Skating on the Edge of Your Competency: Interview with Elite Performance Expert Bill Carl Johnson

 

Interview Transcript:

Betsy Jordyn:    Hey there everyone, this is Betsy Jordyn and I’m super excited to have my colleague, my long-term colleague and friend, Bill Johnson here.  BC Johnson.  To share more about his experience.  He’s the most recent graduate of the Consultant’s Institute and he has just launched his consulting business.  Thank you, Bill, so much, for being with me today and sharing your experience.

BC Johnson:    Thanks Betsy, pleasure to be here.

Betsy Jordyn:    So, let’s first talk a little bit about this great new business that you’re launching.  Tell me a little bit more about the consulting business that you are putting out there and what you want to do.

BC Johnson:     Well, it’s interesting that you kind of asked that question because as I—I’ll give you a little backdrop about me.  One of the things I’ve always wanted to do or really dream about was actually being my own boss, running my own business and seeing if I could make it on my own.  Actually, taking a big risk in life, for once, and if I succeed, great.  If not, I’ll know at least I tried. 

As I was starting to go through this thought process from a life transition standpoint, I actually reached out to you because one of the things I was very, very unclear about is exactly what type of consultancy I wanted to have.  I just kind of knew, I wanted to do the work.  I kind of know the work that I like to do.  However, what you were able to help me think about and really crystalize is, one, what type of client am I looking for?  Who would I be going after?  And two, what can I offer them from a value standpoint.

Betsy Jordyn:    That’s really interesting because you have such an experience.  For those that don’t know you, share a little bit more about your experience.  Somebody who has been a consultant for a long time and has worked with clients, I think it’s interesting that you shared some of the consistent that others might have when trying to make a leap.

BC Johnson:     Yeah.  So, I’m actually—I was actually 20-year veteran of Walt Disney World. I worked at Disney, really in a variety of roles.  Started as a finance manager.  Did that for a few years and then made an interesting transition over to organizational development and consulting.  Not exactly the typical career leap but that’s what I did for—I would say about seven years or so.  Then I moved over to the ESPN Wide World of Sports where I helped run our business development arm. 

Then, about five years ago, I got a call from the Disney Institute and the Disney Institute is the Disney’s Companies external training, benchmarking and advisory services arm.  They were really looking for someone who had my background in terms of consulting, knew Disney, knew finance and they were looking to expand into a couple of markets that I had a passion about.  That’s how I was able to kind of piece together everything that I had done internally at Disney and make the transition to DI. 

As any good consultant or actually any doctor would tell you, doctor don’t heal thyself, consultant don’t heal thyself.  That was a little bit why I reached out to you Betsy was because, I kind of knew what I didn’t know.  I’d been internal for 20 years.  I didn’t understand exactly what it meant to be external, to be on your own, to be a one-man shop.  You were able to kind of help paint that picture, shorten my learning curve and really propel me and set me up for success. 

Betsy Jordyn:    So, it’s such an interesting challenge because especially with all of the depth of your experience, I don’t know if you mentioned, you got a degree in Sports Management along the way as well.  It’s interesting that no matter what you experience you have, it still is really hard to weave it all together into some sort of marketable expertise for yourself.  It’s that whole nose to the window pane syndrome. 

BC Johnson:     Yeah because a lot of us who have been in the corporate world and corporate environment, you’ve got colleagues, you’ve got partners, you’ve got departments, you’ve got other things you can rely on to help pull all that together for you.  But then, as you step out on your own, there is a wonderful, wonderful network of people out there that can help, but it’s understanding who to tap into, how do you tap into them.  How do you bring it all together that really speaks to what you’re trying to do.  Because you can chase—as I kind of call it, you can chase a lot of fuzzy bunnies and go out there in many different directions, but really what you kind of helped me do is narrow the focus of where I need to be right now as I watch.  Now, you know, where I’m at 6, 7, 8, 9 months from now, we’ll see where that is.  From a launch standpoint, I feel like I’m setting up and moving forward in the right direction and everything is clicking. 

