Both District Managers by age 25, we’re now authoring a leadership movement to teach our performance tactics to support others in having greater success in their lives!
These tactics that Mike and I used to become DMs of large corporations by the time we were 25 years old are not difficult, or complex. Origin Leadership Group was born to teach these same tactics and tips to you, so you can increase performance, get a raise, promotion, or dream job, and move from employee to leader. Let’s create the possibility of authoring a leadership movement! One that get your goals on paper, and then accomplished.
Meet Nick Glassett
From Athlete, to High Performer, to Leader
Nick is a member of Toastmasters, is enrolled in the Landmark Curriculum for Living, currently in the Self Expression and Leadership course, an avid reader, and an athlete that plays soccer and mountain bikes. Here is the story of how he discovered his competitive side, his knack for breaking down systems and rebuilding them with behaviors that drive results, and where his self discipline started.
“I’ll pay for half of the bike” -My Dad
I was a mountain biker. Not just for fun, I was a competitive mountain biker, racing in two local race series. I was pretty good too! However, I was riding an entry level GT from 1996 and having decent success. I needed a better bike to really compete. The bike I REALLY wanted was a Specialized Stumpjumper M2. It was $1200. My dad told me that if I made half the money, he’d pay the other half. This was a defining moment for me. This marked the first time in my life that I had something that I really wanted that cost a lot of money, and I had some financial backing. It took the seemingly huge $1200 and chopped it in half. I had a goal in mind, and I had the motivation to make it happen. The marriage of those two things introduced me to something that I had been lacking my whole life; Discipline. To buy this new bike, I had to do what it took to get the money no matter what it took.
My Nana Buys a Blimpie Franchize
This was my first real job where I was on a payroll, had co-workers, a posted schedule etc. Granted I was the owners grandson, but the experience I gained here was invaluable.
I remember my first Saturday on the line making subs for customers. It was busy and I was only 14 years old. I felt a HUGE obligation to really do a great job because this was someones food! It was here that I learned about customer service. To do everything in your power to have a happy customer. I discovered the high standards that were engrained in me, but working with food was the key that unlocked it.
I could only work Sundays because I played soccer so many days a week, but I was determined to buy that Stumpjumper, so I picked up others shifts, worked doubles and did what I had to do to make the money for that bike.
Not only did I buy the bike, I still have it 18 years later. I won MANY races on those two wheels, including the Utah State Championship for my age group when I was in 9th grade.
Highest paid K-Mart employee at age 15
I got hired as a checker at K-Mart when I was 15 years old in the winter of 2000. I had a buddy that worked there, and after landing the job, and watching the training VHS tapes, I was put up front running a cash register. It was a complex machine that was old, and NOT user friendly. I remember feeling under a lot of pressure because I wanted to do a great job and leave the customers happy. That said, I really didn’t know what I was doing, and I certainly didn’t have any goals or aspirations.
Then one day leaving the break room my buddy that worked there with me asked what my “rings-per-minute” were last week. I had no idea what he was talking about. He walked me to a wall of papers hung on bulletin boards that I’d walked by 100 times, not noticing it, and hung there were the stats for all the cashiers. The main one was the average of how many items you could rang through your register in one minute, or “rings per minute”. I was middle of the pack.
Within three weeks I was number one in the store. I analyzed the process, experimented with how the timing system worked, and came up with set behaviors to use on every transaction to minimize my down time, and speed customers through my line.
I was approached by the GM, and instead of moving me to Sporting Goods like I had wanted, he offered me a 50% raise to stay on the registers. I gave a little push back because I really wanted to get moved off the registers. He then told me that I actually had the highest rings-per-minute in the entire western US! I accepted the raise, and was now the highest paid non-management employee in the whole region, at age 15.
Started at the Bottom
I graduated High School in 2003, and needed a job since I decided not to take any of the scholarship offers to play soccer in college. I was going to keep living at home with my parents, and got into the University of Utah. My mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, and numerous aunts and uncles all graduated from The U of U. My best friends girlfriend was the assistant manager at the Journeys in the mall near my house. On June 13th 2003 she called my cell phone and said, “Do you want the job or not?” I had no clue what she was talking about. Apparently the word hadn’t gotten to me that she got me a job there! She said “If you want the job, you have to come up here right now. If you don’t I’m calling Kyle to give him the job.” Kyle was driving the car that I was riding in! I told him to turn around and head to the mall so I could get this job!
