343 | 3 Critical Lessons From My Leadership Journey

Today, I’m getting personal and giving everyone an inside look into my leadership over the last 25 or so years.If you understand and believe these three things I’m about to share, then you can take the right steps to move forward.It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in…

It doesn’t matter what your specific issue is…

Learn 3 critical lessons to succeed in leadership:

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Chris LoCurto: If you understand and believe these three things I’m about to share, then you can take the right steps in business more on that coming up next.

Welcome to the Chris Locurto show where we discuss leadership and life and discover that business is what you do, not who you are.

hey folks, welcome to the show. I don’t know about you guys, but I really love it when someone I listened to and learned from the signs to get personal and give me an inside look into their life or the career. Uh, it’s probably why documentaries are so popular, right? When you get an inside look into a person’s life, their hardships, their triumphs. While today I want to get really personal and give everyone an inside look into my life in business. Over the last 25 or so years, I have worked for two major national brands. One where I worked my way up from an entry level position and the other I was brought on to run a business. And I’ve seen the ins and outs I’ve seen and personally experienced the difficult times and the triumphs. I can tell you, uh, I’ve been, I’ve seen a lot, you know, I’ve helped a lot of people over the last almost 30 years to grow their leadership and their businesses.

Now, while I share these things with you, I’m going to share three more universal truths that I have found in the process. So before we dive into those truths, let’s acknowledge something. Business is hard. It’s not easy. Well, no duh, Chris. No, seriously, you’re probably understanding that rod now there, you know, that may be something that you understand really well because you may be going through something really difficult right now. But here’s some common struggles that leaders have in things that I’ve coached business owners and leaders through realizing that as a leader, that you have surrounded yourself with a team that you don’t enjoy. There are so many leaders that I have led and so many business owners that I’ve led that I’ve helped them to understand how they ended up setting up themselves with a team they didn’t enjoy or team that wasn’t very productive.

Right? Another thing that you may have experienced is the love for your product or what your doing, but for whatever reason, your business just isn’t growing. Maybe you find yourself being overwhelmed by fires and tasks and you’re not doing any of the things you love. Uh, one of the toughest seasons for me in my leadership career was early on. I learned so much from a time in my life where, uh, I had a disagreement on how something should go. And back in those days, well actually, Gosh, most of my leadership or business owner career, I’ve been paid off the bottom line, which is funny to realize, gosh, that’s been almost 30 years of that. Uh, but this was early on in my career when being paid off the bottom line really, really mattered to me a lot. And I had a disagreement on how something should go with my leader.

And I knew in my heart of hearts that the decision that I was wanting to make was a right decision, but my leader shifted and said, nope, we can’t do it that way. We’ll have to do it this other way. And I remember thinking to myself, well, they’ve been in leadership a long time and they know better than I do, so I should just follow this. Even though deep down inside I disagreed with it. Well, unfortunately it cost me personally six figures, uh, over the long run of having to try and make this thing work out and trying to make this thing, uh, actually profitable in this, this decision and unfortunately ended up hurting me. I just really backed up and said, okay, what am I going to do differently? I need to make some better decisions than what I’m making right now. I know what it’s like.

I know how difficult and how tough a business can be. I’ve got, I owned four businesses and I love it. I absolutely love it. So there are a lot more stories that I could share with you to prove that business is hard, but I want to go ahead and share the three universal truths that I’ve learned along the way that has helped my work life be marked a lot more by success than by difficulty. And I shared these things with you because it is what I want for you. Business is tough, but it doesn’t have to be the defining characteristic of your work life. That situation that I experienced early on, I made heavy decisions to never be stuck there again. So this is the stuff I want for you. I want to teach you on this. I want you to experience in your own business.

If you understand and believe these things, these three things I’m about to share, then you can take the right steps to move forward. Now, doesn’t matter what your specific issue is, literally doesn’t, and it also does not matter what industry you’re in. The things that I teach is not industry specific. It is stuff that you can use anywhere. So here are the three universal truths in leadership and business that can guide you to success. Number one, you have to understand that there are solutions to your struggles. Once again, I know that sounds like, well, of course that’s basic, Chris. The reason why I’m saying it that way is because a lot of folks get heavy into their struggles. And think this just the way it is. You know, they, they get stuck in this thought of things aren’t. They’re just not going to change. There’s many leaders that believe that being a leader, being a business owner just means that I’m always going to be overwhelmed.

