“It’s not them, it’s you,” says the ultimate relationship guy, Scot Ferrell. Scot is a nationally known authority on business behavior, human programming, family and marriage, parenting, and finding purpose. In this episode, Erin Saxton talks with Scot about his book, It’s Not Them, It’s You, boundaries, and communication. Scot also teaches us about how to determine and execute success and how setting expectations is key.
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Erin Talks With Scot Ferrell, The Ultimate Relationship Guy, About Boundaries & Communication
I have the extreme pleasure of interviewing a very dear friend of mine, a prolific author, Scot Ferrell.
Thank you so much for having me.
How are you?
I’m doing well always with you.
We could talk about everything and nothing for an hour, but let’s talk about you and your book because that’s why we’re on.
What a great topic. I get to talk about me.
To me, you are this ultimate relationship guy. We’ve talked about romantic and parenting relationships. For you, you’ve always done this, but this book’s more of a business book. First of all, tell everybody about the book and the title.
The title of the book is It’s Not Them, It’s You. I used to be a high school basketball coach and I always told the kids, “The only people that can beat us is us. Go look in the mirror and that’s the person that’s going to beat you this season.” It’s no different in business, in marriage and in dating, it’s not them, it’s you. The first person you have to look at before success or anything goes wrong is you. That was the entire premise of the book.
I like it when it’s everybody else and I’m okay.
When you break up with somebody, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
I’m more comfortable with that explanation. This is going to ruffle some feathers but in a good way. Ideally, who needs to read this book? Every credit CEO out there?
If you’re going to buy the book, every single person on the planet needs a copy of this. Go ahead and purchase it now. Who needs the book? I wrote the book so you could adjust it towards your family, your personal life and your business because the main ingredient in all of those things is you. I address who you are, where you belong, what you’re going to do, what the problem is in your company and which direction you’ve got to go. That applies in every aspect of life.
What if you have a business partner and you’re equal? One is not taking on a manager role but you’re finding you’re locking heads or a client relationship, we both consult with a lot of people. How do you integrate what you’re writing about in those types of relationships?
I do that every day. It’s no different to me in a high school basketball coach. I had fourteen kids, all with fourteen separate agendas, all want to play D1 basketball. How do I make every single person happy and still play as a team? We always work out scenarios ahead of schedule. You know you’re going to agree or disagree on the following 15 or 20 points. Let’s go ahead and work out the solution to every one of those in a non-emotional way, agree on those before they happen and then we execute those when the situation arrests.If you want respect, be respectable. Be somebody people can follow. Click To Tweet
That’s a conversation we have with our client beforehand like, “We’re going to get into a fight. I’m going to annoy you in about two weeks. When that happens, let’s do that.”
I do that. I go in and when I talk to CEOs I’ll go, “Within the first fifteen minutes of our conversation, you’re going to be mad at me, but at the end of the hour, you’re going to see where I’m going with this.”
You let them experience it in one meeting.
I like to annoy them long-term, so everyone that you knew well if I’m going to face the wall.
People call me to solve a problem. When you call me, it’s no different than being in a ball game. I’ll call it time out. I’ve got 30 seconds to tell my kids what to do when they get back on the floor to be successful. Same thing here. If the CEO calls me, I’ve got 30 seconds to tell him or her the solution to the problem because every moment that they lose, they lose money, time and personnel. We have to fix this and fix it now.
This isn’t going to shock anybody, but I heard your book launch was crazy unusual. What was it?
I launched this book and I was sick. I’ve got numerous illnesses. I have to wear sunglasses because I’m so sensitive to light. The book was the bestseller here and Australia. I’ve got a family in Australia, so that was a big deal to me. I don’t remember any of it. I was so sick. I was in a hotel room in Raleigh, North Carolina. I’d been there for a show. I couldn’t get out of bed. The whole day is a wash. I don’t remember anything. I wanted to remember the book. I relaunched it and I wanted to see if anybody want to hear from me. I’ve been gone two years. I hadn’t done a video, had not made a public appearance. I had been a shut-in in my home for two years trying to get healed. I’ve been out for a month or two. The book launch went great. It seems like I still have an audience. It was great to hear.
