Episode #26: The Business Case For Loving Your Customers With John Boggs

Many business leaders have shifted to thinking about their teams as their customers, but that wasn’t always the case in the past. John Boggs ensures that in order to know his customers he knows his team and treats them with love and care.  John is the CEO of the Brave Thinking Institute and the Director of its Business and Leadership Division. In this conversation with Betsy Westhafer and Tony Bodoh, he shares how as a leader he models behavior to help his team really embody their company’s values and deliver excellent customer experience. This conversation contains a great deal of essential information that business leaders need to know as a large portion of corporate America has been thrust into the virtual environment.

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Episode #26: The Business Case For Loving And Caring For Your Customers With John Boggs

How To Model Behavior That Helps Your Team Really Know Their Customers

We are the best-selling authors of ProphetAbility: The Revealing Story of Why Companies Succeed, Fail and Bounce BackWe’re going to talk to a CEO by the name of John Boggs. He is the Head of the BravThinking InstituteTo give you a little background on John, he built a successful sales career in Mexico, in the hospitality industry. In that timeframe, he was successful and was tapped to lead an organization that had failed four different times. He took that organization and grew it into a $60 million business. 

When he was ready, he decided it was time to change his course in his life. He went back to a family business that his mother had started and he became the CEO of that business. On a personal note, I’ve gotten to know John over the last several years because I’ve been a client of the company that he’s now the CEO ofI learned how to be an executive coach through this company. The thing that I love most about John is his fun, vibrant, exciting personality, and his laugh is contagious. If you’re around him and he starts laughing, it lights the entire room up. 

He was awesome to talk to, Tony. I’m excited for readers to read about some of the things that came up in our conversation. Among those things, one is their core values. They’re 100% virtual organizations that have been virtual for long before that was what the cool kids were doing. He talks a lot about how to incorporate a phenomenal culture into a virtual environment, which will be timely for a lot of CEOs that are reading. Tony, I know you and I have talked about this, we believe that this culture has to start at the top. John is a great example of how to do that. We also talk about how the employees are his first customers. It goes down the line who the ultimate customer is, but for him and for managers, the employees are the first customers that they need to know. He makes some good statements about that. 

Anticipate wants, exceed expectations.CLICK TO TWEET

He also talked about how they train their certified coaches to live those values on a day-to-day basis. It’s not just, “This is what we believe in. Go knock yourself out. It’s, “We want to exhibit this and teach you how to do it as well. They’re doing some amazing impact work as an organization in making the world a better place, making a huge difference in the lives of people that are far less fortunate than a lot of us. He talks to us a little bit about that. I’m excited to bring the readers this next episode. 


John, thanks so much for being here. We’re so glad you could join usHow are you? 

I’m recovering a little bit, feeling a little bit both tired on one hand and yet charged up on another, just coming off a three-day event we ended. 

John, give us a little bit more about your background and how you got to where you are now, and a little bit more about the Brave Thinking Institute and your role there. 

I have a fairly unusual business background. In my early twenties, I left college and went to go visit a cousin of mine in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. In my mind, he was living the dream, living on the beach in Cabo, as you can imagine. He was a partner in a hotel that sold real estate and timeshare and condos down there. I was enthralled with the whole thing. He said, “If you want to hang out and make a few extra bucks, we’ll put you to work. I embarked on what I thought was just goofing off. It wound up turning into a career. I spent 23 years down there, eventually leaving as an executive, doing work all over both the nation of Mexico, different destinations there and internationally, I became an award-winning executive in sales and marketing. That was my forte in the hotel hospitality industry. 

I left that to join a family business that is now known as the Brave Thinking Institute. My mother was a world-class teacher, speaker, spiritual leader and eventually coach that consulted for people on spiritual matters all over the world. She led three different world leader conferences with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. She spoke at the United Nations numerous times. She wrote two best-selling books and she had a PBS special. Her work was thriving in that industry, in the personal development and the spiritual side of success industry while I was building this executive career. Her business grew to a point where she said, I need some business organization.” All of my other siblings had already joined her business. I was the one holdout. Her business grew to a point where it was an opportunity for me to add and contribute from an executive level what I thought was meaningful and would be an evolution of my next step as a professional. 