Betsy Jordyn:    You said that for a long time you wanted to go out on your own.  You’ve always thought about it.   Then we’ve been talking for quite a while around when is the right date.  There was like a moment that you just decided, now’s the time.  So, what was it that clicked for you that said, you know that you decided to reach out to me to have a conversation around formally, let’s get something at least in place that I can launch with and then what was that trigger to say, yep, now is the time, I’m making the move? 

BC Johnson:     Yeah, two things really unfolded. One had to do with—and of course, back to our good friend and colleague who we worked with one time, Lee Cockerell, because you don’t have a business life, you don’t have a personal life, you have a life.  I firmly believe that.  I just reached a stage in terms of my personal life where getting soon to be an empty nester, even though the oldest child is boomeranging back home for an internship, but that’s another story.  It was at the right life moment from that side.  Then, the other side, my wife is trying to figure out, okay, what’s the next phase of her career look like.  We kind of engage in those types of conversations. 

From a timing standpoint, I was really anticipating moving in the latter half of 2017.  A couple of things—I’ll say, the stars aligned and things kind of lined up perfectly where it just felt right to kind of head out at this point.  One had to do with internally at DI, Disney Institute, where I left on great terms, but they were just getting a couple of projects up and running and quite frankly, it wouldn’t have been fair to the clients or to DI or even to me to get involved in something knowing that I may not see it through.  I just couldn’t do that. 

Two, I’ll call it the drum beat of change was starting to pound louder and louder and it just kind of reached a point a few weeks ago where I just kind of realized it was time.  I’ve told people this story several times, I kind of equate it to college.  As you walk off the college campus, that was probably the best four or five years of your life but you don’t want to go back and you know it’s time and you know it’s time to move on.  That’s really the internal feeling you get is, wow that was a fantastic time I just had but I’m ready for the next challenge and the next opportunity. 

Betsy Jordyn:    It’s interesting.  The main thing—from a practical standpoint, it looks like the stars aligned from your family situation but that real moment of trigger is just more of that internal discontent.  You could just tell it’s time.  A lot of people want to know, what’s all the right things you need?  Do you have to have certain money in the bank or do you need to have a client on the hook?  I think the real trigger is just something on the inside that just tells you. 

When I left Disney, it wasn’t because I—I couldn’t like describe it to anybody.  I just knew that I knew it was time.  It was time for me to try something different.  I just knew that I knew and it seems to me that that’s the overall thing.  When you know, then it definitely feels like you’re going towards something rather than, I just need to get away from something.

BC Johnson:     Yeah, that’s exactly true because—and you and I have talked about this—I firmly believe that you can’t have a foot in both worlds.

Betsy Jordyn:    Right.

BC Johnson:     Where you have to kind of be, you know, either all in in your job or you have to be all in in your consultancy.  You can’t mess around and say, well I’m not going to jump until I get that client or if this happens.  You just kind of have to know it is the right time.

The other piece that you really help crystalized and clarify, not only through what you did but I’ll say, what other websites and consultants you had us look at, was to own your expertise.  Understand that you have value and understand that you can bring value to the table.  I want to say that one of the websites you had us look at was a guy by the name of Todd Herman. One of the things that is in his bio is ‘own your expertise, don’t be ashamed of it, understand that if you put yourself out there and you have value, you can help people and make a difference’.

Betsy Jordyn:    It really changes the whole conversation, even when you market is, if I know—you know, I’m building my business off of what I’m really great at, you would be able to say, I absolutely need to help you because I know I can create better results, versus what I would call when people build tier business off the second tier, it’s like things that you can do but may not be your power alley or sweet spot.  When you’re there it definitely changes the game.

BC Johnson:     Oh, totally.  Totally. 

Betsy Jordyn:    So, you have a background though in sports management and you’re an athlete in your own personal life and you are trying to serve athletes as your primary clients.  How does that influence the way you think about being all-in?  Like, is there an athletic side of you that’s just part of that athlete archetype that is coming to play when you say ‘all-in’?

