The Elmsley Count: Truth or Truth
By now, you know I find inspiration everywhere. I was watching the television show Billions and thought I’d write about the season 3 finale. It was called Elmsley Count. I had never heard of it before, so I looked it up.
Here’s a little background in case you don’t watch the show. Billions is loosely based on the activities of Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and his legal conflicts with hedge fund manager Steven Cohen of S.A.C. Capital Advisor. In the show, Preet’s character is called Chuck Rhodes, and Steven’s character is Bobby Axelrod.
Chuck is a tough prosecutor who does almost anything to win – legally or skirting the law. Axelrod is a self-made, Wall Street hedge fund billionaire. He’s smart, cocky, and unapologetic. In theory, I should probably hate Axe, but I don’t. A lot of times I find myself rooting for him, mainly because Chuck does a lot of questionable things to uphold the law.
Elmsley Count is a card trick that lets you hide specific cards. To do the trick, you count the cards in the deck, show the audience the cards, but you keep some of the cards hidden from them. I’m not a big card player, so this concept was hard for me to wrap my brain around. Here is a video, which might help, if you’re interested.
Anyway, in the show, Axe, and his protégé Taylor are at odds (1). Taylor asked for a bonus that Axe flat our rejected. In the first part of the season, Axe is in legal trouble, so he has to stop trading temporarily. When this happens, he turns the company over to Taylor.
Taylor keeps the company going, even earning a nice profit, so they want a $50 million bonus. Taylor says they acted as CEO for half the year and made the company $750 million. $50 million is just under 10 percent, so Taylor thinks this amount is fair.
Axe, on the other hand, has never given an employee a bonus over $20 million. So, there is a big gap between what Taylor wants and what Axe is willing to give. After Axe talks to his ex-wife, he offers Taylor $25 million. This is less than what they want, but more than Axe has ever given an employee before. He also gives Taylor a seat at the table, because he knows money is not Taylor’s only incentive. They also need “forward momentum.”
Taylor accepts Axe’s offer, and it seems like everything is okay. What Axe doesn't know is that Taylor is hiding some cards. They are only pretending to be on board with the plan, because they have secretly started their own company. They are stealing employees and investors, which doesn’t sit well with Axe. On the surface, this looks like a clear case of the protégé besting the teacher. What it brought up for me was how we make interpretations about situations.
(1) In the show, Taylor is non-binary, which means she does not identify as male or female. Instead of using the pronouns he and she, the show uses “they” and “them.” Out of respect for the character, the pronouns “they” and “them” are used in this writing to describe Taylor.
True v. Truth
In coaching, we learn that the word “true” is based on personal opinions, while the “truth” is considered to be a universally accepted fact or belief. In this case, the truth is that Taylor is done with Axe Capital. They're gone. They started their own shop. Taylor left for reasons that were “true” to them. They felt undervalued, belittled and used. Taylor also thought Axe would fire them at any moment.
In reality, Axe had no intentions of firing Taylor. He needs them. Taylor is brilliant and has made Axe Cap a lot of money. No leader wants to lose one of their best employees.
How This Might Apply to You
Time and again, we make judgments about people, situations, and events based on our beliefs. We often take our “personal trues” and make them “universal truths.” I did it earlier in my assessment of Chuck.
Anais Nin says, “We do not see the world as it is, we see it as we are.” And who we are is based on our values, beliefs, and life experiences. Often you hear people say something is right or wrong or good or bad. But, if we get rid of the emotion and look at situations objectively, we know that “most” (maybe not all) circumstances are neutral. Situations are only good or bad and right or wrong if we give them those labels.
When we take our personal values and judge people by them, we are forcing our morals on them. We are judging them by what is true for us. The truth is the only person who knows what’s best for you is you.
If your goal is to live a life that is enjoyable and peaceful, give up the need to control other people. Don’t focus on things outside of you. Focus on the only person that you can control which is YOU. To uncover the truth, you must continually challenge what you believe is true.
Business Infrastructure: Curing Back Office Blues
Last month, I profiled Alicia Butler Pierre for My People Spotlight. I talked about her company Equilibria and her new book coming out called Facade.
