In this podcast, Stefan and Dan Sullivan of Strategic Coach explain why Engagement Multiplier is an entrepreneurial game-changer that helps business owners create self-managing and self-multiplying companies.
This episode reveals the transformational impact Engagement Multiplier has had on Strategic Coach’s culture and energy during their first 18 months on the program – and how you can create the same results in your business.
You will also learn how Engagement Multiplier’s Partner Program is enabling businesses in commoditized sectors to work with their clients to create more robust businesses whilst adding to their own bottom line.
The Engaged Organization Episode 7 Podcast Transcript
Stefan: Hello, this is Stefan Wissenbach, founder of Engagement Multiplier. I’m here today in the recording studio with Dan Sullivan again, recording a podcast, which Dan is going to be using to introduce Engagement Multiplier to about seventeen thousand entrepreneurial businesses all over the world that have had experience of working with Dan in one form or another through Strategic Coach. I just thought it would be really helpful for those of you that aren’t in Strategic Coach yet to hear the podcast and hear how Dan is positioning Engagement Multiplier as being an entrepreneurial game-changer that helps entrepreneurs create self-managed companies.
Dan: Hi, this is Dan Sullivan, and I have an amazing guest today, talking about an amazing subject.You know that recently I’ve been creating these wonderful strategic alliances out in the world. Joe Polish at Genius Network, Peter Diamandis at Abundance 360, but the one that probably will have the greatest organizational impact on Strategic Coach and Strategic Coach clients over the next twenty-five years will be the topic of this podcast that we’re doing with Stefan Wissenbach, who has become a very close friend, long-time coach participant in the Ten Times program.
Dan: Stefan, before we let them in on the secret, I’d just like you to say hello to our listening audience here at Strategic Coach, because I think everybody, after they hear what you have to say and what I can attribute to, because of our own experience over the last year, will be fascinated to follow up on this podcast.
Stefan: Hi, everybody, and Dan, thanks very much again. It’s great to be here and being able to talk about a subject that I’m deeply passionate about and that has changed my world over the last few years and is now changing the world of so many people in so many different companies.
Dan: Yes, so not to keep you in the dark any further, the name of the product, because it’s actually a platform product, is called the Engagement Multiplier. To make it very, very simple, everybody in Coach knows that for the last three years, we’ve been pushing the idea that every entrepreneur in Strategic Coach needs to develop their organization as what we call a self-managing company. The nature of how I work because of my Ten Quick Start nature, and Babs is a Nine Quick Start, is we talk about a reality before there’s a reality. We said, well, now we’re going to help everybody in Strategic Coach to actually create a self-managing company, which means that when you’re not there, the company manages itself.
I said, “How do we do it?” Once you’ve committed yourself to the result, then the means for doing this actually show up. I never thought that it would show up in such an incredibly transformative form. Just very, very briefly, Stefan, talk about what the Engagement Multiplier is, as far as a practical tool for entrepreneurial business owners. Before that, just a little bit of your passionate interest in the subject of engagement.
Stefan: I’ve spent the last twenty-five years working with entrepreneurs and helping them to become personally more engaged, and then helping them to enable their teams to become more engaged. The world has really woken up to this subject of engagement. I see it everywhere now, but it’s really been in the last eighteen months or so that it’s really got traction. We saw somewhere in the region of about ten thousand searches a month online eighteen months ago, and a couple of months ago, that’s peaked at over a million, and it’s still rising.
The reason being that organizations now appreciate, and there’s so much overwhelming data to support it, that when you have engaged employees, you have an engaged organization. That’s when businesses are more profitable, they’re easier to run, there’s less friction. To your point earlier, having a self-managed company, you can’t have a self-managed company without having engaged employees. The crazy thing is, we measure everything in business, really, our marketing spend, our performance on our marketing initiatives, the monthly management accounts, the financials, how much profit are we making.
Yet we don’t really measure, or businesses seldom measure effectively, how engaged and how happy the business is. How engaged are the employees? Which is bonkers, really, because it has such a profound impact on the business if your employees are not engaged. Gallup tells us that 87% percent of the American workforce is disengaged, and that’s costing hundreds of billions a year. Measuring engagement and taking simple steps to improve engagement in a business is just a smart thing to do, and it’s becoming recognized as an absolutely necessary thing to do.
