Joe Gianni: Diamond in the Rough – Clamming, NFL Quarterbacks and College Textbooks
This is a very special episode of The Motivational Intelligence Podcast! Sean Johnson sits down and talks with the president and CEO of 2logical, Joe Gianni. Joe shares his incredible journey, starting with a “magical” childhood in East Islip, Long Island and going on to follow in his father’s footsteps by starting his own business in Rochester, New York. Joe knew he wanted to start his own business when he was just ten years old. “My dad had his own business. So I used to go to work with him on the weekends as a young guy, so, someday I wanted to be like my dad, I wanted to start my own company. I didn’t know the word entrepreneur back then, but that lit the fire.”
After obtaining a degree in marketing and moving to Rochester with his fiancé Michelle, he got his first full time job working in sales for a man named Randy Nemec, whose unique but extremely effective method of training changed his life. When asked what made Randy so successful, “It was the way he had this knack to see talent. He just saw people differently than most people and he was able to pull that,” says Joe. Joe has lived an incredible life and after listening to this episode, it will be easy to understand why. He sees the world in a different way than most, “through the lens,” as he puts it. His story is inspiring and courageous. Listen to episode 23, “Joe Gianni: Diamond in the Rough – Clamming, NFL Quarterbacks and College Textbooks”, and as always, be sure to leave us comments, reviews and check us out on social media!
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Joe Gianni: Diamond in the Rough – Clamming, NFL Quarterbacks and College Textbooks
Sean Johnson: And so it begins. I’m really excited today, we got the big man in the house. The big boss man, Joe Gianni’s our CEO and I’m really excited to have him. I’ve probably been trying to get you in a studio for about three years now.
Joe Gianni: Probably.
Sean Johnson: I’m really excited to chat, because Joe has been an incredible, life-changing mentor to me, and there’s been so many times where we’ve had a conversation and afterwards, I just think, “Damn, I wish I could have recorded that.” So we’re going to start doing that. I hooked you in and this hopefully won’t be the last time.
Joe Gianni: I think you could drag me back.
Sean Johnson: Yeah, I think so. I think you’re going to like it. So, I think, for this conversation, I just wanted to kind of go through your journey because there’s been a lot of stories that you’ve told me over the years and a lot of lessons that you’ve passed on that come from your journey, from Long Island all the way to where we are today. So, that’s kinda what I was thinking for our chat today. So, where’d you grow up? Why don’t you talk about that a little bit?
Joe Gianni: So I originally grew up in Long Island, New York in a little town called East Islip my entire childhood. People say, “Joe, how’d you build a global leadership and sales training company out of Rochester, New York?” and I always share with people the same thing. I say “Blonde haired, blue eyed lady. So I met my wife in college and she was from Rochester, New York, Webster when we got engaged in college, and her and I settled here. So, that’s the story.
Sean Johnson: So, talk about your childhood a little bit. So you she grew up in Islip, Long Island. What was your childhood like?
Joe Gianni: So, I had a magical childhood. It was truly magical, and I didn’t know it at the time, growing up, but as the years went on, I realized that especially as you grow up and you move away and you meet people in all different paths and walks of life, but it was truly magical. My mother and father, my father was Italian, my mother was Irish.
So that made for, at times, a nice, volcanic upbringing. But they were wonderful people. God bless them, God rest their souls. They were wonderful peeps and my dad had his own business. So I used to go to work with them on the weekends as a young guy, so, someday I want to be like my dad, I want to start my own company.
I didn’t know the word entrepreneur back then, but that lit the fire. I had a very close-knit group of friends from the neighborhood that, to this day, we’ve all stayed extraordinarily close. As I said, it was just, it was really magical. Lots and lots and lots of positives and that’s not, of course, everybody’s story and upbringing.
Sean Johnson: Yeah. So, talk about your parents a little, what kind of business did your dad have?
Joe Gianni: Yeah. So my dad had an oil service business. He was the youngest of four brothers. He was second generation. My grandparents were first generation. One of his brothers had an idea to start this oil service business. Basically in Long Island, houses aren’t heated with gas, especially back then, they were all oil. So, him and one of the other brothers bought some trucks and started buying and selling oil and fixing things. Then, my dad was in the electronics business. But, he was the final son that joined the business. My grandparents said to the three other brothers, “Tommy’s ready to come into the business now, so, you bring him in, he gets 25%.”
Sean Johnson: That’s just how it works.
Joe Gianni: That’s just how it was. There was no questions asked. They did that for a bunch of years, and it was a great business. You get to see a lot, growing up in a family business, even though my father didn’t bring that home, the good or the bad, the ups and the downs, on a regular basis. But, we were very tight. We were very tight with my cousins and my aunts and uncles. It was magical, really.
Sean Johnson: What was it like going to work, you said you used to go to work with your dad a little bit?
Joe Gianni: Yeah, so it was kind of neat, in the summertime, because again, there was an oil service business, so there was no real air conditioning even, I don’t think there was anything back then, or if it was just barely, but we were talking in the late sixties, early seventies, probably in the early seventies. So I’d go there in the summer months and where I was, had a lot of time and I’d get there and my uncles would be fixing lawn mowers, so they would just fix lawn mowers in the summertime, they’d wheel them out. It was kind of fun, but it was always great to go because I’d get to see my uncles.
Sean Johnson: So seeing your dad and your uncles with that business is kind of where the entrepreneurial bug, bit you a little bit, it sounds like.
Joe Gianni: Yeah. No, it stung me. It didn’t bite me. It stung me hard. and again, I was really young too. I was like 10 years old, but it was interesting cause I came home and I said to one of my other childhood best friends, I said, “Someday I’m going to start my own business,” and he said, “Great, I’ll do it with you.” So he and I used to talk about it all the time and it was very uncommon, really looking back, I didn’t realize that at the time, but when we were 15 years old, he and I started our first business together.
It was digging clams in the Great South Bay. Cause back in that period of time, clamming was huge, the great South Bay was a huge resource of clams and young guys and gals, but it was mostly guys, would get boats and literally go out all through the summer and dig clams, we made quite a bit of money.
In fact, we made a lot of money doing that at 15, 16, 17. We did it all the way through college, but it was great because he and I had our own business together and we loved every second of it. We dig clams all day and work real hard and then we’d come back to shore and we learned how to negotiate with the folks that were buying the big, commercial guys would be on the shore waiting for us, all the boaters to come in. We’d negotiate. It was magical.
Sean Johnson: Yeah. That’s cool. That’s very cool. So that was, you were about 15?
Joe Gianni: I was 15, yeah. When I turned 16, I got a job in a grocery store, so used to do that through the, I did it all through the summer cause I didn’t want to lose the job. But in the winters it was great too and then when I’d come home from school, they’d always take me back in. So I was pretty driven. A pretty driven young guy.
