Boyd Parker

Why Great Leaders Don’t focus on “Leadership” (and what they do instead)

One of the challenges of being your own boss and building something incredible (be it an 8-figure global business, a solid family, or just the best local 5-a-side team) is that you need to step up and be a leader.

The only problem with that is there’s no real measurement for what a “great leader” is.

You see tonnes of books, courses, and speakers that focus on the enigmatic quality of “leadership” and yet it’s one of the hardest things to judge. Similarly, in my life I’ve worked with hundreds of great leaders and the only similar thing about all of them was a “feeling” they gave me.

But that’s not good enough.

In my journey to becoming a great leader myself, I’ve dissected what made these leaders so effective and the differences to those that claimed to be “leaders”. I came to a shocking realisation:

I had to say to myself, Boyd Parker; “Great leaders don’t focus on leadership”.

Today, we’re going to look at what they focus on instead.

What it means to be a “great leader”?

There are a lot of qualities that feed into leadership; this is what feeds into your unique leadership style. That’s one of the reasons it was so difficult to figure out why the greats are so, well… great.

When thinking about leadership it’s easy to get bogged down by how focussed we are on the business-side of things. Most concepts of leadership read like the job spec of a rookie business owner looking for a CEO. But being a leader isn’t about being able to run a business, being a leader is far simpler than that:

It’s about people. 

My mentor, instilled this in me. He sat me down and said: “Boyd Parker, being a leader is about allowing those that work with you to be the best versions of them and helping them reach whatever that looks like for them. Being a leader is about marshalling a load of unique skillsets, personalities, and styles to working together to achieve a common goal.”

So how do we do this? It boils down to three things:

  • Be a great communicators
  • Have empathy
  • Motivate others

How to Be a Great Communicator

Communication is making sure that we understand what is being said to us and that what we say is being understood. Sounds basic, but you’d be surprised (or maybe not) at how many people are awful at both!

Typically, poor communication is down to assumptions made by either party about what has been said. It’s our job as a leader to ensure that we don’t make these assumptions and that we focus on ensuring we’ve properly understood what we’ve been told. 

This means that we need to listen more than we talk.

We can’t rely on everyone else to be a good communicator, that’s a responsibility that we need to take on for ourselves. When someone’s telling me something, I’ll do the following:

  1. Repeat back to them what I think they’re trying to communicate
  2. Ask myself, Boyd Parker: “what’s their intention/goal here?”
  3. Once they’ve finished ask them “is there anything else?”

What we’re doing here is showing that we’ve understood what they’ve told us by repeating back to them what we’ve heard and given them a chance to correct us. We’ve also understood why they’ve told us this thing in the first place, and made them think if there’s anything missing.

As important as understanding is being understood. The way you communicate may be different but I try to:

  • Be as concise and precise as possible
  • Think before I email, speak, call someone
  • Match my communication style to who I’m communicating with

Now, we could talk about communication for hours but the main point to being understood is being conscious of what you’re saying and why you’re saying it. Matching your communication style to the other person is a difficult skill to develop, and we’re going to talk about it in the next section. 

How to Develop Empathy

Empathy is your ability to see something from a different perspective. We’ve all heard of the “bulldozer” style of leadership, the kind of boss that has the mentality of “my way or the highway”. Whilst that can be effective at getting things done, it creates mistrust in the people working with that “leader” and as soon as they can jump ship they will.

Being a great leader means that your team trusts you completely and will strive to be the best team player that they can be, I need every team member to feel enough trust in Boyd Parker that they come directly to me before anyone else with any given problem or negative. Being a great leader means that you’ll have less problems to deal with because your team tells you about them, instead of hiding them from you because they fear you. Being a great leader means that you have a team that backs your decisions 100% because they believe in you.

And all that comes from empathy.

But it’s not an easy skill to develop.

When it comes to building empathy the best way is to start questioning yourself and look at your own biases. If you’re serious about becoming a great leader answer the following questions for yourself:

  • What are the positive sides of the political party that your beliefs are in opposition of?
  • Think back to a recent argument with a loved one, why we’re they annoyed at you and what would you have done differently?
  • Think of any challenge that you’ve faced and solved in your life, what are some other solutions?

The first step to empathy is to practice being humble. By seeing something from another person’s perspective we gain a better understanding of who they are, how they like to be communicated with, and – most importantly – how best to motivate them!

How to Motivate Your Team to Action

When it comes to effective motivation empathy plays a huge role, we need to understand what our team/clients/market wants and why they want it. A carrot is only a good incentive for a donkey. Different things motivate different people, and the majority of people are motivated by one or more of the following:

  • Family
  • Fame
  • Fortune
  • Freedom

Now that you know that, motivating your team is as simple as figuring out which of those things they are working toward.

