Welcome To the Join Up Dots Podcast with Zach Thomas
Introducing Zach Thomas
Today’s guest first joining us on the Join Up Dots show is Zach Thomas, he is an entrepreneur, published author, coach and speaker.
He was Eagle Scout of the Nation in 1995, graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and served his country as an Airborne Ranger Infantry Officer.
He has started multiple companies and been featured in Newsweek Magazine and on Good Morning America.
He married his high school sweetheart and they home school their seven children on their family farm where he grew up.
His varied interests include studying leadership and entrepreneurship, farming, riding his Harley, working on old cars with his sons and dad, camping and spending time with his family.
Today, he is the owner/operator of a Chick-fil-A franchise in Rockmart, Georgia.
His Leader Farming strategy – Growing Leaders to Grow your Business – has resulted in top 20% performance metrics and the development of multiple Chick-fil-A franchisees from his
As a Lean 6 Ninja, he has cultivated a culture of continuous improvement in his organization.
How The Dots Joined For Zach
His pioneering efforts have led him to serve on the Lean Operator panel for Chick-fil-A, Inc. and co-create the Lean365 program that helps other franchisees build a culture of empowerment, engagement, and excellence.
He’s been featured in Newsweek and on Good Morning America, and is here today to share what he’s learned along his journey.
As he says “As a lifelong student of leadership and entrepreneurship, I consider my Chick-fil-A franchise with over 90 team members a laboratory for innovation and cultivating next generation leaders.
My company, Locum Restitution LLC, Latin for “a place of restoration” is a leadership development company that just happens to sell chicken!”
So is this a business model that leads to a healthy work life balance, or tips it all into the work zone?
And where would he go if he was to take his learnings and implement them into a new business?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Zach Thomas
During the show we discussed such weight subjects with Zach Thomas such as:
Zach shares how he loves to bring an entrepreneurship schooling for his children, to create a mindset that they wouldn’t get a school.
We talk about the movie “The Founder” and how Ray Kroc went about redefining what his business is all about.
Zach discusses how he found his leadership style by hearing his team pondering “What Zach are we going to get today?” and not liking that discussion.
Zach reveals the time when a good day for him was making a person cry out for his mother. Very different from today.
How To Connect With Zach Thomas
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here– enjoy
Interview Transcription For Zach Thomas Interview
David Ralph [0:01]
Once upon a time, there was a guy with a dream, a dream to quit his job, support himself online and have a kick ass life. Little did he know that dream would lead him into a world of struggle, burnout and debt, until he found the magic ingredient and no struggles became a thing of the past. I of course, was that person. And now My dream is to make things happen for you. Welcome to Join Up Dots.
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling in Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:52]
Yes, hello. Good morning, dear. Good morning to you and welcome to Join Up Dots. Thank you so much for being with us. Mobile. Well, today’s guest is somebody that I’ve invited on the show because quite honestly, I don’t know much about it in in Join Up Dots over 2000 episodes. We speak often on the same subject but today’s guest is a is an ease in a different field. He’s an entrepreneur, a published author. He’s a coach and a speaker. Now his journey started when he was an Eagle Scout of the nation in 1995. He graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and he served his country as an Airborne Ranger infantry officer. Now he’s also started multiple companies and has been featured in Newsweek magazine, and on Good Morning America. Now he married his high school sweetheart, and they homeschool their seven children, they got to be mad. That’s what school was about. Get rid of him for a few hours, but I homeschool their seven children on their family farm where he grew up. Now he’s varied interests include studying leadership and entrepreneurship farming riding, he’s holy, working on old cars with his sons and dads, camping. Spending time with his family but that is just part of it because he’s also the owner operator of a chick fil a franchise in Rockman. Georgia. Now he’s leader farming strategy growing leaders to grow your business has resulted in top 20 performance metrics and the development of multiple chick fil a franchisees from his restaurant. Now also as a Lean Six Ninja, he has cultivated a culture of continuous improvement in his organisation. He’s been featured in Newsweek, as I say, and on Good Morning America. And he’s here today to share what he’s learned along his journey. As he says as a lifelong student of leadership and entrepreneurship. I consider my chick fil a franchise with over 90 team members and the poetry for innovation and cultivating next generation leaders, my company, local restitution, I’ll see Latin for a place of restoration is a leadership development company that just happens to sell chicken. So is this a business model that leads to a healthier work life balance or does it take it all into the work zone? And where would he go if he was to take his learnings and implement them into a totally new business, when it’s falling down as we bring them to the show to start joining up with the one and only Mr. Zach Thomas. Good morning, sir. How are you?
Zach Thomas [3:19]
I’m doing great. David, thank you so much honour and a privilege to be here with you this morning.
