Meet this servant leader

Dr. Bikram Dhillon

True leadership isn’t defined by taking charge in moments of adversity. It shows up at its best in those small moments that comprise our daily habits.

When you were young, how many times were you asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I think the better question to begin asking is, “What value do you want to bring to this world?” The former question asks our children to choose a role they want to play to make a living. The latter requires them to decide the kind of person they want to become. Regardless of the role they choose.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Bik Dhillon. So far he’s helped me lose over 20 of the extra 70 pounds I’ve been carrying around for years. He’s the first one who has helped me get this far this fast. But his knowledge is only part of what sets him apart.

Dr. Dhillon is a true servant leader. He understands how important it is that we be there for each other. I saw this yesterday in a brief interaction he had with a salesperson.

I stood beside him as he helped an employee navigate the computerized bookkeeping system.

Just then, an energetic, young salesman bounced through the door. Dr. Dhillon turned to meet this young man with his signature Dr. Dhillon smile.

Dr. Dhillon’s weight loss regimen revolves more around lifestyle change instead of quick fixes. This young man explained his services for physicians who offer liposuction and cosmetic surgery. He concluded, “If you ever decide to offer these services, please keep us in mind.” To which Dr. Dhillon replied with a smile, “You never know.” Then the young man thanked him and left.

Dr. Dhillon turned to his employee and said, “I like to make the salespeople who visit feel successful, they have a tough job.”

He could have said, “If those guys ever come in here, tell them we’re not interested.” Instead his approach was much more simple and profound. Dr. Dhillon understands that he doesn’t just serve his patients, he serves people. Whether they’re investing in his services or only asking for a moment of his time.

Smile, be supportive, be gracious, lead by example. At first, I invested in Dr. Dhillon’s expertise for improving my health. What I’ve gotten besides, is a priceless example of an enlightened physician. A man who knows the importance of holding others up as they make their way through this world. 

Thanks for being you.

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Brand yourself before your company


I remembered a few years ago, or so, when a series of photos began circulating around the web. In them, the founder of Jimmy John’s posed next to an animal he killed while on safari in Africa. Here’s a link to one of those photos.

Instead of responding with, “Well, he’s a jerk, but I still like his sandwiches.” There was an outcry of, “BOYCOTT JIMMY JOHN’S.”

Want to know the difference between your brand, and the brand of your company? Well, in the eyes of your customers – there is no difference.

You must realize that in today’s digital world, who you choose to be can affect your brand. Hugh Hefner built his entire empire around celebrating lust. With a healthy dose of photoshop for the ladies and viagra for himself. He can flaunt his hedonistic lifestyle because it’s consistent with his company’s brand. 

Nonetheless, your personal values are in part what led you to become an entrepreneur. A life that grew you to allow you to grow your business. The more public you are, the more likely your life could be front page news. Then anyone with an opinion will talk about you and your company as synonymous. Including your customers. 

You and I both know that when you think Apple, you think Steve Jobs. When you hear Microsoft, you think Bill Gates.

So what do we do with this reality? The simple answer is, if it may hurt your company, DON’T do it. 

You are the walking, talking, breathing embodiment of what your company stands for, yes? So as your brand goes, so goes the brand of your company.

So before going any further. Consider answering these questions:

  • What do I stand for? 
  • Who am I helping to grow?
  • What will my legacy be?

I could ask a hundred questions here, but my larger point is this. If you want the privacy to live with little scrutiny, then work for someone else. But if you want to grow something magnificent. Then be worthy of standing as the full time representative of both brands. 

Thanks for being you.

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Leadership – a responsibility or a privilege?



I’m an idea nerd. I love, love, love listening to people smarter than me share their view of the world. Yesterday I had the privilege of listening to Tom Walter, the founder and CEO of Tasty Catering. The one idea he posed to the audience that I want to share with you is a question he posed for group discussion. The question was this, “Is leadership a responsibility or a privilege?”

The collective wisdom at my table concluded that it’s both. More so, servant leadership is a bigger idea whose time as come. The idea that it’s not about you as a leader. Some leaders believe they’re required to use intimidation to force scared subordinates into action.

Our view was that leadership is about our responsibility to empower those we lead. To live the vision of our company through their unique gifts. It’s the difference between the conductor that leads the orchestra or the engineer that drives the train. The train won’t move without the engineer, but an orchestra can play without its conductor.

Although an orchestra follows a plan in the form of sheet music; the conductor guides each member on best timing and execution. Thus, each member’s musical gifts, synergize best with those of their colleagues.

My approach to helping businesses grow is similar. I don’t like the idea of old school, hidden agenda marketing, that tries to mislead to grab a quick sale. I advocate the patient, let’s get to know and trust each other approach. If you want a quick sale then it’ll be difficult for you to make it in business long term. It’s like wanting every date to be a one night stand, then wondering why she didn’t say “I love you.”

Marketing leadership is about service first. Find out what your customers need and want. Then offer it to them within the context of a helpful relationship. NEVER expect the sale! If you need to beg, plead or coerce a customer into buying from you, that’s not leadership, that’s manipulation.