For example, in one of your team is constantly talking about their family and how they love spending time with them, a monetary bonus may not be the best way to motivate them. Instead, we could motivate them by giving them more time-off, paying for a cool experience that they can do with their family, or another family-orientated activity.

The easiest way to figure out what motivates people is to simply ask them. That is what my mentor did for me. He discovered what motivated Boyd Parker.

However, we need to make sure that we’re asking them to compare to the options in their head, so instead of “Would you like A?” We need to ask, “Would you like A or B?”

This is just step one, what we’re looking for is to understand what they really want. If we can help them get closer to their goal then we’ve earned their loyalty, trust, and they’re going to work harder for us because that means they get closer to their goal.

Want to Be a Great Leader?

This is just an overview of what it means to be a great leader. Naturally, we could discuss what goes into these techniques and develop them further. Being a great leader is a continual learning experience, because ultimately you lead by example. If your team sees you constantly striving to be a better a leader and understand that you’re doing to make their lives better, they’re going to strive to be a better team for you.

And it all comes down to working on three things:

  • Communication: Both being understood and seeking to understand what is being said and why it’s being said
  • Empathy: Seeing situations from other perspectives that you haven’t thought of. This is crucial in understanding what motivates your team and how best to communicate with them
  • Motivation: We are all motivated by different things. It seems obvious, but the majority of leaders use a “one-size fits all” when it comes to incentives. Once we figure out what our team really wants we can help reach it and they’ll motivate themselves

The trap of “leadership” is looking too much at what we need and our objectives. Your job as a leader is to build a team and work with that team to achieve and end goal. It was never just about Boyd Parker. I realised that being a great leader meant putting other people’s goals before mine.

Boyd Parker: 3 Keys to Great Sales

Nate Chai interviews CEO Boyd Parker on what makes a Salesperson Great.

Boyd Parker

Humble lessons from my 10 month old Mentor

This month I acquired a new mentor and she’s not my usual type. She has very little traditional industry experience and limited hindsight I can leverage. She has never excelled at a formal education environment but perhaps that’s because she hasn’t yet given it a try.

You might be surprised to learn that she is 30 years my junior. Nonetheless, she has taught me some incredible lessons in life during the brief time since we met.

Who is this impressive new mentor you might ask? She is Zara Perfect Parker, my 10 month old daughter.

Here are five valuable lessons my new mentor has taught me so far about success:

1. Ignoring technology won’t kill you. Despite her never checking emails or voice mails, Zara is still very much with us. Yet when it comes to grownups, as researchers from the University of Glasgow found, half of the participants in their study reported checking their email once an hour, with some people even checking as frequently as 30 or 40 times an hour.

An AOL study revealed that 59 percent of mobile device users check every single time an email lands in their in-box and 83 percent check email every day on vacation.

I decided to follow Zara’s lead. I detact myself from regular scrutiny of office and phone messages. I disabled automatic updates of my email in-box, and I simply stopped checking it except for at specific times that I decided upon. I’m still here too and more focused than ever on what I really need to be doing, rather than chasing every shiny new email.

Action: Take the time to be conscious of your addiction to technology and the impact it might be having on your life and productivity.

2. Speak less, listen more. We all know this, but do we practice it? Granted Zara doesn’t have much choice but to listen. Yet her behavior has reinforced a valuable lesson for me. Studies show that babies whose parents speak to them more often (meaning the babies can listen more) proved to be more advanced in their processing skills than their peers.

This got me thinking: Why should I spend so much time at work having monologues in the presence of others when I could be listening more and absorbing more information to help me expand my potential? I’ve also noticed that by listening and carefully observing, I pick up on Zara’s nonverbal cues, which help me define solutions to her problems. This is insight that’s highly transferable to my career.

Action: Take some time to talk less and listen more. Continue absorbing new information rather than simply reiterating what you already know.

3. Be laser focused. Zara is very precise and focused about pursuing what she wants. When Zara wants milk, I have seldom seen her write a business plan of attack, prepare a mug of coffee or check email to procrastinate first.

She knows what she wants. She knows how to get it. She communicates the fact she wants it and she doesn’t settle until she gets it.

Action: Recall a time where you were focused and unrelenting in achieving the things you wanted to achieve. Somewhere along the way we all become conditioned to settle; don’t do it.

4. Embody zero-based thinking. Zara doesn’t have a past or any baggage (apart from any mischief I passed along) and she has the potential to develop into whoever she pleases. The sheer excitement and intrigue of this forces me to think continually in a zero-based thinking manner.

It gets me wondering if I were in her position, where would I go, what would I do? Then I start bringing this together with what is possible. This relates not only to my career itself. I’m even thinking like an intrapreneur and questioning the status quo within my existing career and entrepreneurial endeavors.