David Ralph [3:25]
Well, it’s lovely to have you on because I’ll be honest, that introduction meant nothing to me. I was just reading words. Most of the introductions, I’ve got some idea, but I’m with yours. totally new to me. So I’m gonna get straight into it. But before I’ve got to ask that question, seven children, seven children, you you you obviously haven’t got a lot to do in the evenings. You’re making your own entertainment with your wife, but during the day, I couldn’t think of anything worse of trying to teach my children that did I actually listen to you?
Zach Thomas [3:57]
Oh, well, my wife doesn’t matter. The teaching but one of the things that we decided along the way that we just we wanted to teach our kids to be entrepreneurs, and we wanted them to have the opportunity to learn kind of outside the box thinking and that really doesn’t get taught in the public school system. So that was one of the one of the things that we were really excited about doing. So that’s kind of my role. My wife teaches them the standard stuff, but my role is to really help them become entrepreneur thinkers and have an entrepreneur mindset.
David Ralph [4:33]
So what is an entrepreneur mindset to you know, your youngest child is is how old
Zach Thomas [4:40]
my youngest is seven months old. So I have five daughters. I have a I have a 15 year old daughter, a 12 year old daughter, a 10 year old daughter, a seven year old son, a four year old daughter, a two year old daughter and a seven month old son
David Ralph [4:59]
It bad. I’ve got four daughters and a son. And yeah, you I’ve never met somebody to beat me. But there’s a lot of mood swings in your house, I imagine.
Zach Thomas [5:10]
Absolutely, absolutely. You know, you asked me about entrepreneur mindset. So, you know, I think that the public school system here in America does really focus on trying to create workers for the workforce for the most part, and, you know, follow rules obey rules, which Yeah, that’s good, keep you out of trouble, keep you out of jail. But, you know, for the most part of an entrepreneur mindset is somewhat of a rule breaker, you know, looking at things and not accepting the status quo and saying, you know, what, could things be done differently can things be done better, and always continuously improving and, and thinking outside the box and so, you know, just teaching our children to have that mindset to continuously improve themselves. And I always look at different ways to do things. And so that’s that’s what we get excited about as raising our kids and teaching them ourselves.
David Ralph [6:11]
I kind of tried to get my kids to see opposite unities because I know so many people are just sort of looking around their desk thinking, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know where the next businesses and literally as I always say, well, we’re surrounded by businesses. You know, I’m talking into a microphone, that’s a business I’m looking at a computer vaxxer business, I got a pen in my hand, and we were looking at a bus a bus went past us the other day. And I said to my daughter, I wonder where you get bus tires wrong, because they’re big old things, bus tires. And she said to me, I don’t know but that would be a good business to be in because I bet there’s not many boom, boom and I thought she’s starting to get it. She’s starting to realise but if there is a demand, and there’s not a great supply Baymax a market to start looking into.
Zach Thomas [6:58]
Absolutely. When we go on vacation, a lot of times you will be driving down to Florida. And I will just pause in the moment and just say, Hey kids, is daddy making money right now? And the answer is always Yes. Because essentially, you know, as an entrepreneur, we’re always making money.
David Ralph [7:18]
You know, supposed to say that going down to Florida, you know, saying, you know, that there’s gonna be extra tickets. There’s gonna be that’s gonna be an expensive holiday. You got to make sure that they think your skin on the way to Florida.
Zach Thomas [7:34]
That’s a good point. Yeah.
David Ralph [7:36]
You’ve got a wise and up mate. You’ve got a wise and up on that one. But um, yeah, no, he’s true, though, isn’t it when when you realise that you can make money when you’re sleeping, and especially which what you’ve done you’ve franchised out chick fil a was that was the first one in rock March, Georgia is that the very first one you actually created this year.
Zach Thomas [7:59]
So I’m I became a chick fil a franchisee in 2008. And my first restaurant was in Marietta, Georgia and chick fil a is a little bit different franchise model, you can have more than one you can actually have up to three. But I, I relocated in 2017 to my hometown and opened up a brand new franchise here in rockmore, Georgia, which is where our family is from. My wife’s family’s been here since 1905. And my family’s been here since 1957. So we’ve got a long standing family history in this community. But it was a great opportunity to open up a restaurant here in the community. And chick fil a is obviously a big huge brand in in the United States. And we’re just now recently went International. But But yeah, that’s that’s, this is my second actual franchise location and hopefully I would love to open a multi unit franchise and have another one here in my county and in our town next door, which is cedar town, Georgia.
David Ralph [9:08]
Now one of my favourite films and I’m sure you’ve seen it, as well as the founder the story of McDonald’s, and I must admit when they they made the movie I thought I couldn’t make a movie about McDonald’s, but I thought it was brilliant. And for the people out there that don’t realise McDonald’s decided for a guy called Ray Kroc but they don’t sell hamburgers and you might go they do they sell hamburgers because I’ve been eating boom. And and that’s what they do. But no, they’re actually in the real estate business where they’re actually buying the land and then they sell the land or they rent out the land to people to build the properties on top of it to service McDonald’s now is that a business model that is copied worldwide Is that something like you do as well because you’re not going to get a lot of money from selling Chicken earlier?
