258: David McCourt: Blow up the model and start over
David McCourt was with two other Irishmen in a bar. But there was no joking around when he began whining about not getting paid for some contracting work his company did. His friends told him to stop whining and to go do something. David has spent the rest of his life doing a lot and is now pushing people to blow up their model and do a total rethink.
David was born and raised in Watertown, a suburb of Boston. Growing up, he was the youngest of seven siblings. He describes his first challenge as working out how to get into the one bathroom shared by nine family members.
David’s grandparents left Bally Winna and Bally Ward, Co Galway, in Ireland at the tender age of 16 and sailed from Cork for a better life in America. He still has the box that contained all their possessions they travelled with in his house in Co Clare, Ireland, saying it acts as a great reminder for how fortunate we are, and how little you really need in life.
At the age of sixteen, young David wanted to become a cop. The decision was then taken away from him when the job offer was withdrawn because they said they had minority set-asides. Instead, he got a spot at Georgetown University, where alongside his studies, David started working for Tip O’Neill, the legendary politician who would go on to be one of the longest-ever-serving speakers of the House of Representatives.
David’s entrepreneurial path really got started at the age of 23 with McCourt Cable Systems, when he invented the industry standard of making a conduit with the cable already inside to make it easier to lay cable quicker with little disruption.
At 24, David moved out of the construction business after realizing that he needed to be in a business with recurring revenue. From there, he built Corporation Communications Network, the first competitive phone company in America, which used fibre.
He merged with MFS to create MFS McCourt and within several years, MFS sold for $14.3bn. David went on to repeat this model in Europe and in Mexico.
In media, he has founded a television network produces award-winning TV shows and documentaries. His personal Emmy came for producing the long-running PBS Kids series ‘Reading Rainbow’ and he has produced documentaries with stars including Angelina Jolie, Michael Douglas, Meg Ryan and Sônia Braga, and worked alongside Spike Lee, LeVar Burton and Bill Duke.
Today, David channels his interests through his investment company, Granahan McCourt Capital, as founder and CEO. He has become one of the most prominent investors in the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) industries.
David’s book ‘Total Rethink: Why Entrepreneurs Should Act Like Revolutionaries’ is a best-seller with the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Amazon, striking a chord with young entrepreneurs looking to disrupt the status quo.
The White House presented McCourt with its first-ever award recognizing extraordinary accomplishments by private sector businesses. He has been named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young LLP, Harvard Business School and Georgetown University. The American-Irish Historical Society presented him with its gold medal, an award previously bestowed on Ronald Reagan, Mary Higgins Clark and Bono, and he was awarded the Science Foundation Ireland medal for outstanding contribution to technology and innovation.
David currently splits his time between Miami and London.
Tweetable Quotes and Mentions
“I do what I love, with people I love.” – Click to Tweet
“When you look at a big issue, you need to look into the future when it’s already solved, and then work backward in how you got there.” – Click to Tweet
“If you start at the present and look forward at a big problem, you’ll be overwhelmed and never be able to solve it.” – Click to Tweet
“You have to put yourself in the future and image the problem all solved and back into how you got there.” – Click to Tweet
“One side says the problem is all big business; another side says the problem is all big government. And they’re both lies, neither is true.” – Click to Tweet
“Business over the last 50 years have extracted value from communities instead of contributing to communities.” – Click to Tweet
“It doesn’t make you wrong that your view is different than mine.” – Click to Tweet
“Incremental change is no longer viable; you need to blow up the model and start over.” – Click to Tweet
“Business have got to take leadership and start adding value to the communities they do business in.” – Click to Tweet
“We all need to hang around young people to stay vibrant, stay relevant, to keep getting ideas.” – Click to Tweet
“Right now, the way the world is working we’re all getting satisfied in our own little echo chambers.” – Click to Tweet
“The educational system was built over hundreds of years for an old way of doing business.” – Click to Tweet
“You can’t spend time whining. You’ve got to face the situation you’re in, deal with it, make decisions, move forward.” – Click to Tweet
“Really successful people have learned how to say no to things that aren’t part of their base mission.” – Click to Tweet
“Life is not long enough to accomplish everything you want to accomplish.” – Click to Tweet
“With passion, even if you don’t accomplish everything you want to, you feel like you died trying.” – Click to Tweet
Hump to Get Over
David McCourt was with two other Irishmen in a bar. But there was no joking around when he began whining about not getting paid for some contracting work his company did. His friends told him to stop whining and to go do something. David has spent the rest of his life doing a lot and is now pushing people to blow up their model and do a total rethink.
