THE THOUGHTFUL ENTREPRENEUR PODCAST
The guest here with us today is Mark Noon, International Leadership Speaker at LeadershipTen.
Mark's passion for the last 20 years has been leader development and helping others step into leadership roles. At LeadershipTen, they help business owners and entrepreneurs get good at leading their teams and become boss businesses. Mark has spoken about leadership goals in 45 states, 2 provinces, and in 260+ organizations.
Learn more about Mark Noon and LeadershipTen on this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur.
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Josh Elledge intro 0:01:
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Jen Amos 0:24
All right. Hey, everyone. Welcome back to the thoughtful entrepreneur, I'm your host, Jen Amos. And today I have with me, Mark Noon, who is the principal speaker, author and executive coach at leadership ten.org are his company's leadership 10. And his website is LeadershipTen.org. So Mark, welcome to the show.
Mark Noon 0:42
Hey, Jen, it's a great pleasure to be here with you, thanks.
Yeah, absolutely. It's a new year. So I thought I'd start by asking you, Mark, I was 2021 treating you so far?
really good. You know, anything in this year is probably better than most of last year for people.
Life is good. You've hit the road a couple of times, you know, things have things have really gotten back at least, you know, to kind of the way they used to be.
Yeah, some level of normalcy, right? Or some some degree. And I agree with you that, you know, 2020, set this set the bar very low. So that 2021 could be extraordinary.
That's for sure. And we certainly have I mean, we hit the ground running at the beginning of the year. And, you know, I've had I've had a good quarter so far. So...
Yeah, I'm very happy to hear that. So Mark, let's go ahead and talk about your company Leadership Ten, you're all about creating leaders who boldly impact their organizations, communities and families. I love that. Tell us about that.
So about two years ago, a friend of mine and I decided we wanted to just kind of reach out to our local community, I live in the panhandle of Florida, reached out to local community looking for young professionals who, you know, were kind of that early stage in their leadership career. You know, looking back at our careers, my friend is about the same age I am we, you know, 30 plus years in the business world, and we look back and think, you know, I wish we had somebody back at that time, we're in our 20s to, you know, kind of give us that that leg up, or that that little bit of information that we could have used to become better at what we were early on, instead of making all those mistakes.
Let's reach out and see if there's some people, we actually found four young guys at our church who would just happen to be in that age category, we said 25 to 40. We said, Hey, would you guys like to spend a Saturday a month for a few months, just kind of talking about leadership principles, and they were all about it. And so their brand, you know, just on a Saturday morning, a couple hours, hanging out in a corner, and just talking through leadership principles, and it kind of skyrocketed from there.
I love it. So in the early stages, Mark, you're telling me that it was just pretty conversational and casual, right? You just meet up at Panera Bread and talk, talk everything about leadership and everything related to that.
Right. And so we found out is that these guys not only went back to their businesses and started doing things differently, but they also told us that their leadership even within their family chain, so they started being a different kind of a husband, a different kind of father.
So we said, well, you know, that's really great information. So we, we banded together with it got together with him got some ideas about how we can make this a little bit bigger and better. We brought on another young lady who was part of our church as well. And the three of us now have have combined this this endeavor into an actual business called Leadership Ten. And we we do about seven to 10 young professionals in two semesters a year we start in January, go to me, we start in August, go to December, and just kind of blossomed from there. And again, it's free. It's us just pouring into these people,
Different kinds of businesses, all different kinds of, you know, parts of our community. And so then we started to see, wow, we're starting to impact our community. They're impacting their organizations. And again, that same family dynamic.
Yeah. So why ten? Why Leadership Ten?
That's a great question. So I actually just wrote a blog for our website about why we be 10. And I won't go through all 10 because I can't remember why we actually had 10 reasons why. Because leadership itself has 10 letters in it, right? Yeah, we never thought about who we started counting on we went, hey, that's just kind of fits in so we just decided sitting in prayer read talking as a as a three principals in the company said, Hey, what about leadership? Tell me what kind of like it. So 10 is kind of a complete number. A rating scale. Everybody wants to be a 10. Right? So that's where it's kind of that some of the aspects of leadership 10. Guys,
I love that. So there's like 10 reasons, which obviously, would probably take the whole interview here to go through, right, but that's, that's really where it comes from is, you know, I never even counted Not that I count words like fun, but like, Yeah, when you think about it, there are 10 letters in leadership. And then like you said, there's 10 reasons that you list, which I think is I love that I always like to ask people the name of their company because you know, you don't just like casually pick a name like you have to put a lot of thought into it.