Zach Thomas [10:02]
Well, chick fil a, in general the organisation is they own the building, they own the equipment. So yes, they leased that back to us. And so my franchise opportunity I’m I am selling chicken that’s that’s what I’m doing and but I do have I’m in the real estate business myself I have multiple rental properties, not you know with restaurants on them but I have multiple rental properties commercial rental property, a cell phone tower, you know those that’s one of the things that I do and I see as an opportunity. I absolutely love that movie as well because I see that, you know, the passive income from owning property and the income coming in from property is something that you know, it’s how you can make money in your sleep.
David Ralph [10:49]
So when you watch that, let’s get people to all go over to Netflix and watch the founder because he’s brilliant and Michael Keaton was, was great as Ray Kroc a struggling salesman who discovered McDonald’s one of the very first ones and basically span it on his head and so I took control of it. Well what did you learn from that? Did you learn? Did you just sit back and take it as entertainment? Or did you look at it with a totally different I like it was a business master class there for you.
Zach Thomas [11:20]
My favourite part of the movie was literally when they were out on the tennis court, and they drew out the layout of the business and with chalk and they just they went through and they created such an efficient system for production. And that’s that’s actually one of my my favourite parts of the movie. And but but just the overall model that re you know, re honestly kind of kind of stole the business from some McDonald’s brothers when you when you look at it, and how it uses genius in that the way did it, but I don’t know about you know, the ethics behind it. That that would definitely be in question. But
David Ralph [12:04]
he still wanted their wives as well, didn’t they? I seem to remember
Zach Thomas [12:06]
that. I think he did. Yeah, so definitely not the most honourable thing to do. But yeah, is I think about what he did and in redefining what his business was about, and really owning the land and then providing opportunity for others. You know, it’s, it’s kind of similar to what you know, I’ve done in my business, is I, instead of thinking about selling chicken, I say, as you read, in my intro, I’m a leadership development company that just happens to sell chicken. And so you know, I’m really focused on the people side and helping other people grow and become the best version of themselves. And so I’ve produced four different franchisees out of my restaurant and a fifth one that should be get selected pretty soon. And, you know, they’re they’re off running their own businesses, but I’m helping, I’m helping develop entrepreneurs. And, you know, they’re not, they’re not sending me a royalty check or anything. But I know that, you know, at the end of the day when I look myself in the mirror, you know, I know that I’ve helped other people get to where they want to be in life. And that’s, you know, that’s for me, I see my business not just as an opportunity to sell chicken to my community, but also as an opportunity to grow and develop others, and help them launch their own businesses. And then some, some folks may be in other businesses besides the chicken business, but ultimately, I’m helping develop them to become a business owner and entrepreneur and launch them into their own successful journey.
David Ralph [13:49]
Now, all these kind of businesses start with a journey that you go on personally, where you’ll be building your own business and an idea will pop panty ahead that oh, I could start a leadership and entrepreneurship. And more often than not with the devil, an angel sitting on your shoulder. But devil says to you, what the hell do you know about leadership and entrepreneurship? Zach, all you’re doing is what you’re doing on a daily basis. How did you bridge that gap personally from from going from setting chicken to thinking Actually, I could expand this into areas that other people may not have thought about?
Zach Thomas [14:28]
Well, honestly, it’s a journey of difficulty and struggle. And so, yeah, I’ll tell you, my background being in the military. I was in the army for 10 and a half years I was an Airborne Ranger. And I, if you can imagine a pendulum right so a pendulum swings from one side to the other. Well, my pendulum was all the way to one side. I was this Airborne Ranger hard charging command and control style leader I my job was to put the fear of God and people, you know, and, and it was a good day if I made them cry for their mother. So
David Ralph [15:11]
raise my kids, you know, that’s exactly as I raise my kids.
Zach Thomas [15:16]
That’s great. Well, that that was my initial, you know, leadership style and the way that I lead in the military. But then, along the way, I ended up resigning my active duty commission, I thought I was going to be a chaplain in the army. And so I went off to seminary and while I was in seminary and working, I was working at a church as a college and singles pastor, I developed a somewhat passive leadership philosophy that was just if you just love everybody enough, they’ll do the right thing. And unfortunately, you know, when I became a chick fil a franchisee, and I was working with a lot of young folks I had, I came on board with that philosophy. If you just love everybody enough, they’ll do that. right thing and I got taken advantage of pretty significantly I had people people walking out the door you know still in chicken from a and and just you know all kinds of different ways of them you know taking advantage of me stealing money and what happened was I kind of knee jerk reacted and I swung the pendulum all the way back over to the other side I said okay fine You’re going to take advantage of me then you know I can be this you know Ranger instructor hard charging put the fear of God and people kind of guy and and then I would get over there that side of the pendulum and then I’d say I really don’t want to be that guy. And so then I’d swing back to the other side. And and in my my team was having this somewhat Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde experience. You know, it was it was and I never forget I overheard one of my team members say one day I wonder which Zack we’re going to get today.