Dan: Yeah. In just a minute, Stefan is going to tell you how his platform actually works. I’m going to make a prediction to anyone who’s actually listening right now that if you do follow-up with Stefan’s company, and the Strategic Coach has no financial interest in this company whatsoever. We don’t have any ownership share, we don’t share in any of the revenues of this company. It’s simply that what Stefan created, I needed.
You know, we’re a good company. Anybody who knows Coach knows that we do a fairly good job through our own management and through the way we organized the company that it was an engaged company, but I would say that within six months of actually involving ourselves with the Engagement Multiplier platform, that had jumped by a measurable 20%. We had jumped by a measurable 20%, and it’s a measurable 20% that every single person in our company knows for a fact has happened. They feel it, they express it. Not only that, but all the Strategic Coach participants coming in for the workshops, within a six-month period said, “You know, what’s in the drinking water here? Something different is actually happening.”
It’s very important for me to say that, because when you find out how much this costs and you get a clear picture of what can happen within the next six months in your organization, you’ll see that this is one of the great no-brainers on the planet right now, in terms of an investment that you can make as a business owner. It’s an investment that we’ve been making the longest of any of the Engagement Multiplier clients that Stefan has. Real quick, the basic mechanism by which you can work this engagement magic. How does that actually work, Stefan?
Stefan: We created a digital platform that’s enabled any company anywhere in the world to measure and improve engagement levels every ninety days and to create organizational transformation. That’s what the program does, and in fact, we’re so confident that that’s the outcome that you’re going to enjoy, that we say very clearly, if after running the program, having made the investment, if you run the program for a twelve-month period, complete four surveys, and you’re not delighted with the transformation that occurs, we’ll give you your money back.
In terms of the investment that we require for the program, it’s very simple, it’s $200 per employee per annum. So $200 per employee per annum, so if you have twenty people, two hundred times twenty, if you have four hundred people, two hundred times four hundred. With a guarantee. We were talking about this earlier, Dan, so for clients that are working with us, and for clients that have been considering working with us, we had this conversation that it’s not a cost issue, it’s a cash-flow issue, because an investment in the program for twelve months means you either get a hundred percent of your money back, or you’re delighted with the transformation and therefore you want to carry on.
Dan: Yeah, it’s really quite exceptional, and we should give the renewal numbers, because we’re just approaching the first year of actual companies that are doing the survey. Can you talk about the numbers that have come up for renewal, and where we’re sitting with the renewal rate?
Stefan: Yes, we’re over 95% renewal, which is fabulous for us.
Dan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Stefan: What we’re finding as well is that the program is creating an energy and a conversation theme that centers around engagement, so businesses are starting to use that as a lens through which they are making smart decisions about what they do in business.
Dan: Yeah. I just want to reflect, because one of the tools that Strategic Coach is using, first of all, to involve our own team in the Engagement Multiplier, but also to have a really persuasive marketing piece, because my goal is to get every Strategic Coach company involved in the Engagement Multiplier. Again, I want to repeat that this is no financial benefit on our part, except that our revenues are going up and our profits are going up. I’ll guarantee you that your revenues and profits will naturally go up to the degree that your engagement level goes up.
The sort of comments that are being made by our staff as we interview them, we do video interviews with them, and so far we have about thirteen individuals in the company. It’s like I never understood all the issues that are involved in raising my engagement in the company and our team’s engagement in the company. One of your favorite terms is that in order to have common improvement, you have to have a common language.
One of the things I notice is that the word “engagement,” all the discussion around engagement has become a common topic inside of our company, and it moves into every area of the operations of the company, right from the hiring of new people, engagement is now the standard. Is this an engaged individual? Okay, the other thing is performance reviews. We are seeing, or we’re not seeing an increase in your engagement.
This is quite apart from their proficiency at doing what they’re doing. Are you doing it with an engaged attitude? Are you engaged in your teamwork with other members of the company? Are you actually engaging with what Strategic Coach does? Are you attending the workshops? Are you engaging with our clients? For as many different activities as you have in a company, Stefan, what we’re noticing is, the word “engagement” now becomes a filter for knowing how to improve that particular activity.
That’s our experience. What’s your experience with that, because you’re every day talking morning till night, and I know it must be hard for you sleeping these days, because you have what might be called the absolutely perfect product in the twenty-first century world right now. What are the others? Because I’m not part of those conversations. I would personally like to know what other business owners around the world are talking about, and also some of the common themes that you’re seeing develop.
