A leaders’ tone in the work environment is as important to the success of a business as any other business essential. It’s the bread to the butter, the cream to the coffee. Without proper motivation, a business simply can’t develop. It’s like planting a seed and not watering it—that seed won’t grow. Before becoming an owner of InMark, CEO Franco Cabral saw the opportunity to create a work environment that cultivates business and employee growth. But, he needed help. He had plenty of business experience before taking on the ownership of InMark with his partners Gary and Marco, but lacked the “know-how” of being a CEO.
As National Sales Director at his previous job, Franco was constantly faced with business decisions. When he became a CEO, his responsibilities changed. He needed help and didn’t know who to turn to, that’s when he turned to books. “Before we started our company, I was the guy who hadn’t read a book in over a year,” Franco said. “After I became a CEO, I had a renewed passion for learning.
Franco didn’t just want to be a CEO, he wanted to be the best CEO. One who could lead, motivate, and learn with his employees. He took his new passion to the next level, and began to set goals for himself. “I read somewhere that the most successful entrepreneurs in the U.S read an average of 60 books a year. That really made me step up my game,” Franco said. “If you want to be a great CEO then build habits of a great CEO.”
What began as a spark of passion for one CEO turned into a change in environment for an entire company. Inspiration for developing knowledge and personal growth trickled down to the rest of the employees. “Many of our employees have read more books in the past 6-9 months than they have in the last four years,” Franco said. “And, it all started from the excitement and fear of not failing as a leader.” Franco did some research and started to follow CEOs and successful business persons on social media. His initial research lead to small snippets of information that fueled his fire to obtain more knowledge.
“One of the big social media leaders I follow is Grant Cardone,” Franco said. “I got hooked on his messages and story. As a result, I started reading his books.” Franco got so hooked on Cardone’s books that he ended up reading all 8-10 of Cardone’s books, some multiple times, in 9 months. Franco’s particular favorite, “Be Obsessed or be Average,” became a thematic example for his employees. “’Be Obsessed or be Average’ spoke to the growth mindset culture that we promote at InMark,” Franco said. “We ended up doing our first book club on that. All employees read it and shared their ideas as part of our monthly goal meetings.”
Another of Franco’s favorite business-related books is “The New One Minute Manager,” a management book by Ken Blanchard, Ph.D., and Spencer Johnson, Ph.D. Franco said the book contributed to the encouragement of goal-setting, limit-pushing, and employee-praising that InMark promotes. “The book stresses the concept of, let’s say you teach a little kid to walk and they fall down, you should focus on the fact that they took two or three steps so they’re more likely to try again,” Franco said. The InMark Leadership team applied the praising concept amongst the employees. We set up monthly meetings where they would set goals that could be reviewed in one minute. “The managers and leaders should be checking in with goals and recognize as many ways to give kudos to the employees as possible,” Franco said.
After those two reads, Franco was addicted. He realized the amount of golden knowledge hidden within books. Soon, he began to implement books into all aspects of his life. “I’ve been very successful in business. But in the past I focused so much of my time on business that I wasn’t successful in other areas of my life like relationships.” Franco said. “But, if you make things a priority, you can make time for everything you want.”
Currently, his goal is to read books that are based on important things in his life. In particular, he aims to read two business-related books, one personal or fitness development and one relationship or parenting book a month. “Obviously, time is limited, but you have to create time,” Franco said. “My new passion for reading has taught me to be disciplined, to get up early and to take advantage of all the time in the day.” Franco spends a lot of his day driving. But, he doesn’t let it excuse him from reaching his monthly goals. “I listen to audio books while I drive. It’s a large part of how I’ve been able to complete so many books,” Franco said.
Franco said regardless of the path a CEO takes, there is one thing that is critical to success—consistency. Whether its monthly meetings, or following up on goals setting, consistency creates trust and trust creates teamwork.