David Ralph [16:54]
I think that make you feel when you heard that?
Zach Thomas [16:57]
Yeah, so it was it was eye opening. It was like, wow, you know, Am I really that kind of person to where they don’t know whether I’m going to come in and, and yell and scream, or I’m going to come in and be, you know, Mr. Nice Guy. And I thought, you know, I don’t, I don’t want to be that person anymore. You know, I don’t want to be so inconsistent that my team doesn’t have any idea who’s coming to work that day. And so, you know, I just really began to think about life and what really mattered and how I could lead and then shortly after that, you know, some people use the proverbial phrase, you get a, you know, you get hit in the head by two by four. Well, you know, for me, I was walking across the street and I got hit by a car going 35 miles an hour, and I was a pedestrian. I was hit by the front of the vehicle, I was thrown up in the air and I came down and landed headfirst on the windshield and then I was projected about 50 feet forward and hit the curb. And I don’t remember a lot about that. It was a pretty traumatic experience. I had a traumatic brain injury and I was essentially a major concussion. And fortunately no broken bones just lacerations in my head and my back and I spent a lot of time in the hospital on an afterwards in recovery sitting on the couch and pretty much the most productive thing that I did in a day was was watch cartoons for for a while. And I didn’t even know I was a business owner I didn’t know I was a chick fil a franchisee I didn’t know anything for for a very first short period of time. But then things started coming back and then I started thinking about life and how, you know, it was somewhat fleeting, and, and my business and the people around me and my family and my children and I just said you know what I’m going to do This, I’m going to do this differently. And so that’s when, you know, I started thinking about, okay, well how can I make my life about helping other people get to where they want to be in life. And in turn, I fundamentally believe that if I’m helping other people get to where they want to be, then they’re actually going to perform at a higher level. And they’re going to help me accomplish my goals and my dreams. And so I’ve been very successful in doing that. And it has created some pretty amazing results in my business. And it has, it led to me writing my book leader farming, I grew up on a farm, and I use a lot of analogies in my book to farming but you know, I jokingly say, you know, some farmers grow corn, some grow potatoes, I grow leaders. That’s what I do.
David Ralph [19:55]
But that’s a good strap line, isn’t it? And it does always come down to leadership because My wife is obsessed with those, you know those Gordon Ramsay programmes when he goes in and he turns around a failing restaurant in 24 hours.
Zach Thomas [20:10]
Do you know the one, Zach? Absolutely yes, sir.
David Ralph [20:14]
Now, I don’t know why the Americans always calling him Chef Ramsay must be something different. Over here we call him Gordon. But she’s always obsessed. And it always comes down to leadership is always bad. Either the the owner of it isn’t taking control of his team, or he’s taking too much control. And people only want to be allowed to do their job to the best of their ability and to feel good about themselves. And when you see there’s sort of three big reasons why people quit and leave a company is never money. It’s always about how the management how the leadership team make them feel, is that where your businesses come from? It’s not about making people feel loved. is actually about making people feel worthy.
Zach Thomas [21:04]
Absolutely. You know, it’s, it’s funny, I would tell you that my absolute last priority. Now this may sound very counterintuitive, and your listeners may think I’m crazy. But my team, my absolute last priority, in terms of my goals and what we’re trying to accomplish in the business is, is my profitability goal. And I always say that, you know, I want to be just one 100 percentage of a point above average. Well, I got a thing in the mail literally yesterday that said, we’re in the in the top 10% of the chick fil a chain there over 2200 restaurants, and we’re in the top 10% of the chain in terms of how much we’ve improved our profitability in the past 12 months. And and it’s it’s actually been my last priority and it’s you know, it’s because the fact That my priority is to focus on developing the people and help them grow and become the best version of themselves. And then in turn, they just produce amazing results. Now, I always say that, you know, an employee or a team members, we call them motivated by the by love or the knowledge that someone actually cares about them is not the same as a team member motivated by fear, force, guilt, or any other form of manipulation.
David Ralph [22:33]
Now, I’m just picking up and down because you can always Google that gets name and find stuff out about them. And there’s an interesting story here about yourself and Daniel LeMay. But I’ve just found Okay, two people, but well, you tell us about them. I’m not going to read it verbatim. You’re you’re on the show to provide the content. Tell us about how the word service really links out to not only YouTube What you’re saying that you don’t focus in on the products you focus in on the team, you’re focused in on the service, you’re focused in on the quality.