We love you. You are one of my favorite authors and people in this world. Yes, you have been very ill. You look great and you’re doing well. On a friendship level, we haven’t lost touch, but on a professional level, you’ve hosted your own radio shows and TV shows. You’ve spoken a lot on very big stages and you faded back a little bit for two years. Does this mean you’re going to be full-court press now?
I’m open now. I’m much better. I can travel, I will get to travel. Everything is in stages. I’m taking on clients very slowly. With the book, it showed me that I still had an audience. If I’ve got an audience, I’ll go back to the radio. I’ll go ahead and start another TV show.
That makes me happy because you used to book me on that show. You’re like Howard Stern and Robin but not. What do you think makes a good CEO? I’m the CEO of my business, but it’s me as a consultant. My staff thinks I’m great because of the 32 personalities in my head. Besides that, what makes a great CEO?
Understanding who they are first. If you don’t know who you are, nobody else is going to follow you. Aside from that, we can get that from any motivational speaker. You’ve got to be able to communicate with your staff. You’ve got to be respectable. You want respect, be respectable. Be somebody people can follow. Be very clear about your message. Be very clear with your staff. When I wrote the book, I interviewed about 400 senior VPs and I said, “What’s the number one thing you want from your CEO?” They said, “Clarity. We want clarity of message, clarity who they are, clarity of our job duties, clarity of our clientele and clarity of what we’re going to do about all these things.” I interviewed probably 100 general managers from the restaurant. It’s the same thing. The home office was not saying and doing what they needed in their store. There was a lack of communication breakdown. Many of these people were starting to quit. What we cleared this up, very clear communication goals, assessment, who are we, what are we going to do and where we’re going. So many people don’t communicate that. I was with a client and I said the same thing, “You’ve got a great business, but you’ve got to communicate much better than you are right now.”
How can we communicate better? I have clients now that text me and then they email. Now, they’re doing Facebook Messenger and they are sending me notes through Zoom. It’s the same person. What’s happening now is I love the convenience because it is catching me wherever I go, which is another thing as an employee or a person that works for someone else. Do we ever even have time off anymore? One of the things I want to do is talk about boundaries and without being rude. Most importantly, the communication is I don’t know how to manage that all. I find it very confusing not to receive the messages, but if I have to go back and check something, for the life of me, I cannot remember, is it my Gmail account, my work account, my messenger, because there are no boundaries anymore and nothing is coming through the regular mail. It’s all electronic. Sometimes I feel like people are over-communicating, but yet it’s crazy and it’s unorganized. What do you say?
Being a dad, you have to have a singular way of communication as your primary. When I go into a client, I will say, “This is our primary way to communicate. We will communicate between the hours of. Outside of that, I will not reply back to the hours of.” It’s very clear and very straightforward. I’m there for my clients, but I’m also there for my family. I’m very clear on boundaries. Being a high school coach helped with that. I was a Special Ed teacher for years, so I had to be very clear on my message. When I go into a client, “Here’s our method of communication here, how we’re going to communicate, here are the times we’ll communicate,” and I do not deviate from it.Once everybody is on the same page, got the same vision, and walking the same direction, you're pretty tough to beat. Click To Tweet
What happens if they push back with that or they’re on the West Coast, I’m on the East Coast?
I always adjust my times for where they live, not where I live, because I’ll keep it within their standard business day. If it’s someone on the West Coast, I move it forward three hours because I’m on the East Coast, but I’m very clear on how we’re going to communicate and win. That way they understand immediately on there at these times and they have complete access to me.
What advice do you have for anybody who needs to interview or hire even babysitters? You’re such a good read on people. How do we not make it an epic fail with all of the apps out there, the Care.com and the Facebook moms, “My son is home from school and he wants to landscape.” How do you navigate in your personal life and then also in business when you’re interviewing somebody?
