Tag Archives: Harvey Mackay

Sharing is caring – Harvey Mackay on career success

MackayBookCover(NOTA:  Este post no es para promover o vender.  Buscando contribuir al maximo a tu desarollo profesional, decidi compartir la entrevista que muy gentilmente me concedio Harvey Mackay – un autor que cinco veces a formado parte de la lista best seller del New York Times.  Gracias a Dan Schawbel, el editor de Personal Branding – una revista en la cual contribuyo bimensualmente y en la cual se publico esta entrevista –  a sido posible publicar este material en mi blog.  Asi que gracias Dan.)

Meet a man who knows and a man who cares about helping people succeed in their careers. Above all, Harvey Mackay is a man who cares.

It makes perfect sense then, that he is the author of five New York Times bestsellers including Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive, We Got Fired!…And It’s the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Us, and Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt.  His books have sold more than ten million copies around the globe – in over 80 countries – and have been translated into more than 40 languages.

From his home in Minneapolis Harvey spoke to me about his latest book Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door: Job Search Secrest No One Else Will Tell You.

In a paused and caring voice, he said to me: “when I wake up every day – I say ‘it’s a gift’…I want to be able to help other people…If I meet you, the first thing I want to say to myself – while we’re talking is ‘how can I help you – what can I do to help you – and expect NOTHING in return?’”  

He goes on to say:  “That’s just my life style. And I’m a lucky guy – I’ve got a business, I’ve got a wife, I’ve got kids, I’ve got grandkids.  A long term marriage, I’ve got my health. I’ve got my travel – I even have my airplane.  So therefore what turns me on every day – is having the capacity to help people – and that’s a humongous thrill.”

Harvey is one who has been around the block more than a few times – and has made a career out of learning and sharing his lessons.  It’s evident that he is not in it for himself.  When I asked him where he got inspired to dedicate his life to help others, he explained that it was his father who had a major impact in his working life early on in his career.  His dad said to him that 25% of life should be dedicated to volunteering.  

Following his dad’s advice, he started to work in the non-profit sector, raising money for charities.  As he sums it up – it was fundraising where he learned the most important selling skills – handling rejection, selling, communicating in public and leading.  Until today, these competenticies play a mayor role in his career as a New York Times best-selling author, as one of America’s most popular business speakers among Fortune 500-sized companies and as an entrepreneur – he is chairman of MackayMitchell Envelope Company, a $100 million company he founded at age 26.

It’s no surprise he wants written on his tombstone: ‘He couldn’t sleep fast enough’.  Harvey Mackay is here on Earth to make a difference in people’s life.

That’s what shines through in his writing – and it was easy to sense during our interview.

Aside from being passionate about charity, Harvey believes his education played a major role in his path to success.  He’s a University of Minnesota undergrad, a graduate of Stanford’s Executive program and a Dale Carnegie Training and Toastmasters program graduate as well. 

Regarding his two latter degrees he said – more than once  during the interview – that speaking (well) in public is a very powerful skill to hone, particularly when you’re looking for a job or aiming for a promotion. He said: “Speaking in public helps you develop a good speaking vocabulary and the ability to sell your ideas and yourself.”  In Harvey’s mind, these competencies are not optional, rather required, in today’s work world.  Let that resonate in your head one more time – to succeed at work, be able to sell your ideas and yourself.

I couldn’t resist, so I charged toward his best advice first.   Without hesitation, he said: “without question, here’s the theme ‘practice makes perfect’ is not true.  You have to add one word – ‘PERFECT practice makes perfect.’    There are people out there by the millions who are practicing the wrong concepts.  If they take these kind of books – like the one I wrote…and more than read these concepts, they study them, underwrite them…write post-it notes – and if after using these principles, after six months you don’t have a job, I Harvey Mackay, will personally guarantee your money back. To sum it up, (people) have to practice the right concepts over a long period of time (he stresses long  period of time) not a short period of time.”

Purpose – how important is it in your career – and how do you find it?