Zach Thomas [23:10]
So Daniel Ma, unfortunately, I could not talk him into going to the United States Military Academy, he ended up going to my arch rivalry, the Naval Academy. And here, here in America, we, you know, the Army Navy game, which was this past weekend, and I really don’t want to talk about the score. It was pretty brutal. They, they beat us pretty good this year. But, you know, that I hired Daniel when he was in high school, and he expressed interest that he wanted to go to the Naval Academy and so, you know, having gone to West Point, United States Military Academy myself, you know, I knew a little bit about that. And so I helped him prepare and get ready and so he, he actually got accepted and then graduated from from the Naval Academy and now he is An officer in the Navy, you know, serving our nation. And another, I think it mentions him in the article. But at the time, Trey Grindley was another young man that would want it to go the academy that I had hired in high school, and he ended up going to West Point. And he graduated after after the article was written, but but Trey graduated from United States Military Academy, my alma mater. So it’s funny this past weekend, we had this three way text going, you know, just bantering back and forth between each other because of the the Army Navy game, but yeah, it’s you know, it’s not just about producing chick fil a franchisees it’s, it’s about, you know, helping others get to wherever it is that they want to be in life. And I’ve had multiple young folks come out of my organisation and start their own businesses. I’ve coached them and develop them and help them develop their businesses. as entrepreneurs, and then those that have gone on to serve our nation, and and those that have stayed within chick fil a and become chick fil a franchisees.
David Ralph [25:10]
I’m going to play some words now from Jim Carrey. And then we’re going to come back to this article because there’s three statements that are really important and bind in everything that we’ve been talking about is Jim Carrey.
Jim Carrey [25:21]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [25:48]
Now getting back to me who went off to the Navy so boo boo LeMay boo, but um, he mentioned three things here, which are I think, so vital. vitally important, I want to get your spin on them. These are three things that he experienced through your organisation. But he says helped get him through the Naval Academy and to where he is today. First one is teamwork. Why is that so important, Zach?
Zach Thomas [26:18]
Well, obviously, those that are individual focus and self focused and it’s all about themselves are never going to be able to accomplish the results that they could, if they were actually willing to work together as a team and admit that they can’t accomplish things on their own. And so those that develop a teamwork mindset, and understand that it takes a team and it you know, one, multiple heads is better than one in terms of coming up with ideas and working to continuously improve things. And so that is that’s just huge in our business. And if you’re not able to, to work as a team, and if you’re an engineer ritualist and it’s all about you. You’re not going to be very successful in my business or really probably any other business in the long run. Because
David Ralph [27:11]
what if you miss out on what the stars like, you’re like, you’re just brilliant and you can do everything yourself.
Zach Thomas [27:20]
Yeah, well, you might could do that for a short period of time. And, you know, I think at some point, you’re going to reach you’re going to reach a place where you can’t do it without someone else’s help. And then at that moment, nobody’s gonna want to help you because you are so full of yourself and, and in and not willing to let others you know, help you. I mean, think about it. You know, you got on a football team. You got a quarterback. That’s amazing. But you know, he can’t he can’t win the game by himself because he needs an offer. offensive line or you know he needs receivers to actually receive the passes see Sterling and so you know if that if that quarterback becomes all about himself and and doesn’t thank and praise and work together as a team with his players they’re just gonna they’re not going to support him they’re not going to help him and and they’re not going to go anywhere as a team
David Ralph [28:24]
you know it’s not real football Bo sack you know what you’re talking about? I know I know what it is but you don’t use your feet me I don’t get why it’s called football.
Zach Thomas [28:36]
Understand well I guess you use it. When you’re when you’re kicking a field goal you use your foot, so,
David Ralph [28:42]
okay, we’ll move on, we’ll move on. So what about persistence that is the next thing.
Zach Thomas [28:49]
Well, persistence, you know, obviously, at the Naval Academy and any service Academy, if you do not persist you you will You will quit. And so developing resilience and developing grit, you know, I think it’s so important for this up and coming generation, they, they are so fickle and so willing to just give up at least a little thing. And, and I just, I don’t let my people give up easily I don’t let them quit and I help them develop resilience and, and ultimately, just that they would, they would push through the difficulty push through, you know, the pain and you know, there are times in the military where you know, you may be on a 25 Mile Road March and at at mile 10 you know, your feet feel like they’re gonna fall off but you can’t stop you got to keep going. You got to push through the pain, you got to block out the things that that you know would prevent you from accomplishing your goals and just and just keep going and So, you know, as, as I coach and lead and develop my people, that’s one of the things that, you know, they, they come to me with problems and difficulty. And I just encourage them to push through it. And until they get to a place, you know, it’ll get easier, it’ll get better. And especially if they work as a team. So
David Ralph [30:19]
it’s because my kids are so flaky. They really are, you know, if it’s something that they want to do, they will put their heart and soul into it. But if it’s something that I have to do, then it’s like pulling teeth. It’s really, really difficult to get them to do anything. Unless they’re paid a million pound to mow a lawn or something. Even then, it’s hard work to get them to do it.