Advice for others
Live with passion and never give up.
Holding him back from being an even better leader
Best Leadership Advice
From Jack Welch, once you decide what your mission is for your company, repeat it over and over and over and over again, even if you have to say the same thing 10,000 times. Just keep on repeating it.
Secret to Success
Being born to the right family and having the father and mother I had, that gave me confidence. Luck.
Best tools in business or life
Contacting David McCourt
Resources and Show Mentions
Show TranscriptClick to access edited transcript
258 David McCourt episode
Jim Rembach: (00:00)
Okay. Fast leader Legion today. I’m excited because I have somebody on the show today who’s going to really assist us in rethinking everything.
Jim Rembach: (00:10)
David McCourt was born and raised in Watertown, a suburb of Boston. Growing up, he was the youngest of seven siblings. He describes his first challenge is working out how to get into the bathroom shared by nine family members, David’s grandparents, left belly winner and belly McCord County in Galway in Ireland at the tender age of 16 and sailed from cork for a better life in America. He still has the box that contained all their possessions they traveled with in his house in County, Clare Ireland saying an acts as a great reminder for how fortunate we are and how little you really need in life. At the age of 16 young David wanted to become a cop. The decision was taken away from him when the job offer was withdrawn because they said they had minority set asides. Instead, he got a spot at Georgetown university where alongside his studies, David started working for tip O’Neill, the legendary politician who would go on to be one of the longest ever serving speakers at the house of representatives.
Jim Rembach: (01:10)
David’s entrepreneurial path really got started at the age of 23 with McCourt cable systems when he invented the industry standard of making a conduit with the cable already inside to make it easier to lay cable quicker with little disruption. At age 24 David moved out of the construction business after realizing that he needed to be in a business with recurring revenue. From there, he built corporation communications network, the first competitive phone company in America, which used fiber. He merged with M F S to create MFS McCourt and within several years, MFS was sold for 14 point $3 billion and David went on to repeat this model in Europe and in Mexico and media. He has founded a television network which produces award-winning TV shows and documentaries. His personal Emmy came from producing the long running PBS kid series reading rainbow, and he has produced documentaries with stars including Angelina Jolie. Michael Douglas, Meg Ryan and so Sonia Braga and worked alongside spike Lee LaVar Burton and bill Duke today.
Jim Rembach: (02:16)
David channels his interests through his investment company. How do you say thank you, grant, a hand McCourt capital. As founder and CEO, he has become one of the most prominent investors in the technology, media and telecommunication industries. David’s book total rethink why entrepreneurs should act like revolutionaries is a bestseller with the wall street journal USA today and Amazon striking a cord with young entrepreneurs looking to disrupt the status quo. The white house presented McCourt with its first ever award recognizing extraordinary complements in the private sector business. He’s been named entrepreneurial nearby Ernst and young Harvard business school and Georgetown university. The American Irish historical society presented him with its gold medal and award previously to stowed on Ronald Reagan, Mary Higgins, Clark, and bono and he was awarded the science foundation Ireland medal for outstanding contribution to technology and innovation. David currently splits his time between Miami and London. David McCourt, are you ready to help us get over the hump?
David McCourt: (03:16)
Absolutely, Jim. Absolutely. Thank you for having me on.
Jim Rembach: (03:20)
Oh, I am so glad to have you on the show because you are going to share with us one of these most powerful topics. I think that underlies all of our future success. But I’ve given my Legion a little bit about you, but can you share what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better?
David McCourt: (03:38)
Yeah. Thanks Jim. Well, you know, I spent my whole life in telecom and media, so that’s, that’s my thing and that’s what I do. Um, I’m blessed now that I have a little bit more choice of what I do and who I do it with. So I do what I love with people I love and we are lucky enough recently, um, as in two weeks ago we were just awarded the largest public private partnership in Europe. It’s a $5 billion project to, um, fiber up all of Ireland. Every man, woman and child will have a fiber to the home in Ireland. And I’m going to be doing that. My company grant him a court in partnership with the Irish government. So we’re very excited about that and I’m obviously very excited about my book. Total rethink. So I’m out peddling the book to Jim.
Jim Rembach: (04:26)
Well and, and you know, I, after going through the book and I had mentioned that, um, I haven’t done a word for word read, I’ve done a deep skim of it so that we can have this interview, but I’m looking forward to going back to the book because you share so many of your life stories. I mean it’s going back at an early age talking about that, you know, trying to get into the bathroom, you know, all the way to where you are today. It’s just been a bunch of challenges and navigation points for you that you’ve pivoted and just continued to, to, to move forward. But one of the things that you said in the book for me, I think resonates pretty strongly and that you talk about us needing to leap forward and then look back to see how we got there and really just start our navigation.