Action: Spend time pretending you are a baby — but with less focus on the crying and feeding part and more on regularly testing assumptions about where you are headed with your life.

5. Do it now. Granted in this particular matter, it is me who doesn’t have much choice in the matter. Zara has taught me that procrastination is no longer a possibility. She throws so many challenges at me, that if I were to slow down responding to them, I would end up submerged under a pile of tasks needing immediate attention.

I also don’t have a choice but to be highly focused and prioritized on getting these things done. I must make sure I do the things strategically that will have the highest impact on her and our future together, with the abundant nappies and crying serving as (mostly) a metaphor for all that the real world can throw at a person.

Action: Be conscious of continually making sure you focus and spend time executing the things which will drive you toward success.

“LIMITLESS” Magazine interview -Boyd Parker

Tell us a little bit about yourself before starting in the business.

I grew up in the UK on an island called “The Isle of Sheppey” which is a small community of 20,000 people living there. I have always been interested in business and being an entrepreneur. My hobbies were all progression based such as martial arts and bodybuilding. I had tried to turn my passions into income but unfortunately I had run myself into some financial debt, lost my business, my house and my savings while trying to build that. I was forced to return to my parent’s home at the age of 28 with a debt of £47,000. I was 29 years old when I started in this industry.

I had realised that the passion I had for my hobbies was in fact the passion for the progression it allowed me. This was my motivation. Trying to turn my hobbies into a career was fun to start with but the lack of progression in this particular industry really hit home fast and it took the excitement out of my work.

What first interested you in the business?

What I like about this business has changed over time. At first, I loved the freedom and fun the entry-level gave me. I found working with the team was motivating every day and I was excited about being paid on my performance. I was excited each day and week to learn and earn more. As soon as I began to teach others, this was where I found my passion.

I had never seen anyone care about my career as much as my Owner and mentors. Their vision for their careers and business was so inspiring that I wanted to be part of what was being created around me.

What is the most successful element of your business development?

I’m confident my quick progression resulted from having unbelievable examples around me. At the time, I was inspired every day by Justin Cobb’s vision for where his organisation was going. I had great leaders in the office to show me the eight habits and I was shown how to ring the bell every day.

Crew management was another key to my fast progression – creating an identity that people wanted to be a part of and proud of. I called my team Heroes and we set a new standard to how we wanted to work. We created a team who were both proud of and motivated by each other.

How do you motivate your team?

Everybody needs motivation to come from within, whether a personal vision and/or a dream. I would help people to see and believe in their personal step seven. Spending time with people outside the business and creating real relationships with people, creates trust. There’s a big difference when a team trusts each other and your know their personal goals. I learned quickly from Justin Cobb’s example that you must dream big, talk big, and especially act big if your goal is to one day become big.

How do you separate yourself from the crowd?

I followed the fact that every one admires the bold. It’s better to enter with boldness and promote your dreams and crew, as any mistakes committed through audacity are easily corrected with more audacity. People admire and follow the bold and no one honours the timid. I created a crew (Hero Org) and promoted that we would be the greatest through work ethic and student mentality, as we can always learn what others do and we can always work harder. Nothing is more controllable than your own work ethic and in the end it’s the results that separate you from the rest.

What have you learned that helped attain your promotion to Regional Consultant?

I learned many lessons on this journey and one of the most important of them is that it is a journey, so learn to love all the little actions and the results will take care of themselves. Invest your time in your personal development as you can always learn and do more.

I learned in my career and personal life that nothing can affect the outcome of any result outside of my skill, work ethic, and attitude. Once you learn that these three things, which only you can control are the keys to success in all you do, you will WIN.

I went back to the field in 2016 to launch the MoneyExpert campaign. I committed to doing it right and showing my team the very best version of myself both in sales and recruitment. This had a positive knock on effect on my team. At any level in our business, if you truly lead from the front you can influence so many people positively and make the biggest difference to your business and organisation.

What are you most proud of in your business?

I get to be a great father because the business taught me how to communicate and lead people, it taught me how to live the great eight habits. After my first opportunity meeting and learning about the Cartier watch being presented on promotion to Regional Consultant, I threw my watch out the car window on the way home and vowed that I would never put a watch on, until I was given my own Cartier.

So when Justin handed me my Cartier at the UK Awards Gala, it was a huge milestone in my life and it marked the completion of eight years of discipline. I promised my partner, Sarah, who has been by my side helping me throughout this entire journey, that we would get engaged the same night that I get promoted, hence, two of the most amazing events in my life were fulfilled in one night.

What is your personal mission statement?

My mission is that one day 100 people can say that because of Boyd Parker they won! I’d like to help make the same impact my mentors made on my life to so many people. The mission has to be to become the greatest version of yourself possible. Success, freedom, and money are a happy accident from helping enough people hit their personal goal.