In 2013, I stepped away from that 23-year career in Cabo and in the hotel industry and became the CEO of this company. Interestingly enough, I was asked by an employee, that’s worked in the company for many years, that we had set a vision and a goal to 10X the business and where we were in the process of doing that. I said, “We are not at 10X yet, but here’s the good news. We have 5X-ed our results since 2013. It’s been a fast-growing business, one in which we are thrilled to do work that for me, personally, is meaningful. We help people build dreams. We help them bring about whatever it is that they would love more of in their lives. I jokingly say in the corporate world, although this is changing, the way I grew up in terms of a business environment, there weren’t a lot of people walking around asking each other, “What would you love?” I have an opportunity to serve that message in a greater way. 

That’s a great segue into my first question for you, John. I know that you can’t run the likes of the business that you’re running without having some core values and principles that you follow. It’s different than the way you were brought up in your career. Can you talk a little bit about your values and especially the one that we talked about prior, which is about the love and care value? Can you talk us through your values a little bit? 

Teams As Customers: As organizations grow, the core of what started the business in the first place can become diluted as you move further out in the ranks.

When I got to the company in 2013, Mary Morrissey, the Founder of the Brave Thinking Institute, had a small teamand she was able to directly influence everybody in the organization. But as we all know, as organizations grow and the core or the spirit of what started the business in the first place, the passion that thoriginal owner had, the vision that they had, can become diluted as you move further and further out as the rings of influence get further and further out from that center core. Mary and I had an opportunity in a mastermind event to hear a woman speak from Texas. Her name’s Dina Dwyer, she did a talk about what she called living RICH and the core values of her organization, a business that her dad had started that would become a billion-dollar franchise business and the way that they communicated their core values in their company, which was to start every meeting by repeating their core valuesIn essence, it’s almost like the Pledge of Allegiance. 

I said to Mary, “That’s it. As we grow our business, let’s incorporate a framework in which we not only identify what are the core values that you started this company on, in a formulaic or format that we can then communicate and distribute and infuse in everybody working in the companyWe can do that process and then maintain that through creating a format where any meeting, where there are three or more people gathered, that we will start the meeting by repeating these core values. She loved the idea. It took us almost six months to clearly identify what the five that we would focus on were, we would require everybody in the company to memorize the five, and then decide whether they resonate with them or not. If it doesn’t fit, then maybe this isn’t your right business home. If it does, then let’s lean in and build a business based on these five values. 

We did that process. The other thing is we’re a completely virtual company, so that makes it extra challenging to build culture. If you’re not meeting in person, how do you develop a spirit or a culture of a business in a virtual environment? The repeating of these core values plays a role. Here they are, number one is we believe in people. We know that each one of us is far more powerful and contains more potential than any circumstance, situation or condition. The beauty of that is no matter what the problem is that we’re facing, as leaders we can infuse in each other a belief that, “We can deal with this. We can overcome this. We’re greater than whatever it is we’re facing as a team, as we’re connected to whatever.” For us, the spiritual connection you have, the combination of those things is greater than the challenge we’re facing. 

The second core value is we believe in love and care. Every one of these core values has a core value idea and then a verb, an action word and here’s how it shows up. Here’s how you express this core value. The first one, we believe in people. We know each one of us. Knowingness, knowing in your heart that we’re greater than our circumstances is the action. The second one, we believe in love and care. We bring sincere love and care to every interaction. We surprise and delight each other and our clients by seeking to exceed expectations and deliver on what they want. 

Numbethree, we believe in integrity. We live what we teach, and we deliver what we promise. Number four, we believe in fun. We create joy, laughter, and fun in all aspects of our work. Number five, we believe in growth. We grow by achieving our goals and exceeding our best. Every one of the five has a framework, a way in which we go about bringing about that core value in the form of action. There they are. Those are the five. 

Many times, you hear people talk about, “It’s that time of year, we need to revisit our values and our mission and our vision.” It doesn’t filter throughout the organization. It doesn’t get infused into the culture. I love that you do that with every meeting. We’ve done that ourselves and it makes such a difference when they’re in front of you all the time. That’s awesome. Thanks, John. 