David McCourt: (05:08)
That’s exactly right Jim. When you, when you look, when you stand in the present, look at a big problem. Big, big problems like we have today. We have housing crisis today. We have a healthcare crisis today. We have educational costs rising faster than wages. So we have big problems right now. Housing, healthcare, education, big, big issues, the environment, big issues. When you’re looking at initiative, it’s that big. You need to put yourself in the future when the problem is already solved and then look at that in its finish date and then work backwards and how you got there and work your way all the way backwards to the present. And then you can see what the steps are. Because if you start from the present and look forward at a problem that’s that big, you’ll be overwhelmed and you’ll never be able to solve it. And you’ll keep on making incremental steps. But if the problem is getting bigger, faster than you’re making incremental incremental steps, as is the case around housing, education and health care in the environment, then you’re never going to get there. You’re never going to solve the problem fast enough. So you have to put yourself in the future and then imagine the problem all solved and then back into how you got there. It’s the only way you can solve problems of this size in my view.
Jim Rembach: (06:23)
Well, and in the book you talk about the whole U S political issue with the duopoly, you know, of the, of the two party system. You talk about collaboration, you talk about all of these things that are necessary in order for us to, you know, really get to that solution. Uh, but I think for most of us, you know, that’s the, that’s a grand scheme that we can never reach. So we have to kind of look at it from our own perspective. And you talk about, you know, your creative thinking needing to be holistic. What do you really mean by that?
David McCourt: (06:53)
Well, for this, I think there’s two questions in there. First of all, we have this do opoly these, these two systems, right? We have the left and the right and one side says the problem is all big business. Another side says the problem is all big government and they’re both lies. Neither is true. We need a functioning government. Government is not all the problem all the time and we need functioning businesses. Otherwise you and I won’t be able to be talking over this, this technology if it wasn’t for functioning businesses, right. But businesses over the last 50 years have extracted value from communities instead of contributing to communities. And that’s it. You know, it used to be the businesses would contribute to the community and they’d make money. Now they seem to, many of them are just trying to extract value from the communities they do business in.
David McCourt: (07:46)
If they have a division that’s not making as much money as all the other divisions, but it’s very important to a community, they’ll shut it down in a, in a heartbeat rather than say, well, we have to fix this. It’s not as profitable as the other ones, but it’s still important to the community. And that way of thinking has gone away. And that’s made people angry at business and businesses angry at government because government just keeps getting bigger and bigger and it, and it gets less and less done. But the both, not bad. We just need a sensible middle. And when I, you mentioned in my introduction that he used to work for a guy named tip O’Neill, speaker of the house. My little desk was right outside his office and every day when he’d come back from the floor, I’d say, mr speaker, how’d we do today?
David McCourt: (08:27)
And he would always say to me, well, Davey used to call me Davey. Well Davey, we’ve got half and half is better than nothing. That attitude of of compromise is gone in gym. You may have a view of something and I may have a view of something that doesn’t make you wrong, that your view is different than mine. It means that based on where you stand or where you sit based on your life experiences, based on your knowledge, that’s your position. Based on my knowledge, based on where I stand on where I sit, I have a position we should exchange those, those ideas. It doesn’t make either one of us wrong, it just means we have a different view and politicians should accept both views and get to the sensible middle. But that that’s, that’s left us and that needs to come back. We need to rethink politics. We need to rethink that attitude.
Jim Rembach: (09:15)
You know, I think you and I could definitely go on for a long time associated with this because I think underlying in your book and you come out and talk about it and you know, you, you’re really saying it here is that a lot of this is about relationships and having deeper connections and relationships. You know, it used to be, you know, in tips day and prior to that, you know that on both sides, you know, actually be having social functions and events with one another and they had deeper relationships. You know, now that’s just not the case.
David McCourt: (09:45)
And they listened, they didn’t attack you, can’t you? If you attack another man or a woman, they’re going to defend themselves. And that’s not a way to get anything done. And now it’s all about attacking the other side. It’s all about, let me, you know, Jim says one thing, so I say Jim is wrong. Jim is stupid. Jim doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Jim is going to destroy the country. Jim is going to destroy the world. We can’t listen to Jim. That’s not a, that’s a way me never getting through to Jim. That’s a way. And then all of Jim’s friends and followers are gone. Then I’m going to attack Dave because Dave is attacking Jim. And then you just end up with this. And of course social platforms, we award you for this because they get you more followers and more comments. So you think you’re doing well because you’re getting more likeminded people to follow you. And then you have more likeminded people on the other side to follow them. And then the circles get bigger and bigger. But there’s still two opposing circles that get nothing done.