Zach Thomas [30:44]
Huh, yeah, absolutely. You know, my kids, we live on a farm. And they have a lot of chores that they have to do. In fact, I got home yesterday, and we have a calf that was down. Not really sure exactly. What It’s wrong with it, but I’ve got it quarantined and had to give it some antibiotic at last night when I got home, but I asked my family, I’m like, Look, I need you all to make sure this cap has water tomorrow. Well, I got home and they, they forgot to do it. I’m like, yeah, sure you forgot, you just didn’t want to do it. And so, you know, it’s, but it requires persistence. And it requires, you know, helping them develop that. That ability to to overcome their laziness and their lackadaisical attitude towards things, to actually see that in order to be successful in life. They have to have a work ethic, and they have to push through the hard and difficult things.
David Ralph [31:52]
You know what you gotta do, Zack, you and your wife have got to have some more kids. And then you’ll find one that is willing to put in the effort. You Just got its persistence, Zach, you’ve got to go home every night and get jiggy with it until you’ve got 37 kids, and one of them will be the one that wants to do the farming.
Zach Thomas [32:12]
Yeah, just keep trying until we get one right. Yeah, yeah, you’re
David Ralph [32:16]
exactly gonna put the effort in. Don’t just fall back on it. But the weapon is off. Last one officers eat last. Whoo, that’s a good one.
Zach Thomas [32:25]
Yeah, I’d forgotten about that article. I’m glad you found it and brought it up. You know, so for me in my journey in the military, and being an infantry officer, I learned that as as an officer, if we were out in the field, and we only had so much food, you know, I would, I would let my soldiers go first. And if there was no food left over, then you know, I went without, I didn’t I didn’t get to eat. And, you know, that was that was one of the things that’s that’s servant. Leadership that’s putting others before yourself. And it just demonstrates it’s just a phrase, you know, officers eat last, but it’s just a phrase that demonstrates that, you know, we as leaders, we need to put others before ourselves. And if we do so, it actually will help us create amazing results in our organisations, whether it be a business or whether it be, you know, a military organisation or our governmental organisation or whatever, you know, when you put others before yourself, and you serve them. As a leader, servant leadership is is honestly the best, in my opinion, in my experience, the best form of leadership. And so that’s essentially what that phrase means officers eat last and that’s not a common thing in the Navy. Unfortunately in the Navy, they have a separate mess hall for officers and and now was something I felt like it was really important to teach Daniel before going off to the Navy because in the army it’s it’s we share mess hall and officers eating the same mess as the as the enlisted. But, but he needed to know and understand that and I think that will ultimately set him apart in the Navy and help him be very successful.
David Ralph [34:22]
In my house and my life, I’m ashamed to say I would say mother’s eat last. I always remember my mom dishing up all the food and then coming afterwards to sort of eat hers. And my wife does a similar thing, order food gets laid out, and she’s always in the kitchen sort of bringing own in last.
Zach Thomas [34:42]
Yeah, but it’s the same principle is it not?
David Ralph [34:45]
Exactly the same principle, but I don’t like to think of my wife as the officer. I don’t want that. I don’t want to put her in charge. She has chicken mad.
Zach Thomas [34:54]
Well, but it’s that servant heart. It’s that servant leadership and that’s what it is. It’s the Mother taking care of her young and making sure that they get fed before she takes care of herself. And, you know, that’s that’s the servant leader.
David Ralph [35:10]
If we take you back vein, and I am, I was struck by a good day was when you made a person cry out for his mother. Is that person still in you? Do you still sort of have that burning veil? Or is that totally gone?
Zach Thomas [35:27]
Yeah, I really do think that person is ultimately dead inside of me. I’ve essentially put that person to death. And I just, I don’t ever want to become that person again. And I you know, I can I can be, I can hold people accountable. I can be tough, but I don’t have to be a jerk. I don’t have to be in a way that that makes people cry. Right. Now they may they may cry because they’re, you know, They don’t understand or they’re they’re upset about something, but I don’t have to do it in a mean and cruel way. where, you know, there was a point in time where I thought that that’s what I had to do. And, and that that person’s gone, that person’s dead and I don’t ever want them to come back.
David Ralph [36:17]
Now, you came back recently from California and you were sitting in first class. Yeah, you were you were up there at the front. Yes, I, I found this information about you as well. Okay. And when you sort of look at that, because I, I hate sitting in economy. I also like sitting in economy because I feel like it’s real life. And the more you become successful, I look at Facebook posts, I look at loads of stuff, and I think you’re too far away from reality. Now, guys, you can’t really see who you’re serving and you’re serving. You know, the people behind you. They may only be one seat behind you. You’re sitting there. Now this is picture of you sort of loving it in first class. Now, does that make you feel? Does that make you feel like you’re on your way? Or do you still feel like I would Oh my God, I shouldn’t be sitting in first class. I deserve to be at the back.