It’s no different than dating. You’ve got to know who you are and what you’re looking for, “Without a shadow of a doubt, this is what I want and this is the only thing I’m going to take.” When you’re interviewing someone, you always have to take in human programming to account, so you wrote a seven. You and I both have friends that preach this all over the world, 0 to 7 they were programmed. Chances are you’re hiring their mother and father, the grandma and grandpa. You’re hiring all that programming. Once you understand that, always give people a task. If you’re here to bag groceries, I’m going to give you a task and I’m going to say, “This happens in the grocery line. You’re doing X. How do you respond?” I want to know how they’re going to respond. I always tell people, “You can’t hire someone who’s hateful and expect them to be nice to clients. You hire someone who fits your job description and then you train them to do the job that you want them to do.” It’s no different in basketball. I can’t keep a kid who’s not tall. If I need 7’1”, I need 7’1”. I can teach the 7’1” kid how to play. I can’t teach a 5’6” kid how to be 7’1” and I can’t teach a kid how to be fast if he’s too slow. I’ve got to go ahead and get what it is that I want and then I’ll train them to do what I’ve asked them to do.
Best business practices. Make a plan for me.
Do people still have those?
I would like to think so. If people aren’t even understanding what I mean by best business practices, maybe that’s where we should stay.
You may have to explain that. I tell you, no lie, I went out and interviewed people on a very similar topic and they didn’t know what I was talking about. I was shocked. I was like, “Am I on Punk’d? Is somebody trying to punk me and I don’t realize it?” They’re like, “No. What are you talking about?” It’s was 30s and under. I was like, “Okay, that’s fair.”
Do you want to give us examples of what they didn’t know?
Anything. It was more about me. It’s like Toby Keith’s song, “Let’s talk about me, let’s talk about I.” They did not realize that what they’ve done had extended to the greater public and to the world and influenced what they were doing and the money they would receive. I was dumbfounded. I was like, “I’ve heard these stories, but I’ve never experienced this. Now I am.”
I feel common sense and the inability for people to ask questions. We’re all so focused on pretending we know everything that we are starting to believe that we do know everything. I proudly say I don’t know a lot. I don’t know what I don’t know. That’s why I have smart friends with me. At least they can show me things then I know at least I don’t know about it.
I always tell people, I go to Google. It tells me what I want to know, but I’ve got friends like you. If I need your area, I call you. I don’t have any problem telling people I don’t know how to do X but because of my team’s success matrix, I formed a team that knows how to do about everything. I don’t do it. I tell people, “Be honest with your clients and with your employees, but then go get the answer they’ve asked for and execute the answer.”
When you’re on a meeting and there’s always the name-dropper, like the name referencer, there’s that guy or a girl. There’s always that person in the meeting and he’s like, “I was once talking to so and so. Do you know so and so?” It’s supposed to be like you get that feeling in your stomach and you think, “I know this is a famous name. Is this a test?” I know this isn’t somebody he went to college with because there’s other doofuses shaking their heads and like, “Do you know him?” I’ve yessed it a lot and then I googled and then I’m like, “Yes, the person is well known but by the chipmunk community,” or something obscure. I stopped doing that a few years ago and now it makes me feel better because whenever that guy is in the meeting, he’ll say, “Do you know so and so?” To the guy who’s shaking his head because he’s the one that annoys me the most, I go, “No. Tim, who is that?”
Does he stop shaking his head?If you don't have your health, you don't have anything else. Click To Tweet
I don’t know why that guy has to even bring up the reference. Does he have a small penis? I’m not sure.
Unfortunately, you have to go with that with some tops then go outside and look at his car. I do that with you know. I’ll say, “You know what Erin Saxton would say? You know my friend, the world-famous shake who’s done everything?”
Everyone goes like this when you say that, “No, I don’t know her.”
“The blonde that loves hockey?” “Yes, we know her.”
No, they don’t. They’ll say, “Who?”
Just roll with it.
We need more of those guys in the world, “Yes, she’s great.”
It’s funny because you and I could do that with our Rolodex of friends but we don’t.