Stefan: Absolutely. We’ll pick back up on this common language one, because once you start measuring engagement and you start focusing on it on a regular basis, every ninety days, then what that does is puts everyone in the business in the position where they’re aware of the fact that in ninety days or less, there’s going to be an opportunity to score again. I know you called the program democratically transformative, because everyone in the business gets an equal vote. It’s confidential, it’s anonymous, so every team member gets to have their say, and their scoring based on their view.
What that does is that means that we hear owners talk about the fact that when they show up, they now know they’re being scored. I mean, it’s at the back of their mind, right? When you know that your actions in front of your team, the business that you’re leading, are going to result in you getting scored in ninety days or less, and then on an ongoing basis, that can’t help but shift, if you’re an owner that cares, that can’t help but just slightly shift how you approach things.
What it also means is that any project, any initiative, any undertaking that the business wants to pursue, we’re seeing that immediately the consideration is, is this going to add to the engagement score, or is it going to detract from it? Is it going to take away or is it going to add? That’s really helpful, because once you start approaching things with that lens, very quickly, you can kill off stuff that’s actually of very little value and focus on the stuff that is of high value.
Also culturally, and we had this experience within our business, just in the last few days is, that when you’re hiring people, you hire people through an engagement lens. We’re looking to hire at the moment another senior sales guy for another country. We went out as a team, some key team members, some of the core team members, we took him out for an engagement dinner. Before we take them on, we go for dinner. We drink wine together, we break bread, we have a meal, and some of our very engaged core team members get to spend time with a potential team member joining the organization, and it’s all about engagement.
They want to know whether this is going to be somebody who’s engaged, because when you’ve got engaged team members, and we’re seeing this, time and time over, some of your best, the company’s biggest breakthroughs, the best ideas, are coming from places in the organization that they wouldn’t have even previously thought to look. Because you’re giving, you’re empowering everyone in the business to be engaged, to think about ideas that can improve the business. When you do that, and you put the structure and framework in that we do, people really respond well to that.
Once you’ve got engaged team members, anything is possible. They’re much more coachable, they’re easier to train. Engagement becomes the lens through which recruitment is taking place as well. That’s been another very big theme.
Dan: Let’s talk about the vehicle that produces the survey. What is the survey? What does the survey measure? How is the survey set up? How much time does it take? What happens to the survey? There’s a lot of, I’m sure, questions in listeners’ minds as they’re listening to the survey. Just basically, what does it look like when it shows up, and what gets measured?
Stefan: Great, so digital platform, and we deliberately, and have been very focused on making this really easy to implement and operate. I am on a crusade to, we talk about this, I’m passionate about this, I want to help over a hundred million people become measurably more engaged. We can only do that by making this really easy for businesses all over the world to adopt the technology and implement it. We have an onboarding team that helps companies get launched. Takes very little time.
Effectively, we provide the launch materials for you to introduce this to your company, explain why it’s going to be a value to everyone, why they should care, and sort of set the scene for their participation. The program takes less than ten minutes every ninety days for your team members to participate, and that’s very, very important. I’ll come onto why that’s important in a moment. We only have two questions, so this is a survey with only two questions.
This is another reason why it’s really effective and helps people get it done and participate. Then the results get shared very quickly, because it’s a digital platform. The survey window is open for two weeks, every ninety days. People get reminders through that two-week period to participate, and then we close off, and then as the owner, you get to see the results of that survey. Then we provide you with the structure and framework to very simply share with the organization the impact of what’s just happened, what the score is, and what actions are going to be taken next.
One of the problems that exists with employee engagement products that are in the market is often the return on investment for the employee is very, very, very poor. They normally have to spend a lot of time, they take a lot of time. They also don’t get to see the results, sometimes ever, and if they do get to see the results, then sometimes the results have been sort of doctored, or they believe they’ve been doctored, to the extent that they don’t really have meaning.
The other big issue is that people only give freely and truthfully in my experience when they feel safe. Most surveys are simply not confidential, anonymous, even if the HR department says that they are. People don’t actually believe that they are. They don’t volunteer freely. The other issue is that, when you ask, and a lot of these programs ask open-ended questions, and everyone’s interpretation of engagement or an aspect of engagement is likely to be different, unless you provide a structure and a framework.