Sean Johnson: What was it like as a 15 year old kid, starting to try to negotiate with the buyers that you’re coming in, you’re a kid at that point and these are, I’m assuming like, probably grown men, coming in. What was that? What was it like negotiating with them?
Joe Gianni: Well, it was interesting because, partially, I’ve always been an observer of people, again, I didn’t realize it, but, so we would stand there and we’d just watch other people and the buyer would say, “Well, I’ll give you $40 for the count,” sometimes the buyer would do it, and sometimes they wouldn’t. And that’s when we started realizing supply and demand. And again, couldn’t have called it supply and demand back then, but we just kind of realized there were times where they would pay up and other times where they wouldn’t, but if you didn’t ask, you didn’t get.
So, that was really the beginnings of that. So once we realized that that’s how it’s played, we started doing it every single time and again, sometimes it would work and sometimes it wouldn’t. But it was great because sometimes we’d push the edge of the envelope. sometimes we’d ask, “what do you think we should ask?” the counts at 55, they’d have a sign up and the count was 500 clams and we’d say, “Well, let’s go on at 65 this time and see what they do.” Sometimes they’d laugh at us. But the other thing that was interesting was there wouldn’t be like one buyer, they’re be like five trucks backed up, air conditioned trucks, looking to buy the clams. So, at first, we thought, well, maybe we could go from one to the next to the next.
But what we found was it was better to build a relationship. So we really began to bond with one of the particular buyers. They knew they could count on us. The other thing that was kind of crazy is that yeah, there were a lot of teenage kids that would get boats and clam, Long Island and South Bay was a big fishing community. But a lot of people, they’d go out and say they were clamming, but they’d go over to Fire Island and spend the day playing and we never did. In fact, we laugh about it now, all these years later.
I think of that entire time, whatever it was, five years, six years of clamming. That entire time we went to the beach twice. So we were workers. So the buyer that we began to bond with, began to realize, even though we were very young, we showed up all the time. Good weather, bad weather. I mean, unless it was really bad and that gave us a lot of negotiating power too, because we were consistent. He knew he was getting good clams. So, that was a really cool thing.
Sean Johnson: So what, what do you think it was, where did it come from where you and your friend are, you went to the beach twice over that whole period of time. Most 15, 16 year old kids going out into the great South Bay, they’re clamming and maybe they do some clamming, but they’re just hanging on the water or they’re going to the beach.
But you didn’t really do it that way. What made you so driven? Why were you and your friend consistently just bulldogs with it, whereas most people wouldn’t be.
Joe Gianni: It’s interesting, there’s probably, some pretty obvious things that I’m sure it would be common to our listeners. One is, my parents were workers, they worked hard. My father worked very hard. My mom was a stay at home mom when I was really young, but as I got older, she went to work too. My one best friend I’m talking about, his father was a really hard worker.
His mom passed away when we were very young. So the father not only worked hard working, but worked hard taking care of his family. So, we just had a tremendous work ethic. And I think the other big thing too, cause it wasn’t even just, he and I, it was my whole circle of friends.
We were all just workers and I think it was because we were also all dreamers, as I said, right out of the gate, it was a magical childhood, but there were a lot of under pining’s to that as to why. One of them was that, I look back on it all the time and we just were dreamers. So we always dreamt about, it’s not like we were lacking. We were very much middle income, America. But, all of us were big thinking and all of us had great ambition to go out and achieve a lot of financial success, a lot of life success. And even though, again, at 15 years old, we could never have articulated it that way. We were all same.
Sean Johnson: So, alright. So I definitely want to come to, because you mentioned that it wasn’t just you and, and your friend, what is your friend’s name, John? So it wasn’t just you and John, but you had a broader circle of friends.
I want to come back to that, but before going there, the other thing you mentioned was that you picked up on, as you were clamming, you started to build a relationship with one of the buyers in particular. Where did this kind of, it seemed like intuitive instinct to build a relationship with somebody come from, was that your mom? Was that, where did that come from?
Joe Gianni: So, it’s interesting. It definitely came from my family upbringing. My family was very, very tight knit. But, not just with our immediate family, also our extended family. My mom and dad were very special people, as I said. When any of our family members were struggling, my parents, a lot of times they’d come and they’d say, “Let’s let Aunt Gladys, set ’em straight,” so there were many, many times in my childhood where, cause I was the youngest of the all my cousins. My cousins would move in for like three months, two months, a year and together, my mom and dad would kind of set them out straight.
So I think it was watching that, it was watching aunts and uncles and this was back in those generations where people really, truly watched out for each other and they really helped each other and that still exists today too, for sure.
So it wasn’t even just the cousins, like, if an Aunt and an Uncle were having challenges, my parents would just take them in. So, I was always raised that people matter, that relationships matter. So I think it’s a big reason why my childhood friends are still to this day, the best friends that I have ever had, you know?
We’re all extraordinarily tight. Same thing that carried on, not only into in the early stages of business, but it carried on throughout all of the business, obviously, 2logical. We have so many clients and relationships with people that are, not five years or 10 years.
We’re talking 20, 25 plus 30 years of people who I’ve personally coached and mentored for 25 years, major corporations that have retained us for an excess of a decade. The training and development business, not enough itself, is extraordinarily unique.
So, I’ve always recognized the value of people and I was always taught indirectly, it wasn’t like a sit down at the dinner table, “This is lesson on people skills,” it was just more leadership by example. Just by watching and observing, without even realizing that I was observing that people matter.
Sean Johnson: So, let’s circle back around to, you mentioned you and John, there was a broader group of friends that were all dreamers. Who were those people and what do you mean by dreamers?
Joe Gianni: Yeah so, one of my friends, he tried to clam, but he couldn’t clam. So, he went into the carnival business as crazy as it is, but he made a ton of money and he was very, very successful at literally building, helping a gentleman build a carnival business. So again, this is back in the 70s in Long Island, New York. And if anybody listening is from Long Island, there’s still to this day, major travel carnivals.
So, he chased that ambition and then eventually started his own carnival business when he was like in his twenties and became extraordinarily successful through all these decades in that industry. So, a real presence in that industry. My one and only claim to fame was my other neighbor and lifelong childhood best friend was a gentleman named Norman Julius Esiason, right? Who most of the listeners probably recognize, grew up and became Boomer. Esiason. So, again, Boomer had a dream since we were eight, nine, ten years old that he was going to become an NFL quarterback. When your kids with your posse, everybody would just, we would just talk about what we were going to do. It was crazy because we all reinforced each other. I remember by the time we were probably 12, 13, 14 years old, I mean, every single one of us believed that Boomer was going to be an NFL quarterback. He didn’t have any doubts. That’s what made it really magical, a huge part of it. That entire environment, the support, even Boomer’s dad, and the other parents, just always supportive of us as kids, like really overwhelmingly supportive, but it was also, back in those days, you didn’t necessarily, I think parents spend even more time with their children now than they did back then. But every interaction was always uplifting and positive.