Jim Rembach: (10:47)
Well, and I think, um, you know, again, I don’t want to get too far into this, this political thing because it takes him, distracts away from your book. But you know, even Howard Schultz, Schultz, um, you know, the CEO of Starbucks, you know, thought and considered, you know, making a run as an independent to help, you know, maybe break this up, pulled out. He did for 45 minutes. Exactly. It was the quickest campaign ever. Exactly. Uh, and the fear was that it would just, you know, split, you know, the votes and things like that and people would get in that you didn’t want to get in. And it’s just, it’s, it’s craziness. But I think for us when we start thinking about our own things that we can really take advantage of and, and empower, you know, that’s really, it has to start with us. Um, and so you talk about, you know, people and building that tribe and building, you know, even a followership, you know, and think about it as a work environment and you talk about somebody always being excited for somebody that is continually looking to blow up the model. What do you, what do you mean by that?
David McCourt: (11:49)
Well, Jim, from the industrial revolution, or even before that, up to about the 1990s everything was about incremental change. You could live your life and you could run your business, but incremental change. And in business, we even had names for like six Sigma and another turn of inventory. Another point of EBITDA. It was all about just doing everything every year a little bit better. Now the world is moving too fast. Plus because of the internet, because of social media, because of the polarization of the political system, because of the way we consume news, all of the, because of globalization, because of all those things you can’t, incremental change is no longer viable. You need to blow up a model and start over. You need to just scratch it. You can’t make incremental changes. We’re not going to be able to solve our way through the fact that education costs, healthcare costs, housing costs are growing faster than wages.
David McCourt: (12:44)
We have to blow up the model. We’re not going to be able to make incremental changes around this crazy political system that we have now and you can see all over the world gym people are getting are getting pissed off. You see that in the Arab spring, you see that in Hong Kong and you see that and then as well you see that all over the world. People are are angry and that gives you Brexit. I’m in London today. We just had elections here today. That gives you Trump that, that, and you may be far Brexit that are against Brexit. You may be for Trump or against Trump. My point is it that people are angry and people are angry because the problems for the middle-class are getting bigger and bigger and we’re solving them on a very incremental basis. But the problems are growing by leaps and bounds. So people are feeling that they get left behind in businesses and have got to take leadership in helping to solve these problems. These problems are not going to get solved by politicians. Businesses have got to take leadership and start contributing in, in adding value to the communities as well as making money. You have to add value to the communities they do business in.
Jim Rembach: (13:56)
Well, when you start talking about the business landscape though, um, I mean it’s, you know, at least in America, you know, they say America is run on small business. You know, people that have, you know, less than 10 people, um, that are part of the company. And so if we start talking about business, you know, solving these problems, what businesses are you really talking about?
David McCourt: (14:18)
Well, look all the PR, let’s talk about the environment. We talked about the environment, right? You can make money by solving the environmental problem. You know, we have, um, so I was yesterday, I’m in London today. Yesterday I was in, I was in Ireland. We have 137,500 farms in Ireland, right? Most of them are beef, beef, cattle. The cow, Jim, the cow doesn’t have a good future, right? If people are eating less meat, they’re saying meat’s not good for you. They’re saying that, um, the amount of methane gas that farms put out is far more than, than automobiles put out, you know, per area. In Ireland, about 20% of our MFA, our, our, our carbon footprint is attributable to automobiles, about 25% towards houses, 35% towards agriculture. So how do we rethink all that methane on the farms and turn that into and turn that into energy?
David McCourt: (15:17)
How do we rethink storing electricity? How do we rethink, uh, batteries? How do we rethink electric cars? You don’t have to plug them in. You remember, Jim, when you used to travel, you know, 20 years ago, you’d go to a hotel room and you were looking for that blue coat to put into your laptop. No. You know, no. If you went to a 20 year old kid and asked him about that new cord that he used to plug into his laptop, when you got no hotel room, you have no idea what you’re talking about. You can’t have electric cars that you have to look for a place in the side of the road to plug them into. There’s gotta be a way that those, that those are charged, there’s gotta be a way that they store more power, that they’re charged for longer periods of time, that you charge them quicker and you don’t have to plug into charging.