One of the very powerful elements of Engagement Multiplier is we clearly define, against purpose, owners, leaders, employees, and customers, we define very clearly in words that are unambiguous that every team member from the most senior to the most junior can really understand, what those four organizational states are. All we then ask the participants to do, it’s a bit like pin the tail on the donkey. Against purpose, “pick the description that most closely resembles where the business is at right now.” The fabulous thing about that is, that everyone is scoring and measuring with the same context and framework. You actually get really meaningful data, really meaningful data, that enables you to take really simple actions that have a transformational impact.
Dan: I’m just going to walk through here. I’m a team member, and we’re just doing our first survey. I get an e-mail that tells me, first of all, it’s been explained to me that I am going to get this e-mail. I get the e-mail, and I go onto the link.
Stefan: Click the link.
Dan: Then what appears in front of me?
Stefan: A series of survey questions, with the ability for you to simply score where you believe the organization sits against purpose, owners, leaders, employees, and customers. You get to rate your own personal level of engagement. Then there’s two key questions. The first one says, what two actions could you take personally in the next ninety days that would improve engagement that are not dependent on leadership involvement? The next question is, what one action could leadership take to improve engagement at your company? That’s it.
Dan: What happens is they press submit, I’ve got two weeks, two working weeks to do this, and then immediately all the scores, myself and everybody else in the company, including leadership, those scores go in and your algorithm at the other end just tabulates them and instantly produces the report that comes back to the owner first. But there’s something that comes back to each of the team members, too.
Stefan: Yeah, so as an owner, the minute the survey has closed, and it’s instant, because it’s a digital platform, so all of the heavy lifting … Let’s not underestimate that, because if anyone is listening to this that’s had experience of, even if you can find a way to make it confidential and anonymous, if you do and you get data from everyone in your business, let’s not underestimate the heavy lifting that it takes to process all of that. The program has already done that for you.
The minute the survey closes, instantly mail through to the owner, saying, “Right, your dashboard is ready to view.” You literally log into your company dashboard, and you’re going to see there what the score is, how the score has moved, and you’ll be able to see the score at different levels across the organization through different departments, how different departments compare, how different geographical locations compare, how different teams compare. We require three participants in any team for the score to be shown, so that we can preserve that confidentiality and anonymity.
You get to see all this wonderful data, and you also get to cut the data any way you wish to be able to get really incredible insight. I often say to clients that you don’t need to pay an expensive consultant lots of money to come into your business and borrow your watch to tell you the time. You just simply need to have the data to make the smart decisions. I’m very proud of the fact, and anyone listening to this, if they visit EngagementMultiplier.com, there’s a video there, they can see a demo of the dashboard in action.
I’m very proud of the way that the dashboard pulls together this incredible data and insight that enables you to make the smart decisions. We then encourage you to share the results, and all you would do is then hit a Share button, and then every single member of your organization gets their invitation to their own personal dashboard, which is private to them, which shows how they scored the company and how everyone else scored the company. I mean, you probably want to speak about this, because I know this has had a big impact. You like this feature, don’t you?
Dan: Well, here’s the thing, and I’ll just share the scores that we’ve had. There’s two scores that are meaningful. One is the participation rate, because you put out the opportunity for people to involve themselves, but it isn’t necessarily that they’re going to. Our first engagement was like 73% who took part in it, but then the next quarter dropped down to 67%. Then we put a real push on it, and all the surveys since then, it’s been 97%. We have a very generous free time policy in Strategic Coach, so it could simply coincide with two weeks when someone is not there. We consider 97% a hundred percent.
The other thing is that then there’s the actual scores, and so again, the first score, the overall score for everyone who involved themselves was 72%. Next quarter was 79%, next quarter was 82%. Then the next quarter was 89.7%, and then the next quarter, it was 89.3%. We actually went down four-tenths. It’s very interesting, I mean, there’s obviously a thrill when the score is always going up. I mean, it didn’t come down by much. It was less than a point, it was a fraction of a point, but we started saying, okay, so what are we not doing here?
It just asks you the question because there’s going to be a thrill in getting over 90%. I mean, by your standards, if we’re above 80%, we’re in the engaged category. We’ve been there, but scoring is a miraculous thing. I think that the amazing thing that you pulled off here is that you’ve taken what is largely a qualitative discussion, engagement is a quality, talking about engagement, you’re talking about qualities of an organization, but you’ve quantified it.
I remember the discovery process, because you and I discovered this together. It was a new product creation and everything else. What has this one breakthrough, that you can quantify quality, has done for your thinking about your own future and other possibilities, with the Engagement Multiplier as you go forward?