Zach Thomas [37:16]
Well, actually, the story behind that photo is the president of our company, Dan, Cathy, who’s the owner. The family owns the Kathy family owns chick fil a Inc. and so you know, the entire Corporation, a multi billion dollar company. We were coming back from a leadership conference. And Dan was on my plane. And he went to the back of a plane and I had an economy seat and at the very last minute, I don’t even know how it happened. But at the very last minute I got on the plane, they’re like no your seats up here. You’re sitting in first class and And so that’s that’s just another great illustration of servant leadership. I definitely didn’t purchase the first class ticket. It was I was put there by the president of our company. And and so were several other operators it was, it ended up being, you know, the executive staff and, and the family were sitting in the back of the plane with other people and they ended up just putting some of us I’m assuming it was probably just random, but just putting some of us up front and so that that’s actually the story behind that photo. I’ve never actually purchased a first class ticket. I have been put in first class a good bit, especially when I was in military uniform, but, but I’ve never actually purchased one
David Ralph [38:48]
but you know why he put himself at the back because you never hear of an aeroplane that’s crashed by reversing into a mountain. So he he put himself in a safe position there and pick You right up at the dartie bit that’s going to hit the ground first.
Unknown Speaker [39:03]
I guess so.
David Ralph [39:06]
I tell you what, you need some leadership from me. I’ve helped you with childbirth. I’ve helped you with everything through this this show. Did you do? Do you feel different? Do you feel like you’ve you found your real self in this, this 39 minutes we’ve spent together?
Zach Thomas [39:21]
I do. I’ve written all these things down and I’m going to take them to heart. Absolutely. Please start doing that. Please.
David Ralph [39:26]
Yo, yo, yo, yo, find yourself in a bad position. So let’s hear the words now of the late Steve Jobs that left an absolute legacy. He’s connected the dots speech.
Steve Jobs [39:37]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college, but it was very, very clear looking backwards. 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut destiny life com Whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [40:12]
Now, you’ve had a bit of an eclectic career, but it seems to me that you’re on you’re on a very good path for yourself. You feel good about it. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker [40:20]
Yes, sir. Absolutely.
David Ralph [40:23]
Now, when you listen to those words, do they sort of make you want to go out and really be creative? Because sometimes I listen to them and I think yeah, it’s believe it’s trust, you know? It all pans out in the you don’t have to worry about anything. You’ve just got to go out and do your best thing.
Zach Thomas [40:40]
Yeah, yes, absolutely. You know, for me, if you to ask me when I was seven years old, you know, what was I gonna do? I made a decision. When I was seven. I was going to go to West Point, and I just knew that I was going to be an officer in the army. I knew that I was in my plan was to be a general in the army. I was going to stay until retirement and you know, those dots obviously didn’t connect. But where I am today, you know, it’s, I often think about, and it’s very similar to your, you know, Join Up Dots and connecting the dots. But for me, it’s kind of like puzzle pieces, you know. And so there’s all these little pieces that, you know, unless you have the cover of the box, you really don’t know what, what it’s going to look like. And so, you know, I’ve got, I have all these different little pieces, but for me, now, things are really beginning to come into focus, and I’m actually calling you know, 2020 the year of perfect vision for me. And, and so, you know, it’s it’s great 2020 It fits right. And, in fact, my my wife’s family history, her youngest brother is a fifth generation I doctor in her family and so, the I business is a big part of, of our family. But you know that again, 2020 the year perfect vision and so you know, it’s, it’s Like I’m I’m beginning to see I’ve got enough of the puzzle put together that I know exactly what it is. And I’m beginning to really see that and get really excited about finding those final pieces and putting it together.
David Ralph [42:16]
That my son is a key point to the puzzle. that excitement isn’t it that that excitement of when you wake up. There’s there’s a guy that I’ve just talked to create a business. And he was saying to me, the business is in very early stages, but he’s getting clients and they’re booking in and he’s making money and he said it’s life changing because there’s an excitement in me that I didn’t have beforehand. And that excitement is what so many people lack isn’t it? You know, I’ve been doing Join Up Dots for six years. I’ve been sort of online for about 15 years, and I’ve had ups and downs where I think oh, should I do this anymore? But since I hit Join Up Dots is pretty much excitement all the time. Every morning I wake up thinking Are you know, who am I going to speak to how much money am I going to make? is a game is a game with an end product that I really want?
Zach Thomas [43:06]
I love that, you know, it’s like it’s like an infinite game, you know, you’re you’re continuously improving you’re continuously growing and and and becoming a better version of yourself and ultimately seeing the dots connect and and seeing it all come together. And it does get exciting.