David McCourt: (15:56)
You just have to drive over a pad or you drive under a charging station. So, um, how we rethink the, the agriculture, how we think the sustainability of farms, how we think the sustainability of our energy sources in our food, all of those things, uh, ways to make money. How we rethink rural life right now in the world is seven, the equivalent of seven New York cities a year, the equivalent of the size of New York city, seven a year being added to the globe. So everybody’s going to an urban environment. Well, we’re a life will die in. And obviously that doesn’t help housing private practices up prices prior to me. Obviously that doesn’t help the environment. We have to rethink the rural environment as business opportunities there. We have to rethink healthcare education. Why is it cost in America $50,000 to send your kid to a top 50 university in America? Crazy. You can’t afford that. So all of those things, uh, business opportunities, every one of them, Jim,
Jim Rembach: (16:58)
they are. And so all of this is founded in really this creative thinking, you know, that we’re talking about. And that’s the whole, you know, disruption element. That’s a whole, you know, you’re talking about being a revolutionary in that. But when we start thinking about some of these modern societies, all of them are experiencing what is referred to as a creativity crisis, right? Um, because of how we do education because of how many other factors come into play. We are stripping out and taking out that creative thinking process and you talk about in the book, you know something about asking a 10 year old, you talk about thinking big but think young. So elaborate on that a little bit.
David McCourt: (17:36)
Well that’s, that’s a tip I got from my mother and my mother who was with us until she was in our hundred and third year and vibrant and living alone in till five days before she died. She just died a few months ago and she to always tell me, and I’m talking about when she was a hundred, she was telling me this, she’d say, Dave, don’t hang around with old people. They’ll bring you down. Hang around with young people. We all need to hang around with young people to stay vibrant, to stay relevant, to keep on getting those ideas. And we have to read a lot and we have to listen to other people. And in right now, the way the world is working, we’re all getting satisfied in our own little echo chambers because that’s where we get our likes and our, uh, positive comments on social media.
David McCourt: (18:20)
We need to go outside of that environment to people who have a different viewpoint, listen to what they’re saying. Now I have the luxury and I’m blessed because I can travel all over the world and I do travel and I do business all over the world. So I get to sit down with people like yourself, Jim, and, and, and hear someone else’s viewpoint, someone else’s, um, view of the world, someone looking at the same situation through someone else’s, uh, optics, someone else’s prison. And that’s what you need to do to stay young and stay creative in the educational system is not going to help that cause the educational system is very rigid. Educational system was built over hundreds of years for an old way of doing business. We’re doing business and we’re living our lives a very different way, but we’re educating our kids the same way. And that’s a problem. And it’s a business opportunity to, for someone to solve that.
Jim Rembach: (19:15)
Well, and you even talk about in the book something about a lot of universities trying to step up and having, you know, entrepreneurial type of programs. And you talk about even, you know, really the, the, the mindset of the students in those entrepreneurial types of programs. And I think that’s important for you to share. What did you, what are you finding there?
David McCourt: (19:32)
What I mean there is that a lot, and I speak at a lot of universities in, in schools and I hear a lot people that say young people that say they want to be an entrepreneur. And when you ask them why they don’t want to have a boss, they want to make a lot of money. They want to have their own hours that they work. And those are all bad reasons to be an entrepreneur. Um, w you do, you want a mentor and that might be a boss or something like a boss. Uh, and you’re going to work endless hours and you’re not going to have, you’re gonna have less freedom. You’re gonna make less money as an entrepreneur in most cases. So you have to do it for the love of solving problems that people say can’t be solved. You have to do it for the, for, for the love and the passion that brings you to, to focus on problems that people say can’t be solved.
David McCourt: (20:27)
And we need to bring that way of thinking to everything, including business, not just business, because business people gym, they’re like mice. You know, they’ll, they’ll find a crumb somewhere, they’ll find a way to make a living. We need to bring an entrepreneurial way or revolutionary way of thinking to doctors in Deloitte [inaudible] into judges and to police woman and to teachers and to fire woman in firemen. We need to bring a, a, a more entrepreneurial way of thinking to the entire middle-class of the world, of, of, of what makes up the world. What makes up all of our neighbors. So in the book, is that what you’re calling the, it’s this empowerment culture yet? Well, the empowerment culture is, is from, from day one. Until recently the world was managed from the top business and government and people have influenced, set the rules for for organized law abiding society and we all followed them, but now we’re looking at an environment where a the doing a bad job at the top for the reasons we talked about earlier, businesses extracting too much value and not contributing as much value as they should.