BC Johnson:     Yeah.  And when I think of like—as you helped me define what is that ideal client?  It’s maximizing the business’ performance of high achieving organizations and organizations that want to win, that have a desire—a burning desire to win.  It’s kind of even been interesting as we kind of went along this journey—granted, my background is in sports, I’ve worked a lot with the NBA, NFL, with college athletic departments, but even as I’ve thought more about kind of a target, you know, who wants to win—it’s people actually within the hospitality sector.  People who are really going after individuals to [inaudible 10:16] asset, very valuable assets, their time and their money.  When you kind of start painting that umbrella on it, kind of the market opens up a little bit broader, a little bit wider, but kind of the primary bread and butter to start with will be sports.  But yeah, kind of that mindset of, winning, high-performance, championships and being the best that you can possibly be.

Betsy Jordyn:    So, when you think about the clients that you’ve worked with how—so, being the best that you can be, it’s partially how they’ve influenced you and how you think about your own business.  Is there any other tips that we can learn from the sports world and parlay it to the business world to say, you know, this is how people win world championships, this is how people build really great businesses and the lives that they imagine.

BC Johnson:     Yeah.  There’s a great quote that goes back to the 2000s, some of the people watching this who are sports fans will remember, a guy by the name of Allen Iverson who played basketball.  He was asked about skipping practice.  His whole diatribe and dialogue was about practice, you’re talking about practice?  Man, you’re talking about practice?  And essentially, he was saying, he just plays games.  You know, while it was a funny clip, for me, you do have to practice.  You do have to practice your skillsets.  You’ve got to practice your consulting skillsets.  You have to practice what the expertise you’re bringing to the table because if you’re not practicing what you’re good at, you will fail.

Even when you look at Tom Brady who just won a Super Bowl at the age of 39, there’s a reason that he goes to training camp every year, to practice.  There’s a reason he practices in between games.  It’s to get better.  So that, when that client is in front of you, when you’re in that moment, you have done everything possible to prepare to win. 

Betsy Jordyn:    So, that’s one of the things that I feel like both of us could offer a debt of gratitude to our former leader because we were focused to practice our consulting skills all the time.  I shared this story and people have heard me share the story about the consulting skills practice sessions and I’ve shared it in several webinars where I’ve had to eat crow when I imagine that my business is built upon what Chris King made us do every single week, where I had to practice and role play.   When I went on my own, it was easy for me to land business because I had practiced it and done it so much at Disney.  What’s your experience with those consulting skills practice sessions?

BC Johnson:     So, as a new person coming in from Finance to OD, Chris required me to be there.  He made Friday afternoons stink for me.  Was it, we closed at 4:00?

Betsy Jordyn:    3:30 to 5:00 every Friday.

BC Johnson:     Yeah, 3:30 to 5:00 every Friday and I had to go to everyone, like when you were the new consultant, you only had to go once a month, I had to be there every week from 3:00 to 5:00 and it is flipping awkward when you first start doing it.  Because, any time you first start practicing a skill, you’re not good.  You’re just not.  You’re going to stumble and you’re going to falter, but it’s the repetition of doing it time and time again.  I can equate it to sports, you know, no one just automatically picks up a golf club and understands how to hit it.  You can go to dancing, no one automatically is a great dancer.  It’s a skill that you have to work at, train at and maneuver through. 

While those initial sessions were—I think we all sweated a lot, but you know we all kind of went through together--

Betsy Jordyn:    And grumbled a lot, we complained a lot.

BC Johnson:     But, we walked out of there sharp.

Betsy Jordyn:    Uh huh.

BC Johnson:     Chris was fond of saying a wonderful phrase that I’ve taken with me that you have to be able to skate on the edge of your competency. 

Betsy Jordyn:    Hmm, I forgot about that one.  I’ll have to remember that one.