A time I went to my dentist and we were talking about core values, and he goes, “We’ve got some. I said, “What are they? He said, “They’re on the wall, out in the hallway. To me, if core values are something that you printed up and you posted somewhere, but you don’t know what they are, if they’re not living in you, they’re not your core values. 

It’s one thing to have the value, but then how do you bring that into the action part that you were talking about? 

It’s interesting because it’s so critical for a company. You said that your company has been 5X-ed over the last several years. To have that level of growth and be able to grow your employee base from the small base that you had to a virtual company across the US and you have employees in other countries too. 

We got employees right now in seven different countries. 

As we talked about really knowing your customer, keeping that culture alive to surprise and delight, to care and love for, to do all of these things. I’ll speak from the perspective that I’ve been a client of your company’s for a long time2008 was the first event that I went to and have been at countless number of events since then. At one pointI spent more than a month with you over the one year there. In every one of those, one of the things that stands out for me is it always felt like I was loved and cared for. It sounds strange maybe in a business environment because I was there for purposes of growing my business and learning how to coach and help other executives navigate challenges in their lives in their businesses. Working from my perspective, I felt that love and care, and the surprise and delight are something that always shows up. It’s something that we talk about in customer experience a lot, surprise and delight. A lot of companies talk about it, but they don’t live it. What are some of the ways that you demonstrate that with your customers, with your clients? 

If they’re not living in you, they’re not really your core values.CLICK TO TWEET

We believe in love and care. We bring sincere love and care to every interaction. We delight and surprise each other by seeking to anticipate wants and exceed expectations. It’s those two key phrases, anticipating wants. If I’m focused on what do I think my customer wants? One of the wonderful ways to dive into getting the answer to that, Tony, is the work that you’ve done. You have been a client of ours and we’ve been a client of yours. Your work in helping us survey, in very particular ways, our client base, so that we know what they want.  

We can anticipate what they might want next. It’s a central focus of who we are and what we try to do. Anticipate wants and exceed expectations. What do we think they’re looking for at this moment and what could we do that would exceed that expectation so that they’re feeling surprised and delighted? If you think about that, that’s not just a thought, that’s an emotional vibration of feeling surprised in a delighted way. There’s a lot of businesses that I work with as a customer where I’m surprised, but not in a delighted way. 

We’ve all been there, being surprised, but not in a delightful way. John, you have a virtual company, but you were virtual prepandemic, correct? 

Yes, we’ve always been virtual. 

What I find fascinating is now that people have been forced to move virtual, they’re trying to figure out the logistics of it, the operational aspects of it, the cybersecurity part of it, but what you’ve done in addition is that cultural part of it, which hopefully is coming for these organizations that got smacked in the face with this and didn’t plan to run their company this way. What you’re talking about is so important, especially in a virtual company where you don’t have the chance to sit and chat with somebody over coffee or the water cooler. That’s an interesting aspect of what you’ve been talking about here. 

It’s poetic that you mentioned the idea of coffee or water cooler. Wbuilt-in, when I moved in as the CEO and started to set up the meeting structure, I built into our planning, in terms of scheduling, water cooler time. When we start, we’ve got a number of meetings that have larger groups that gather on a weekly basis. We added fifteen minutes at the beginning of the meeting that we literally do nothing but water cooler time. One of the meetings happens every Monday, so we asked them to share a personal highlight from the weekend. What did you do that was fun or funny? 

We go around as a group, takes a minute each, and there are about fifteen people so it takes us about fifteen minutes, that might seem expensive, and on one level it is expensive, but if you’re not paying for an office, if you’re not paying for electricity, you can afford to dedicate a little bit of time. It’s super important that people feel connected that there’s another human being on the other side of that screen that’s living a life and their work matters to you and your work matters to them. What does it matter for beyond the bottom line or the dollar that we’re generating as a business? One of those ways that matter is the personal lives we’re building. We build that water cooler time into our meetings. 