“I call that having the Midas Touch – which I talk about in my book. …A goal is a dream with a deadline…Everybody should have the Midas Touch – or the Midas Goal.  In other words, Measurable, Identifiable,  Documented, Attainable and Specific…write down your short term and your long term goals…and then you have to look at them periodically. So it all starts of course from the goals.”

Support – how important is it?

“If you look at all succesful people, you will notice several common denominators.  One is mentors.  You can’t be afraid to look and ask for people…There are more people out there willing to help than people willing to ask.  People out of college are afraid to ask – they’re afraid to get a no, to get rejection – and you can’t do that….You can’t do it all by yourself…”

“The other one is – don’t be a lone ranger…Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto. In other words, you have to have the kitchen cabinet…that means find two, three, four friends who care about you – so that when you are on your career track, when you may want to leave, when you don’t know whether to stay with that company, when you don’t know whether to drop off to become an entrepreneur – all these different questions you can kick around with your kitchen cabinet – and with the people mentoring you. And they change.  Mentors and kitchen cabinets change over a life time.  So these are additional arrows in your quiver – that will dramatically increase the probability that you will be sucessful.”

What are the main concepts for success?

“We’re all students for life.”  “Take doctors” , he explained. “Would you go to a doctor who graduated top in her class 20 years ago from a top medical school – yet never again opened up a book to study – or attend a conference to stay on top of  the latest trends in her field?  It’s the same thing in business”, Harvey points out.  We must all stay on top of our computer skills, public speaking skills, otherwise as he says it: “you’ve got problems…you can’t practice those sort of skills enough…those are the ways that you become successful.”

Harvey also advices job candidates to humanize the search.  “Of course it’s important to prepare to win – by researching the company, the industry and more.  However, it’s as important to learn about the interviewer.  It’s simple – people buy from other people, people hire other people.”  As he explains it: “it’s because of chemistry, of likeability, because of people skills (that people hire).  And therefore, when you go in for a job…do everything you can to find out about the interviewer. Know 5 or 10 things about the interviewer that they don’t know you know about them. That will humanize the interviewer, the experience.  Because it’s a person doing the hiring, and so you have to get along with that person – humanize the experience.  Prove to them that you know how important team work is, that you’re not high soprano, that you’re not a  problem – no matter how bright you may be…Also, learn about the invisible web. Know whether the interviewer is a Democrat or a Republican. Know if they play at a country club, what their golf scores are.  Know if they did something of importance in their industry – like writing a paper…And when you get in the interview, look for a common denominator with the interviewer, so that you can get along…that’s a tremendous philosophy to have when ever you’re looking for a job.”

Harvey did not disapoint me – when he greeted me over skype – he pronounced my name just as a spanish speaker would. After cringing for years over mispronunciations – I know that he is following his own advice. He made an effort to connect – to humanize our interview experience.    

And where does authenticity fit into the pecking order of skills needed during a job search? 

“If I were to pick one other word in the entire English language that’s needed to be a success during a life time (aside from authenticity)…it’s T.R.U.S.T.

If you don’t have trust in a relationship…on the job search market. When you join that company, if you can’t trust your employer, if you can’t trust your boss, then you have very little chance to succeed. And right under that comes authenticity because you have to be yourself. You can’t be something that you aren’t.  You can’t fake it.  You have to be authentic. And once that shines through, once that shows through to your peers, to your boss, to anyone else…whatever business you’re in…once that shines through, then the sky is the limit.  Because if there isn’t trust there, if there isn’t authenticity, then you don’t have a chance. So authenticity is critical – of course it’s what we teach all the time – don’t fake it, don’t exagerate…just be yourself during an interview. And sell as hard as you can as long as you’re sincere.”

Networking – where does it fit in?

“…67% of all jobs are found through networking…so you have to be out there in the community. You can volunteer and join groups you love and respect. You can be out there technologically…Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn…”  

On twitter – what makes a good tweet?

“It has to:

  1. Have take home value – ‘teach me something’.
  2. Leave a smile on my face.
  3. Engage me.

If you can tweet every day like that, you’ll be helping  a lot of people.”

Thanks Harvey – for a life enhancing interview.  See you on twitter!