BC Johnson:     Skate on the edge of your competency because you have to have enough competency in your skills, in your ability, and skate right up to the edge and know you’re going to be okay.  And, even know if you get into a situation that may not be comfortable, that you don’t know about, that you will be able to figure out because you have figured out other things before.  That’s kind of that learning of like, hey I didn’t know how to do this consulting, I didn’t know how to do a partnership set-up.  I personally learned how to do it and I can figure this thing out and I’ll be fine.

Betsy Jordyn:    It’s interesting because as I’ve been mentoring other people around building their consulting practices, I’ve been thinking about those consulting skills in a much broader standpoint.  You need to be able to practice your elevator pitch or your value proposition over and over again because the market will tell you if you hit the right one.  It’s not going to be just you and I sitting in a room, the market will tell you and as you practice it, you’ll be able to know.  Same thing for your marketing strategies.  Even just some of the gold mine that LinkedIn is for us as consultants to find our clients, is it requires these daily routines.

BC Johnson:     Yeah.

Betsy Jordyn:    I think that’s the hardest thing for us shiny object—I’ll just call myself a shiny object entrepreneur, but I can’t possibly be alone because if we’re consultants, we’re big picture people.   We have to really be able to balance our big picture with all of that implementation and all of the, just the routine.  Just because Tom Brady is amazing and the game, he still did the skills and drills to get him prepared for the game. 

BC Johnson:     Oh, totally.  Totally.  And, it’s funny, you said you have to do the skills and the routines and you have to find those daily routines that work for you and hold true to your time and true to your calendar.  Even now, as I enter into being independent, there were certain things I would do at certain times of the day when I was internal at Disney and now I’m finding ways of, okay this is what I do at this time every day now that I’m on my own.

For example, I’m an early riser.  I’m usually up sometimes around 5:30, 5:45.  That’s usually when I start working.  It’s not that I work 14 hours, but I have different breaks during the day for personal things and yaddy, yadda, yadda.  But, so for now, for me, when I used to be checking email, you know, that’s when I’m out there doing my work on Twitter.  That’s when I’m looking for articles to post out there.  That’s when I’m on LinkedIn, you know, commenting on other people’s activities.  I try to carve out that morning time for social media.  So that I’m not, oh you know, it’s noon, it’s 1:30 and all the sudden I’m like, oh I’ve got to do this for 5-10 minutes, but I try to be very structured in my day.

Betsy Jordyn:    Kudos to you.  I would love to get those routines.  I’m working on it.  But that is the challenge.  You know, if you can master that—because social media and that presence is really important from an SEO standpoint and for your perceptions, to warm up your leads.  There’s 1,000 reasons to do it but the only way it’s going to happen is consistency and that’s really hard for a lot of people.  So, kudos to you on that. 

BC Johnson:     And, I’ll say it’s two-fold.  One you warm up the SEOs, you warm up your connectivity, but also, it makes you sharper.  When you’re not in an office, in a work environment, bouncing ideas off of people.  This is your office.  This is your office environment.  When people link something from Forbes, even though it may not directly relate to you, go read it.  You’re going to find some nuggets of information that are going to make you better and smarter.  And, you can drop them in conversations with other people and with clients to show like, hey this person knows what’s going on. 

Betsy Jordyn:    It keeps you fresh, keeps you relevant.  Keeps you on your game.  And even trying to find the hook.  If you think about the way you post the article and you add in the little tip that would relate to your audience and then you add, there’s so many other things—that’s great.  You’re doing some amazing things. 

Can I ask you to practice your value proposition so others can know what you do?

BC Johnson:     Yeah, I’ll kind of give it to you, because I kind of gave it to you at the very beginning.  Kind of the tagline is, I would say, maximizing the business performance of high-performing organizations.  The words aren’t going to come out the same all the time, it just kind of all depends on who I’m sitting in front of. 