Those people annoy people in the workplace. If you have your Mötley Crüe as a manager and you know it’s the good, the bad, the ugly, that’s not at happy hour. You know warts and all what they bring to the table and they’re not getting along. You have a great relationship with them per se because you know who they are. How do you manage the kids on the team? How do you manage the coworkers because you need them to be in sync?
You’ve got everybody on the same page. It’s no different than having a family meeting like the Brady shoes to do on the Brady bunch. It’s no different having a team meeting. What’s our main focus? What’s our goal? What are we here for? I’ve got customer service, sales, engineering, this and that. We’ve got to get on the same page. What do we get out? I always ask people if you can answer two questions, you got them. What’s in it for me and why should I? If you answer those two questions for your staff, especially, they’re all in. Why am I doing this? What do I get out of it? How are we going to integrate this? How are we going to work it as a team? I’m all about winning. As a coach, I didn’t like to lose, we didn’t lose a lot. In business, I don’t like to lose, we don’t lose a lot. Once everybody is on the same page, the same vision and walking the same direction, you’re pretty tough to beat but you’ve got to get them there.
Walk me through a perfect client for you. The perfect reader for you is anyone who wants to read.
The perfect client is somebody who can pay me. It always helps if the check clears. The perfect client for me, I’ve enjoyed going into businesses that weren’t where they’re supposed to be in the owner’s head and being able to get them to where they want to go. I’ll take an underperforming company. I look like this know what they’re doing. I’ll go in and I’ll go, “Where do we want to be in a year? Where do we want to be in six months? Let’s get there.” They don’t understand that I can get your company there, but I’ve got to get your personal life there too because they’re not separate. Who we are personally and who we are professionally are one in the same because of human programming and because of quantum physics? You can’t separate the two. I teach them how to combine the two. I’ll get a guy who’s not getting that at work and his wife hates him and his kids are ready to get rid of him. I’m like, “This is not going to work because this will deteriorate over here. We’ve got to make everything seamless.” Once we make everything seamless, it’s amazing how their company takes off.
Walk me through your background that got you to where you are now to make you with respect qualified to give such advice and counsel.
Pre-degree, you could call me a juvenile delinquent. I was starting out of high school. My friends don’t realize that I got tossed and then I made a special deal with my principal. At that time, I was discussing with the Navy a nuclear physics degree. I was smart. I had a little drug, alcohol and everything else problems. I was extremely violent and I didn’t mesh. I had two different lives. Christ saved my life and once that happened, I went and got my degree. I got a degree in Behavior Special Ed. I’ve got every component of Special Ed you can have in my degree. I went and got a mentor. I was very fortunate. My mentor helped write all the curriculums for the state of North Carolina. He was training me to be his replacement.Treat your family better than you do to your clients. Click To Tweet
We had one of the first inclusion classes for autism in the United States. It wasn’t me, it was him, but he gave me the best advice I’ll ever get. He always told me, “You’re not the smartest guy in the room. Shut up and listen.” I shut up and listen for three years. I went to coach basketball. I went to the NBA and started asking coaches, “Will you teach me?” “Yes.” I started to go to all the ACC and SCC coaches, “Will you teach me?” “Yes.” I’ve got the best basketball knowledge. They’re now starting to look up all the behavioral people. I would call him and say, “Can I spend some time with you?” The funny story is the reason I’m married is because of Bruce Wilkinson, the author of Prayer of Jabez. Bruce told me to marry my wife.
People are waiting for this romantic story, it wasn’t. I love my wife, she’s my best friend, but that’s how we got married. Somebody asked me, “How many hours do you have in the behavioral realm?” I added them up. It’s almost 60,000 hours. I’ve been doing that because I was a teacher for almost 25 years. I love that genre because I liked being in academia. I like being with the kids. There was nothing better than me with the kids. They keep you young. I knew I had to go do something else and I’d been doing business and academia for twenty years. I finally had to trade one for the other and I’d been doing radio and TV along with that.