I didn’t really get an interview, and the Store Manager, Drew (who would later be the best man in my wedding) hired me on the spot. I started as a Part-Time Sales Associate the next day, and my main job was handling the large shipments of shoes that we got weekly. This is the lowest possible position that you can have at Journeys.
I was the Worst Journeys Employee
“You need to fire that guy”.
That’s what my boss’s DM told him after meeting me at Journeys. I didn’t really like this job, but I did like working for Drew, so I did the bare minimum to get by. The DM, Cory (who was also later a groomsman in my wedding) was there for a visit on a day that I had been working. He was far less than impressed and told Drew to fire me. Cory was right, I was bad. Drew told me that he said that the on the next shift I worked, which I’m also EXTREMELY thankful for because It meant that what I was doing was not going to cut it any longer. I really didn’t want to find another job, because that was not fun, and I actually liked this job other than the selling, because I was awful at it!
Learning and Promotion
So I had two options. Step up, or move on. I realized that I was a failure and it bugged me. So I went to my manager and did something that would change my life forever. I asked for help.
And guess what he shows me? My stats. Deja vu from my Kmart days! These lists were on the bulletin board posted weekly and I had simply chosen to ignore them. Now what was unlike Kmart was that I was the worst in the whole store!
So Drew started teaching me how to sell so I could save my job, and in doing so, he actually taught me one of the most important things about ,myself…
I’m an innovator.
I don’t generally come up with ideas, I take others ideas and elevate them, and then take them in a new direction. Drew teaches me how to sell, and I just copy him as close as I can. Guess what? RESULTS! Now after a few days, I don’t; t like being a mini-Drew, so I tweak, and breakdown what he’s doing, and rebuild it my own way, and then success starts to come easier and easier!
I work hard, and grow. I start to REALLY like this job. This selling thing has it’s hooks in me and I’m good at it!
All My Hard Work Pays Off
One day, The DM is at the store, and he approaches me. He says, “What are you doing man?” A little worried, I asked what he was talking about…
He says, “You’re better than every assistant manager that I have, and your a part timer? What are you doing?”
This is an amazing opportunity that most people don’t get. This is where I tell him that I’ve been pushing hard, hitting my numbers so I can get a promotion! He was excited to hear that.
“I’ve got a store for you.”
So, a month or so later, I get promoted to assistant manager of a store that does over $1,000,000 in sales and I’m only 19. I’m ecstatic.
6 days after my promotion, the phone rings. It’s my DM. He says something that I’ll never forget. He says, “I’ve got store for you man.”
He wants to make me a store manager.
I think about it and talk to my parents, and the next dayI call him back and gladly say yes.
My First Epic Failure (A Chance at a Defining Moment)
I’m running my own store for 5 months, and doing great. Sales are up double digits, and all the other metrics are not only up, they are way up. It feels like I found my calling.
In this time I meet a girl that would become my first girlfiried. We’ve been dating for 3 months, and being as young as we are, our relationship goes from great, to rocky patch quick. It’s tearing me up…bad. Then my mom calls me and tells me that my Nana has cancer and the dr thinks she’s not going to live much longer.
My store begins to fall apart, starting with the partnership that I have with my assistant manager. I’m distracted, and just not ready to handle real life on top of these large responsibilities of management and leadership in my young age. I change on the inside become resigned in nature, and I just lose focus all together.
Here’s the first failure of my life…
I ask my DM for a demotion to move back to Salt Lake City so I can be near my family, and try to patch things up with my girlfriend.
My nana pulls through and beats the cancer after a few surgeries and is truly cured. I was young, but I remember feeling like the doctors blew things out of proportion. Not being an open person by nature, and especially not being open at this time in my life, I hold those feelings inside, and am just thankful that she’s not only alive, but able to be herself…her quirky, goofy, self!
The Defining Moment
Now my relationship…that doesn’t make it no matter how hard I try. Those few months experiencing my first ever heartache, and breakup do something to me.
They alter me.
They harden me.