Quite frankly, what I want to do is help organizations build a bridge from where they are to where they want to be.  And, the way I do that is kind of being able to develop a set of recommendations that really center around four key pillars.  It could be around the customer service promise they put out there.  It could be around their processes, from a process effectiveness standpoint.  Could be around how engaged are their employees.  Finally, what are their leaders doing to ensure the culture is vibrant and thriving. 

In a nut shell, that’s my value proposition at—I don’t know what time it is and what day.  You know, the words and if you’re comfortable with it they kind of flow differently every time but you have to be sincere in how you relate to it. 

Betsy Jordyn:    So, it sounds like for you, you’re really looking at the entire value chain around how an organization creates value and you want to look at all of those critical junctures.  So, it’s sort of like if you look at a game, you want to look at all of the key plays that are there and making sure they’re in a good place. 

BC Johnson:     Yeah, because if you’re just coming in and focused—and great analogy, Betsy, I’m impressed.

Betsy Jordyn:    Oh, thank you.

BC Johnson:     If you’re just focused on offense or defense or special teams, you’re going to fail.  You’re not going to win.  You’re not going to optimize.  Whatever your expertise is, you really have to think about holistically, then how are you going to have that positive impact on the person you’re in front of. 

Betsy Jordyn:    So, when you think about when your clients are able to hit all of those touch points and make them optimize and align, what happens?  What kind of results can they expect from you when they partner with you or what type of transformation do they experience by virtue of working with you?

BC Johnson:     You know, ideally, what they’re going to see initially and kind of a little of my bio says, one they’re going to see their employee engagement go up.  A lot of organizations will focus solely on a customer service philosophy or promise and they’re like, oh my gosh, we’ve got do this, we’ve got to train our folks and it’s going to be wonderful.  Instead, they get this peak and it just comes to the flavor of the month and rolls off.

So, really what you want is to drive that employee engagement and hopefully you’re going to see retention scores go up, you’re going to see applications go up.  You’re going to see your metrics around being an employer of choice, increase.  At the same time, you kind of have to bolster that from—what helps tremendously with that of course if the underpinning of leadership to ensure that they are doing the right things to drive that employee engagement.  Then finally, you know, one of the greatest things I’ve heard from a customer side, it could be a fan, a client, customer, guest, whatever nomenclature you want to put on it, those folks will begin to say, I don’t know what you’re doing but it feels different around here.  It’s like, okay now we’re on to something.  Now we have a foundation that we need to grow and sustain. 

Betsy Jordyn:    It’s sort of like, all of these tangible results really create more of this intangible value of, it feels like we’re working more effectively as a team and a unit, we’re all on the same page, going the same direction and it feels better when we’re working together.

BC Johnson:     Correct.  And, I’ll say, even furthermore, organizations, while they’ll see—sometimes I think transformational is an interesting word because transformational means, sudden, impactful and oh my gosh, you know, angels are going to be signing and the stars are going to align but a lot of times--

Betsy Jordyn:    Yeah, of course, isn’t that what—you’re going to deliver that!

BC Johnson:     Yeah.  Eventually.  You have to recognize the small wins and the leading indicators along the way and celebrate those and recognize those and embrace those because it’s just not waving the old Disney magic wand.  These are journeys--

Betsy Jordyn:    Right.

BC Johnson:     --that are built and you have to work them over time to make sure it takes root, takes hold and its sustainable.  Quite frankly, the changes that are made are not what I’ll say people centric.  It’s not because, you know, John, Jack, Mary or Beth is running it, but it’s actually embedded into the culture and its part of that culture no matter who is within the organization. 

Betsy Jordyn:    Well, in some ways, transformation can be looked at on that broader standpoint of saying, it’s going to become a more sustainably healthy organization that will go beyond whatever executive or leader is at that helm.  There’s some of it, it’s just the transformation of a pain point.  If you’re saying that maybe the presenting problem that your clients are dealing with is, why are we all not on the same page and that pain point gets transformed into something better because wouldn’t you all like that is, you know, are you getting sick and tired of everybody—you know, we all have big goals and we want to have these great, great accomplishments that we want to achieve, however, we can’t because everybody is finger pointing and everybody is not on the same page and that gets transformed.  You can look at transformation with a little T or the big T, you know, when the angels come down and the skies part and you hear heaven singing--

BC Johnson:     Well said.