I had great mentors, the best in the world. Because you always got to pay your dues, I spent the time learning from all the best behavioral people in the United States. If somebody’s in town, I go, “Can I come by? I’ll buy a cup of coffee. Can I meet you in Dallas?” I was willing to drive anywhere if they would spend the time talking to me. That and combined with all the hours I’ve spent writing behavioral programs, family programs and business plans for other people. I’m on my sixth book. I’ve got two bestsellers. Being willing to learn from other people who were better than I was for what I did, made me who I am now.
Being willing to ask. We don’t ask for what we need anymore because we don’t know what we need or we’re too proud to admit we need it.
I was always smart enough. My mentors grilled this in my head, “Ask. Go get a guy or a girl who’s better than you, and then you go learn from them.” I still do that. I still call people and go, “Can you teach me this?” My wife makes fun of me. I’ll watch eight hours of String Theory videos because it’s my interest. It’s what I do in my off time, so to speak. I start calling these guys and going, “If you’re in this city, can I sit down with you?” He’ll go, “Sure, nobody’s called me.” You probably watch String Theory on your off days, right?
I binge-watch String Theory. It’s on-demand. I cannot stop watching String Theory. Let’s bring everybody up to speed. The name of your book again is?
It’s Not Them, It’s You.
It’s a relaunch from a few years ago. You’re back in the game. You’re going to start doing radio and TV more. Let’s talk in closing some overviews of what this book will get to provide for the reader.
I always look at it, “What’s in it for me and why should I?” If you read the book for one, you’re going to figure out who you are. I’d go over this extensively on, “Maybe you were programmed, let’s fix it. Here’s how you reprogram the program that you have.” We all got in business to make money. There are no other reasons to be in business. You’re going to make money because you’re going to hire the right people the first time. You’re going to fire the ones that need to go already. You’re going to put your company on track because you don’t know how to communicate effectively with your employees and your clients. Your employers are going to understand why they work there. You’re going to put them in the right position for their skillset and your clients do not understand why they’re doing business with you and why you’re the best at what you do and why they don’t need to go anywhere, they’ve already found their home, a purchasing and where they need to be.
I put an addendum in the book. I’ll put a health chapter. I’m 50-ish and we don’t spend enough time thinking about what we put in our bodies, what we do in hormonal issues, etc. when we get to be our age. If you want to maximize your work time, look at me, I was out of the workforce for two complete years. It’s all about your health. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything else. I interviewed the best doctors in the country on those issues to make sure you can maximize who you are, what you’re going to be and you can stay in the game much longer as far as health. That’s an important part of my life now. If you read the book, you’re not going to make money, you’re going to be a better person and you can be better for your employees and for your clients.
I love it and I love the book. Some of it re-routed and re-grounded me into what I forgot. I should have remembered. I hate saying the word should, but we’re running with scissors and so fast these days. It’s a good reminder. It reminded me of my basic fundamentals that I’m like, “Duh.” You took me, as a reader, to a whole new level that I’ve already started implementing with my business partners, even being a mom with my son and his friends and a daughter. It helped a lot. It reads initially like a business book, but in the beginning and at the end of the business day, you’re home and you’re with those people. What you do during the day sometimes is a disservice to the family because you give it all at the office, whether that’s love, jokes, personality, energy, time or patience. You leave and you come home on an empty tank. That’s where we run into some problems in our life.
I always stress to people, treat your family better than you do to your clients. I have people tell me all the time, the 9:00 to 5:00 behavior tends to be better than the 5:00 to 11:00 behavior. We’ve got to switch that because home is way more important than business. If the home is right, business will always be right.
Where can everybody find more information about you and your book?
My website is ScotFerrell.com. Don’t confuse me with the other Scott Ferrell, who’s on the hockey team. We used to live in the same city. We were on the radio at the same time.
Thanks for being on my show. If anybody has any questions for Scot, please call him directly or email him. Look him up on social media. I will see you next time.
About Scot Ferrell
Scot is a nationally known authority on business behavior, human programming, family and marriage, parenting and finding purpose. What sets Scot apart is his “no-nonsense” straight talk delivery that focuses on achieving results.
National media outlets have deemed him “Dr. Phil Meets Pearl Jam,” in recognition of his strategies that provide solutions for emotionally-charged business and family environments.