Leadership is when you show up to provide value by being helpful. The help you offer includes your product and service which they may invest in now, or two years from now. What matters is that you stuck with each other until they were ready.

I’m not suggesting that you open an artery and allow an indecisive prospect to bleed you dry. Those who aren’t ready often quietly consume your content. They watch, wait and learn. Then, once they’re ready, they’ll emerge and introduce themselves. Before that time, you’re giving most of your time and attention to those who stepped up. Make sense?

It’s amazing how many lives we’re able to touch through the digital channels we use to add value to the world. Even though you may not be able to see how far the ripple you create is able to go. Rest assured, it travels across the ocean of humanity and touches every soul it reaches.

Thanks for being you.

Why to always be perfect

-If today was perfect there would be no

“Nobody’s perfect.” We tell each other that all the time in a well meaning, hypocritical fashion. Hypocritical when you don’t allow yourself the same courtesy.

Why do you work so hard to achieve perfection while letting others off the hook?

Why do you seek perfection in the first place? Is it to avoid criticism from others? Is it to reserve the right to criticize yourself when you never achieve perfection? 

Perfection is often believed to be the absence of mistakes. No mistakes equals no criticism. No criticism from others that is. 

I’m not saying it’s wrong to want to be perfect there are plenty of benefits to perfection. Let’s consider a few:

  • You aren’t allowed to be less than perfect. Let’s face it, once you’ve achieved it, why would you settle for less? You’re a role model now, others look up to you to see how it’s done. You don’t want to let them down do you?
  • You get to do everything right the first time. How awesome would that be? No more trial and learning, no journey to your goal, no adventure. You get to bypass all that excitement, the buildup toward that sense of victory. Who needs it anyway, right?
  • You get to know everything. Imagine what it would be like to not have to learn anything new. When you’re perfect you know everything, right? You’re like Nostradamus on steroids. 

With all that said, yes, criticism can hurt. But going through life feeling like you’re never good enough hurts more. So here’s what I’m going to do:

  • I’m comfortable being a role model. In fact, I can say with utmost confidence that I model imperfection well. I’m 100% homegrown human being and damn proud of it.
  • I want the adventure of life. I don’t want to know everything. If I did, I wouldn’t need anyone else. They’d all be coming to me for the answers, then who would I have to look to? That would be awfully lonely. 
  • Now that I think about it, imperfection has a lot more to offer. Yeah, I’ll go with that.

After all, nobody’s perfect. Wait, something about that idea doesn’t work. Who wants to be a member of the Nobody’s? I don’t.

I want to be a part of a “we.”

Instead of saying, “Nobody’s perfect.”

Let’s start reminding each other that, “We are all still learning. This lesson is for you. Go with it and grow from it.”

We didn’t become parents or entrepreneurs because we wanted to live in a world of absolute certainty. We did so because we aren’t afraid of risk, learning or adventure.

We are students of experience and eat failure for breakfast, because we understand that missteps are better teachers than perfection. 

The epitome of arrogance is criticizing others for mistakes you’ve also made. Watching others trip over the same decisions you made before you knew better, provides an opportunity to model humility and show others the way to resilience. 

The best part of marketing the brand that is “you,” is showing the world that you’re successful because you learned from your mistakes, not because you never made any.

Please share your thoughts on this and please share it with others.

What business are you really in? A lesson for my son.


Do you remember your first job? What did you learn from it?

I was a paper boy. From it, I learned the importance of customer service. I learned how important it was for many of my customers, to have their papers, on their porch, early in the morning. That way they could reach out and grab it without leaving the house, and sit down to read it while eating breakfast. 

I learned that I wasn’t simply delivering newspapers, I was helping people live their lives. I provided them with a valuable piece of their morning routine. Something to help them feel comfortable and informed as they began their day. 

Yesterday I had the privilege of driving my oldest son Zach to his first day of work, his first job, at the local movie theatre. I’m so proud of that boy.

Zach expressed his anxiety, about whether he’d do well, about whether he’d like it. I explained to him the importance of understanding what he was truly doing when he showed up to work each day.

I said, “Zach, think of yourself as the owner of the Zachary King company. Your client is the theatre, and your business is marketing your particular set of skills to solve problems for your client. Every time you show up to serve your client, you’re doing so with the confidence of knowing that, ‘I got this.’ That you have what it takes to provide your services so well, that your client has one less thing to worry about.”

When I picked him up at the end of his first shift, 9 hours later, he was smiling, energized and talked about the fun he had.

You see, you have more than a job, or a business, you have a personal brand that is being marketed every time you show up.

I’m sure you’ve met the people with the most polished elevator pitch, the best interview skills, only to have them show up and suck at delivering on the promise. 

Getting in the door is the first step in the process of making a difference with your brand, your unique set of skills, which includes your work ethic, your values and your overall attitude.

Once you’re in the door, you need to show up each day with the understanding that you are reauditioning for your right to remain in service of your client. It’s not about you. It’s about the relationship you’re forging with the client, who was trusted you enough to open a door to their life and let you come in.

Treat it with respect it deserves.

Thanks for being you.

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