Stefan: The impact of its simplicity is the game changer for me. I mean, it’s profound, because it is a subject that people tend to make very complicated. There’s no end of books and papers written on engagement, so to have actually been able to come up with one simple consistent and highly effective way of putting it down to a score, the simple has opened my mind to just the sheer scale of the marketplace that’s out there for us to serve. I mean, it’s very exciting.
Dan: You have a very interesting comment that we just explored a little bit before we actually had this interview, Stefan. You say, every organization in the world qualifies for the Engagement Multiplier. It would be perfect for any organization in the world, but it wouldn’t be perfect for every entrepreneurial owner in the world. Can you talk something about what you’ve seen in terms of the mindsets of business owner of whether they would be open to this particular prospect?
What have you just noticed as, this is perfect for this type of person, and this type of person probably wouldn’t touch this with a ten-foot pole? What do you see now because you’ve just literally interacted with hundreds if not thousands of business owners on the topic of engagement? What are you just noticing as the extreme poles in this discussion?
Stefan: Well, we’re really clear on who we do want to work with and who this is absolutely right for. I can be very specific on the criteria. First of all, we want to deal with businesses, and only want to deal with businesses, that have got what I call identifiable ownership. If the employees can’t point to photographs of who owns the company, then this probably isn’t the right program. The reason for that is that I want to play a game I can win, and I’m passionate about the results that we’re getting for companies.
When we’re dealing with businesses where there’s identifiable owners, there’s someone who is committed to a cause, they’re committed to a purpose, and they are focused on delivering a transformational impact in a market or a sector, that’s really easy to get employees and team members rallying behind them and charging with them over the hill. If you don’t have identifiable owners, it’s really much, much harder, much, much harder. It’s why I think you get a lot of frustration in public companies, government bodies, bureaucracies where the team members, people want to be engaged, but you need to be able to create that framework for that to be true.
You talk in terms of entrepreneurs that have committed to doing something for twenty-five years. I mean, that’s a great characteristic for an engaged owner. We only want to deal with brave people, okay? Ignorance is not a strategy and there are some clients that we’ve spoken to who actually don’t want to know the score. The owner does not want to know. They would rather go to bed, not know the score. Here’s the funny thing, right? They sort of think about, it’s almost like, if we do the program and everyone gets to have their vote, it’s going to be out in the open. I’m saying, well, let me tell you a secret. It’s already out there, because they’re already all thinking it. They’re just not telling you.
It does require bravery, because what you have to be prepared to do, if you’re going to measure engagement every ninety days, and you are going to ask people to participate, then you’ve got to be prepared to take action. You’ve got to be prepared to follow through, and you’ve got to be prepared to repeat it. This might sound like a statement of the obvious, but we only want to deal with business owners that care about their teams, that have a passion for their people.
If you regard your people as a commodity, that you can hire and fire at will, and you don’t think of them as people, and you’re not concerned about helping to improve their levels of engagement and therefore the working environment for them, then this isn’t for you either. But if those other things are true, then this just provides you with a capability that makes it so much easier to pull off that goal of creating a self-managed or a self-multiplying company.
Dan: I want to tell you about an experience that I’ve had over the first year that is transformational for me as an owner of Strategic Coach, along with Babs. That is, Stefan, I became aware, intensely aware after the second survey, it didn’t quite catch up with me on the first survey, but the second survey, as I started becoming super conscious of my behavior inside the company, and I was super conscious simply because I know all observed behavior on my part was going to get voted on at the end of the next quarter, it kind of reminded me of using Uber, because a lot of people really haven’t stated the obvious why Uber is such a revolutionary business. They’re guaranteeing that the best drivers in the world are only driving the best passengers in the world, simply because on every ride, the passenger grades the driver, and the driver grades the passenger. There’s penalties to be paid, like being thrown out of the system if you’re a driver or passenger, that reinforces the system.
I would say that the Engagement Multiplier, because of the confidentiality and the anonymity, I’m not knowing who is saying what about my performance, but I know that it represents kind of a consensus, because they’re talking to each other about my performance. I can think of about five or six different situations where I could have been incredibly annoyed with a situation, the person who I was annoyed at would have felt isolated as a result of that. I stopped myself, before I opened my mouth, and I started saying, “Okay, so let’s make this a process problem, let’s make this a system problem.”
