Embrace Chaos

After having him speak at a Producers Club meeting in 2014, I convinced Robert Herjavec, CEO and co-founder of the Herjavec Group, to allow us to bring 20 MSPs to his Toronto headquarters to see the inner workings of a $400 million MSP (his revenue at the time). It was an absolutely brilliant experience for all, with many lessons and insights that even I personally use to this day.

I had my leadership team in attendance, and one of the shining moments of the day was when my COO, Nicole Rogers, came to me and said, “Now I get it.” She was referring to the pace, complexity, and intensity his entire team was running at and why it was necessary for growth. To quote Robert, you must EMBRACE CHAOS (the title of a chapter in his book, “Driven”). For years, I suspect she thought I was crazy, constantly pushing the limits of what our company could do, always inventing, always starting multiple projects at once, and never slowing down.

But, as Robert so elegantly summed it up in that chapter title of his book, every entrepreneur must not just tolerate chaos, or worse, try to avoid it — we must embrace it, nurture it, and welcome it. There’s profit in the chaos. No business grows and competes effectively at a steady jog, much less a snail’s pace. Your competition will crush you before you have a chance to get out of bed in the morning. A big contributing factor to why so many businesses stay small is their dislike of and aversion to messes and chaos. Small is easy. Small is controlled. Small is predictable. But most important, small feels safe, delivering a false sense of security to the owner. Of course, there is no such safety in business. The ONLY real security you have is your ability to produce results in any type of circumstance.

Another chapter in Robert’s book is “Appreciate What It Takes To Succeed.” Specifically, you have to be intensely determined. Casual wishes attempted with easy buttons and “hacks” don’t work here. You’ll give up way too soon and fall short of what’s necessary for sustainable, profitable growth.

We all know that the constant commonality among all exceptional people is a strong work ethic and a willingness to do things that other people simply refuse to do. Yes, talent and intelligence matter, but there are a whole lot of people who are extremely smart and extremely talented who never amount to much in their lives, going completely unnoticed and unrewarded for their talents. They’re constantly pumping the brake, looking for the easy way out, wanting a vacation over a good opportunity. A common desire of the poor is to win the lottery so they never have to work, but what kind of life would that be? What would get you out of bed in the morning? What would challenge you? What would be your purpose in life? Your calling? Not having to worry about money is not necessarily a bad thing, but the second half of that — the “so I never have to work again” — is a sad and pitiful wish you really don’t want to come true.

And finally, Robert’s curiosity and interest in learning is abundantly clear. He always has a notepad and pen in his suit jacket, and on several occasions during our interactions, he whipped it out to jot down a note or two about my thoughts in this industry, marketing, managed services, etc. We should all do this. I can’t tell you the number of speakers I’ve had on stage who have zero curiosity about our community and what we do.

Most people only pay attention to the people and things they already know, listening only to the opinions of people who inherently agree with their point of view. They treat the news, things they read, and people they follow like a finicky 3-year-old at a buffet line, selecting only the stuff they like overtaking it all in, and exploring some things that might not initially taste good but are very good for you. But as an entrepreneur, you need a lot of input from a lot of sources — different industries with various models and marketing campaigns, approaches to customer service, pricing, hiring, and distribution. Eclectic input is fodder to stimulate your thinking. An unstimulated mind is one that doesn’t grow or expand. Ask yourself: HOW could I use this in my business, even if it’s not entirely apparent from the start? Many call this “creative thinking” or “thinking outside the box,” but what they miss is that you have to get out of the box entirely before you can see other possibilities. You can’t read the label from inside the jar.

Here’s one final note about Robert: Many people have asked me, what is he really like in person? I am happy to report that the Robert you see on “Shark Tank” is the Robert you see in real life. He is, without a doubt, a deeply genuine, driven, intensely smart, passionate serial entrepreneur as well as a happy person who loves his life.

Want to see Robert in action talking about keys to succeeding as an MSP? Click here now…

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