Folks, that’s just not truth. You don’t have to be overwhelmed. You literally don’t have to be overwhelmed to be successful. I’m not overwhelmed. I lead a business teaching people how not to be overwhelmed. Teaching leaders how not to be overwhelmed, but so many folks, so many business leaders are business owners believe that the only way to have a proper identity, the only way to have worth the only way to be successful is that they’ve got to be completely overwhelmed with what they do every single day. It’s just not truth. When you have the proper tools, when you know how to lead people to success, guess what? An amazing thing happens. You begin leading. Instead of being overwhelmed, you begin delegating things and duplicating yourself in the process instead of being overwhelmed. It’s not only just possible. We have a ton of people that are going through these processes and learning how to do that, so don’t believe that there is a solution to that.

Another thing that people think is, I can’t find qualified team members for my business or with my budget. Yes, you can. I know that’s a difficult one. Now I know I’m somebody who has built multiple businesses, right, and in the early phases of building a business, you’re not putting out a whole ton of money to pay for people that have been doing something, you know for 20 years and have been experts at it. Sometimes you, you’re spending less money with your budget, but folks, it’s not about not being able to find the qualified team members. It’s how you do it. It’s how you go about it. It’s having the right tools. Another, another way that a business leaders or business owners can, can struggle is by the belief that I can’t inspire my team or or confidently lead them to their full potential. You absolutely can inspire your team.

You absolutely can lead your team confidently. The struggle isn’t that you can’t, the struggle is somebody hasn’t touched your how yet. The struggle is somebody hasn’t given you the information on how to do it. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that your issue is unique. It’s not, don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re the only person going through this. You are not, you’re just not. It always cracks me up and we, when we have new folks join our, our, our programs or our events and they’re sitting there among veterans that have been with us for awhile. And I’ll ask a question about something and I’ll know go how many, I’ll think you’re the only one going through this. And you’ll see the new hands go up. And the veterans just laugh because we’ve all been through it. So don’t think that you’re in your situation or your issue is unique.

Also, don’t fool yourself into thinking that there isn’t a solution for your struggle. There absolutely is. So, for example, if I go back to the situation I was talking about earlier, you know, when I had a belief that uh, I had the right idea on how to do something that was going to make us money and, and unfortunately I, I acquiesced to a leader’s idea on that after things went down and everything failed and uh, we all lost a lot of money and all this kind of stuff. I sought help. I actually sought out to people who actually had been through stuff like I’d been through before and had been successful and I started learning how I could put things in place to solve that. One of the things that I learned was how to say no, how I can lead up in a situation like that where I completely disagreed with the situation or did not want to take on the responsibility that would affect me negatively that having somebody who had been there before teach me how to do that was crazy powerful teaching me of how I could have led that situation.

There are things that I could have done to have solved it earlier on by making some quick adjustments, uh, where would not have been as bad of a loss. Uh, once I got into the place of realizing, Hey, this thing is not going the way that I think it should, it’s time to stop trusting that I don’t have the right answer and put some solutions in that would have tested that. And it was a big accountability piece for me to test the theory and you know, actually show the holes in the process that we’re going to cause it to fall apart so you can get solutions to your struggles. Trust me, all the stuff that I teach people, I have been teaching people how to run their businesses how to grow their businesses how to grow their leadership. All that kind of fun stuff gets where it all came from.

Me Failing. There’s one thing that I do when I fail and that is to learn how to fix it. Learn how to not do that again and teach you guys how to do exactly the same thing. So don’t believe those lies. Those are all things that we tell ourselves as business owners or business leaders. You know, some of those struggles that we experienced. Number two, you need to get the right tools to get the right result. So think of it like the nats that you’re trying to kill, right? And you’re trying to kill him with a hammer and instead of killing nats, you’re actually putting holes in the walls thinking that you’re doing the right thing, thinking that you’re taking the right actions. It reminds me of, for those of you that have ever seen Ratatouille, I love cooking the part or that the old lady pulls out the shotgun to kill the one mouse and she’s blown holes all through her whole house trying to kill this one mouse or one rat and then discovers there’s like, you know, 4,000 in there.

I have experienced this and my very first leadership role in the very beginning when I stepped into my first leadership role at 21 years old, I started leading people the same way that I had been led. Up until that point, I probably had four or five different leaders. And the way that I chose to lead was from experience, which meant that I started telling people how to do the things that they needed to do. The folks that their eyes were shining with me when I was on their level. Uh, the, that shine quickly diminished when I became a quasi leader and, you know, started telling people what to do in that situation. Early on, it probably took me somewhere between three to six months. I don’t remember. That was a long time ago. 28 years ago, I started asking questions. I had paid attention to how I was leading and how people were responding.

And at 21 years old, I realized this isn’t going to work. What I had been taught before is not gonna work. So instead of leading by the examples that I had, and I’m not saying I had nothing but bad leaders, but I didn’t have people showing me the things that I began to learn in that moment right there. Instead of telling people what to do, I started doing what I now call taxing the collective intelligence. I started getting buying. I started asking people instead of telling them how to do something, I started asking them what their input was. I started asking them for their ideas. I started seeing what they knew and here’s the real thing. Here’s what I realized. I sat there one day thinking, well, uh, I can’t be the only smart person working at this company. This was at e-trade by the way.