I can imagine that creates exceptional loyalty among your employees to feel valued like that. When have a chance to chat briefly previously, you mentioned something about your customers and employees being the firspeople that you need to serve. 

I find the work that you’re doing, the two of you and this idea of really knowing your customer, is such an important piece of work. I’m so grateful to be here and to be able to connect with the two of you. I was thinking about being here now with the two of you in this idea of really knowing your customer. It brought me back to the story with my very first job that I got promotedI went to work for my cousin. At first, it was in salesand I was a pretty good salespersonIn those days, especially the first thing they did if you were good at sales, was they made you the sales manager, and you’re going to be managing other people, but because you’re good at sales does not make you a good manager. 

I was not in those days, a good manager. They brought in a consultant to do some training, and they had all the management, me included, and I was new. I was 25 years old, and I’m running a team of 60 salespeople, most of them older than me, and I don’t know what I’m doing. They gave me an assistant manager who was far more seasoned. That was a good move because the assistant was able to help guide me as well as the team. This consultant says, I want you to write down a description of your client. I began to write down the demographic average of our company’s clients. I’m in the hotel industry in Mexico. It’s a married couple, they’re in their forties, they’ve got 2.5 kids.” I’m writing down this description. 

When I look over at my assistant manager as he’s writing a description of our client, he’s writing down the description of a salesperson. At 25, that was like a slap in the face to me. The customer description I’m writing down isn’t my customer. That’s my customer’s customer. My customer is the sales team. That might be a rudimentary thought or idea for most business leaders now, but for me at that age, it was a shocking idea. It helped me make a shift at 25 to seeing my team as my customers. Really your customer, then really know your team. How do you express love and care for your team? There are lots of different ways that we do that in our company and one of them is the water cooler time. 

Teams As Customers: Your customer is your team. It might be a rudimentary idea for most business leaders today, but it wasn’t that obvious back then.

It’s such a powerful way to look at it. We’ve talked to other CEOs and they’ve had that same type of perspective on things. My customer is my employee, my team, my managersIt’s almost as if, John, you have envisioned what you want the company to be and you’ve built that. One of the things that stands out is you’ve got the pieces of the puzzle together. We’ve talked to a lot of CEOs who are successful, have grown successful businesses and each time we talk to them, it seems like they’ve got all the pieces there. 

You’ve got the values with the love and care in addition to the other four values. That’s how you care about your employees as well as your customers. You’ve got the water cooler conversation. It’s all these little things that you anticipate what is it we’re going to need in a virtual environment as an example. What is it we had in a physical environment that worked well? How do we deliver that to create this culture? You mentioned you were coming off a three-day event where you had 7,100 people. 

We had 7,100 people from 119 countries. The name of the event is DreamBuilder LIVE, where we’re helping people build their dreams. One of our dreams is to have global work. We turned to each other and said, “It’s happening. We’ve got 119 countries here. It was a lot of fun. 

I bounced into different Zoom rooms because I take a break for a minute, come back in, and I’d be in these different Zoom rooms as you were delivering this. The energy in every one of those Zoom rooms was amazing. People were engaged. They were on camera. I had my camera off for a while because I wasn’t in a good setting, but I was watching other people on camera, dancing around having fun, raising their hands. You go to the private Facebook group that you have, there are all these different ways to engage. People are energizedasking questions and taking picturesI’m sitting back, I’m like, “I’m having more fun in this virtual environment than I did even in a live environment because I get to sleep in my own bed at night. I get to go to my own refrigerator in the middle of things.” 

Everyone in your team that came on camera or talked to us and supported us on the backend all came with that energy that love, that care and that support. In delivering it to your team and anticipating what they need, they can easily pass that on because they see it modeled, and at the same time they’re taught, “Here’s how we do it as a team.” They get to see other people do it. When you’re working with your clients, how do you pass it up? You do a lot of coach training as well. Why don’t you talk through who you train because you’ve got different branches in your company, and then give us an insight into how you help them understand this idea of loving and caring and surprising and delighting. 

