Episode 224: Mike McDerment, CEO Of FreshBooks – Lead With Trust

Mike is the co-founder and CEO of FreshBooks, the world’s #1 cloud accounting software for self-employed professionals. Built in 2003 after he accidentally saved over an invoice, Mike spent 3.5 years growing FreshBooks from his parents’ basement. Since then, over 10 million people have used FreshBooks to save time billing, and collect billions of dollars.

Episode 224: Mike McDerment, CEO Of FreshBooks – Lead With Trust

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“We give trust to earn trust. Lead with trust. That’s the world I want to live in.”

Show Notes:

  • Sustained Excellence. Common Themes of Leaders who Sustain Excellence:
    • Been through something hard
    • Strong morals – set of values, make upstanding decisions, believe in people, don’t compromise
    • Creative
    • Surround self with great people
    • Strong desire to grow
    • Default Trust to “ON”
  • First Principles — Distill things down to underlying system: The act of taking a problem and breaking it down
  • Building FreshBooks — “I didn’t know anything about anything.”
  • The #1 place to work — have won awards for their culture
  • What do you do? “We are in the business of saving people time.”
  • Moving to his parents basement to start the business… Running lean
  • Culture takes deliberate thought
    • Must have people who are diverse but share your values
    • Need guidelines/rule sets
  • The 9 Values:
    • Passion – Love your craft
    • Ownership
    • Results
    • Change – Bring learning and growth
    • Honesty
    • Fun – Deliberately make it fun
    • Empathy
    • Strive – Stretch
    • Trust
    • Secrecy – Open inside, but nothing leaves from inside
  • Values/Culture used in 2 ways
    • Publicly recognize people living the values
    • Swiftly eliminate people who don’t embody those values – Listen, hear, be open. Recognize that cultures need to be hacked, evolve, change.
  • Inner office dating? Why is that promoted? What does it mean?
  • Everyone spends the first month in customer service. All build that foundation — Why they prolong onboarding and how that leads to long term success
  • Make decisions today to win in 3-5 years
  • Decided to re-platform even though the rule is to “never re-write or re-platform”
  • “How do you minimize risk, but maximize impact?”
  • “Something that no one had ever done before. Create a new company in secret.”
  • Lead with trust: “We give trust to earn trust. Lead with trust. That’s the world I want to live in.”
  • Imposter Syndrome and FEAR. Embracing it
  • “Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable” — It’s the path to growth. Nobody has all of the answers
  • Advice to 20 year old — He was lost, not doing well. Realize that everyone else is too. Nobody knows what they are doing even if it looks like they do.”
  • Read — E Myth (Michael Gerber), Idea Virus (Seth Godin), Execution (Ram Charan)
  • Learning Leader — Per Mike, “That’s me.” The challenge & personal growth.

“How do you minimize risk and maximize impact?”

Social Media:

More Learning:

Episode 078: Kat Cole – From Hooters Waitress To President of Cinnabon

Episode 216: Jim Collins — How To Go From Good To Great

Episode 179: How To Sustain Excellence – The Best Answers From 178 Questions

Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why

Episode edited by the great J Scott Donnell

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