Betsy Jordyn:    --so, there’s different ways to look at it.

BC Johnson:     Yeah, the little T’s add up to the big T.

Betsy Jordyn:    So, one thing I think is interesting though, that you don’t—you haven’t highlighted yet in your value proposition is, you’re one of the unusual OD people, consultant people who have the finance side and the internal HR kind of perspective.  Like, you bring both sides of those together.  How do you see your financial results oriented background?  Like, that’s one thing I remember on our team, you were always the one trying to get everything down to the pragmatics and the rest of us were all in airy fairy land and you’re like, yeah but what does that mean to the business?  Like, how do you balance both sides of your brain and how do you balance both sides and how do you think it creates a competitive differentiation for you?

BC Johnson:     Yeah, so my mind set when I jump into something, I do see it through an operator’s side, so I’ve been on that side of the house.  On the support staff side, of course, I’ve been in the HR world, I’ve been in the Finance world.  I understand the point-of-view and the mindset of the person I’m sitting in front of and where they’re coming from. 

So, I understand their thought process and probably understand what they’re thinking and what they’re trying to look for in terms of results.  When I think about the OD work and some of the terminology around and some of the things, it’s great to move it forward but it’s that having to have that gas/brake pedal with the business reality of, wow, we really need to get moving and get things going. 

That’s why I said, I try to bring that balance to the table, that the person I’m sitting in front of, I can relate to and understand but also respect the need is sometimes going to take time to happen.

Betsy Jordyn:    So, it goes back to what you just said about all the little T’s in the transformation that lead to the big T is, you’re really good at taking all the incremental steps to lead to the big thing and create the results but you always do the little results in the context of the big picture of what it should be like. 

BC Johnson:     Yeah.

Betsy Jordyn:    That sounds like what I’m hearing you say, is how you marry it.

BC Johnson:     Yeah and what I’ve learned over the years from consulting is there’s a lot of ambiguity to consulting.  What are job is to also kind of—to as best as possible, break down the ambiguity of the uncertainty of what the path is going to look like, what the results are going to look like.  Helping the client balance their tolerance for that along the way because they’re going to be pushing you for change.  They’re going to be pushing you for immediate impact, which is great in things that we can hit on, we do.  But, also to kind of understand, it’s a process you have to follow and a methodology to reach the outcomes you’re looking for.

Betsy Jordyn:    I love how you just talk about it because you make continuous improvement in way of life.  It’s like, you put your best ideas forward but even as you describe how you’re going to think about your value proposition, you’re marketing strategies, what you do every day, it’s always in the context of continuous improvement.  That must be where you align in some ways with the clients you want to serve is, you always can get better.  You always skate on the edge of your competence and you always get better and you don’t just stay settled into whatever you have right now.

BC Johnson:     Yeah, that’s a great point because you and I have the Disney blood in our veins.

Betsy Jordyn:    Yeah.

BC Johnson:     One of the things that resonates with me all the time is, what you did yesterday is not good enough, it’s what you’re going to do today and tomorrow that really matters.  Because the expectations of the guest, you know, the clients in our world, they go up year over year over year.  That’s why you see Disney always consistently pushing the envelope in terms of content, in terms of rides, in terms of process efficiency.  If you think about the whole Fast Pass System and how you can book online and all those types of things, they’re always looking to do it that way.

I’ll say also, the cool thing about the company and our experience there is, they think about the cast members/employees the same way.  Where they understand that employees have choices about where they can work and they’re always looking to exceed the expectations of those folks as well.  So, when you start thinking about continuous improvement, that lines up exactly right because you can’t just say, hey we did it, we got it and we’re fabulous now.  Uh-uh, that’s just the beginning, you’ve got to keep moving forward.