Alicia just launched a new podcast called Business Infrastructure: Curing Back Office Blues on Apple Podcasts. The first episode talks about who she is and how she got started in business infrastructure.
The second episode talks about the importance of using systems and processes to scale your business so that it performs efficiently as the workload expands.
Listen to it. If you like what you hear, subscribe, and share it with others.
Wayne C. Golden
45 Years in the Pest Control Industry
Wayne C. Golden or Mr. G. as I call him is the My People Spotlight influencer for July. I met Mr. G. almost 12-years ago when I worked for Orkin Pest Control. Back then he was my mentor, today he’s more like another dad.
Mr. G. recently retired after 45 years in the pest control business. He started a professional services company called GSquare Consulting, LLC. It focuses on business development, mentoring partnerships, and pest control regulatory matters for small business owners.
I was curious about why he started the company, so I asked. He said, “I really wasn’t ready to retire. I was ready to separate myself from the corporate structure. My passion to help people still exists, specifically for minorities.”
He wants people to know that their business can be successful if they follow simple rules. This is particularly true for minorities. You don't have to bust your butt so much if you take advantage of government partnerships to grow your business at the local, state, and federal levels.
He said, “As a small business person, there is no one to hold you accountable, so you must have self-accountability. You have to do gut checks about how well your business is operating”
You must ask yourself:
The Night Club Business
Back in the day, Mr. G. worked in the nightclub business. His primary job was innovation and marketing. There were two important questions he had to answer at that time:
The end result was that the clubs were packed! This was how he knew that what he did worked. The success was also repeatable, especially when he combined it with other ideas that he came up with down the road.
For success to be repeatable, the approach must work, and it should be documented for consistent results. This means that customers know what to expect because they receive the same experience every time and from every employee. This takes us back to having a sound business infrastructure in place, which we talked about in our review of the E-Myth and in our profile of Alicia Butler Pierre from Equilibria.
Mr. G. said, "There is no reason for a company to fail if they manage customer retention and costs and this requires effective leadership." Leadership requires having people with industry knowledge, company knowledge, job knowledge, and personal accountability.
He said, “As a salesperson, I didn't need anyone to inspire me to improve my skills." He went to the library, listened to tapes, and did other things to develop his skill set. He took the concepts and made them his own so that they fit his personality and he sounded genuine. His sales skills were perfected, and he used his paycheck as a way of measurement. His paycheck told him, “I’m doing good.”
When his sales skills improved, he spent less time looking for places to be and customers to see, because people were referring customers to him. The referrals started crossing state lines, and he became known as the Pest Management Expert in the B2B industry. This led to leadership opportunities where he began empowering other sales managers. This also meant leadership titles and more money for him.
Managers run the day-to-day operations to ensure that tasks are completed by the employees. Leaders are visionaries. They develop goals and strategic plans to produce repeatable revenue success. It takes leadership skills to create incremental, sustainable success that converts to profitability.
Mr. G.’s proudest achievement is working for 45-years in corporate America for the two largest pest control companies in the industry, rising to executive-level leadership positions for both, and working on three continents – North America, South America, and Europe. He helped both companies increase their valuation from million dollar companies to billion-dollar companies, which is a massive accomplishment. This type of success is rare for minorities in the pest control industry.
Most Important Work
Right now, the most important thing for Mr. G. is getting to the people who need his help. He wants to make a positive impact in the community and gain personal satisfaction through coaching and mentoring.
Organizations & Causes
Mr. G. supports community-based minority programs that are trying to make a difference such as the Atlanta BBB: Center for Character Ethics and 100 Black Men of Atlanta. He also supports the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). His goal is to transition his support to local organizations in his new location in King of Prussia, PA.
To learn more about Mr. G., go to:
Until next time...
Latarsha Horne is an ICF Credentialed Coach who helps new and emerging leaders feel more confident, decisive and empowered to take charge and do their jobs. Her coaching style is energy-action based, open-minded, and straight-forward. If you want to be challenged and grow, she's the coach for you.