualman, focus on output, not thruput. Why does thruput not matter? You can work hard all day at thruput tasks like answering emails, but if you’re not producing any outcomes, then you’re not being productive.
[13:13] Failure Is Motivation
It’s impossible to make a 100% success in every stock you buy. It’s the minute you start losing, you’ve got to take it behind the barn and shoot it. What’s even more important is learning from that failure. O’Leary would rather invest in entrepreneurs who have had multiple failures vs. those who don’t know the feeling of failure. He loves the sting of failure as a motivational tool for someone to want to succeed. “Failure… brings fear into your way of thinking,” said O’Leary. “It’s great.”
O’Leary got his nickname ‘Mr. Wonderful’ from season one of Shark Tank. He told the Boston Magazine, “In season one, someone was trying to sell a music publishing deal to us and I proposed an aggressive 51% equity position because I wanted control.” And Barbara Corcoran said, “Well aren’t you Mr. Wonderful?” O’Leary replied, “You know what Barbara, I am!” Now, whenever O’Leary shows up for a reservation, it’s always under the name Mr. Wonderful; no one ever knows his real name. Things happen for you, not to you.
[14:42] Everybody is Irreplaceable
O’Leary loves it when someone comes up to him and says, “oh, we can’t get rid of that person, they’re irreplaceable.” O’Leary fires that individual on the spot. He believes that whatever you do, someone can do it better. You have to bring your A-game every, single day. There is nothing unique between each individual except for their passion, their execution skills, and to meet targets and exceed them. The minute you lose that ability in capitalism, you’re gone. It’s a fair trade. The engine that makes you rich, can take it all away from you because there are no guarantees.
Connect with Kevin
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The Super U podcast is hosted by #1 bestselling author and Motivational Speaker Erik Qualman.