I get to truly see, for the first time, that life can hurt, and hurt bad. But even when it does; even when you don’t want to get out of bed, you still do. And you pull yourself through. And when you dig deep for the courage to overcome something that has got you tied up in knots, you realize that you have the ability to be invincible. You have the power to rise up against the pain and say, NO MORE. No more moping. No more depression. NO MORE. I do realize that this revelation was brought about by what seems like a rather trivial, teenage relationship that lasted roughly 6 months…
But it’s not the journey that is important. It’s the lesson. The moral. And as I look back at this time on my life, I can honestly say that it altered my entire path going forward. It gave me courage, in areas that I had no experience. It offered some edge to what had been a pretty rosy life. It allowed me to experience deep emotions that I had been void of my whole life to that point. I went in a naive teen, and I emerged a laser focused, highly driven, MAN.
Career Reboot (“Assistant Manager for Life”)
I was drinking pretty heavily from the time I moved back to Salt Lake in October.
I’m working for a manager in the area that I had never worked for, and she teaches me about how to hold people accountable for high standards, not just having them for myself. She also tells me something that lights a fire under me…
She says that there’s a rumor going around that I’m now… an Assistant Manager for life… since I failed at my shot of being a store manager.
I work hard again, and lucky for me, I have Drew looking out for me again. He gets our DM to agree to transfer me back to work under him again. We’re reunited and it’s time to stand up, and prove my worth.
I stop drinking, cut my hair, and go shopping so I can start dressing for the job I want not the job I’ve got. I trade in my band tees for button downs, and start working 55+ hours a week, often coming in on my days off. I help out at other stores as often as I can, and through sheer hustle alone, accomplish what I set out to do…I prove my worth!
Shot at Redemption (Back at Place I Failed)
So I hear wind that we have a manager that needs to be trained at the same store that I failed 6 months earlier. A city that I didn’t like, a store that left so much idle time for my mind to run wild, a mall with no food court…It’s calling to me again.
I told my DM to send me. I’m the guy!
He was shocked that I wanted to go back to Logan UT to train this young manager, but I knew that I wasn’t getting any better shots to redeem myself than this.
So I moved up there for 6 weeks and stayed in the room that, believe it or not, I had still been paying rent on. I lived with my buddy Cole, and we had a good time while I trainined the new manager, Justin. He grew well, and this is where I developed my love for teaching. Knowing that he was taking the store from soon meant there was a deadline, and I had six weeks to teach him all that he need to know to win.
I Developed a whole training plan for him, and it really lays the foundation for what I would do later in life that put me on the map.
This second trip to Logan UT was VERY important in my Journey!
A Store Manager Again
My DM gives me a store back in the Salt Lake area on July 2nd, 2004 in West Valley Utah. I now have all these leadership skills and management techniques that I didn’t have on my first shot at running a store, and I do very well! We run up close to 20% for the six months that I’m there and hit all our metrics no problem.
Opportunity Knocks Again, and It’s…South Dakota?
A few days before Christmas 2004, I get into work, and my Assistant Manager Shane says, “Cory called for you.” I remember saying, “Ah man what did I do this time??”
I have a bit of a reputation for being a rule breaker and having strong opinions, not to mention, I’m only 20 so I made little mistakes a lot.
I call my DM back and he asks me something crazy…
He says, “We need a guy in Rapid City South Dakota…”
The MG there has gone awol the week of Christmas, and the store is a bit of wreck. It’s a new store that has been open less than a year, and has some real potential.
I take my time to think about it…I call my parents and discuss it with them…I have a long conversation with the DM of Denver/South Dakota/North Dakota, and I tell everyone that I need to think about it.
Now, I wish I remembered this part better, but I’m pretty sure that I thought about it for about an hour before I called Cory back and said, “I’m in.”
We get some logistics set up, and I move on Jan 7th, 2005.
Maturing and Life Long Friends
I take over the store in South Dakota, and pick up right where I left off in West Valley, running huge sales increases, and maintaining impressive metrics.
I’m also introduced to more or myself. More of my personality.
When you live alone, you have a lot of time alone.
When you live in a new city where you know no one, you have A LOT of time alone.
What I discovered here is that even though there was times where I was really lonely, and it was tough on me to have all my family and friends half way across the country, I can still stay focused on the things that matter.
Focus on the things that cause winning.
And win I do! Both at business and at life. I end up meeting Many life long friends while living in South Dakota, one of them being Mike Leonardo, the other Co-Founder of Origin Leadership!
