On this episode of the Massimo Show

Rod sits down with one of the top 5 leadership experts in the world. Mark Sanborn is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea lab for leadership development. A New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, he has presented over 2,600 speeches and seminars in every state and fourteen countries. His latest book is The Potential Principle. Mark is the Expert in Residence at High Point University located in High Point, NC and his client list includes Costco, FedEx, ESPN, IBM, and St Jude’s. 

As with the best of leaders, Mark came from humble beginnings. He grew up on a farm in Ohio, was an average high school guy, and attended Ohio State University.  There he studied agricultural economics. “Economics was the most philosophical construct in my life,” Mark tells Rod.  “Economics is the allocation of scarce resources for maximum return.  Our scarce resources are our time, energy, and expertise.  We all want to get the most out of life.” Mark never practiced as an agricultural economist but went into agricultural sales.  It forced him to engage in a business where he was a manager.  After a short stint in sales and marketing, he is now in his 33rd year as a professional author, speaker, and advisor.  

From the age of 10, Mark was giving free speeches focused on patriotism and agricultural.  Mark heard a lot of professional speakers, but it wasn’t until Mark was 16 when he heard someone else speak that  it dawned on him that person was getting paid a lot of money to tell their story.  

The spirit of free enterprise set in. The only thing better than giving speeches, in Mark’s mind, was having someone pay you to do it.  As a freshman at OSU and because Mark had been involved in Future Farms of America as a state officer, he started getting invited to speak at commencement exercises and at after-dinner speeches.  One day Mark got an invitation and he told them he charged $150 and they accepted.  That was his first paid speech at the age of 19.  From there he kept building.  

The Three Resources a Leader Has Are 

1) Time

2) Expertise

3) Time and Expertise of their team

Mark alleges that right now finding people that have true expertise is difficult.  “We are overwhelmed with information” he explains to Rod “ The ability to access information is good, the ability to access its validity is harder than it’s ever been. One of the hardest jobs for leadership is doing your due diligence to make sure the decisions you’re are making and the practices you are using are solid and credible.  It is important to learn from practice.”  

You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader

Mark explains that your skillset makes you a leader, not your title.  You can be given a title, but you can’t be given a skillset.  A skillset has to be learned and developed.  The real test of leadership is if you did not have a title, and you could not reward or punish people for things they did or did not do what you asked – would they still do it?  

Bad managers get compliance but good leaders get a commitment.  Commitment is getting people to do it because they are sold on it, they want to do it, they know it will benefit them and the greater good.  True Leadership always benefits the greater good whether it is the colleague, vendor, customer, or community.  Today too many people look at leadership as a tool to get what they want instead of the real use of leadership which is to help everyone to get what they need.  

The Concept of the FRED Factor

Fred was a Postal service employee who delivered my mail.  He had a simple job of putting mail in a box, but he made it artistry through the things that he did.  The quality of his service and the friendships he made.  Mark was so impressed with it that he wrote a book about it.  The Fred Factor is the ability to continually create value for the people you live and work with through 3 things you can control.  

1) passion

2) creativity

3) commitment

Being extraordinary is a choice.  Many of the most successful people Mark knows were extraordinary not because of the way they were brought up or circumstances but in spite of. “We learn a lot more through failure than we do from success.” Mark says. 

What made Fred so special?  When Mark first moved into a house in Colorado, there was a knock at his door and it was Fred introducing himself.   Fred was more worried about Mark’s mail than he was.  He was a professional.  A professional is more worried about the solution to your problems their product or service solves than you are.   There were dozens of other examples of where Fred, without a title and just a commitment to do an extraordinary job – you can be extraordinary.  Fred does it because he believes that excellence is the right thing to do.  

The Gift of Time 

The only thing people want more than disposable income is time.  We don’t have enough time and we are always too busy.  Covid has killed the excuse you don’t have time.   With Covid, everyone is adapting.  A surfer interacts with the wave to get the outcome they desire.  We need to learn to develop those skills.  First, stop looking for the new normal. “I never liked the phrase the new normal,” Mark tells Rod. Through necessity we are going to say it’s the new abnormal.  Every day is going to be a little different.  By thinking about the abnormal we never get complacent we become more vigilant and more agile.  

Tune in to hear Mark talk more in-depth concerning leadership and the new abnormal.


Mark Sanborn

Contact Us | Mark Sanborn Keynote Leadership Speaker

Mark Sanborn is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio dedicated to developing leaders in business and in life. Mark is an international bestselling author and noted expert on leadership, team building, customer service and change.

  • Three Resources a Leader Has
  • You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader
  • The Concept of the FRED Factor