I immediately went into an experience transformer mode, and I said, “Okay, well, let’s look at what really worked in this situation.” What really worked, and we spent about ten minutes on it, well, this worked and this worked and this worked and this worked. Okay, so if we were going to do this again in the future, then how would we do it differently, to get a result that you really love? Then we did that. Actually, instead of making it about the person, I made it about the situation, and I turned it into a learning experience. I said, that’s why the experience transformer is so important, is because it reinforces engagement. It never allows someone to feel isolated and the spotlight on.
There’s just been this profound shift in my thinking about an owner, and actually what I’m realizing is that my number one responsibility as an owner is to be engaged all the time.
Dan: That’s my sole responsibility, regardless of what I’m doing, I’m just totally engaged in it, and I exhibit that. That sure makes ownership easier.
Stefan: Yeah, an interesting point to pick up on that. I was speaking at a conference in New Orleans just last week, and this came up when I think there’s sometimes a misconception that being an engaged owner requires you to be in the business a lot. That’s absolutely not the case. There is not a direct correlation between the amount of time you spend in the business and how engaged you’re perceived as an owner.
Your engagement score will be absolutely driven by the interaction that you do have. Is it engaging? Are you passionate about the purpose that the organization has? Is your purpose absolutely written for and engaging for your people? Do you care passionately about it? If those things are true, it’s not about how often you show up, it’s what you do when you show up, and the fact that you’re consistent with that approach. It’s just a point worth mentioning, because I’ve heard it said many times, to be an engaging owner, I need to be there all the time. No, you don’t. This is absolutely aligned with creating that freedom, you talk about entrepreneurial freedom and the self-managed company.
Dan: Yes, and that brings us full circle back to why I was so fascinated and interested in the Engagement Multiplier, because it’s precisely the whole point that what creates the, what I would say, the energy that allows a company to become self-managing is not the quantity of time that the owner is in the company, but the quality of time. What, Stefan, I think you’ve created is a surefire, systematic, systematically accelerating ability for an entrepreneur for the next twenty-five years to be sure, year by year, quarter by quarter, survey by survey, that every measuring time period that you have for the next twenty-five years, that’s a hundred quarters, the score will get better, the participation level will get better, the quality of the people who choose to commit themselves to the company will get better.
The number of individuals you have in the company who decide they’re not really engaged will self-select out. The type of clients you will attract, the type of vendors you’ll attract, the type of advisors and specialists and experts you’ll attract, will all be a fraction of the quality that is increasing your company, that’s reflected in the surveys and I would say triggered by the surveys.
Stefan: Absolutely, and you take out the guesswork on where you need to focus.
Dan: Biggest company you have in the Engagement Multiplier, smallest one you have in the Engagement.
Stefan: Smallest company at the moment would be five employees, and we have small companies joining us all the time that realize that by putting the systems and framework and structure in place to be able to create an engaged organization is a fundamental pre-requirement for springboarding into growth. They’re getting it in early. Then largest would be, we’re working with one client at the moment who’s got just over four thousand employees, but the majority of our clients will be between twenty and five hundred employees.
That’s the space. We want to work with businesses that have got agility as well. I know size does not always mean that you lose agility, but certainly with the entrepreneurial organizations that we see get the best results, it’s where they can take the feedback every ninety days, look at it, and take some simple actions. They’re generally speaking always very simple actions, that they can then implement immediately. It doesn’t require six months’ worth of committee meetings, it’s “let’s look at this, that’s the data telling us this, let’s do this.” Great, the score went up. Agility is very important.
Dan: Two final questions. We could talk literally all day about this, but from your own standpoint as an entrepreneur, pre-Engagement Multiplier, how you were looking at your future, now with the clear evidence that the world really wants your product, what’s the difference in your thinking about your own future as an entrepreneur?
Stefan: I know that for listeners that are in the Coach program here, this is going to sound like I’m drinking the Kool-Aid, but I hadn’t really connected with your twenty-five-year concept the first time I heard you say it. Then Engagement Multiplier came along, and all of my life working with entrepreneurs in the past has been about how they build successful companies, how they become more engaged personally, how they build a successful business. That building of successful business normally resulted in them selling the company out for a lot of money.
That was the journey. You get an idea together, you make a big impact, you build it up, you sell it, you maybe do it again, but it was the sort of the selling of the company. The twenty-five-year concept for me was one that took some adjusting to, because certainly in my world, most of the entrepreneurial work had always ended with a sale. Then here I am with Engagement Multiplier, and I now have a business that I absolutely never want to sell, that I absolutely just can see this being, whether it be twenty-five, thirty-five, forty, whatever.
