August Turak

Author Consultant Speaker

Career Success

The Source of Inspiration: How to Get and Stay Inspired

The Source of Inspiration: How to Get and Stay Inspired
by August Turak
A consistent complaint in corporate America is that inspirational speeches fail to bring lasting results. Most people believe that inspiration leads to action when usually it is action that leads to inspiration. It is the actions we take even when we don’t feel inspired that eventually bring inspiration in their wake.

Imagine losing weight or getting in shape. Few out of shape people feel inspired to go on a diet or start frequenting the gym. As a matter of fact, one of the symptoms of being out of shape is a listless inability to feel inspired about anything. Rather than inspiration, it is usually the desperation we feel when we jump on the scale that initially sends us to the gym.

......

7 Ways to Delight Your Customers in Any Economy

7 Ways to Delight Your Customers in Any Economy
by August Turak
Turak's article 7 Ways to Delight Your Customers in Any Economy was recently published on BusinessInfoGuide.com and we are delighted to share these seven short lessons that will surely help you benefit your customers...

In business we’re forever looking for magic bullets. But when times are tough it means getting back to basics. These lessons from Life 101 will make you indispensable to your customers.

1. Someone is always watching. When we cut corners not only do we short change our customers but we insult their intelligence as well.

2. If it isn’t worth doing well don’t do it at all. We are much better off doing a few things well than throwing our hats at a lot of things.

3. Get outside the...

Turak on Mountain Money

Turak on Mountain Money
by August Turak


August Turak appeared on KPCW's Mountain Money on Monday, August 5th hosted by former Money magazine contributor and KPCW General Manager Larry Warren along with financial expert Doug Wells.

Click here to listen to the show.

What: Mountain Money Interview

Date: Monday, August 5th, 2013

Time: 11:04 AM EDT (9:04 AM MDT)

Hosts: Larry Warren and Doug Wells

KPCW's Mountain Money covers the unique challenges of working in the mountains by providing small-business news, real estate, estate planning and personal finance information.

Former Money magazine contributor and KPCW General Manager Larry Warren hosts the program along with financial expert Doug Wells. The program is produced by Dr. Beth Fratkin.

Mountain Money is sponsored by Mountain West Bank, Park City Chamber Bureau and the Park City...

How Much Do You Know About Trappist Monks?

by August Turak
August Turak joined host Jim Bohannon on The Jim Bohannon Show on July 24th to talk about his new book, business secrets and Trappist monks. Turak explains how business people today can best follow the monks example.  Click here to listen to the show. How much do you know about Trappist monks? The Trappists are a Roman Catholic group born of reformers back in the mid-17th Century. They are governed by the Rule of St. Benedict, written in the 6th Century, which preaches stability, fidelity to monastic life, and obedience. While not taking a vow of silence, Trappist monks generally speak only when necessary, and idle talk is strongly discouraged. Yet, they have shown centuries of business acumen. So, how are...

Business Tips From Trappist Monks

Business Tips From Trappist Monks
by August Turak
Some of the greatest business secrets can be found in the daily practices of Trappist monks.  Monastic traditions have been shown to guide personal and professional success, and demonstrate the importance of measuring quality over quantity.

Turak appeared on WNYC’s The Takeaway on June 27th. During the show, Business Tips From Trappist Monks, Turak tells The Takeaway why we should pay closer attention to the motivation behind our work and the business skills you can learn from examining the principles of Trappist monks.

 

Businessman Finds Spiritual Roots Of Capitalism

Businessman Finds Spiritual Roots Of Capitalism
by August Turak
At noon on June 19th, Turak appeared on NPR’s The State of Things hosted by Frank Stasio. They discussed how Turak, a businessman, found the spiritual roots of capitalism and they talked about Turak's first book, Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks.

Click here to listen to the show.

Read more about The State of Things and Frank Stasio.

 

6 Leadership Tips from Jim Collins

6 Leadership Tips from Jim Collins
by August Turak
In a previous article The 11 Leadership Secrets You’ve Never Heard About, I introduced Jim Collins, my mentor at what is now the A&E Network. Though it has been more than 25 years, the leadership lessons I learned from him remain pivotal to my life. Ordinarily, as Huck Finn might say, I don’t take much stock in “tips.” Human beings prefer the concrete to the abstract, and this largely explains why hope springs eternal for “tips” that putatively allow us to “eat anything you want and still lose weight” in every area of our lives -including business.

However, there are exceptions to every rule, and Jim Collins passed on a number of highly practical tips that I feel no qualms about passing...