David McCourt: (21:41)
Politicians have got to the point where their only job is to get reelected every day they wake up with one thing in mind. How do I get reelected? What do I say or do to keep my job? They’ve forgotten who they represent so that the politicians that have taken on a new, a new life of just staying in power. You’ve got businesses that have gotten a little too greedy so you’ve got this, this problem going on. Then you’ve got the world moving very, very fast so and you’ve got the internet and social media where people on the bottom can see the difference between the haves and the have nots. The difference between the haves and have nots has gotten wider and wider and people can organize because of social media. They can organize around a person or a thought or a cause and that’s why you’ve see what you see in Hong Kong.
David McCourt: (22:29)
That’s what you, that’s what you have, what you’ve been seeing in France. That’s why you have what you’ve seen in Beirut recently. That’s what you, that’s what you’ve got, what you saw in the Arab spring. You’ve got people organizing around a thought or a cause or a person and saying, time out, I’ve had enough. You guys at the top have not done a good job. We want change and you’re going to see it pop up all over the world until finally the bottom gets organized. Cause right now they’re a little disorganized. When they get organized, they’ll force change from the bottom up, which will be much more effective than the top down because what the top is doing,
Speaker 4: (23:09)
David McCourt: (23:11)
The politicians are just saying things that sound right. Like it’s the one percenters problem. They’re there. They’re calling, you know, rich people, the one percenters in the saying it’s their fault. Well, it’s everybody’s fault. And by blaming one group and saying, we’re going to take away what you have to solve, the problem that doesn’t solve the problem, what we want to do is give to the bottom what they’re asking for, which is the basic things that make you feel dignified to not keep on falling farther and farther out of reach, like able to own a house, being able to have proper health care, being able to educate your kids. My grandfather, you mentioned him earlier, um, when he came over at 16 years old, now my grandfather and grandmother came from two villages that were very close to each other, but they didn’t meet till they were in America.
David McCourt: (24:00)
They met in Boston, but my grandfather was a janitor. So a janitor is a man that cleans toilets and floors for a living. But he owned his own house and his dog, he educated his daughter who turned out to be my mother and he could pay his doctor bills and he could pay it. And he knew if he ever lost his job, you wouldn’t lose this house cause he owned his own house. Today in America, a janitor can’t afford to own a house. So what does that mean? That we’re going to take a whole piece of American society and say, you don’t get to own the American dream, but yet I still want a clean bathroom. That doesn’t work either. Either. We decide that we all get a piece of the American dream. You talked about what America is. To me, America is the country of hopes and dreams. As soon as we lose that, we’re screwed. In my book, what I try to do in my book is say, let’s all rethink everything. Politics, education, healthcare, uh, uh, uh, how we elect people, uh, campaign reform, educational reform. Let’s rethink them all.
Jim Rembach: (25:01)
Well, and so you kind of alluded to there in a book, you, you, you talk about, you know, creating a revolution, but you talk about create, being able to have creative revolutionaries because this isn’t about fighting. I mean, that’s still that same polarization thing that we’re talking about that we don’t need for that. So how do we incubate either in ourselves and in others, you know, this creative, revolutionary type of person?
David McCourt: (25:29)
Well, the first thing we need to do, and not all you know, revolutionaries, we’re, we’re, we’re fighting. You know, Gandhi wasn’t a big fighter, right? Mother Teresa wasn’t a, wasn’t a big fighter. So not everybody was, was trying to fight. But the first thing you do is you try to let people know that they can make a difference. You try to give people confidence. You try to instill confidence in people that didn’t have the same opportunities that maybe you and I had, but are very, very creative. They just don’t have the confidence. So try to give them the confidence, then try to give them a playing field in which they can, they can be compared to mainstream and let them add it. Let them at these problems. Let people who can’t afford to go to university still have the same access that you and I have to the world. And you know, step one is giving people confidence. Step two is giving them a platform.
Jim Rembach: (26:24)
Well with me as you’re talking, even going through this book, the fact is, is we don’t have to be an independent, you know, uh, employed person and an entrepreneur to really take advantage of all the things that are, you know, learning lessons, uh, and, and really life things that you’ve gone through in this book. I mean, really is starting today with where you are, you know, and doing that leap forward. You know, you may find that you’re, you know, you are where you want to be. Um, and it’s just widening things. You know, may, it may give you the opportunity to see that you need to be somewhere else, but I don’t think people go through that exercise and activity enough. How often should somebody actually do that leaping forward? And then looking back
David McCourt: (27:06)
every time they’re confronted with a problem that they feel is insurmountable, every single time someone is faced with a problem that they feel is overwhelming them because it’s too big. If you got to close your eyes for a minute, put themselves in the situation where that problem is solved. Paint a picture in their mind of what that looks like, solved. And then say, okay, what was the last thing that happened? What was the second to last thing? The third to last, the fourth to last, the fifth to last and work their way backwards. And they’ll see that it’s not that unsolvable that it needs to look for once they get back to the present. They need to look forward and take one step at a time.