Sean Johnson: So what do you think it was about, like you mentioned that everybody, all your friends just believed that Boomer was going to go on and be an NFL quarterback and obviously he did that. It seems like a lot of your other friends did as well. What enabled you guys or where did it come from that you were so supportive of each other? Was it that one person started it and built on the other? How did that kind of, for lack of a better word, culture, in that tight knit group of friends start or sustain?
Joe Gianni: It’s interesting, as you asked me that question, I’ve never really never thought about it from that perspective. I think it was, again, just an innate respect that we had, even as young kids, for each other. It wasn’t just me, it was all of us. I mean, like any kids growing up, we fought with each other, we nicknamed each other, we did all the harassing and everything else, but when push came to shove. There was always a tremendous amount of respect there, again, underlying. If I was 12 years old, those words never would’ve come out of my mouth. Looking back at it, it was a real healthy dose of respect and I think that was a huge part of it.
Sean Johnson: So for Boomer in particular, where do you think the confidence for him and maybe it started with him or maybe it started with somebody else, but that confidence was kind of contagious in your group of friends, where did that come from?
Joe Gianni: Well, again as I shared, I think a lot of that, if not all of that, centers in the beginnings of their homes. In Boomers case, first off, his dad, whose name also was Norman, but we always affectionately called him Mr. E and in fact, we never, ever said anything. We always said, “Hey, Mr. E.” He was extraordinarily supportive of his children and he was a single dad. A lot of people don’t know that Boomer’s mom passed away also when we were young in our childhood, so his dad really made his three children, Boomer has two older sisters and he really made them his life. He worked every day, worked in the city. He’d take the train every day, every day in everyday out. But he always made time to be with his kids and specifically with Boomer too and it’s interesting too, a lot of people don’t really know that Boomer, his real name is Norman after his dad. But that’s because when he was in his mother’s womb, he used to come home and say, “Ah, hey, how’s my little boomer doing?” because that’s what they’re always called kickers in the NFL back then. So the whole family, aunts, uncles, everybody, they’d always say, “How’s my little boomer doing?”
So when he was born, everybody just called him Boomer and so I think that his father was also an extraordinarily good athlete but had broken his knee, I think, or something. He always limped, but a big guy, big tower guy, like Boomer, physically big guy.
But, he was always very supportive, but never pushing, just always supportive. So Boomer wanted to play basketball, he played basketball. He wanted to play football, he played football. He wanted to play baseball, he played baseball and I think that nurturing and that support again, that he got in those early stages, it lit the fire. It stoked the belief and the confidence that he could go where he wanted to go and he did just that.
Sean Johnson: Yeah. So you mentioned, he kind of struck a balance between, building confidence and being supportive, but not pushing. Can you give an example of that? How did he do that?
Joe Gianni: The greatest example is the fact that Boomer’s dad was really wanted Boomer to be a baseball player. Yeah, I remember we were going to a carnival. It wasn’t even Jojo’s carnival at the time, but I don’t think it was, it might’ve been though. We were all teenagers by then. It might’ve actually been Jojo’s carnival, but we’re walking along what they call the freeway, where you’re walking along and where all the games are and everything. A guy had one of those radar things set up where you could throw a ball and Boomer took the ball and threw it and the guy literally, you get like one throw or whatever and you won stuff if you got it over like 50 miles an hour and Boomer was a teenager and I think he threw it like 87 miles or something like that. The guy literally tapped the machine and goes “Now you’ve got to throw that again, that can’t be right,” and Boomer’s left-handed. So, his dad always wanted him to be a baseball player and he would say, because they have longer careers, there’s not the risk of injury.
But boomer used to always say, “No, dad, I want to be an NFL quarterback,” and his father said, “Well, you can do anything you put your mind to. If that’s what you want, then that’s what it will be. “
Sean Johnson: So that was a message that you heard him say a lot.
Joe Gianni: Oh, it was an overwhelming theme.
Sean Johnson: So what did you learn from, cause that’s a unique situation to have been so close to, and you are still very close to Boomer, but to have seen kind of from the beginning of this little kid in this neighborhood in Long Island, to go all the way to NFL, high school football star, college football star, NFL quarterback, NFL MVP, make it all the way to the Superbowl.
Joe Gianni: He won that Superbowl.
Sean Johnson: I wasn’t gonna go there and I’m sure he says the same thing. But that’s a unique experience, a unique perspective to be able to have, to see somebody go from little kid, all the way to that. What did you witness in that journey? What did you learn, just watching Boomer in that journey from “I’m just a kid that loves playing football,” and “I have a dream of being an NFL quarterback,” to actually achieving that. What did you learn in just watching him along that way?
Joe Gianni: There are many inflection points, so many fond memories and things and it’s funny, I notice myself, I keep saying at the time, I didn’t realize what I was watching. It was years later that I realized what I was watching, like the supportive family members, not just my family, but other families. Then when we’d all be together, we are always supportive. But there were many different examples.
One was, I had this flash often when people ask me questions about Boomer and our upbringing. But I remember one night we were at a night game and we were in high school, and I watched him in that game and it was just so evident at that period of time that he was significantly more athletic than anybody else on the field.
But people think that was because we’re born like that, but I watched him play and played sports with him every single day of our childhood. Every single day. We played sports. That’s what we did every single day. We played hockey, we played basketball, we played baseball, and we played football and it was nonstop.
We’d play on the streets, we’d move to a field. We’d find our own ponds to play on, to ice skate on. We would literally get up to go play hockey and it would be 5:30/6 in the morning, getting pebbles thrown at my window because half of the guys that we grew up with would be out there already. Then we’d go to the next guy’s house. My buddy Jojo that I was telling about that did the carnival business, he lived on the first floor so we would literally tap, sometimes we would just walk in and get him. So, it was wild that whole journey. But I think there were things like that where you really start to see it. I went to, obviously when Boomer came at Terp, I used to go down several times, every single season to games and then ultimately into the NFL.