Well, closer Our semesters are five months long. And in that five months we meet once as a group, the other group of seven to 10 come together. And then we have individual coaching sessions with each of those seven to 10 people. So that ends up being 10 meetings. So it just kind of fit in there as well.
There we go. Just keep playing with that 10 theme. Yeah, that's awesome. Well walk us through the initial I like the idea of how you start in a team. And then you do a follow up session with everyone individually. So just give us a little snapshot on what that first part looks like with the team. And then individually.
Yeah, so we have a kind of a series of things. Some of it is stuff that we've come up with ourselves, it's intellectual property that we've developed, as well. It's just things we learned over our 30 plus years of being in business and military experience, and all of those areas. And we start out with talking about values, we move from values and to talking about specific communication, we've come up with a communication model that we find really works well. culture, and we talked about decision making and time management, certain business type of skills, we get into delegation and motivation, how to engage your employees, and it really kind of flows that way. So our group sessions are about three hours long on a Saturday morning. Really, they have some reading materials and preparatory stuff they need to be prepared for, we actually just started this last semester zooming in a couple of people from other parts of the country to kind of get an idea of we could branch out beyond our local group, but we meet in person. And we you know, we talked through these we facilitate a conversation more than anything. And yeah, they're our experiences, they ask questions, they ask questions of each other, the network, it's really kind of an interesting dynamic. And when we select people for this, we actually do interviews with we do interviews 15 to 20 people to select that seven to 10. It's, it's, you know, we say highly selective, but we get that group together, it's amazing the dynamic that happens, and how they really fit together. And it's almost like, I'd say we pre planned it that way, but we just kind of picked it based on once we thought would be a good fit, and works out great every single time.
That's that sounds awesome. I mean, yeah, I mean, in order to create like to have a high chance that good synergy amongst everyone, you do have to prequalify and, and be very decisive with who you want to work with. So Mark now that once people once people are done with the courses, what kind of feedback have you received so far? Like, what kind of impact Have you seen, you know, after these students have taken your courses?
Yeah, well, you know, in addition, I just want to mention, too, in addition to the group session, we have the individual coaching, which is really I think the uniqueness that we bring to organizations now is that we not only teach and develop, but we also want to coach and mentor in that way. The feedback has been really phenomenal. Like I said, all these people talk about being better fathers and mothers and husbands wives and, and people are better at their job, and we get feedback from their boss, but the ones that mean the most to us is, is when people say that it literally changed their life. And if you look at it, we go, this is just leadership stuff, right. But at the same time, they say it's made them a different person, the best leadership course they've ever been to, and some of them, you know, are in their 30s. And they've been to several courses, and they've been in leadership for quite a while. Others is really just simply, I never looked at myself, the way that you made me look at myself. You know, sometimes we look at leadership, and we learn it, we try to grow, and we've never looked introspectively and said, What are my values? what's what's important to me? What drives me to do what I do? And I don't mean personality? I mean, the core root of who we are.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. I think what, you know, I was just kind of contemplating as you were talking about what leadership really means. And I think to me, leadership really means knowing who you really are, and how can you best coexist with other people, you know, whether it's, you know, kind of leading from the front or leading internally. But I think that's what leadership really is. It's kind of like knowing, like, fully knowing, like, where you can, like be of service to other people.
Right? You know, if you can't lead yourself, you can't lead other people if you're not already on, or somebody who, you know, Professor, somebody, it's really about, you know, you got to be a page ahead of your students, so to speak. As a leader, you've kind of got to be a little bit ahead, you got to be seeing things that others don't see. You've got to be aware of things that others are not aware of. But if you're not seeing that in yourself, there's no way anybody else is going to follow you.
Yeah, absolutely. Well, Mark, I can just tell how much you enjoy doing this. Reading leadership. 10. Can you tell me maybe a story or a story that comes to mind, a student that you've worked with? Where you just thought yourself? This is why I do what I do?