David Ralph [43:25]
Well, it’s not going to be as exciting as this next bit because this is the bit we’ve been building up to. And this is the part that we call the Sermon on the mic when we send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young Zach, what age would you like to speak to? And of course, what advice would you give him? Well, we’re going to find out because I’m going to play the music and you’re going to be transported back in time to speak to Zach. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Zach Thomas [44:18]
Well, I think I would have to go back to probably around the age of seven when I made that decision to go to the United States Military Academy at West Point. And for me, you know, as I think about all the questions that I learned in school, you know, the who, what, when, where, why, and how, you know, all those questions that I would ask throughout growing up, and I would ask, you know, well, what am I going to do, and where am I going to do it and how am I going to do it? But really, honestly, like, the most important question is who and the question is Who am I going to become? You know, Dallas Willard has a quote that he said the most important thing about a man or woman is not what he or she does, but who he or she becomes. And so for me, that is, that is my sermon to myself. That is what I would tell myself, you know, focus on that question of, who are you going to become? Who do you want to be? At the end of the day when I’m 85 years old, you know, sitting on my front porch and my rocking chair, you know, what am I going to be thinking about? It’s not how big my house is, because I’ll probably be living in a nursing home. It’s not, you know, what kind of car I drive because I probably won’t even have a licence at that point. And it’s definitely not how much money’s in my bank account, because with seven kids probably won’t even have anything left. And so it’s going to be one What did I do with a time, money and resources I was given to make a difference in people’s lives? Because that’s what really matters.
David Ralph [46:11]
Great stuff. I know I can yo HDB driving a bus down to Florida, with 400 grandchildren saying, Do you know how much granddad is earning at the moment? I think you would still be making those same mistakes.
Zach Thomas [46:26]
Absolutely. That’s hilarious. I love it.
David Ralph [46:29]
Well, this is the end. So what is the number one best way that our audience can connect with you, Zach?
Zach Thomas [46:36]
So my website leader farming.com. And I’ve actually created a dedicated website for your listeners. It’s leader farming.com, slash Join Up Dots. And you can go to that website. And on that website, I have a little free quiz there that you can learn whether you’re naturally wired to be that person that puts the fear of God in People or you know, somewhat passive in your leadership approach. And then I’m offering a free copy of my book, free plus shipping. And so I know that your listeners are all over the world. So I may lose my rear end on this, but it’s 599 for shipping. So we’ll, we’ll see how many end up going out with that. And then, and then I’ve got a link there to a, an ongoing leadership coaching type thing that I’m doing via zoom. And it’s a it’s a free thing where people can just join in and they can listen or they can submit questions ahead of time. And we’ll have a conversation. And so just wanted to offer that to your listeners. And that’s the best way to connect with me on all pretty much all social media platforms. You can find me at the leader farmer, brilliant stuff, and we will have all the links on there a course to make it easy on the show knows, Zach, thank you so much for spending time with us today. joining those dots. And please come back again when you got more dots to join up, because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. Zach Thomas, thank you so much. Thank you. It’s an honour and privilege.
David Ralph [48:16]
Zach Thomas, so he starts a chicken business, and he learns through that process, but he can spin it off and create entrepreneurship and leadership programme. And I think that’s the same with most businesses. When I started Join Up Dots. It was a podcast. And then I started training people on podcasting. And then I started teaching people how to create online businesses within eight weeks, and then it’s gone on to mentoring and then it just sort of adds up. There’s always a way of spinning things into income once you create value, and you’ve got to keep on creating value and be consistent, persistent and consistency is key. As always, We aren’t doing a load of interviews at the moment for people who want, as I say, to start their own online business. Really, we take 80% probably more than that 90% of the effort away, so that you have the whole plan ready to rock and roll within eight weeks, and then you can take it off in any direction you want. So if you want to get your name into the frame for the next course, just come over to Join Up Dots and book yourself a place you’ll see the booking invitation, and I will speak to you personally to make sure you are a fit. But until next time, I parallelisms. Thank you so much, and we will see you again. Bye bye. Are you ready to start your own podcast and really make it work for you bringing customers and profits into your life and your business in the easiest way possible. Or perhaps you’ve already launched and aren’t getting the results you want? If so, I’m going to teach you the information that you need that makes all the difference to yourself. Success Now don’t be fooled into believing what others are teaching you when it comes to what makes your podcast get those results. podcasting success is not about the podcast. It has nothing to do with a recording or equipment. It has everything to do with understanding your market and making those customers come to you time and time again. This is roar 100% live behind the scenes podcasting mastery not shown anywhere else. If that’s of interest, head over to Join Up Dots and book a time to speak with me to make sure that you’re a fit for our next course. This is podcasting mastery live at Join Up dots.com