Have you heard of the figure of speech, “Jack of all trades, master of none?” Being a specialist in everything is when one tries to do too many things or be everything he thinks he can be but then spreads himself too thin at the end of the day. In this episode, John Laurito shares a few stories that remind him of leaders who try to do everything in their organization. The problem with this is that when you focus on too many things, it waters down your effectiveness on that one thing you’re supposed to be an expert at.
[0:26] Do you remember this guy from the infomercial?
[5:43] What happened to this guy?
[6:38] What is the meaning of a specialist?
[8:33] How does this relate to leaders?
[9:12] John’s own experience
[10:58] The issue with trying to be great at everything and what Steve Jobs did for Apple
[12:27] The bottom line is… choose
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large for the last 20 years. Today, I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name’s John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic. What makes the best leaders so good? Welcome to tomorrow’s leader.
John All right, welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dive deep on all things leader related to leading yourself and leading others, I joined on the radio, your host today, this afternoon, and tomorrow on the next day, and the next day and the next day after that. So I remember and those of you who are probably 40 and above, you may remember this guy. And I’m just going to describe this infomercial and then I’m going to tell you who the guy was. But I remember this infomercial where this guy was at the front of the, you know, studio. Whatever there’s an audience full of people is probably two hundred people or three hundred people. And he was pitching a program called Mega Memory.
John For those of you who remember, you may remember and visualize this mega memory and basically what it was was some kind of I can’t even remember if it was a process or a pill or something that you took that supposedly gave you incredible memory. And this guy, who is a very charismatic, very confident, good-looking guy who was pitching this product, was talking about the impact of it. And what he was doing is he would take questions from the audience and so they’d have random people’s hands come up and he’d be like, yes, Bill in the back. And Bill would be like, oh, yeah, that’s me. Yeah. So my question is this. And then he’d go on to the next one, he’d say, Nancy, over in the back. And the point is, he did this for probably 10 to 12 different questions.
John And the point was he demonstrated that he had memorized supposedly everybody’s name in the studio audience. And Larry points to the person and he might have even gone through like a whole row of people. Yeah, Tommy, Nancy, Sally, Sara, Karen, whatever. And I did, I remember thinking, OK, well, and this is probably I don’t know, I was a teenager at this point. And I remember thinking, wow, this is amazing because, of course, you believe everything that you see. And I remember being just totally awestruck. And so I’m sitting there, you know, maybe a few months later, I can’t remember, maybe a year later and I see this other infomercial.
John Apparently that age I was watching a lot of infomercials. And it was for a product called it was it was a program. I think it was nutrition for life or something. And it was all about weight loss secrets. They don’t want you to know the secret behind weight loss secrets. They don’t want you to know if you found out about these secret weight-loss strategies, you would take over the world. But I’m going to share with you in one book for ninety-nine. Ninety-nine anyways. It was the same guy. It’s the same guy who did the mega memory. And I’m like, wait a sec I. Weren’t you the guy that was pitching the memory thing and now you’re talking about weight loss?
John I don’t get it. I don’t have anything to do with each other. Are you still doing the mega memory thing or are you the mega memory guy by mixing these guys up? Sure enough, I look up this guy. His name is Kevin Trudeau. Now, some of you may know that name. And sure enough, it is the same guy, same kind of charismatic, confident way. No mention of mega memory. Now, his life was about this true passion, his absolute obsession with weight loss and and and exposing the secrets that nobody wants you to know about weight loss. All right. Well, I guess mega memory is forgotten. No pun intended, anyway, so again, maybe a few months later, I’m watching this thing and there’s now something called EPEAT, which I forget what it was, an international pool tournament or something like that. It was billiards and it was run by this guy, Kevin Trudeau. Now he’s doing billiards tournaments.
John What does that have to do with mega memory and weight loss? I don’t get it. Is this just now a side thing? But this is his life now is billiards tournaments in their claim to fame was they were going to have the highest prize money ever heard of. Certainly, in the sport of billiards, it was just totally off the charts, the amount of prize money. And it was drawing everybody to this sport. Well, needless to say, it ended up at Aknin is a catastrophe. They couldn’t pay out the prize money that they promised and all this kind of stuff. Anyways, fast forward. I see this guy again. Now, it is natural cures, the all-natural cures to the worst diseases, secrets that they don’t want you to hear, don’t we?
John We can not let this get out. We’ll have population problems all over the world if people figure out the natural cures to these diseases we’ve never been able to find a cure to. It’s just it. That’s it. And it’s in this book. I’m the only one who knows about it because I am Kevin Trudeau and I’m the mega memory guy. And but no, I’m not the mega memory guy. I’m the weight loss guy. No, no, no, no, no, I’m not. I’m the billiards guy. We win. No, no. I’m the natural cures to disease guy. Anyways, this goes on and on. He has another one that’s on money. It’s financial planning for whatever. OK, enough is enough.
John This guy actually ends up going to jail for ten years. Prison because of fraud, absolute blatant deceit, and fraud. He got hit with many, many lawsuits. But he got banned from doing infomercials. And somehow, even though he got banned from doing infomercials, he was somehow able to put another thirty-two hundred infomercial commercials on after he got banned. I don’t know how, but Google it, you’ll see it. It’s unbelievable. Anyways, blatant disregard to even the legal ramifications of what he had done, went to prison and obviously, I looked up. His net worth is negative.
