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    Marcel Schwantes calls this episode “one of the most authentic and real and raw conversations” he has ever had. His guest, JT McCormick, is the CEO of Scribe Media, a multimillion-dollar publishing company that has been ranked the number one Top Company Culture in America by Entrepreneur magazine, and number two Best Place to Work in Texas. JT is the author of “I Got There: How a Mixed Race Kid Overcame Racism, Poverty and Abuse to Arrive at The American Dream.” He joins Marcel to chat about his amazing life story — his journey from scrubbing toilets at a restaurant to becoming President of a million-dollar software company, and now CEO of Scribe Media – and to share the lessons he learned along the way.

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    Show Notes

    • JT says, “If you wake up in the morning and your feet hit the ground, you’ve got to be excellent… Anything that’s not excellent in my life I’m the only one that can change it, so there’s no need to complain about it, just get to work.” [3:45]
    • “My why is to be a phenomenal husband, a phenomenal father, a phenomenal CEO. And then I would say fourth on the list is to give back to the communities which I came from.” [5:07]
    • Marcel asks JT how he overcame all the adversity of his early life. He replies that he refused to be a victim. He decided, at age eight, not to spend his time trying to get everyone to like him, because some people just would not. This early lesson spared him years of grief. Another fundamental lesson he learned was to believe in himself. [8:38]
    • “I just tend to look at things from a positive standpoint… I choose to figure out, How can we make a positive out of a negative situation?” [10:20]
    • JT shares his journey from scrubbing toilets to President of a software company. Two lessons he learned were to be the best at whatever he did, and the magic of compound interest. [12:22]
    • When JT was promoted to President, it struck him that he was only as good as the people he surrounded himself with. As such, his focus shifted to finding the greatest people to surround the company and himself with. [17:03]
    • “If you are in a leadership position, you’re only a leader if you serve,” JT argues. He describes how the principle of putting people first is lived out at Scribe Media. [18:05]
    • Marcel asks, “How does a company become number one in the category of culture?” JT responds that it’s a matter of the little actions taken every day to live out your principles. At Scribe Media, they work with each other, not for JT. They bring their whole selves to work: he doesn’t believe in a work self vs a home self. He shares several practices they adopt at the company that build the culture. [22:37]
    • JT and Marcel discuss Scribe Media’s Culture Bible, which is freely accessible to the public. They talk about three of the principles listed in the Culture Bible: 
      • Do right by people;
      • Bring your whole self to work;
      • Ask questions.  [26:46]
    • “A lot of times you can eliminate questions in transparency,” JT points out. [33:21]
    • JT explains why he disagrees with the remote work trend. [35:37]
    • “What’s your best advice for business owners trying to stay resilient during these crazy stressful times?” Marcel asks. JT advises leaders to put their people first, be transparent, be visible and let people know where they stand. Let people feel safe, he adds, and if you have to pivot or make other tough decisions, make them early and let people know so that you can set their expectations. [39:35]
    • JT teaches through sharing his mistakes. [44:19]
    • “I can’t become something that I don’t even know exists,” JT says. “…I believe if people just know what’s possible they can strive to achieve that.” [46:19]
    • “I live by a formula: Mindset, choices and hard work equals success.” [48:48]

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    About Marcel Schwantes

    Marcel Schwantes is the founder and chief human officer of Leadership from the Core, a global leadership training and executive coaching boutique aimed at developing great leaders and great cultures through Servant Leadership.

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