The Dark Side of Leadership

by August Turak
Never get out of the boat. Absolutely god damn right. Unless you were going all the way. -Willard in Apocalypse Now My Zen teacher wasn’t the mild mannered, taciturn, picture of inscrutable wisdom of myth and legend. He was a highly humorous, iconoclastic, often irascible, full-fledged West Virginia hillbilly with more fire in his Buddha-like belly than most people could stomach. He also wasn’t averse to bitching; and what he bitched about most was all the people who asked for his advice and then never bothered to take it.

One day, in a fit of youthful exuberance, I swore I would do whatever he instructed no questions asked. For a few tense moments he just looked at me silently scanning my soul....

The Red Hot Heart of Leadership

by August Turak
All leaders share an absolute commitment to what they are doing, why they are doing it, and to the people helping them get there.

In 1985 I became the vice president of marketing for a privately held, family run, cable television operator that owned 20 cable systems across several states. Anxious to drive revenue, I put together a crack crew of “door busters;” door to door salesmen with names like Paul “The Hammer” Rotstein and Joe “Closin’ Joe” Scalise. These guys cut their teeth selling baby pictures door to door, and they had that ineffable capacity to, as they liked to put it, “leave the women crying and the men signing checks.” These guys were so good that I was afraid...

3 Keys to Getting and Staying Inspired

3 Keys to Getting and Staying Inspired
by August Turak
As counter-intuitive as it may sound, inspiration actually emerges from the soil of action: perspiration is just the water that nourishes it.

Louis R. Mobley, my mentor and the founder of the IBM Executive School in 1956 was a huge fan of IBM’s founder, Tom Watson Sr. It was Watson who invented the famous and often ridiculed THINK posters that were ubiquitous throughout IBM in its early years. Mobley was anything but thin skinned, but he could become downright vehement defending those damn posters against all comers. If the Beatles blamed a lack of “love sweet love” for the world’s problems for Mobley it was a lack of reason sweet reason. While he never said as much, the only thing...

The Business of Nonverbal Communication: How Signals Reflect Your Brand

The Business of Nonverbal Communication: How Signals Reflect Your Brand
by August Turak
Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny  

This M.I. T study on nonverbal communication has a lot to teach about business. So much that, as the article says, “We ignore these ancient signals at our own peril.” Whether we realize it or not, everything we do or don’t do is freighted with nonverbal signals that others are straining to decipher. Whether consciously or unconsciously, experience teaches us all that verbal communication is just as likely to conceal as it is to reveal. Information is infinite and time is very finite. We are all looking for little poker “tells” that will give us...

The Next Fortune 500 Female CEO (It's a Lock)

The Next Fortune 500 Female CEO (It's a Lock)
by August Turak
In a recent article, More Women Are Primed to Land CEO Roles, the Wall Street Journal offered a short list of the 10 women most likely to be named CEOs. While all of these women are spectacularly accomplished, Anne Sweeney, co-chair for Disney Media Networks and president of Disney/ABC is clearly the front runner. I feel so strongly about this issue that if some moss-backed board doesn’t give Ms. Sweeney the nod and damn well soon I fully intend to sell my entire stock portfolio and put the cash under my mattress. (Alas the bump won’t be nearly as big as it was several years ago so I doubt I’ll lose much sleep.)

Ok so I’m biased: I’ve known and admired Anne for over 30...

A Leadership Prescription (Not Vicodin) from Dr. House

A Leadership Prescription (Not Vicodin) from Dr. House
by August Turak
It may be pure folly to try and unravel the Gordian Knot of Dr. House’s leadership philosophy and teaching methodology, but here are a few points that may or may not shed some light.

 

One of my favorite scenes in the TV series House shows two of his students, as usual, trying to keep up with the Master. One bitterly complains that what they are going through is just the latest in a long string of mind games orchestrated by House for God knows what reason.

“It’s all a script,” he says, “and each of us is supposed to play our part. Well, I refuse to play his game.”

“That’s just what House is counting on,” says his colleague. “The part you’re scripted to...

Zen Leadership: The Toughest (Best) Business Decision I Ever Made

Zen Leadership: The Toughest (Best) Business Decision I Ever Made
by August Turak
He cared deeply, lived carelessly, and couldn’t care less, and he died in the same obscurity into which he was born.Yet he remains the greatest leader and most remarkable man I have ever met. Everything that is best in me I owe largely to him.