Betsy Jordyn:    So, I love what you’re saying.  I just want to put a little bit of a different frame on it because I know that some of the people who are listening who are trying to start a consulting business or considering it, they start getting panicky because it’s like, oh my gosh, whatever I did yesterday doesn’t matter and it kind of creates that performance anxiety.

BC Johnson:     Yeah.  That’s a good point. 

Betsy Jordyn:    One thing I would say is that the past matters always in terms of learning.  When Disney Institute started, it was supposed to be like some sort of educational experience that they were going to add in there but the idea—the initial idea wasn’t bad but you kind of keep tweaking it and adjusting the idea until it works.  Like, you just keep playing with it and it’s like you got a German idea and that turned into the whole Disney Institute now, that it’s the corporate training arm of Disney and it’s a great—it’s got great profitability for the company, great exposure for the company.  I know many, many companies benefit from all the training that Disney Institute provides but if they decided, oh that was a fail, you know, nobody was coming here to learn how to do the art of animation when they’re on vacation, we would be missing out on what the Disney Institute began.  I would say the same thing relates to when we run our consulting practices is, whatever you did yesterday is whatever you learned yesterday but you know, quote Maya Angelou, when you know better, you do better.  Like, when you learn more things—the best thing that ever happened to me was when I made some changes to my website and I completely tanked my results and it forced me to really get into the details of understanding a whole lot more about marketing, marketing for consultants, digital marketing.  I wouldn’t have been forced to learn all of that.  It doesn’t mean by ideas weren’t good, it’s just the execution didn’t achieve the mark.  I think so many of us don’t move forward because it’s like, I have to get it perfect until I release it to the market rather than, you release it to the market, the market will tell you and then you just tweak and adjust without that anxiety of oh my gosh, I’m a failure.  It didn’t work out.  I don’t know what I’m talking about.  I don’t have what it takes, I should just go back to corporate. 

BC Johnson:     No, you’re absolutely right because the history of the Disney Institute actually goes all the way back to 1984.  I’ll say Disney Institute is probably on iteration 8.0, 9.0 or whatever.  In my five years there, we were consistently evolving.  Not only how we’re structured, clients we’re going after, the processes, the teaching points and everything else.  You’re absolutely spot on Betsy because as you get started in your business, you know, you just kind of figure out, okay this is who I am, this is who I’m going to put myself out there to be.  Six months from now, the market may tell me something totally different and I’m okay with that. 

Betsy Jordyn:    Right.

BC Johnson:     I will go where I can serve and I can be helpful and you shouldn’t worry so much about, oh my gosh, the website has to be 100% right, oh my gosh, I have to have all my [inaudible 30:37] in place, oh my gosh, I have to have all this, all this, all this.  Quite frankly, as I think you and I talked offline, I’ve only been out there for a few days, haven’t actually done big marketing.  Haven’t done really any marketing push, people are starting to ask questions.  They’re curious.  They want to know, they want to talk.  And, automatically now, you know, I’m already picking up information about, okay this is what they’re asking for, this is what they want. 

Betsy Jordyn:    I think it’s interesting, I think what’s easy for you is it’s congruent with your background.  It’s congruent with your passion.  It’s congruent with everything so it’s a natural—it’s a natural outgrowth.  Of course people are interested.  Nobody—I’ve heard people talk to me because we’re all part of the same OD team back in the day, like did you hear about Bill?  It’s like, oh yeah.  But nobody is like, oh my gosh, I had no—I had no idea that this was coming, I’m completely blindsided.  It makes sense.  It’s logical.  I think that’s where, for a lot of people, when you’re wanting to leave, leave corporate and start your own business, that it’s a natural progression of what you have already done.

BC Johnson:     Oh yeah.  Yeah.  And you know, the thing is, I was talking to someone who went out on their own last May.  They gave me some very, very sound advice.  You know, there are going to be those moments, as you get out there, you’re going to have the oh, blank, what did I do, blank, moments.  It happens.  You know, it happens to everyone, but you know, he goes—he told me, he goes, I just trusted my network.  I trusted the people I know.  You just kind of put things out there and like I said, you just start to let things percolate and you let it work and things will happen for you. 