As a business, as the Brave Thinking Institute, one of the major pieces of work we do is called our Life and Transformation work. That’s the 40 years of Mary’s, 23 years of the work she did as a minister and then becoming, not only a life coach but a speaker teacher mentor around the world on spiritual and manifestation and transformational matters. Her ability to help people move from the idea of having a dream or a goal and being the results in their lives. Life and transformation, that’s one major part of our work. 

The other major part of our work came from the genesis of people saying to Mary, I want to do what you’re doing. I want to speak and teach and coach, and I’d love to teach transformational principles. Is there some way to do that? Back in 2008, she formed the genesis of the Brave Thinking Institute was to then codify the system in a way where we could train and pass on to others the skill sets to be able to build their own coaching business in the world, and in their own voice and way, take those same and create meaningful work in the world. 

Since then, we’ve certified over 3,000 coaches, many of which have created thriving coaching businesses, some in the millions of dollars a year that they generate, many in the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars a year as coaches. We do provide an extensive training processdifferent levels that you can get certified at. In the training process, we help people learn how to markethow to market their services. We teach them fundamental business-building processescoaching skills and enrollment or sales skills because you’ve got someone interested, how do you have the conversation that helped moves them from an interested client into a possible paying customer.  

As they’re learning the coaching skills and they’re learning how to work with people, one of the things that we highly encourage is that they find ways to infuse, surprise, and delight, anticipate once and exceed expectations. Depending on the program that they’re delivering, one of the ways that we help them surprise and delight is we give them clear curriculum. In the life coaching industry, there’s a number of great companies out there that will certify coaches and they’ll teach them wonderful coaching skills, but they don’t give them a set of curriculum, a format, that they can then structure support in which a coach can take a client and say, “We’re going to work this process together. That process is, number one, provable, reliable, repeatable, and simple enough that the client can do it. 

One of the ways we surprise and delight our coaches and then they can surprise and delight their clients is by this wonderful additional content that we give them that they can walk their clients through. We teach them other ways to surprise and delight, some of which are not revolutionary, but are highly impactful, what to send on someone’s birthdays, special events, pay attention to what’s going on, ways of adding in surprise calls and support. How can you support in a way your client might not be anticipating it where you’re their coach and you’re there for them in a moment they wouldn’t expect you to be there, but they’re super grateful that you were there, you had their back? These are the kinds of ways in which we work with people to help infuse surprise and delight.   

John, going from a long career in one industry in another country and then moving back and joining a family business that has so much warmth and love and caring for peoplewhat were some of the things that went through your mind in the early years of you in your current role versus where you came from? It had to be quite a shock to the system. 

It’s interesting that you ask that because I just hired a new COO for our business. He’s got an amazing set of business skills. This particular person does have some experience in our industry, so he’s not brand new to it. He just attended his first event, this DreamBuilder LIVE that we had, and the look on his face, and he’s going through all of that stuffit reminded me of that experience, Betsy, when I first went to my first event and feeling like, “This is workIt doesn’t feel like work.” The events that we put on are so fun, they’re so engaging, as Tony was talking about that I was like, “Is this work?” Having fun and loving what I was doing.  

I was telling this new leader, seeing his face reminded me of one of the events during my first year. We had decided that we needed some better legal structure because not everything that Mary was delivering at the time had been copywritten and trademarked. All of the legal infrastructures that you need around a business like this hadn’t been complete. There was a corporate attorney that I had worked with in my former career that I trusted. I told him, I said, I want you to come and do some work with us. The first step is you got to come to one of our events and see what we do, so as you’re doing this work, you’ll know. One of the things that we do at our events are called energizers. 

A lot of these personal development conferences have a lot of people standing on stage talking. If you’re in the event, there’s a whole bunch of sitting and listening in which the blood can pool in your ankles and it can be grueling. We don’t do that at our events. We do a lot of moving and dancing and having fun. One of the things we do are called energizers, where there’ll be someone that is a movement expert who will get up on stage to start a session and we’ll dance it out and move to the music and they’ll tell us what to do. I’m not into dancing or moving, but I’m the CEO, I got to do this. Everyone else is doing it. 