This is way back when I can’t be the only smart person here. And everybody else was smart too. Everybody else’s got good ideas. Maybe I should just try and pull it out of him. It changed the way people responded to me and I started learning and started gaining and growing in the tools of how to lead correctly to lead properly. The amazing thing is you have to have the right tools to get the results that you want, especially if they are the right results, right? So for us here, one of the biggest things we do starting back in, you know, 1991 is that we gain perspective like crazy. You know, assessing the true cause of your problem is the most important thing that you can do. So whatever you’re struggling with, gaining high quality perspective on it is powerful. And that’s one of the things we teach in in all of the things we do in events that we do here.

Next level, live strap plan, all that kind of fun stuff is we help people to see the difference between a Western mindset and an Eastern mindset. Our mindset here in the west, what we believe is if you have a problem, an opportunity or a solution, go get it. Go do it. Go fix it. Go make it happen, go solve it, whatever it is. Go, go, go, go, go. Just go and do. And an eastern mindset, they will spend time circling their problem, their opportunity, their solution, gaining and gathering as much perspective as they possibly can. So the next thing you need to know, the number two thing is you need the right tools to get to the right results. Number three, investment isn’t optional. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Now, you can never lead something significant in coast. It’s just not going to happen.

You have to constantly be investing in yourself and your leadership and in your business. Those things are always tied together. If you’re not investing in those three areas, you’re not growing as a leader. If you are investing in those three years, then guess what? You’re growing in all of those areas. You’re not the thing that’s holding everything back. You’re not the problem or the cog or the bottleneck in your business or your leadership, right? So if you’re investing in all those areas, you’re not just affecting you personally, but you’re affecting your leadership and you’re affecting your business. Now here’s the deal. You have to actually have a plan for it. Nobody passively invests, right He, you don’t just sit around and get that investment. You don’t just sit around and just grow by Osmosis, right? If you do, then hey, help me to know how you do that.

Cause that’s, that’s impressive. The only way to find the solutions and to get to the right tools is by investing, by working on you, working on your business, not in your business. People often ask me like, what’s the best investment you’ve ever made in your professional life? And I will tell you there are two aspects that I look at. This one was the investment that I spent growing and gaining in the tools, making sure that I actually knew what I was doing, seeking people who knew what to do, who, who had been there, who had been in the trenches, who had experienced what I experienced. That’s always been one of the top investments that I’ve ever made. The second has been investing in quality people, duplicating myself, whether it’s a leader or a business owner, duplicating myself so that I could drive toward the results that I’m looking for to drive towards the success that I’m looking for.

That has paid off more than you can possibly imagine. I’m not just talking about hiring somebody and putting them in a role, right? Because as we talked about earlier, a lot of folks are still overwhelmed as a leader because they’re still doing so much. Right? I duplicate myself all the time. I take the things off of me. That’s why we’re so heavy on focusing on killing the leadership crazy cycle, right? Is so that we can make leaders successful. So if you invest in you, if you invest in your leadership, if you invest in your business, the great thing is you can start doing that where you’re duplicating yourself, where you’re setting your team up for success or you’re driving your business towards success. So here’s your action steps. The question is, how are you investing in your business and your leadership? I want you to get a plan for development.

What leadership conference are you going to attend in 2020? Make that plan right now. What podcasts do you need to make sure you listened to consistently? Is there a weak area in your business that you should pick up a book or hop on a coaching call and find the right tools? Uh, you know, maybe a good thing to do was ask a spouse or a close friend, what are some of the ways you think I should invest in my personal or professional life? So I challenge you this week, act, write out your plan and take initiative. Don’t stop until you find the solutions to your struggles and you get the right tools to see the right results. Invest, invest daily and invest deeply daily. You should be always taking in something. Leadership books, podcasts. I’m going to tell you by far the most powerful teaching that I get is when I spend time with God and especially when I spend time in God’s word.

The information I get is phenomenal, but don’t just do daily, go deeper than that. Do, do things that are absolutely necessary like events or coaching or ongoing programs. The more you pour into you, the more you’re gonna find yourself moving towards success. Folks, because these three truths have been so foundational to my leadership, I am basing our 2020 next level leadership live event around them. We’re going to be opening registration for the event next week, so make sure you tune into next week’s podcast. Well folks, hopefully this has helped you today. Thank you so much for joining me. I hope it has served you well. I encourage you to subscribe, rate, and share the podcast to help more people join our community. And as always, take this information, change your leadership, Change Your Business, change your life, and join us on the next episode.



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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.