Betsy Jordyn:    Well, what if—so, somebody might be thinking, yeah that’s great for you Bill, you’ve got like this Disney network.  I don’t have your network.  Can I still do this?  What would you say to them?

BC Johnson:     Oh, totally.  Totally.  You know, because people are always looking to tap into expertise and people that can make a difference in their business.  It’s no different than when someone is out there to hire an employee and what they want to know, quite frankly is, is this employee-can this employee solve a pain point for me, are they going to make a difference in my business and am I going to get an ROI on this person?  That’s the same thing they’re looking for when they’re hiring a consultant.  The reason they hire a consultant, quite frankly is because they don’t have the expertise on their staff to do it, nor do they want bring that expertise on to do it for them.  It’s one of those things, if you can make that—as you kind of call it Betsy, you know, what’s your value proposition?  How am I going to solve this pain point?  How am I going to make a difference for you and is there going to be an ROI?  It’s some leg work, some ground work, some reaching out to folks, but if you’ve got an expertise, you will find the people that can use you.

Betsy Jordyn:    That’s awesome.  Anything—any lessons you would say, just from the past few months of getting your business together.  If you could go back in time and talk to yourself, what would you wish that you would’ve done to get you ready for the launch or do you feel like you had whatever you needed or what do you wish you had in order to launch?

BC Johnson:     It was funny, I kind of—as we started talking about this, I was—okay, I’m going to work on this a little bit, not work on this.  Then, finally when I decided, you know, I was going to get serious about it, that’s when I started to put some of the base line things in place.  It’s going ahead and committing and you know—it sounds silly but it’s going ahead and registering your business.  It’s getting your domain name.  It’s go ahead and get your laptop if you don’t have one.  Start to build those foundational business elements that make you feel like a real business that all the sudden, like wow, okay, I’ve done these type of things, I’m moving forward, here’s the path I’m on. 

Betsy Jordyn:    Yeah, so it’s like you had a commitment and then you walked out that commitment and that’s what made the difference.

BC Johnson:     Yeah.

Betsy Jordyn:    So, instead of that earlier phase where it’s like, oh I got one—it goes back to what you said about all-in is, once you decided you were all-in, then everything kind of clicked into place.

BC Johnson:     It was when I was standing in the Apple Store, walking out with a MacBook Pro that I realized, okay, I’m in. 

Betsy Jordyn:    Okay!  That’s awesome.  I felt the same way when I got my MacBook Pro.

BC Johnson:     Yeah!

Betsy Jordyn:    You know, I went through the same experience and actually, when I put my website together, that’s when I knew I was legit.  I was for real.  I told everybody.  Once you tell everybody, you’re like all-in now because everybody knows you’re starting your business. 

BC Johnson:     Yeah. 

Betsy Jordyn:    Well, thank—is there anything else you want to share about your experience and I just didn’t ask you the right question?

BC Johnson:     No, that pretty much covers it.  It was a pleasure talking with you.  Like I said, we covered a lot of old ground and new ground together. 

Betsy Jordyn:    Well, I wish you amazing success.  Actually, I don’t have to wish it, I can’t wait to watch it just come in because I know the right intentions are out there, the right energy, the right clients are probably already knocking at your door, if not, they will be.  So, I would want to be explicit though, if you’re a high-achieving executive in a high-performance company who wants to get better, Bill is your guy.  If you need a strategic partner, and you may not have the expertise in the house or you may want to have the outside perspective from Bill’s experience at Disney and from finance, like you’re not going to find anybody who has finance/HR/sports management, all together in one. 

Could you write a few articles for us around what we can learn—how the business world can learn from the sports world and how we could build on that, that would be awesome.

BC Johnson:     I would love to.

Betsy Jordyn:    All right.  Thank you so much.

BC Johnson:     Thanks Betsy. 

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