Over time, even if you’re not into it, you become where you enjoy it. This corporate attorney is standing next to me and the first energizer moment comes up and I’m moving, so he looks around and he starts moving. The two of us are moving. As we’re dancing, this attorney and I are dancing next to each other, I turned to him and I say, I guess we’re not in Corporate America anymore, are we? He said, “I guess not.” That was several years ago. He’s still our attorney now. He comes to our events and loves the work that he gets to do with us. 

Speaking of having fun, I know you also take something seriously as well, which is giving back to making the world a better place. Talk to us a little bit about what your organization does, for whom and how? 

There are more causes in the world than any of us will ever be able to serve fully, but the opportunity to choose where and when you want to make a difference is something that we’ve thought a lot about and look for ways that are extra meaningful for us. Mary, when she started her career, was a schoolteacher. That was the first thing that she did as a young mom, was to become a schoolteacherOne of her best friends is a woman who started a foundation that helps girlsspecifically, be resourced enough in a place in Kenya, Africa. The area is called the Maasai Mara of Kenya, where there are extremely poor villages. These villages are set up such that maybe some of the boys can go to school, but the girls are stuck fetching water day and night. 

When you don’t have clean drinking water, your number one job is to get water. They will hike down to the rivers, and with wild animals it’s an adventure in and of itself just to get water and get it back to the village and that becomes their life, fetching water. The UnstoppablFoundation, started by Cynthia Kersey along with ME to WE, which is a global piece of work, created an opportunity to, at first drill wells in these communities so that they could have fresh water, but quickly they realized that even if they’ve got freshwater, the girls don’t have to fetch the water, but they don’t have enough food to eat still. They’re getting sick a lot. The attendance in school is bad if they don’t have a medical facility. 

The bottom line is they put in a five-step process that creates an opportunity for a village to become sustainable. It starts with fresh water, a medical clinic, an agricultural plan so that they can grow their own food properly, and an industry for the women to be able to generate money so that their daughters can then go to school. The whole thing started with, Let’s build a school. Well they’re fetching water, We need water,” and then they filled in the whole thing across the board. Here’s the amazing thing. It only takes $25,000 to make an entire village of 350 people sustainable. It’s amazing how little they need in order to create a life of freedom and opportunity. 

We’ve been working with Unstoppable, and at our large events, we give everyone that comes to the event an opportunity to contribute something if they feel called. We just had a record-breaking event. The folks that showed up to work on their own dreams and goals over the last three days with us, not knowing that we were going to say, Here’s an opportunity to contribute something to the world,” contributed over the last three days, over $250,000 to make a difference. Ten villages in Africa, as a result of what happened these last three days, are about to have life-changing results. I went several years ago to see the work on the ground, the work that Unstoppable does, and it is amazing. It was life-changing for me to see how little we need to do to make a difference in our world. 

That gives me chills thinking about a community coming together and making that much of a positive impact on the world, especially right now, when we could all use more good news like that. Congratulations to you on that. 

Thank you. Wjust made the offers. It’s the humanity of folks working on their own lives and dreams, stepping up to make a difference that created that result. It’s wonderful to give the opportunity, but they did it. 

John, thank you so much for being here. We have enjoyed this conversation so much. I appreciate your time. As I know, Tony does. Tony, any concluding thoughts? 

I have loved this time, John. You and I have known each other for a long time, but to be able to bring the work that you’re doing with the Brave Thinking Institute to the rest of the world. I started my journey with the Brave Thinking Institute around the same time that I was getting into customer experience. My reading and psychology are what led me down the path of seeking out the Brave Thinking Institute. 

Really know your customer? Then really know your team. How do you express love and care for your team?CLICK TO TWEET

In that process, I’ve watched how your company one event after the other, one call after the other, has always improved, always focused on what matters to the customers. A lot of my early thinking was focused on learning from the company and your team, even before you got there, how they were doing it, how they listened. I took that and incorporated that into a lot of the work that I do. It’s another way that you’ve made an impact on the world because I’ve been able to work with some significant brands worldwide and there’s a little part of the Brave Thinking Institute methodology built into all of that. I want to give that as a thank you for the work that you have done. 

I know some of your coaches in your program and they’re some of my favorite people on the planet. You attract really, really great people. 