Yeah, that's, uh, you know, I think there's, there's probably several of those, you know, probably the first one, you know, those four young guys that we got together the first time. One of those was was somebody that I already knew. Well, he's actually was a groomsman in my son's wedding. I mean, it was that close to our family, but I watched Chairman and I, he is literally the kind of leader I wished I had been at 26 years old already. And then I said, you know, according to him, and he just soaked it up. And I thought this guy is so much further ahead than I was at that age. And I'm not, you know, what I thought I knew about some stuff. And he, it's just, he's one of those that came and said, You know, I become a better father, a better husband. That's, that's where that family change comes in. Yeah, it was organization. And he's, he's a manager, I mean, 26 years old manager, like 60 people in a field locally. And you know, he just really took what we taught him and showed him and made it real. I mean, it happened in his organization. And we're still in contact and see each other a lot today. So I still get that feedback when I hear things about, you know, Hey, remember, we talked about this? Well, here's what's happening with me, you know, so those are the things that get me excited.Jen:
Yeah, I mean, that must be fun to just, you know, kind of go back to that time and see the progress of these guys that you've talked to from the very beginning back at Panera Bread. And I'm curious, do you do you also meet at Panera Bread, I imagine that you've probably found other places to meet.Mark:
Fortunately, we found a place locally that lets us use our conference room for that for our group meetings. And so because we're a little bigger than pair bed and probably allow at this point, right? Our staff meetings when the three of us as principals get together we have our own little office now that we meet at so we don't necessarily use Panera Bread, but we still do our individual coaching sessions, sometimes it's an errand, or wherever else we can we can sit and just enjoy, you know, the conversation enjoy each other. SoJen:
yeah, I think that's incredible. Well, you know, Mark, I know that you have, you know, you have a course like every semester. So as you mentioned, tell us about the pre qualifying process, like, you know, how, what does it take for someone to, you know, sign up or to apply?Mark:
Now, you know, as we sit each time, when we start to interview people, we look at the three of us look at each other, and we go, is there something specific we're looking for? And yes, there are some specific things we want people who are, you know, currently in a leadership position, maybe about to be in a leadership position, we want people who have the ability to influence the world around them. So for instance, right now, we, you know, we in the past year, we've had a guy who works at Walmart, right? And Walmart is, is he's got 40 people that he influences every single day, then we've got another one who's an independent real estate agent. And so does does that person have an influence directly as a leader? Not necessarily, but are they impacting our community with all the many people that they have the ability to influence or touch or impact? Yes, absolutely. So we look at different things like that. We look at their kind of their background, we, you know, we've taken and looked at some people and said, you know, they'd be really good, but not for this class, maybe six months from now, when they get a and we actually tell these people when we say, okay, maybe not now, let's try next semester, but here's what we want you to do between now and then we're prepared for this is kind of a mix up of you know, their, their impact, we look at about seven different areas in our cultural world that we want to influence and impact and try to pick some from all of those we don't want all you know, we live in a very big military community. We don't want all military people in the light diversify. Yeah. Right. We want some some ability to really spread out throughout the community and, and have that kind of an impact. So it's a multiple things that we look at. Not only one specific.Jen:
Yeah, yeah. And yeah, it sounds like you, you know, you kind of I mean, although you're very specific, you also have sort of like a wide spectrum of what it means to be a leader like it's not just leading from the front it could be you know, doing something great for the community overall. And so I really, I think I find that very interesting and I think it encourages people to look at leadership differently.Mark:
Absolutely. You know, we want to be influential we want to have impact we want to just you know impact enough people that they in turn him back in need, you know, 27 people at these things seven to 10 maybe even 12 maybe wait what a 12 is enough for us to have good quality time with them feel like they're getting something individually from us and not a corporate type of club atmosphere.Jen:
Yeah, yeah, no, absolutely. Wow. Well this this all sounds very exciting and I just want to congratulate you on your you know success from starting again going back to Panera with the three with the four guys to where you are today offering these classes you know group training or team training up to the you know, individual sessions with you know, each student. So I want to shift gears here and talk more about the business side so putting our business hat on but before we do anything else you want people to know about leadership 10Mark:
you know, well, leadership 10 is the business and it is the what we call our cohort, which is our group have started the business was because of the the cohort we financially ourselves. were paying a lot of things ourselves, we said we, you know, got one organization somewhere to pay us to come in as a business and we could fund what we're doing. That's exactly what happened. And then all of a sudden, you know, this works out pretty well. And, of course that parlayed into the actual business part, which we'll discuss here in just a moment.Jen:
Yeah, well, let's get into it. Um, you know, I, one thing that I think, to your success, and I have this in my notes here about your company is that it's all about referrals. Like, it sounds like you were able to just, you know, build your business based off of referrals and relationships. So tell us about that. Because I think that, I think that a lot of people take that for granted, I think they're looking for that. Maybe instant gratification or quick way to get attention. But it's really the way I think you nurture relationships that really make a sustainable business.Mark:
It is, you know, when we first the first business opportunity, we had that one, I told you that that kind of was the reason was, hey, maybe we can start financing some of the free stuff that we're doing this way. Yeah, only through a relationship. One of the workers, Diane had a friend who came to her and was had heard about what we're doing these young professionals and, and said, Hey, is there any way you guys can come help us in our organization? And I it's like, Well, sure, we can probably do that. And so we met probably a Panera Bread, probably, since we have poppin. area. So we said, we can do this, right, we can make this happen. And so we did. And we went to that business, what business end up referring us to others. And part of that is for the last eight years prior to this, I was working for another company as a coach and consultant and mostly doing speaking and leader development. And I had established a network of people around the country. And so those are people that I stayed in contact with throughout the years, even when I might have done something 2015 with him. But there was something that connected something that clicked between us. We had a relationship, it just wasn't a business thing. It was we were actually friends. And so I would contact them and say, Hey, here's what we're doing. It's similar to what we've done before in your position, what do you think about us? maybe doing something, and that has really been the catalyst to us being where we are right now we're going to wrap up this first quarter, and this is literally our first quarter as a full fledged business. We're going to hit somewhere around 110,000 in revenue.Jen:
Wow. Well, like you like you mentioned at the very beginning, you're having a great start to the new year. And I'm just so happy to hear it.Mark:
Yeah, it is. It's fun. And, and that, of course now one of the things we do in every one of our contracts is we request referrals even right away, not even before we've done any of the work. Here's what we'd like from you, if you give us some referrals, and those people end up signing a contract with us at least equal to what that the client that we currently have. We give them a 10% rebate or a 10% discount back on the original contract. So shoot, if they got us 1010 contracts, they get a free do free contract. So that's in essence, you know, it hasn't gotten that big yet, but that's the intent upon those referrals.Jen:
Yeah. Wow, incredible mark, anything else, any other business advice that you want to share with our listeners today?Mark:
You know, it's really about connection. And that is where I love that aspect of the work I've done over the years is building a connection, you know, there's a way to connect with people that makes them feel important makes them feel valued. Yeah, a lot of times I think we see people in business who are trying to connect because they're trying to get something for themselves and not value to other people. And when we connect and we bring value to other people, that's where in my opinion, the business will come from because they've connected with you because you've thought they're important. Yeah. In their organization, nurses in their life, you're sitting there family, all of those three aspects, then they look at you and go, well, you're interested, you kind of know some things, maybe you can come into our organization and help us become better at what we do.Jen:
Yeah, I like that. I've been hearing more of that. I mean, more and more. I think when I hear about successful businesses, it's really it really is about the connection. It's really about the relationship. I'm curious to know because one of my favorite books I like to read on just relationships is go giver sell more by Bob Berg, and I'm pretty sure that he has a co co author but I can't think of his name. Do you have any books that you recommend or that you kind of consider like your Bible in a sense to you know, building good relationships and connection?Mark:
You know, going all the way back to Dale Carnegie's book, How to Win Friends and Influence. Oh, my goodness, I have that book right here. Yeah, okay. Got it. Right. Yeah. Probably I don't know how many years ago and but there's so many quotes from them. And for me, it's really his his idea about creating value in people is about using their name. It's about valuing them because of who they are in their name. So when I use your name, Jen, in a sentence, you when you listen more intently when I use your name, yeah. Something to you. It goes back to my military days, too. So my military spent 20 years in the United States Air Force. And at that time, you know, military Europe, you're a rank in your name. So, so I came in and listed at one time I was Sergeant noon, right? That's important. And I became an officer. I was a lieutenant. I was a captain. I was a major. When people would come to me and say things like major noon, I'd like you to do this. Commander by major news, I'd like you to do this. Yes, sir. Yes, ma'am. I go and I do that. But if they came to me and said, Mark, would you do this or that? I would. Yes, ma'am. Yes, sir. But I would do it with more enthusiasm I would do with more value. I felt as though they connected with me on a different level than just that rank in name, right? Well, I think the difference comes in I learned from reading Dale Carnegie's how,Jen:
