Jim Weber joined Brooks Running Company as CEO in 2001 and is credited for the Seattle-based running company’s aggressive turnaround story. The business and brand success caught the attention of Warren Buffett, who declared Brooks a standalone subsidiary company of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in 2012. He’s the author of a new book called, “Running With Purpose, How Brooks Outpaced Goliath Competitors to lead the pack.”

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  • When Jim became CEO, there was a mission statement on the wall in the main conference room. It said that “Brooks would become a leader in performance running and one of the most admired companies in the world.” Jim said, “Often the admired company lists either overemphasize current financial performance or a derivative of a beauty contest influenced by “best companies to work for” lists. And being “admired” is external recognition of outcomes, it does not shine a light on how to actually create those “desired” results.
  • A purpose is a forever cause that can permeate everything from the business to the brand to the culture. It is a choice, not an outcome.
  • The secret to success is “constancy of purpose” – Instead of a mission statement, Jim decided that a purpose was preferable to a mission. A purpose is a forever cause that can permeate everything from the business to the brand to the culture.
  • The riskiest path is to look like your competitors. You can’t just chase trends.
  • They have distinct points of view:
    • Focus
    • Excellence in execution
  • Trust: Charlie Munger has often spoken about the “seamless web of deserved trust” as a life pursuit.
    • The Berkshire culture is built on trust
      • Brooks is completely empowered
      • Brooks is completely accountable
      • There are no required meetings
      • People choose to self-select into it
  • “You’re an outcome of your journey.”
  • What Jim looks for when hiring a leader:
    • Competitive
    • Culture driven – “Cultures are behaviors in action.”
    • Likes being part of a team
    • Functional excellence
  • Values:
    • Word is bond
    • Be active
    • Authenticity
  • The process Jim has in place to continue learning:
    • He was involved in YPO in the early years
    • His wife Mary Ellen
    • A board of advisors – It’s 6 former CEOs
  • The onepage strategy that you relentlessly message to your team – Jim made the decision to walk away from non-premium running to concentrate on performance-running, eliminating 50% of his product line and 40% of his retail partnerships. He didn’t try to be all things to all people.
  • Expectations and Messaging: After becoming CEO, Jim lowered revenue and profit projections so that he could establish some credibility by hitting his numbers. He brought in a new CFO, David Bohan… He shared a one-page strategy and told everyone they would get sick of you repeating it.
  • One morning at a leadership off-site meeting, Jim went on a run. After he finished it, he poured out a personal manifesto that reflected what he appreciated in the best and most authentic leaders with whom he had worked…
    • I want to be led. I don’t want to be managed. I do not want to punch a time clock
    • I want to be part of something I can be proud of
    • I want to be communicated with in an open and transparent manner
    • I want to learn
    • I want a challenge to be my best self, fully develop my talents, and do meaningful work
    • I expect to work hard, so I want to enjoy my work, the place, and the people
    • I need to feel your support and confidence in my work
    • I want to work with people who share the goals and values of the organization
  • The Essence of Authentic Leadership: Focus, Curiosity, and Trust
  • Apply to be part of my Leadership Circle

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