I mean, there’s so much coming out of this, there’s so much new stuff, there’s so much innovation, there’s so much insight. We’re opening in different countries now, we’re looking to run conferences each year in different countries for our clients. There’s just so much excitement and energy around this, that I’ve now connected to something which is something I’m prepared to do for more than twenty-five years, and that’s been the big shift.
Dan: There’s a second question, and it’s very crucial for what’s going on in the world right now. The fact is that you have a marketing system built around the Engagement Multiplier that allows individuals to actually become distributors and then actually partners, worldwide partners, for this. I have a special interest in this, because from the very, very beginning, we’ve had an enormous participation in Strategic Coach of individuals from the financial services industry, worldwide.
We have always positioned ourself as the coach for the really most powerful and the most successful financial advisors in the world, but not just any particular area, insurance or investment or benefits or anything else. What I’ve been warning about for twenty years, and I’m on record, and I have enormous amounts of print-out to this, that the individual independent advisor is getting killed by the commoditization of financial services. I’d like you just to end off here, because we still have a very high percentage of our individuals, and not just financial advisors, but people who are in fields that before they lived on fees and commissions, but because of changes in regulatory regimes and changes of technology, they’re really getting killed right now in the marketplace. They just can’t see a future.
Tell them the tremendous excitement that the Engagement Multiplier is being greeted, with people who know how to get new things into entrepreneurial companies and why this is such a huge solution to the many problems of this type of individual.
Stefan: Absolutely. I’m just literally here a few days back from speaking at a conference in New Orleans, full of financial advisors, but financial advisors working at the high end of the employee benefits industry, 401(k) plans, etc. Incredible take-up, over 60% of the audience at the conference have signed to become distribution partners. The reason for that is that Engagement Multiplier, as I spoke at the conference, I said, “This is the topic of the moment. The reason you should care is your clients really care. If you’re in the business of working with business owners, then business owners really care about this.” Even those that are the slow adopters are going to hear about it, because it’s much more interesting to talk about employee engagement and profits and the impact of that on the golf course than it is about investing or pensions or 401(k)s or benefits.
What we’re seeing in those commoditized sectors where it’s a price rush to the bottom, everyone is coming in cutting fees, etc., the regulation is getting heavier. Here’s the ability to actually work with clients, giving them something that they really care about, helping them to build more robust businesses, helping them to improve their profits, and doing it in a very, very measurable way. If you’re the advisor that is the person that brings this to them, and helps them become more profitable and more successful, I’m sure that listeners will very quickly connect with the fact that that’s a really smart way to ring-fence your clients from the competition, and it’s not just about the compensation that we pay distributors and partners.
Whilst that’s very generous, actually the bigger prize, and I think certainly this was the case at the conference last week, these very bright advisors connected with the impact it would have on the business that they’re doing that is in a regulated environment, but just how much more business they’d be able to write and how many more customers they’d be able to work with because they’re working with clients to help them create something that’s really important for them.
Dan: As a coach of individuals in the regulated industries, you know, I’ve always been looking for what is the one thing that would solve fifty different problems, and you’ve come up with it. I think the reason is because you came out of that industry yourself. Stefan, as exciting as Engagement Multiplier is, I know that this is just the beginning, and we’re going to be speaking many, many times in the future. We see ourselves, Strategic Coach, as certainly a twenty-five-year partner with the Engagement Multiplier organization.
I just want you to know that I admire you immensely, you’ve shown extraordinary entrepreneurial courage to get this marvelous value creation offering out into the marketplace. It’s one of the great excitements that I’m experiencing as a Strategic Coach right now to know you.
Stefan: Oh, thank you very much, and it wouldn’t have happened, if I hadn’t been in Coach, so I’m the one that’s thanking you.
Stefan: Information, so if anyone would like to know more about Engagement Multiplier, visit engagementmultiplier.com. You can request a demo, see the videos, drop us a question, drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you and help you to begin that process of systematically measuring and improving engagement. For distributors, just drop us a line via the site as well, and we’ll reach out to you with further information. Again, just the contact information, that’s visit engagementmultiplier.com.
Be sure to try our employee engagement program for free and see for yourself the difference that can be made on your organisation.