John Thirty seven million. If you look up Kevin Trudeau’s net worth, it’s negative. Thirty-seven million dollars, I don’t know. That’s a possibility, but it is. So my point is, this is somebody who is absolutely deceitful. But that’s a whole nother story. The point of this is you cannot be a specialist in many, many things. You just can’t you are the definition of a specialist if you focus and you are so good. You’re an expert in this area. You’re not a master of all things, yet they contradict each other. How can you be a specialist in this and that and that? I was interviewing a guy for a job. No, I’m sorry. I was trying to hire somebody, as I can’t remember if it was a marketing guy who was a marketing consultant and he was presenting himself as a marketing consultant.
John And when I went to his website, he. Oh, no, no. I know it was. I know it was. I was somebody recommended that he speak he be a speaker that I hire for my for a company. I was running at the time and I spoke to him and I looked at his website and I’m like, but I don’t get it. What is this guy do? He had on there that he was a marketing consultant. He was a personal trainer. He was a financial planner. I’m not exaggerating. He was a realtor. And then there were like three other things that he was or claimed to be. And it was like, what’s the bottom line is, as leaders, you have to make a decision on what you are great at. You can’t be great at everything. And bottom line is, when you position yourself that you’re great at everything, people assume you’re not good at anything. You’re real. I just assume this guy was a hack at everything because he wasn’t really focused on anything.
John So why are you trying to spread yourself that thin and try to be all these different things? I think leaders struggle with this a lot. Leaders, in my opinion, many, many leaders struggle with the concept of saying, OK, they have to be good at everything. They’ve got to be great at hiring people. They’ve got to be great at developing people. They’ve got to be great at the HRR. They’ve got to be great at technology. They’ve got to be graded operations. They’ve got to be great at finance. They’ve got. To be graded all these different things, and in reality, no, you don’t. That’s what building a team is all about. You’re much more effective when you can focus and stay in the lane on what you’re really great in. As soon as you start to delve into these other areas, you water down your effectiveness in your main core area.
John And I will tell you, I dealt with this when I was starting my own business, you know, a year and a half, two years ago. And I remember thinking, OK, I love leadership. I’m passionate about leadership. Do I put out there that I can do keynotes on personal development and life success and everything which I can? And I’ve done many, many of them, and I love that topic. But I started to realize, you know what? What are people going to know me as? They’re going to know me as the guy that’s, you know, a great keynote speaker. But what is this topic? I don’t know. He talks about everything. He can talk about this. He could talk about that. He can talk about goal setting. He could talk about emotional competence. But in reality, I realized, you know what? I need to focus on what I’m most passionate about and what I’m best at.
John That’s leadership. Now, does it mean every so often I talk about this other topic? Sure, because I love to, but my business and my brand are all about leadership. That’s my niche. That’s my specialty. So if you are a leader that’s plagued with that very common problem, you’re trying to be everything to everybody. You’re trying to be that person that is leading every part of your organization. You just can if you can actually step back and say, OK, and sometimes you need your people to help you with this, what am I best that? What do I need? What’s my unique ability? If I’m going to do one thing all day and focus on one area all day, what should it be? Figure that out.
John That’s the thing that you are meant to do and then hire people for the other spots, hire people to handle the job, hire people to handle the development, handle, hire people to handle the budget and the and the books hire people that are great because ultimately you’re going to get people that are better than you at it, even though you may not want to admit that they’re going to be better than you are and you’re going to develop an organization that you can scale. Guess what? You can’t. I deal with leaders all the time that have this problem that hit and I understand it. You hit a point with your business. Your organization just can’t grow. You can’t get past that ceiling of complexity. One of the issues for that is this very thing. You’re trying to be great at everything.
John You know, Steve Jobs did a masterful thing with Apple. Apple at one point had and I have got to research, I forget the number, but hundreds of different products. They were trying to do everything and be good, if not great at everything. And you can’t. And what Steve Jobs said is we’ve got to choose the things we’re going to be great at. And you can ultimately put all of Apple’s products on one table. Think about that, this multiple, multiple, enormous organization. You could put all their products on one table.
John G.E. did the same thing under Jack Welch’s leadership. They had all these different business units. And he finally said, you know what, unless we are number one or number two in that market in terms of market share and that industry in that business, we’re shutting it down. That meant if some if a business unit was number three and market share and they were doing, you know, whatever it is, long term care insurance, they shut it down and they did. And that’s part of what propelled them to go from 12 or multiplied by 30 times their market cap. I mean, under his reign, it was unbelievable.
John So the bottom line is, you have to choose what you are going to be great at as a leader, as a company, as an individual to in reality. So the bottom line is that was put in my I saw something that reminded me of this guy. I don’t know when I say his name because he’s a horrible person, but he got what he deserved in any event. But there’s a great leadership lesson in that. So I hope, as always, to give you something to think about as a leader, if you’re one of those that’s just trying to juggle everything, be the master at everything, you’re not you’re going to let yourself down. You’re going to let your organization down. Bottom line is you’re going to stress level is going to go through the roof and your fun level is going to go down. Your income level is going to go down. It’s just going to be a downward spiral. So fix it. And I’m here to help.
John If you need help, reach out to me. Let me know. I’m more than happy to talk to you about it. As always, I appreciate your suggestions for future topics and guests. And in the meantime, you know what to do, like subscribe, share, common, all that kind of good stuff. Go down below, give a five-star review and we’ll see you next time. Thanks.
John Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader for suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com Again, that’s John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!