Chuck Blakeman

I love perspectives on business building that are the opposite of what most people have learned. In this episode Chuck Blakeman and I discuss his philosophy on how to build a Participation Age Company versus Industrial Age Company.  We discuss the disease of 9to5, why managers are a bad idea, separation of work and play, the problem of ‘big’, the bankrupt idea of retirement, and catching people doing things right, live ‘stretched out’.

Chuck is the author of two books and we spend most of our discussion centered around his philosophy of his most recent book which is a Top Ten Business Book of the Year:

Why Employees are ALWAYS a Bad Idea

Chuck has an impressive background in business building which I always find refreshing as well since I think it is important that the advice be grounded in the reality of actual experience.

The entire show notes are listed below:

  • Doing things differently – Maverick, 7 Day weekend, Let My People Go Surfing, E-Myth Mastery [1:25]
  • Why Employees are ALWAYS a Bad Idea – Secret Origin Story [2:15]
  • The results of Blakeman’s research [7:20]
  • Being in Business for something bigger than money [8:30]
  • Jim Collins Good to Great Companies [9:45]
  • Why create a Participation Age company? [10:35]
  • The Rugged Individualist, the Worst CEO in America [12:50]
  • Profile: Ricardo Semler [14:55]
  • “A good man works hard” – The Tenants of the Protestant Ethic [16:10]
  • How do you get to where everybody in your business works like adults? [21:25]
  • “You don’t create culture, you simply live out what you believe” [22:10]
  • Douglas McGregor – The Human Side of Enterprise [22:30]
  • Lowest Common Denominator(LCD) Management [23:35]
  • Highest Common Denominator Leadership [25:20]
  • What percentage of people do you think owned their own business their whole lives before 1850? [26:00]
  • Industrial Age System vs Stakeholder Environment [29:15]
  • What is the one question you have not been allowed to ask at work for 150 years? [32:00]
  • Sales & Marketing in a Participation Age Company [34:40]
  • “Entrepreneurs are really good at the thing they’re having trouble getting someone else to do” [40:20]
  • “Managers are indispensable and never get out of the way, Leaders train other people and then get as far out of the way as possible” [42:20]
  • The concept of catching someone doing something right [43:43]
  • An example of a Participation Age Leader [49:25]

Chuck Blakeman has built eight businesses in seven industries on four continents, and now uses his leadership experience to advise others. His company, Crankset Group, provides outcome-based mentoring and peer advisory for business leaders worldwide in the U.S., Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Chuck sold one of his businesses to the largest consumer fulfillment company in America and led three other $10- $100 million companies through repositioning in the Marketing Support Services industry. He presently leads the Crankset Group and a for-profit business based in Africa, focused on developing local economies to solve poverty.

Mr. Blakeman is a results leader, and has decades of sales, marketing and operations experience leading companies in marketing, import/export, fulfillment, call centers, website development, printing and direct mail processing.

Some of Mr. Blakeman’s customers have included Microsoft, Apple, Eli Lilly, TAP Pharmaceuticals, Sun Microsystems, Tyco Healthcare, Johns Manville and many more Fortune 5000s and smaller businesses.

He is a convention speaker, writer, and non-profit board member. His first book, “Making Money is Killing Your Business”, was named #1 Business Book of the Year by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB),  the largest business owner association in America. His newest book, Why Employees are ALWAYS a Bad Idea, has already been named a Top Ten Business Book of the Year and is required reading at the University of Georgia’s MBA Program.

Recent speaking appearances include Kenya, DR Congo, Ireland, New Zealand, and across the US. 100+ times a year. Recent print and online appearances include Inc. Magazine (regular contributor), Success Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine,, He was recently cited in Dr. Stephen Covey’s recent book, The 3rd Alternative.

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