One of the fondest, but also most significant memories was when he first went to Maryland and I came down and we met at a local tavern and we were sitting in the bar and we were having a beer and we’re kind of doing what teenage boys do. We’re just rapping back and forth with intensity, and we’re just talking about how, what it’s like at school and what he’s experienced and et cetera, et cetera. One of the kids from our high school came over and said, “Hey guys, how you doing?” and we said, “Hey, doing great,” and guy looks at Boomer and goes, “Hey boomer, you still have that dream about playing in the NFL and being a quarterback in the NFL?” And Boomer looks up at the guy and cause we’re sitting and Boomer says, “Yeah, as a matter of fact, I do, because I don’t know if you know, but I got a full scholarship to play at Maryland.” The guy goes “No kidding, that’s kinda cool, but I’ve got to tell you, only one in a million ever make it to the NFL and Boomer says, “Yeah, that’s funny,” he kind of looks back at me and he starts talking to me and the kid goes “I’m just trying to tell you that it’s such a long shot,” and Boomer looks at him and says, “Why don’t you just take your beer and leave?” and the kid goes, “You don’t have to get upset with me. You’re left handed. Most of the quarterbacks are right handed and plus you’re not as fast out of the pocket, “ and all of the sudden Boomer just looks at this guy and he just pushes back from the table we’re at and he stands up and he’s six foot five, right? He looks at the guy and he goes, “Hey, take your beer and leave. Now.” The guy takes his beer and wisely tucks his tail between his legs and walks away. So he sits back down and I said, “That was a little bit harsh,” and he goes “What do you mean, Joey?” and I said, “I just think you were a little rude.” He goes, “No, I wasn’t,” and I go, “I don’t know, I think you were,” He goes,”Let me ask you a question. In all the years we’ve been friends our whole childhood, whole life, b have you ever said that to me ever?” I said, “No, of course not,” He goes, “How about Jojo and Eddie? Have you ever heard them say that to me? How about my sisters? Do you ever hear my sister say that to me? How about the football coach in high school? Did you ever hear him say that? How about my dad? Did you ever hear my dad in our whole childhood growing up together, one time ever say that to me?” I go, “No.”
He goes, “Of course not. Who the hell is he? Who the hell is this guy to tell me what I am and what I’m not, what I’m capable of and what I’m not capable of?” and right there I looked at him and I go, “Yeah, you’re right,” and then we just went on in our rapid discussion of college life.
But again, it’s one of those inflection points that years later that I realize looking back that, he was already conditioned with a mindset and a conviction that he was not going to be denied. That he was going to pursue and achieve what it is that he wants.
Sean Johnson: And he wasn’t going to let anybody else define him.
Joe Gianni: Nobody was gonna define him. And that’s what you and I see in virtually all successful people, every successful person from every walk of life, whether it’s an athlete, who rises or whether it’s people in business that rise, it doesn’t really matter. They all have that commonality. A different beat to the drum that they think of themselves and they think about life through a different lens.
Sean Johnson: Yeah. I remember when you and I had first sat down, and I think you blew my mind for about four hours the first time we sat down.
But I remember after that conversation, of you kind of bringing up that point, its one of those things that you can’t un-see, afterwards you start to see it everywhere. I remember just flipping on the TV and watching interviews with athletes and you see it there and going, looking at interviews with big startup guys or people in the business sector and you see it there.
So it was pretty amazing, after you had kind of first pointed that out to me, how prevalent it was. It’s kind of like, it’s one of those things, it’s like hidden in plain sight where it’s right there, but if you don’t really know what you’re looking for, it alludes you and for so long, but when somebody points it out, it’s one of the things that you can’t deny. It’s just everywhere. You see it everywhere.
Joe Gianni: Well, and people who are, obviously I’ve been a professional trainer and coach, for decades, but so you’re never going to hear people articulate it potentially the way I’m about to, but my observation through all these years has been that the people who really, truly rise, they don’t just have passing glimmering thoughts of hope of what life can be or what they want. They have a complete and utter conviction. They have complete and utter confidence and commitment that our creator doesn’t mock us. We don’t get thought impulses and visions of the life we want to have and build without also giving the power and the potential to make that happen.
As I said, they would never speak that way, but that’s truly what it is. They recognize that they have the power to create their life the way they want it to be and the overwhelming majority of the population and people, they don’t really see life through those lenses. That’s what I mean when I look back on my childhood.
I believe I was saying to you just a little while ago that we just grew up in a very positive environment where we really believed in that we could do what we wanted to do. We could become who we wanted to become, that life really can be what you want it to be.
In myself and in my childhood friends, as well as the scores of people I’ve met throughout the decades. That’s the one big thing you see in common that they don’t just have dreams, but they really believe that they can make them happen. When I used to run training classes, one of the things that I would say is that people don’t really recognize, but all of us have been given this tremendous gift from the day we’re slapped on the butt, we take our first breath and that’s the gift of life. But the very essence of that gift is every one of our ability to create from that day forth. Dogs can’t create. Elephants can’t create. Orangutans can’t create, but you and I as human beings, we have the power to create. We can envision a life, a future, of what we want and literally stay with that with conviction and over time that will manifest. That will become reality. It doesn’t matter if we’re a 10 year old child, 20 year old, a young adult, 40 year old, six year old, doesn’t matter. Every single day, every one of us have an opportunity to recreate ourselves and recreate the life that we want. But how do you and I do that? How do people do that if they’ve never ever been helped to see through that lens? And I was conditioned at an early age to see through that lens, even though I didn’t know that’s what was happening. 34:48 seeing through the lens
It was not an orchestrated effort either, but it was just that magical childhood where a lot of that came from. There was so many messaging too, you have me thinking, probably the last thing I want to share in my childhood growing up with Boomer was that I remember when he first got drafted. I was so close to his family and his dad was such a wonderful man and spent a lot of time with us as kids. But I remember when literally from the day Boomer got drafted, his father said, “I’m very proud of you. I’m very excited for you. But don’t forget where you came from, ever. Don’t forget your friends. Don’t forget your family. Don’t forget where you came from,” and to his honor and credit Boomer never did and with respect for his dad, he never, ever did. So when he went to the super bowl, we all went to the Superbowl.
It was the greatest thing. So, just so many fond memories of that. To this day, Boomer still is very, very, very loyal and respectful to where he came from, and I think and believe very strongly and know that it was because of that upbringing.
Sean Johnson: Yeah. So that was a fairly good recap of your childhood after, once you graduated high school, where did you go after that?
Joe Gianni: I went onto college and my other childhood friend John and I used to talk about, starting a business and we had no idea what the business was going to be, but we both went on to college and we decided that I was the one that was the communicative one and really love people. So, I would be the sales face and operation of whatever business we were going to start and he was going to be the tech guy.
So he went to college and become a chemical engineer. There were no such thing as cell phones, obviously back then. So, but this is how possessed we were, we used to actually do cassette tapes and tape about talking about this business that someday we were going to build and together, we’d send tapes back and forth a while we were in college. How’s that for possessed?
Sean Johnson: Yeah, that’s not normal.
Joe Gianni: No, that’s really not normal. But we did that relentlessly and then, ultimately, when I came out of school, I was on a mission and it was to become a master salesperson.
Sean Johnson: Yeah. So talk about when you came out of school, you had decided that you wanted to start this business. When you were coming out of school, what were you looking for? What were you trying to do? Cause you didn’t go right and start that business, right out of college. Why not?