Jim Rembach: (27:48)
Okay. So what’s you’re talking about there is something that I’ve studied called retrospective engineering. I’m also, they say that’s the same methodology that chess grandmasters use in order to win at the game of chess
David McCourt: (28:00)
retrospective engineer. And that’s a fancy word for what I was talking about.
Jim Rembach: (28:04)
I thought I’d share that with you.
David McCourt: (28:06)
Jim Rembach: (28:08)
All of what we’re talking about and what we’ve talked about requires a whole lot of inspiration. And one of the things that we look at on the show in order to get that are quotes because they help us hopefully get some white points. Um, is there a quote or two that you liked that you can share?
David McCourt: (28:23)
Yeah, ma ma, like my book, my book, I tried to take my book, Jim and I tried to put a quote at the beginning and at the end of every chapter, because it’s funny you should say that because I think quotes really help people. Uh, and I tried to put a quote at the beginning and then, or two, and then I’d write my story to try to get my point across from my own perspective to try to humanize it. And then I’d end with a quote unquote my fate. My best quote in the book is the very last one. I’ll read you the last one. No matter what happens in your life, remember, someone has it worse. Triers how does, it seems to always accept what has happened, but one foot in front of the other and move forward. Always forward. Catherine McCourt. That’s my mother.
David McCourt: (29:09)
And um, that’s the best. That’s the, that’s the best quote in the book. But there is, there are a lot of them. Um, eh, here’s one on page two 57. Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics. Viktor Pinchuk. I mean, there’s a, there’s a lot, you know, I got some, um, uh, comments on, on social media. Uh, my book became a, um, a bestseller and some, some people were saying, you know, how can you, how can you, uh, quote shake of R and B, a, B, a wall street journal bestseller, you know, he was a revolutionary, you know, he was a murderer or whatever. Look, I’m not saying that everybody in this book is, um, you know, I quote Tom Brady in this book. If you’re a jets fan or a giants fan or a Dallas cowboy fan, you’re not going to like Tom Brady. That doesn’t mean as quotes not good. Tom, Tom Brady has a great one here. He says, too often in life something happens and we blame other people for us not being happy or satisfied or fulfilled. So the point is, we will have choices and we make the choices to accept people or situations or not to accept situations. I mean, whether you’re a new England Patriots fan or not, that’s still a good quote.
Jim Rembach: (30:21)
Oh, a lot of places that we absolutely have to find inspiration. And your book also too is loaded with some thing that we focused in on, on the show. And that is getting over the hump because we can learn and a lot of people will learn from the lessons that you’ve learned from, you know, everything from, you know, needing to go to the back of the bathroom at the white house and, and seeing a friend of a, uh, a good friend.
David McCourt: (30:44)
You did, you did read the book. Thank you. Thank you.
Jim Rembach: (30:48)
Yeah, you’re welcome sir. Um, but we talk about getting over the hump. So now you have a lot of stories in the book. Yes. But what one story that you would, that you could share on the show really stands out for you that people can learn from?
David McCourt: (31:00)
Probably. Um, a story I tell early in the book, um, about how I started as a contractor and I wasn’t being paid and I was in a bar with a couple of friends of mine. Um, a top tip O’Neill son, Tommy, was one of them. Jim Finnigan was another one. Um, and you know, as three Irishmen, that’s where we were in a bar. Right. That’s, that’s, that sounds like the beginning of a joke. Right. And I, you know, I said that I was whining that I hadn’t got paid, and one of the guys said, look, you got to stop whining. No one gives a shit. No one wants to hear what y’all whiny, just do something. So I went out and I called the owner of the cable system, hadn’t paid me. And I said, look, if you’re not going to pay me, I’m going to take my work back.
David McCourt: (31:43)
And I started digging up with a backhoe. I started digging up the cable I’d put in for them, would shut the system down, which created this huge turmoil, which brought them to the table. Um, and that was like on a Tuesday, and by Thursday I had been paid and I probably still would’ve been paid had I not done that. And the point is not that people should go around, you know, dig enough cable with the backhoe. That might’ve been a little bit aggressive. Um, you know, but I was in my twenties at that time. But the point is that you, you, you can’t spend time whining. You’ve got to face the situation. You’re in face the reality you’re in. Don’t try to pretend that’s not the reality. Don’t try to brush it under the rug, face it, deal with it. Make decisions, move forward.