you know, I was literally telling a friend this morning that the beat the most beautiful sound anyone hears is their name. And so it's always so very important. I was literally thinking about that book. I was like, that's my favorite thing. Because I, whenever I do interviews, I was asked at the very beginning, for, especially if I don't know how to pronounce name, I'm like, how do you pronounce your name? Because I know, like, when you say people's name, especially their first name, it's like, oh, like they're talking to me.Mark:
And that's, you know, kind of my, in a way, my secret weapon when I'm in front of an audience is typically an audience of about 50 or less, by the time a three hour event is over. I have I know everybody's name in that room. Now, that's not some special gift. That's something I've worked really hard. Yeah. Yeah. It's amazing to me, because here's the secret gem is, is I'll meet somebody nominate Kagame, right? And I'll say, hey, so and so is their name, or I'll walk by somebody and I'll see their name tag. I just see their name tag. I'm in the middle of speaking and all of a sudden, I point to them, and I say, hey, Jen, what do you think about blah, blah, blah, and they're like, they're like, their ears perked like, Whoa, exactly. That but all of a sudden, that connection says they're real. They're valuable. They're important. 50 people in the room, but they're the number one in my focus. And that goes back to that Dale Carnegie's, I love that. You said that quote, this one. That's my favorite one.Jen:
Yeah. Yeah. That's so funny, because I think about it, like, all the time, in that book, I got that someone gave me that book in my young 20s. And that was like, that was a game changer for me even before I got into business. And yeah, so I'm just glad. I'm glad that you recommended the same thing I probably would have recommended. just such a good book. Yeah, well, Mark. Wow. I i've thoroughly enjoyed our conversation today, I learned so much from you. You know, I don't mean to keep pulling stuff out of you. But any parting thoughts, any any final things that you want to share with our audience before we go?Mark:
you know, when it comes to leadership in general, I think one of the things that's that's so incredible about the opportunity we have in leadership today, is that we can set people up for success, right? Like this. In fact, I wrote a book called set up. And the whole reason behind this book is the idea that if a young leader, and that's why we target these young professionals, if we can set them up, here's the phrase I use, if we can set them up to step into a role and not have to step up to a role. I think that's successful. Does that make sense? Because we you've heard coaches say this, right? Somebody does a really great job in a game and they'll say, hey, Jamie really stepped up today. And it's like, I've been preparing for this for years. I didn't have to step up. I just simply had to step in, right?Jen:
Yes. I love it. That's the key. I love it. Wow. Well, Mark, thank you. Thank you so much, again, for being on our show here at the top entrepreneur. Like I said, I've really enjoyed our conversation. And also, you know, coming from a military family background myself, thank you for your service. On your LinkedIn profile, your military spouse and military. Child, yeah, I'm at all I'm all of it. But anyway, we'll probably talk offline later. Let me go ahead and wrap up here. Again, thanks again, Mark. And to our listeners. This is Mark Noon, Principal speaker, author and executive coach at Leadership Ten. His website is LeadershipTen.org. Alright, with that said, Thank you all so much for joining us, and we'll chat with you and the next episode. Tune in next time.Josh Elledge outro:
Thanks for listening to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence.com/guest. Now you got something out of this interview? Would you share this episode on social media? Just do a quick screenshot with your phone and texted to a friend or posted on the socials? If you do that, tag us with the hashtag UpMyInfluence. Each month we scour Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. We pick one winner from each platform, and you get crowned king or queen of that social media, now what do you win? We're going to promote you and your business to over 120,000 social media fans totally free. Now, can you also hook us up? Now in your podcast player right now, please give us a thumbs up or a rating and review. We promise to read it all and take action. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. Your feedback helps us fulfill that mission. While you're at it. Hit that subscribe button. You know why? Tomorrow! That's right, seven days a week. You are going to be inspired and motivated to succeed 15 minutes a day. My name is Josh Elledge, let's connect on the socials. You'll find all this stuff we're doing at UpMyInfluence.com Thanks for listening and thank you for being a part of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur movement.