Joe Gianni: Yeah. So, I intuitively knew that I needed a mentor. I knew that even though I came out of a school and I had a degree in marketing, it didn’t give me safe passage to be a master salesperson. So I think, again, unlike a lot of folks, looking back at it, at the time, I didn’t see it quite like this, the way I’m going to say it, but, I was on a mission not to find a job like, I think most people come out of school. I was on a mission to find a mentor, more than anything else. I wanted someone that could teach me salesmanship at an extreme level. And I was in a rush, as you can imagine, as a 21 year old would be. So that was the beginning of my journey.
So I would go on interviews. I moved to Rochester, New York, where I said earlier where my wife, Michelle grew up. I’d go on interviews and in the first five, ten minutes, if the person didn’t impress me, I would politely end the interview and I’d get up and I’d walk out.
It’s funny, just saying that out loud, people would say, wow, my gosh, you must have been a really cocky 21 year old. And the truth of the matter was, I really wasn’t, I wasn’t cocky. What I was, was extraordinarily goal directed. I knew that I needed someone that could really, truly take me under their arms, under their wing, so to speak and really teach me salesmanship. So, unlike just sitting down with somebody and just having them interview me, I would always interview them. That was pretty interesting cause I had moved here, with not a whole bunch of money in my checkbook. I was down to my last $64 of savings when I finally was given a job, given an opportunity, I found that mentor.
Sean Johnson: So how did you flip the interview around, like they were interviewing you, but you mentioned that you were interviewing them. What kind of questions were you asking? How were you interviewing them?
Joe Gianni: I had basically real simple questions. I would always say, “Can you tell me, how did your sales team do? How’d you guys do this year?”Obviously I was looking for people that were extremely successful. I would ask them, how did they get into sales? How is their sales track record been through the years? It was amazing. I’d got a lot of real mediocre answers with different, I won’t use company names, but with the different people that I met.
Sean Johnson: Yeah. So you were looking for somebody that was accomplished in sales?
Joe Gianni: Yeah, extremely.
Sean Johnson: Extremely accomplished in sales. So you mentioned you found that mentor. Joe Gianni: Yeah, there’s a story there. There’s a big story there. It changed the projectory of the rest of my life, but yeah, it’s amazing how you can meet somebody in your life and they can have that much of an overwhelming impact.
I remember I was sitting, I was going through the Sunday paper looking at the ads, and for our listeners, that’s how it was done back then. I’m going through the ads and my wife Michelle says, “Hey, what about this one?” and there was like a boxed ad and it was for publishing sales and she goes, “what about this one?” I totally missed the ad and I was scouring the paper and I was getting a little desperate. I said, “Geez, I didn’t even see it.” So, I cut it out and like everything on Monday, I started doing whatever they did, if I had to send a resume and make a call, in this case, I made a call. They asked me maybe four or five questions and they said it was a preliminary interview on the phone. I answered like, four or five questions, and they said, “Okay, great. Listen. Well, we’re running some interviews at the end of the week, would you come in?” Since it was for a territory, the interview was held at, I think it was like The Hyatt by RIT, so I go to the interview and I walk in and I’m in the lobby and I’m like, Lombardi time, I’m like 15 minutes early, but as I’m looking around, there’s like six, seven people in the lobby. I realized after just sitting there for awhile that they’re all waiting to go for this interview for Macmillan Publishing Company. That was the company. And so I was like, “Whoa.” So by the time I got up there, it was like an hour behind, so I was fuming.
Sean Johnson: But again, you’re an inpatient 21 year old who knows exactly what you’re looking for.
Joe Gianni: And ambition like you can’t believe, so I never forget this. So finally it’s my turn and I go up there and I knock on the door and I’m about to light this guy up, after the nice talk. The door swings open and this gentleman reaches his hand out. He goes, right, “Randy Nemek, pleased to meet you,” he shakes my hand. He literally looks me right in the eyes, goes down to my shoes, comes up to my eyes again, and he says, “Please, come in.”
So we walk in and we sit down and first thing he does is he puts me at tremendous ease and breaks down every single thing in my head. He just says, “First and foremost, I’m really, really sorry. I was interviewing a lot of people. I got a little bit behind, is this still a convenient time or would you like to reschedule, maybe for tomorrow?” He had a very deep, Orson Wells kind of voice. And I looked at him saying in my inner voice, I’m going,”No, not a chance. I’m here. I just lost an hour of my life waiting for you, big guy. I’m not leaving.” right? So I look at him and I go “No, no it’s okay.”
He goes, “All right, very good.” So he starts explaining to me exactly how the whole interview is going to go, “I’m going to ask you questions about your resume and get a feel for your background. I’m going to ask you things about your schooling, some of the jobs you had through school,” et cetera, et cetera.
And he says, “Then at the end, I’m going to give you unique opportunity to ask me any questions you might have, is that okay?” And I said, “Sure, that’d be great.” So that’s exactly what happened. But, from that second he shook my hand to the way we sat down,
it was totally different than any other interview I’d done up to that point. I just knew there was something different. Again, looking back, at that second, I didn’t know what it was that I was feeling, but I just knew something was different. Then all of a sudden, he turns to me at the end, towards the end, and he says, “Joe, do you have any questions for me?”
I said, “Well, yeah, Randy, as a matter of fact, I do. I just have one main question. Could you tell me, how did your sales team do last year?”and he just kind of smiles. I look at him and he says, “We were number one,” and he’s still smiling.
And I go, “Huh? Really?” and he goes, “Yeah,” and I go, “What are you smiling about?”he goes, “Joe, you don’t understand. We’re number one every year,” And I go, “Whoa,” Bingo, right? So I go, “Really? Well, Randy, how the heck do you do that?” He goes, “It’s quite simple, I train my people,” and right there I knew this was the person I was looking for. It was crazy because as fate would have it, there were people coming into that lobby to be interviewed behind me. I mean, there was probably five people behind me when I walked in. There were seven ahead of me. But that whole time, whatever time it was, I was with him, I felt like that there was nobody else in the planet. But then he shocks me and he says, “Joe, I’d like to offer you this job. I want you to come work with me.”
Sean Johnson: Sitting right in the room?
Joe Gianni: Right there. I was flabbergasted. So, needless to say, I said yes. I don’t know what he ever did with all the other folks that were stacked up out there, but he literally hired me and then I was opened up to a world of transformation and development that I couldn’t even barely begin to fathom.
Sean Johnson: So what do you think, upon reflection, and you’ve obviously, you’re still very close to Randy, you’re a 21 year old kid sitting in that room, there’s a ton of people coming in before you, a ton of people scheduled to come in after you to fill this one slot and he sits there and offers you the job in the room. What do you think he saw or why did he do that with you in particular?