Why do you pay out so much money for your children to do sports?

“One of my friends asked “Why do you pay so much money for your children to do all their sports”? 

Well I have a confession to make; I don’t pay for my kids to to do sports. Personally, I couldn’t care less about what sport they do.

So, if I am not paying for sports what am I paying for?

– I pay for those moments when my kids become so tired they want to quit but don’t.

– I pay for those days when my kids come home from school and are “too tired” to go to their training but they go anyway.

– I pay for my kids to learn to be disciplined, focused and dedicated.

– I pay for my kids to learn to take care of their body and equipment.

– I pay for my kids to learn to work with others and to be good team mates, gracious in defeat and humble in success.

– I pay for my kids to learn to deal with disappointment, when they don’t get that placing or title they’d hoped for, but still they go back week after week giving it their best shot.

– I pay for my kids to learn to make and accomplish goals.

– I pay for my kids to respect, not only themselves, but other riders, officials and coaches.

– I pay for my kids to learn that it takes hours and hours, years and years of hard work and practice to create a champion and that success does not happen overnight.

– I pay for my kids to be proud of small achievements, and to work towards long term goals.

– I pay for the opportunity my kids have and will have to make life-long friendships, create lifelong memories, to be as proud of their achievements as I am.

– I pay so that my kids can be out on their feet instead of in front of a screen…

…I could go on but, to be short, I don’t pay for sports; I pay for the opportunities that sports provides my kids with to develop attributes that will serve them well throughout their lives and give them the opportunity to bless the lives of others. From what I have seen so far I think it is a great investment!” 

“Self investments have the longest and largest rewards” I pay so my children learn to always invest in themselves and never settle for what they can have now over what they truly want.

– Boyd Parker

A night of lessons with Arnold Schwarzenegger

Heres just a handful of inspirational tips I took from the ultimate action hero from the ‘Evening With…’ event.

1. “The things that you learn in sports are so important because I learned that you have to work your butt off in order to be great at anything. You have to have a very clear vision and know exactly where you’re going. You can’t listen to the naysayers. You have to work in teams and learn to make sacrifices, and all these things you learn in sports.”

2. “Shoot for the stars, don’t go halfway.”

3. “The day is 24 hours, and you sleep six hours. So there are 18 hours left. I know there are some people who say that six hours isn’t enough, just sleep faster! You have 18 hours left, so you don’t have enough time to work out? You work for eight hours, maybe? So you still have about 10 hours left to stay in shape.”

4. “I didn’t care about the pain, no matter what it takes. The only way you can break through and really break records is if you’re able to go through those painful moments, where you have doubts and maybe you do fail or fall down.”

5. “The key thing is that you get up again. As soon as you fall, get up again, dust yourself off and do it again.”

6. “The difference between winners and losers is, that both winners and losers fall, but only the losers stay down. The winner always gets up.”

7. “You’ve got to keep going and push, and not be afraid of failure. How far can you fall? The ground. So get up, what’s the big deal. Don’t make fear be the obstacle that’s holding you back.”

I’m not the first entrepreneur to be told my idea wouldn’t work!

“Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” — Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949 

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” — Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943. 

“I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won’t last out the year.” — The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957. 

“But what … is it good for?” — Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip. 

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977. 

“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” — Western Union internal memo, 1876. 

“The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” — David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s. 

“The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea must be feasible.” — A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.) 

“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” — H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927. 

“I’m just glad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling on his face and not Gary Cooper.” — Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in “Gone With The Wind.” 

“A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make.”– Response to Debbi Fields’ idea of starting Mrs. Fields’ Cookies. 

“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” — Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962. 

“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” — Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895. 

“If I had thought about it, I wouldn’t have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can’t do this.” — Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M “Post-It” Notepads. 

“So we went to Atari and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we’ ll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we’ll come work for you.’ And they said, ‘No.’ So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, ‘Hey, we don’t need you. You haven’t got through college yet.'” — Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and H-P interested in his and Steve Wozniak’s personal computer. 

“Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.” — 1921 New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard’s revolutionary rocket work. 

“You want to have consistent and uniform muscle development across all of your muscles? It can’t be done. It’s just a fact of life. You just have to accept inconsistent muscle development as an unalterable condition of weight training.” — Response to Arthur Jones, who solved the “unsolvable” problem by inventing Nautilus. 

“Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.” — Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859. 

“Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” — Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929. 

“Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.” — Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre. 

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” — Charles H. Duell,Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899. 

“Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is ridiculous fiction”. — Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872 

“The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon”. — Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873. 

“640K ought to be enough for anybody.” — Bill Gates, 1981

“I’m not the first entrepreneur to be told my idea wouldn’t work! I’m confident I won’t be the last either”

— Boyd Parker.