How to Team Build (It’s a WHO, not a HOW)
I fired my first employee when I was running that store in South Dakota, and MAN did I do a poor job of it. That girl probably still hates me for how I handled that situation. She was my assistant manager, and I knew that she couldn’t take the store from me and keep it winning like I had it going.
If I left the store with her, it would begin to fail, and the only way I was going to get out of South Dakota was to find someone that I can promote that could be even better than me!
This is another incredibly valuable leadership lesson that I learn after firing my assistant.
I had been dating a girl, and things were fairly serious. Since I fired my assistant, I’m working open to close every day, roughly 72 hours/week.
What happens next is a test of my fortitude. She gets drunk, and kisses some dude. I left her…crushed and in a city that I didn’t really like. Thank god for my friends because they really pulled me though! That, and a lot of Wild Turkey. A lot of Wild Turkey!
So now I’m dealing with a break up, drinking my way through it, and working 12 hours a day everyday. Insane I made it through! But there was no other option. The nearest store to me was 300 miles away.
There was no reinforcements. On myself, I had to rely.
So, I start doing interviews. First applicant that I hire is PERFECT for the job. Tons of experience, older than me, loud, funny…too good to be true!
When things are too good to be true, they generally are.
She works a week, then quits.
I interview another guy. He’s been working in the mall for a while, and I know he’s a hard worker and driven. He knows some of my friends and people say good things about him.
My head says yes, my gut says no.
I hire him anyway because I talk myself into it. I’m desperate!
The day before he starts, he gets into a fight in the mall right outside my store. If that isn’t proof that my gut is right I don’t know what is.
I still let him start anyways. Man such a mistake!! He works one day and quits. One day.
Hire Someone Better Than You
So now I’m left with one applicant, that I had passed over to hire the guy that got into the fight. Her name is Makayon, and she was the obvious choice all along. Why I didn’t hire her first I have no idea! She came to the interview with a ton of energy, dressed up, with a resume, and a notebook…I mean, she was the person I should’ve hired weeks ago, but I couldn’t see it without making all the other hiring mistakes before her.
I offer her the job, she accepts, and I get to work training her. She’s incredible! I hadn’t worked with a salesperson that naturally talented before in my life. I had to learn to sell, she just sold.
I remember thinking for the first time in my life two very important things with team building:
- Holy crap, I just hired someone better than me
- This is awesome!
That’s right. “This is awesome.”
When you hire someone better than you, what happens?
They over shadow you, beat you, and take your job from you? NO.
They push you out of your comfort zone. They add value to the teammates around you. They contribute to the success of the team. Your boss will notice this, and you know what they say? “Wow where did you find this girl?”
They give you credit. It makes you look better, not worse. They do end up taking your job from you…that’s because you get promoted!
So now with my right hand woman on staff, we become a wrecking crew, crushing every number there is to be crushed!
I start to put Mak, as we called her, through the same “boot camp” that I gave Justin back in Logan UT. She shines. It’s like magic!
With her doing so well, I turn my attention to the sales associates, and together Mak and I build a truly special team with young talent, big personalities, and strong bond that is like a family.
Alice Cooper Shops in My Store (Not joking)
Rapid City is about 45 minutes from a tiny sleepy little town that you may have heard of before…Sturgis South Dakota.
So the week of the Bike rally, I see an older gentleman shopping around the store, and I pulled one of my associates aside. I pointed out the italian leather boots he had on. I remember saying “Those are probably $1200 shoes dude!”
Then I look again. And I look back at my associate. And I say, “Man, I think that’s Alice Cooper.”
We’re both in shock. Utter shock. I actually walked up to him, and like the worst salesman on earth, I ask him the stupidest question ever…”You finding everything OK?”
He nods, then walks out. SO COOL!
So I finish up training Bak, and let the higher-ups know that my replacement is ready to take over, and I’m ready to leave!
I move back to Salt Lake City in October 2005. I take over a lower volume store, but I just wanted to be home, so It’s all good.
I continue to mentor Makayon from a far over the phone, and she takes our little store in South Dakota to $1,000,000 in sales!
I run the store in Layton UT through Christmas, turning it around, and getting a strong team together.
I then take another store over to get it turned around, and just as I get things going, I get promoted again. This time to a $1,10,000 store. My first shot at the big time! An this is actually the store that I was hired at 3.5 years earlier.