I appreciate that. It’s interesting how life works and the circle comes fully around because I’ve got huge respect for you and the work that you’re doing. It’s interesting Tony, you do work for us and helped us even refine our methodologies. It’s fun to see that. Thank you both very much. It’s been a pleasure being here. 

Thanks, John. 

BetsyI’m so glad we had John on the show and we’re able to talk about the company that he works with, the Brave Thinking Institute, because we’ve had a lot of great guests in the show, but to talk to someone who’s been there as the company that has 5X-eover the last several years, that’s a critical space that a lot of the CEOs that I know are reading this blog, they’re in that growth phase of trying to say, “How do I take what we started as a small business to that next level? How do we grow fast, but keep the culture the way it has beenHow do we keep listening to our customers? John gave us so many tools that were valuable here, what they do and maybe it won’t apply to every business, but it could at least trigger those thoughts of what individuals could do in their companies, what other CEOs could do. 

One, which is going to tie back all the way to the beginning of one of our first shows that we did, is this idea of the water cooler conversation. Building that fifteen minutes into their meeting on Monday morning to have water cooler conversation. I was asked by one of my clients right when COVID hit, when they had a shutdown, he said, “How do I keep the water cooler conversation going? Wbrought that up in a number of our early shows, asking how CEOs are doing it. Here’s a perfect example. That’s one of the many lessons that we can pull out of this. 

Teams As Customers: Find ways to infuse surprise and delight to your customers.

What I love about this interview is that it has to come from the top. They have to have that commitment from the CEO for this to work. Clearly, he is 100% sincere in his desire to surprise and delight and to love and care. That’s such an important message, is that these softer type things, I’ve heard somebody talk about soft skills and how those should be renamed essential skills because this is essential to the growth of a business. He’s such a great example of somebody that’s done it long before he had to in this virtual environment. 

I was frantically taking notes. There are so many golden nuggets of information that I, as the leader of my company, The Congruity Group, and you Tony, as the leader of your organization, Tony Bodoh International, these are things we need to learn as leaders. He has such an incredible range of experiences and perspectives, and clearly, he’s a happy guy. He’s having fun doing what he does. I think that shows and I’m sure it infiltrates through the whole organization when you’re having fun. 

Another piece that I liked is they are very clear. He tells a story about how he and Mary were at this other event. They’re lifelong learners. They didn’t say that, but they are lifelong learners. You can tell. He’s sitting there in this event and he talks about this key idea about the value and repeating the values at the beginning of every meeting. If you think about that little step right there, it defined a whole course of action of, “Let’s go define our values. How do we take action on those things? The love and care value that he laid out and the action word and how they do it and anticipating the needs and exceeding expectations of bringing surprise and delight, that was probably 1 or 2 sentences, but it drives their culture. It moves them forward. It defines how they do business and everyone memorizes and lives it. The best of the best companies does that. You see that, but not enough companies do that now. 

I’m going to go back and revisit our core values and put that action piece into it because currently, I don’t have it. That was a big takeaway for me, is that we need to not only say what our core value is but how do we exhibit that in everything we do. That was a huge learning for me. That wraps up another episodeWe look forward to bringing you a lot more great interviews with CEOs who are graciously sharing their expertise with us.


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About John Boggs

John Boggs brings transformational leadership, organizational momentum, and executive success to every client he serves. He turned a business that was a “4-time” failing startup into a thriving company with over $60 million dollars in annual revenue. He is passionate about helping businesses develop strategies for lasting success.

Thousands of business professionals have benefited from his training and motivation. He has personally coached and consulted Fortune 500 executives with Johnson & Johnson, Toyota Motors, Pfizer, The Marriott Corporation, CitiGroup, Century 21, The World Bank and many others. His executive clients have enjoyed greater clarity, increased revenues and tangible strategies that empower transformational leadership.

As an internationally award-winning executive, John founded the Business & Leadership Division of the Brave Thinking Institute where he also serves as the CEO. Many of us know what we need to do, and at times feel challenged in getting ourselves to take right action. Well, John is known as the Action Man.

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