Joe Gianni: I mean, obviously, I know the real reason why that is cause as the years went on, not only being mentored by him as a sales person, but then I went on to be carefully trained on to him as a sales manager and was heavily a part of that development, was heavily involved in recruiting talent. One of the things that I realize is that he had set beliefs that he was looking for in people and one of the biggest things of all was their drive. Did they believe enough in themselves that they could succeed? And he always would say, “Do they have that hunger in their eyes?” That’s what he was always looking for. He must have just saw pure starvation because I think he was as captivated by me as I was by him, at least I like to think that, but I did recruit with him many, many times, and he didn’t hesitate when he found the person he was after, he was very dialed in, very, very strategic. I joined his team and it was already a championship team. It was already a peak performing team. In fact, when I went for orientation a couple weeks later, I flew down to New York City. I was given the tour of the company before I went into the orientation.
As I was walking through, the person that was leading me through the building, says, “Oh, you see this marketing manager over here? They used to work for Randy. You see this marketing manager in this office? They used to work for Randy. You see this editor in this office? They used to work for Randy,” and oh this editor coming down the hall, let me guess, they used to work for Randy. So, obviously and that was my first full day and right there I knew that I had truly found what I wanted. I found a teacher. So it wasn’t just me. It was the way he had this knack to see talent. He just saw people differently than most people and he was able to pull that, from time to time, cause we worked together for four years in those early years of my career. He made hiring mistakes too, but when he made them, he would just fix it immediately, but most of the time they were right and these people just went on and became tremendously successful.
Sean Johnson: So you said, sitting in that interview, you asked him, “How well are you doing?” and he said, “We’re number one, and we’re number one every year.” How did he do that, what were the steps that he took? He gave you the answer of, “I train my people.” I want to dive into that a little bit more because everybody can say that they train their people, but obviously he was doing something different. What was he doing?
Joe Gianni: Yeah, to unpack it, it really was from the, I’ll take us back to when he on boarded me. So first off, he was always working the person’s mind from the day you started working with him. So, I remember the onboarding.
51:52- onboarding with Randy
He sits me down and he says, “Joe, I wanna share with you a couple of things, set a few expectations and share a few things with you that are really important for our journey. First off, welcome aboard and I’m really excited to have you here. But I want to make sure that you understand something. He said I’ve interviewed between phone interviews and, face to face interviews in excess of almost 200 people to find you. I’m not hoping you can succeed at this. I’m not wishing you can succeed at this. I know you can succeed at this, but in the first year of us working together, there’s going to come a moment in time where you’re going to doubt and every core muscle in your body’s going to tell you to quit. The very first thing I need you to understand is that you must not quit. You must not quit on me because of the investment I’m going to make on you, but most importantly, you must not quit on yourself. Do you understand? I said, “Yes,” he said “Very good because I need your word. I need your word that when that time comes, you will not quit. You will not give up.” And I looked him dead square in the eye and I said, “Okay, you got it,” never realized, and I’m figuring whatever, cause again, I’m 21 years old, but he was dead serious. Then he looked at me and he said, he said, “Okay, fantastic. The second thing I want you to realize is this. Obviously, you know that you’re joining my team. It’s a tremendous team, wonderful team. You’re going to really enjoy the people here. So what I need you to understand more than anything else is that this is a learning culture. I’ve built a learning culture, and what that means is this: I create a safe environment to teach you your sales and your career, because I’m not just coaching you on sales, I’m coaching you on your career. You’ve seen the people in the company who have been promoted, many of them. But I need you to understand, what I mean by this is, I will give you the safe place. I will teach you.
I will ask you to try things. You’ll make mistakes, I will back you every time you make a mistake. I will back you every single time as you make mistakes because making mistakes as part of learning. I have the utmost patients for learning. But once you’ve shown me and proved to me that you’re competent, that you have a skill that you’ve mastered, that you know how to do something and execute at the highest level, I no longer accept any mistake. It becomes the expectation. You must always operate at that level because at that point, anything less is no longer making a mistake. It’s incompetence. I have 100% patience for people learning and growing and making mistakes. I have zero patience for incompetence. Do you understand?” I said, “Yeah, I do,” he says, “Excellent, because the first time I see incompetence, if ever, I’ll give you a verbal warning. The second time, I’ll put it in writing and the third time, I’ll fire you quicker than shit through a goose. Do you understand?” But, he meant it. It was such a safe place, the way that he taught from the classroom and in terms of skill and process, product knowledge, but also in terms of allowing people to make mistakes.
Myself and my fellow associates, we made lots of mistakes, but he was always extremely caring and patient on the mistakes, where he drew the line is if you were incompetent and everybody who joined that team, they knew that. The other thing was that he painted a vision about being number one.
All he did was talk about being number one. This is the number one team in the company. This is the number one team in the industry. That’s all he would talk about. We are number one, when I joined the team, he said, “You’re joining the number one team,” so that’s all we ever talked about. It was the expectation that we were all going to be the best. So, he was brilliant and strategic in terms of the way he taught skill. He was brilliant and strategic, the way he taught product knowledge. But he was absolutely brilliant in the way that he shaped people’s beliefs and commitments to excellence.
At 21 years old, all I cared about was learning how to sell. So I thought it was going to be about building rapport with people and qualifying and presenting and closing, the fundamentals of selling. But ultimately what I realized in being under his tutelage in care was that he was really teaching me and everybody that ever worked with him a philosophy and that philosophy was, it started and ended with the greatest sale that any of us were ever going to learn to make in our lives was the sale that we did not try to make to someone else, but the sale that we learned how to make to ourselves to be the best that we could be at whatever role, not just professionally, but whatever role we would ever take on in our lives. That’s an easy thing to say. That’s a whole other different, class of actually learning that and living that.
But he infused that into everybody, all of us. You thought about being a better spouse, you thought about being a better friend. You thought about being a better parent. I remember having that thinking and even in those early years, my wife and I, Michelle, and I didn’t have any children yet, but I just knew that I had been schooled a very unique way.
Sean Johnson: He introduced this philosophy of committing to being the best, and it seems like the first expectation he set with you, he had some foresight with, which was you must commit to not to not give up. Did that ever…?
Joe Gianni: Oh yeah. Oh, yeah, that definitely came up. He so understood how people think and the experiences that they were going to have even before they had them that he would actually set in their minds the inflection point that they were going to come to, even before they would come to it. I never realized that people could think like that and think so in advanced like that, but that was one of many gifts and skills that he possesses. But yeah, it happened about six, probably six, seven months into the journey.
I’ll never forget it. My territory was upstate New York. So, I don’t really want to use the college name, but I was at one of the colleges here and I was in the business department and I made a call, I was always sitting with professors and I knocked on the professor’s door and he was actually the dean of the department.
I knocked on the door, he brought me in and I sat down and we started talking. As I was starting to build rapport, he just kind of looked at me and said, “Just cut to the chase,”and I was trained to follow a process and I was disciplined, so I was polite and I just kept going.
But I was probably only six months in, if that. So obviously I was as green as they get. Probably about four minutes into the conversation, the professor just looks at me and he put his hand up like in a stop motion and then he stood up. He walked around his desk, he walked past me, he walked to his door, he opened the door, he turned, he looked at me, I’m still sitting in the chair. I’m looking over my shoulder, the back of the door now. He took his, index finger and he kind of scrolled it towards himself as if “Come here,” right? So I got up and I walked towards him and he stepped out into the hallway and I stepped out in the hallway and he signaled me to follow him out. I got out in the hallway and he walked back in his office and he slammed the door in my face.
Sean Johnson: And he didn’t even say anything?
Joe Gianni: Nothing, that was it and I was like, “Who the hell does this guy think he is? I grew up with some pretty big guys. I was in pretty good shape.
I’m like, “Maybe I’ll just open the door up and teach him a lesson.” I was beside myself. So needless to say, I stormed down the hallway down to the stairwell. I was fuming. I was emotionally, I was coming unglued, and by the time I got down the first flight of steps, I was already crying.
I was in tears. Like, how dare someone treat another human being like that? Who does this guy think he is? This is BS. I quit. I walked out to my car, I jump in the car, I started up, I jam the thing in reverse, I squeal and reverse. That’s why you never want to buy these, corporate fleet cars and I rip it into forward, I’m peeling out, I’m going down through the college parking lot the whole time. Literally, crying. Now I’m literally crying and I can’t do this. This wasn’t right. This isn’t for me. Who the hell want to be in sales? Then all of a sudden this voice pops into my head: “I need you to give me your word that you won’t quit on me or yourself,” and I saw an open spot as fate would have it was the last one in the parking lot and I wrenched the car into the spot. Turn the car off, wipe the tears off, grabbed my book bag and walk back in and I made it my mission to sell every single business professor in that school our books, which I did by the way.
Took a little while. But every single one of them. So, that’s how much he was able to premeditate the journey that people were on when he was teaching and learning for them.
Sean Johnson: Yeah. So, you also mentioned that he indoctrinated you into this philosophy of being the best and if you’re going to do something, be the best, how did he help you do that?
Joe Gianni: Yeah. So, I mean, again, looking back on it, there was a very much an orchestrated way that he developed people. But, it really started in going into the field with him. Obviously, again, he was very strategic, so he taught that in the classroom when we were classroom training.
But when we got to a campus, first thing we’d do is we’d have a cup of coffee. We’d sit and we’d go over the game plan. Today, they call it account management. I don’t know what they even called it back then, but we very carefully mapped out where we were going, what departments, who we were trying to meet, et cetera.
Then we would start knocking on doors, but the very first day in the field together. Actually, it was quite a magical day. It was the beginning of when you say, what did he really do? So, he says to me, “Joe, I’ve been looking forward to getting out of the classroom and now being in the real world and doing our first calls together. Today what we’re going to do is we’re going to do these calls jointly. I’ll do the first one and then we’re going to come out and we’re going to ask ourselves three questions: What did we do right? What did we do wrong and most importantly, what can we do to improve? Then after I do the first interview, you’ll then do the second interview, then we’ll come out, we’ll debrief. What did we do right? What’d we do wrong? What do we need to do to improve? Then I’ll do the third interview. We’ll do the same thing and on so forth.”
So I was like, “Okay, got it,” and he goes, “You’re good?” I said, “Yep, good.” So we go in and I watched the first sales call and it was like watching art right there in motion. I mean, it was phenomenal. The professor was laughing with him in the rapport stage, he qualified him out, he asked the professor some closing questions about giving us an opportunity to really review the book and maybe test fly it next semester, et cetera, et cetera. And of course, the professor says, “Yeah, that’d be great, Randy. I’d like that. Thank you very much for coming in today.”
So I’m just “Wow, this is great, let’s go.” So we walk out and we sit down and he made sure, it didn’t matter if there was another appointment, a schedule that we had, he’d slow stop and we sat down. He said, “Joe, you just watched everything we’ve talked about in the classroom, now you’ve watching me do it with a live person. What did I do right? What did I do wrong? And most importantly, how can I improve to make it better, stronger, more capable of getting us to what we’re after? The goal of making a sale.”
Sean Johnson: So you said you just watched this art in motion that he walks in, he’s got this guy laughing. He’s…
Joe Gianni: Like they knew each other their whole lives.
Sean Johnson: He’s got the guy laughing, at the end of the sales call, the guys thanking him for coming in, which if you’re in sales, is not always the case. So, but he’s asking that question of, what did I do right? What I do wrong? What can I do differently or to improve? Even after he just nailed that.
Joe Gianni: Yeah, exactly. So, that’s exactly where it went. He goes, “So Joe, what did I do right?” And I said, “Well, Randy, it was textbook. I mean, you walked through rapport, you qualified them, you created a great chasm between where he is, what he’s looking to see different. You presented like a champ, it was phenomenal and you trial closed him and he committed to take a close look at it for next semester. That was our goal. And he says, “Yeah, it did go quite well. What do you think I did wrong?” And I said, “ I don’t think you did anything wrong,” And he said, “Well, I think I could have asked this one question slightly different.”
So I don’t know, looking back, if he was just trying to make that up or what because to me it was perfect. He says, “Okay, very good. I’m good to go. You’re up, you ready?” and I said, “Yeah, let’s go.” So, we go down the hallway and we’d knock on the next door.
The professor says “Oh yeah, what’s up?” We said, “Hi, we’re with Macmillan publishing company. We wonder if we could sit down and chat with you for a little bit,” and the professor says “Sure. Come on in.” We sit down in the chair and of course, I’m looking at Randy and he’s looking at me and I’m looking at the professor.
I just figured, well, if I’m quiet long enough, Randy will start talking about Randy doesn’t do a single thing. He just sits there and I finally realized like, “Oh, he was serious. This is me, it’s show time.” So, I look at the professor and I’ll never forget this as long as I live, I look at this professor and I go. “t…t..t….” It’s just like that and all of a sudden, every single pore in my body started sweating. I literally started melting right before this professor and Randy’s eyes. That’s all that came out and I am just sweating to the point where the professor’s kind of leaning up on his chair, looking over the desk, like “Is he alright?”
That was it. I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t say a word. Nothing. So Randy’s looking at me and going “Hmm.” So I was like, I looked like the Wizard of Oz, like the witch, just melting away, literally, that’s what it looked like. Randy looks, and finally he realizes like “That’s it, that’s all the kids got,” so he swoops in and takes over the interview and of course magic and everything else, you know. I get the drying up sweat as we wrap up the meeting and I shake the professor’s hand and he’s kinda looking at me with a his head a little cocked to the side, like a dog when they hear a sound, you know. We get up and we walk out the door and as we get out the door, I go, “Alright, Randy. We gotta get to that next meeting.” Because it’s in the other building and I’m walking really fast and he’s going, “Oh, Joe, well wait up for a minute,” And I’m like, four or five steps out. So he goes, “Oh, Joe, wait, hold on a second,” And I go, “No, no, come on Randy, we got to go,” and I kept pushing down the hallway. He says, “Joe, we’ve got to talk for a minute,” and I go, “No, no, we’re going to be late. We gotta go.” and he goes, “Joe, stop. Sit down,” he points to this bench. He goes, “Sit down. We need to talk.” I’m like “Oh, boy,” so I’m like figuring what’s he going to say? Is your resume up to speed? Have you ever considered a different career? What’s he going to say to me? We sit down and I look at him and I go a year and I go, “Yeah, Randy, what’s up?” And he goes, “Well, just simply three questions. What’d you do right? What’d you do wrong? And most importantly, what can you do differently? What can you refine and reshape so that you’re more capable of getting us to our goal, a new sale?” I’m like, Is he kidding? He’s not firing me?” It’s my inner voice. I’m looking at him, I go, well, I didn’t know, I’m like, I’m stuttering, and I go, “I think I was breathing real well,” and all of a sudden he just looks at me and he goes, “Exactly. I’ve never seen someone suck so much oxygen out of a room like that and then blow it back out. It was amazing to watch. In the next interview, I want you to work some words into it,” and I looked at him like, “That’s it?”
We got up and we walked. So, you say, what did he do differently? That was the beginning, of the magic in the way that he trained people because when I look back through those years, I realized that on that first day, he had given me precious gifts of self-development.
Those gifts were really two things. One was the habit of self-reflection. The habit to really stop and not just do things in life, but to stop and really ask myself on anything that’s important. Whether it’s learning to sell, whether it’s learning to drive a car, whether it’s learning to be a better friend, whether it’s learning to be a better husband, whether it’s learning to be a better father.
It was the habit of reflection and that was that first gift. Most people just seem unconsciously going through life, right? But that’s not how, that’s not how he was conditioning me to think and see things. So that was that first gift. But the second gift was every bit as priceless. The second gift that he gave me and anybody that he trained because he trained everybody the same way in the field, was the ability to basically protect myself from the overwhelming negative feedback that each of us gets anytime we’re learning something new.
For any listeners that you know right now that are in sales, I mean, in the early stages, that’s not an uncommon story. Everybody has their story but that is a 100% true story. It’s exactly what happened. But what was so different was one, by him helping me to learn to stop and reflect, but two, to ask those three questions, magical questions.
He began to help me to protect myself, to not judge myself based upon the mistakes I was going to make, but to learn from those mistakes. So that’s why those three questions are magical. What did you do right? What did you do wrong? And most importantly, what did you learn? How can you adjust this?
It enables people to be free to realize that “I’m going to learn something new no matter what it is. I’m going to have a conversation with my child.” And it doesn’t go well. A lot of people start thinking, “Well, I’m just not good communicating with this kid.”
But rather than saying that, say “What did I do right? What did I do wrong? What did I learn?” He was helping me from that day to begin to think differently about everything. Just in that first day of being in the field together. So when you say, what did he do differently?
He taught in the classroom skills. He taught in the classroom process. He taught in the classroom product knowledge. We were selling college books in every department you can name. So one minute we’d be talking about chemistry and another hour we’d be talking philosophy or sociology.
Another hour later, we’d be talking to engineering or to mathematics. Think about the scope of the knowledge. But he had a very special way that he taught people how to learn industry knowledge, product knowledge. But most importantly, he gave people the combination to learn about themselves, and that was the beginning of that formula.
Sean Johnson: So, what I’d like to do is, maybe we do it in a part two because I think it’s worth doing, if I can hook you back into here. I’d like to kind of peel back the curtain a little bit more with the way Randy was developing you, cause he was doing a lot of things behind the scenes that, as you mentioned, you weren’t really aware of at the time necessarily, or why he was doing certain things, but he was doing everything in a very strategic way. I’d like to dive into that maybe i in a part two, if we can hook you back. But before we wrap up with this one, is there any kind of final thoughts or anything about our conversation today that you would want just people to take away with?
Joe Gianni: Well, I think, first of all, I thank you for dragging me in, it’s been a great conversation cause it’s really caused me to be reflective and in that reflection, realize that none of us walk alone.
I stand on the shoulders of giants, from an early upbringing of strong parents, to lifelong friends, to my mentor meeting right out of college, to even different college professors. Even some of the high school teachers we all have had. The conversation has really gotten me to slow down and realize how important it is to be thankful for these special people because these are different people. I’ve come to realize through the decades, but to share with everybody and yourself is that these people committed to excellence in their roles. I was such a tremendous beneficiary of that. So I think the first thing is, to share with everybody the appreciation for when you and I are in the presence of greatness, and greatness comes in all different shapes and forms and all different roles in life.
Great parent, a great friend, a great manager, a great professor. To recognize that and appreciate that. I think the other big thing, just slowing down and talking about it is how important it is to help people understand that our creator doesn’t mock us.
We don’t get thought impulses. We don’t get ideas and visions of what we want to do, what we want to have, who we want to become without also not being given the abilities, the innate abilities inside of us to actually live that life, become that person and have the life that we want to have, because I sure have, and he people that I’ve trained and mentored closely sure have had.
The people I grew up with, surely have had. I think that’s important because I think that’s an important beginning of that journey. Not just for me, but for anybody I’ve ever worked with and coached. That ability or that understanding that we all have that ability to envision what would is that we want and to begin to make that happen.
Maybe the final thing is the importance of recognizing the need to when it comes to getting what we want out of life, it won’t happen because simply we dream it or envision or wish for it, but because we commit to excellence. We commit to being the best that we can be and that we have, all of us have the ability to travel that path of reflection.
What did we do right? What’d we do wrong? What did we learn? And actually learn from our mistakes, not judge ourselves for our mistakes, that’s easy. But to really learn from those mistakes and become stronger and better so that one day we can actually have the life we really want to have.
Sean Johnson: That’s pretty good way to end it.
Joe Gianni: Thanks again.
Sean Johnson: Thanks.
*Transcription was edited for clarity
2:02- Childhood Memories
4:46- Growing up with hardworking parents
6:36- Digging for clams
10:45- Inheriting a strong work ethic
13:16- Building relationships
17:08- Boomer’s plan to become an NFL quarterback
18:37- A culture of support and respect
25:02- Learning from Boomer
34:48- Seeing through the lens
40:37- Finding the right mentor
45:43- An amazing opportunity
58:00- A learning experience
1:06- First big sales call
1:09:52- Two gifts
1:12:57- Final thoughts
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