Learning How to Lose
This store in Sandy UT puts me to the test! I take it over, get it cleaned up, start hiring, and we are winning. Business as usual.
Then all the sudden the state starts ripping up the roads in front of the mall. This is road construction on a level that I’ve never seen before. Our foot traffic takes a huge hit!
Winning stops. For the first time ever in my life, I’m missing days, weeks, and months!
We stay super positive, and we fight for every damn sale. Our losing streak continues, but even three day visits from my DM don’t turn things around.
Business is tough. But I learn to be tougher!
This losing streak shows me that we don’t really lose, unless we give up. AND THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN!
Drew goes to AK. Then we get to Sacramento
Drew, the MG that hired me has moved to Alaska while I was up in South Dakota. We talk multiple times daily, and we have been helping each other through the bumps and bruises of moving across the country, and growing as leaders.
I’m winning everywhere I go. Drew is doubling business in Alaska! Running up close to 100%. The time for him to become a DM is getting near…
He gets offered a District in Sacramento California. When he get’s there, it’s a mess. The Regional Vice President wants to get him help, so about 4 moths after he takes over the District, they ask me if I want to move out there to help him.
I didn’t have to think about that one. The answer was yes as soon as they asked!
I’ now 22 years old, and I get thrust into a leadership role as the Area Manager of Northern California. It puts me in a ton of uncomfortable situations and these years are truly to thank for building me into the leader I am today.
This is where I form many of my philosophies and theories that I still use to this day. I had always had them, I had just never formalized them.
From the day I take the store over, winning begins, and the wins are big, because the store I’m running is BIG. I would take that store to be, at the time, the second highest volume store in the western US.
This is where I meet Michelle. Tell the story, talk about her
The next major step in life is my transition into the District Manager Training role
This is the first time since I demoted myself back in 2004 that I encounter any tough times, and man were they tough! Anyone that works in sales can vouch that this was a rough time
VP at the market meeting
WE have a manager meeting, and the VP of the company attends ours. There he sees what I have truly been working on. While sales had been tough and we were slugging through it the last two years, He sees the number of managers that I had trained. Over half of our 18 store district was training by me, hired by me
Not long after the meeting, and as the recession is ending, and things are starting to look up, I get the call to interview for New Orleans DM. I fly to our home office, interview with the Regional, and the two VPs and a week later get the call that I got the job. On Sept 11th 2010 I landed in New Orleans to start my new job as a DM
I put 52,503 miles on my car in 1 year.
I was 25 years old. I had 22 stores across all of LA, most of MS, and lower Alabama. This year was a blur. To be exact, I put 52,503 miles on my car in 1 year.
I had 22 stores, and I made 33 manager changes. 150% turnover rate. While these times at work were crucial to my success, and taught me SO MUCH, this same time had the exact opposite effect o my relationship with Michelle. I had just this California girlmoved across the country to Louisiana which is like another universe compared to California. We only had 2 days to find a house, and needed one that would take us along with our pit bull Obi Juan, so we took the first house that accepted us. It was in Walker LA. It’s a small little country-town outside of Baton Rouge. Michelle and I stuck out like a sore thumb! On top of that we didn’t have any friends. This was a very long year…
the 2nd era
We made it through the year in Walker, and then moved an hour east to an area referred to as the Northshore of New Orleans, Covington, LA. I went from working 7 days a week, close to 70 hours a week down to my more normal 55ish. At the same time, Michelle decided to go to hair school, so we paid for her education, and we also had our epic wedding! This was an amazing year!
While the personal life was going really great, the professional life was right in step with that. My district was growing, stabilizing, and winning…a lot. During this time I discover my love for reading. I wouldn’t realize that the reading = learning for a few more years, but books become a major part of who I am, specifically non-fiction.
We live in covington for a year renting a great little house, and then we decide it time to buy a home, We buy a house that is almost too good to be true. It’s exactly what we want, it’s new construction, and it’s within our budget by a few thousand dollars. Michelle gets a new car, and things are going great. As I have a strong team behind me now, I have more spare time to myself. I have Saturdays off, and Michelle is in hard school Mon-Sat, so I start to get bored and do something that I hadn’t done in 10 years! develop hobbies
Gardeing, wood working (if you can call it that), ecersiseing, video games, etc. My interests kind of bounce around due to boredom.
Jake and Tay move out