 



In 1973 I dropped out of college and took a job jockeying a jack hammer in order to study full time under a West Virginia hillbilly, family man, house painter, and Zen Master hovering just above the poverty line in Wheeling, West Virginia. A poster child for the anti-guru, he claimed no lineage, accepted no money, and I was his first student. He cared deeply, lived carelessly, and couldn’t care less,...

The One Great Thing That Every Great Leader Does

The One Great Thing That Every Great Leader Does
by August Turak
All great leaders are able to make things happen. These seven steps will teach you just how they do it.

On March 31, 2000 we sold our company to an Israeli company slated to go public at the sky high valuations that the irrational exuberance of the Dot Com feeding frenzy was then producing. Two months later the stock market and our dreams of going public collapsed leaving the company desperately short of cash. The board replaced the CEO and a few days later the new CEO, Yochi Slonim, was on a plane from Tel Aviv to New York in search of the venture capital that the company needed to stave off bankruptcy.

When he arrived, he sent me his business plan for...

The Essential Entrepreneur: What Is Stopping You From Being an Entrepreneur?

The Essential Entrepreneur: What Is Stopping You From Being an Entrepreneur?
by August Turak
Successful entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, but they all share one essential trait. Find out how to make your own entrepreneurial dreams come true.

Much to the dismay of my long suffering father, in 1985 I exchanged my “fast track” career in the New York City based cable television industry for a job with a cash-starved, software start-up in bucolic North Carolina for half the pay. Shortly thereafter I attended my first meeting of the Council for Entrepreneurial Development that had recently formed in Research Triangle Park (RTP) to nurture entrepreneurship. The speaker was a highly successful Silicon Valley transplant with what might be euphemistically described as “a bit of an attitude.” The first thing he did was ask all the entrepreneurs...

8 Steps to Winning Friends, Influencing People, and Getting Any Damn Thing You Want

8 Steps to Winning Friends, Influencing People, and Getting Any Damn Thing You Want
by August Turak
Sooner or later every leader realizes that most of the people he needs to be successful don’t report to him.  Business success as well as personal success relies on persuasion. Here are the 8 persuasive secrets from the most persuasive person I’ve ever met.



It was 9:30 in the evening and I was wrapping up an SKS meeting with some undergraduates at Duke University when Meredith Parker, the student president, asked if she could walk me to my car.

“Uh oh,” I thought, “she wants something.”

I was running two cash starved start-ups at the time, and I was so worn out that it was all I could do to facilitate these weekly meetings. Despite my fondness for Meredith, I promised...

Steve Jobs and the One Trait All Innovative Leaders Share

by August Turak
Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that curiosity killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly. ― Arnold Edinborough

One day the teacher asked Johnny a question.

“Johnny, the baseball game last night started at 8:00 and ended at 10:43, how long did it last?”

“That’s an easy one,” Johnny said excitedly. “I watched the game. It lasted nine innings.”

Johnny was quickly diagnosed with ADHD, but at last report he is now doing much better. *     *     * I watched a wonderful documentary, Steve Jobs:  One Last Thing, and what struck me as the overarching secret to his success was his voracious curiosity. Jobs wasn’t curious about things that would make him successful. He was successful because he was so...

Albert Pujols and the Secret to Spontaneous Greatness

Albert Pujols and the Secret to Spontaneous Greatness
by August Turak
My brother Tom is a gifted engineer and software developer. He was also my partner in the business we started. One day he said, “I’ve been trying to figure out how you make decisions. I can’t figure it out, but I have to admit that you’re almost always right. So what’s the secret?”

Coming from a younger sibling this was high praise indeed. But all I could say was, “Honestly Tom, I have no idea. I just make decisions.” *  *  * One of my favorite concepts from the ancient mystics is “as above so below.” It’s more scientific equivalent is that the macrocosm is recapitulated in the microcosm.  Both versions are trying to capture that -like an infinite series of nestedRussian Dolls-...

Are You Coachable? The Five Steps to Coachability

Are You Coachable? The Five Steps to Coachability
by August Turak
A proverb says that only stupid men learn from experience. Wise men learn from other people’s experience. The education I received sitting at Mobley’s feet was priceless, but it would never have happened if I had not been coachable.

In a previous article Three Keys to Getting and Staying Inspired, I suggested that real change is more often spurred by desperation than inspiration. Back in the 1990s my golf game was in such desperate straits that I turned to lessons. For the first month my pro, fresh off the PGA Tour, was strictly professional. Then one day he said,

“Augie, I enjoy teaching you. No matter what I ask you to do you give me 150%. You’d be amazed at how many guys...