Jim Rembach: (32:33)
Ah, that is so true. Now talking about that, moving forward, I mean do you have a lot of things going on? Everything from you know, television and producing to investments and, and all these things that you know, you currently have in front of you, the book and promoting the book. So I dare to say that you probably have several goals that you have in store and in mind for you and several of those leaps and look backs that you want to do. What’s one of those that you can share?
David McCourt: (32:57)
One of the things I want to be better at in this coming year is saying no. The difference between successful people and really successful people is really successful. People have learned how to say no to things that aren’t part of their base mission cause you, cause life is not long enough to accomplish everything you want to accomplish. So you’ve got to be able to keep on bringing your focus back to what the one thing is. There was a, I pick up a book called the one thing, not that I’m trying to plug someone else’s book. I’d rather all your listeners read my book first, but I picked that book up called the one thing in the airport not long ago and I read it on a flight. It was actually right. You know, the premise of the book is that every day, every minute or every hour, every day, every week, every year, there’s always one thing that’s more important than everything else and focus on that one thing and get that done. Um, so if we talk next year, this time I’ll let you know how I’m doing, but that, that’s my goal for this year and to get people to read the book, not because I want, you know, to be continue to be a bestseller, not because I, you know, um, you know, want to get, uh, you know, a small royalty off the book. I want to use the book to help people to have confidence, to rethink their life, to rethink their station in life so they can be everything they, they were born to be
Jim Rembach: (34:31)
and the fast leader. Legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on, let’s get a quick word from our sponsor.
Jim Rembach: (34:37)
And even better place to work is an easy solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement along with integrated activities that will improve employee engagement and leadership skills in everyone using this award, winning solutions guaranteed to create motivated, productive, and loyal employees who have great work relationships with our colleagues and your customers. To learn more about an even better place to work, visit [inaudible] dot com board slash better. All right, here we go. Fast leader Legion. It’s time for the home. Oh now, okay David, the hump they hold on to the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So I’m asking you several questions and your job is to give us robust, yet rapid responses are going to help onward and upward faster. David McCourt, are you ready to hold down? I am. So what is holding you back from being an even better leader today? What is the best leadership advice you’ve ever received
David McCourt: (35:28)
from Jack Welsh, which is one, once you decide what’s what your mission is for your company, repeat it over and over and over and over and over again. Even if you have to say the same thing 10,000 times. Just keep on repeating it.
Jim Rembach: (35:43)
And what is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?
David McCourt: (35:47)
Being born to the right family. Having, having the mother I had and the father I had that that gave me confidence. Luck. [inaudible].
Jim Rembach: (35:55)
And what is one of your tools that helps you lead in business or life?
David McCourt: (35:59)
Persistence. I’m a persistent guy.
Jim Rembach: (36:03)
And what would be one book that you’d recommend to our Legion? You mentioned something about the one thing with that understood notes page. What other book would you recommend?
David McCourt: (36:11)
You know, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s been around for a long time, but Isaacson’s um, uh, well any of Isaacson’s books, but his book, uh, about Steve jobs is very inspiring, very, very inspiring for me. It was. Anyway.
Jim Rembach: (36:25)
Okay. Fast leader Legion. You can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to fast leader.net/david McCourt. We’ll also put a link to total rethink on your show notes page as well. Okay. David, this is my last Humpday hold on question. Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to that age of 25 and you have all the knowledge and skills that you have now and you can take them back with you, but you can’t take it all. You can only choose one. So what skill or knowledge would you take back with you and why?
David McCourt: (36:54)
That is a good question. Um, passion would be the one that I would, if I had to give up all the others, if I could, if I could hold on to passion, that’d be the one I’d hold on to. Because with passion gym, even if you don’t accomplish everything you, you want to, you know, you feel, you feel like you died trying. So the one thing I would not want to give up and the one thing I take with me, if I went back with only one, one quality, it would be passion.
Jim Rembach: (37:24)
David, I had a fun time with you today. How can the fast leader Legion connect with you?
David McCourt: (37:29)
You can use either um, at DC McCourt for Instagram at DC McCoy for Twitter, uh, or LinkedIn, any of the Instagram. I’d love to have your, your followers follow me on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Let me know what they think of the book. I’d love them after they read the book to go on Amazon, let Amazon know what they think of the book and I’ll stay. I’ll stay in touch with you and I’ll stay in touch with, with all your followers.
Jim Rembach: (37:53)
David McCourt. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. The fast leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump.