Jim Cathcart
Jim Cathcart
Jim Cathcart is a Hall of Fame professional speaker, a sales consultant, a strategic advisor to ATRA, and a regular contributor to GEARS. You may reach him at Cathcart.com or send him a message through GEARS. See his 110 video lessons for free at Thrive15.com/acorn.
Ambition: Kick It Up A Notch
What is the current setting of your ambition? Are you eager to grow your business? How much? Is there a point where it would grow too much to suit your tastes? How about too little? What’s the set point where “that’s enough” to you? Everyone has what I call their personal velocity. It’s a combination of their patterns of energy and drive. Some folks have high velocity, most have mo...

Do People Stay for Pay?
What causes people to stay with an employer? This has been studied for decades and it’s been proven again and again that their paycheck is important, but it’s definitely not the most important item. I’ve shoveled dirt and gravel; unloaded boxcars; repossessed log trucks; collected past-due bills; counseled destitute people in the ghetto; stood guard in the cold and rain; pushed cars uphil...

Love to Learn
When my son was very young, I once lulled him to sleep by chanting, “I love to learn!” softly, over and over. It was my feeble attempt at using subliminal psychology: Feeding a suggestion to his mind, like they do in hypnosis. I didn’t know what I was doing so I doubt that it had an impact, but my intentions were noble. And, happily, I can report that, as an adult, he does in fact love to le...

Who Would You Like To Work With?
The most reliable source of good new employee referrals is recommendations from existing employees… that is, if they’re committed to helping the business succeed. When we’re sending someone in for an interview just to help them out or do a favor for a buddy, then the shop’s success isn’t our foremost consideration. But it must be, because that’s who we’ll be working with. What tra...

Engineering 101: Don't Postpone a Step
Today, as my motorcycle crested the hill above Camarillo, CA, a woman in the car next to me told me that I’d lost a saddlebag. Glancing down I could see it was true. The left-side bag was gone! I checked the right and it was still there. Then I said about a dozen cuss words inside my helmet and pulled over. I wasn’t cursing the bike, the bag, or the motorcycle “gods.” I was cursing my o...

Smokey and the Bandit
Once, in La Jolla, my wife and her sister were walking among the shops and they encountered Burt Reynolds, the actor from Smokey and the Bandit. He was gracious and friendly to them and my sister-in-law was imprinted for life! She lives in Oklahoma and to bump into one of her favorite movie stars on a trip to California was just… the best. An actor I got to know briefly was Hal Needham, the m...

"Fun, Fun, Fun"
Bit by bit over the years, I’ve been renewing and customizing my 2003 Thunderbird. I love this car! For me, it’s what Ford originally called the T-bird: “A personal luxury car.” It rides like a full-sized car, has a 3.9 liter V8, and yet it looks and feels like a sports car. Recently I took it over the hill from Thousand Oaks to the beach at Malibu for a Malibu Autobahn™ road rally....

The Mother Road
Get Your Kicks on Route 66! When I was 9 years old, my family made the classic American pilgrimage to California via Route 66, the Mother Road. This amazing highway, prior to interstates and freeways, was the link from Illinois all the way across our nation to the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles. It was high adventure to travel this route. Virtually all of it was two lanes and there were plent...

When I'm 64
“When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now…” That’s how Paul McCartney started his song, When I’m 64. I’d revise it to read, “…any moment now!” I turned 64 some years ago and I remember it well. It was a rite of passage because of the song, much like 1984 was after reading George Orwell’s novel of the same name. 64 isn’t just significant because of Social Se...

Think About It
“Without reflection there is no true learning.” — Kevin Buck, philosopher, author Intelligence doesn’t serve us until we stop to consider what we’ve seen. They say that the essence of intelligence is the ability to make distinctions, to notice the differences, to see more than the obvious. You may look at a transmission and see exactly what I see, but I’ll only notice what I...

Vital Questions for Leaders
Do you think of yourself as a leader? It’s really helpful when you do, because, believe it or not, some people are watching you and following your examples. I’ve been involved in many businesses, shops, teams, clubs, associations, platoons, bands, and assorted groups over the years. In each situation, I’ve found that achieving big things always involved getting others to embrace or adopt ...

Repaired in the USA
When I grew up, it seemed that very disposable product was labeled Made in Japan or Made in China. If it was easy to reproduce or inexpensive, that’s where it was made. Those products may have been made in another country, but it seems we often had to repair or replace them. Made in the USA products were produced in Detroit or Pittsburgh or Chicago. They were solid, reliable, and substantial. ...

How to Create the Will to Win
Leading a team of technicians and office personnel doesn’t seem to be directly related to winning, but a winning attitude and a winner’s discipline is present in every successful shop you see. Olympic Gymnastic Champion Peter Vidmar told me, “My goal was to train about 15 more minutes than the rest of my teammates. That little extra focus over a few years led to some perfect 10s at the Ol...

Outcomes: The Reason That Jobs Exist
Ask most people, “What do you do for a living?” and they’ll describe their job title. “I’m a salesperson,” “I’m a builder,” or, “I’m the office manager.” If pressed for more, they’ll describe the functions they perform, as in a typical job description. That’s because most people focus on actions or processes rather than on outcomes. So what’s wrong with that? Here...

From Expo to Exponential Improvement
For a lot of people who attend Expo, it appears that much of what happens in Vegas stays in Las Vegas. That may be reassuring for some folks, but for most of us, there are still ideas and communications from our Expo experience that we need to follow through to completion. Every year our industry packs its gear and heads to Expo. At this exciting event, they meet the best of the best in our pro...

Highest and Best Use
In real estate, they talk about the “highest and best” use of parcels of land. For example, a lakefront lot in a resort area probably isn’t well suited for a convenience store, unless there’s a dock and plenty of boat traffic to serve it. A downtown lot wouldn’t lend itself to farming, and so on. The highest and best use of a property is the one that serves the needs of the location a...

Decision Making: Yes or No?
Dr. Spencer Johnson, author of Who Moved My Cheese? and co-author of The One Minute Manager , once invited me to collaborate with him on a new book titled Yes or No: The Guide to Better Decisions. Over the month or so that we worked together, I observed that he was a master of decision making, so I was keen to learn his methods. Here’s my interpretation of his method in a nutshell: First, iso...

Teaching Jason to Drive
While teaching his grandson to drive, Jim discovered that many of the points that were important for a good driver also applied to running a successful business.

Ownership is American
The American Dream has always been about freedom and ownership. The Founding Fathers debated the following statement for our founding documents: “Life, Liberty and Property,” and ended up compromising with the words, “…and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Happiness in this context meant achieving satisfaction and meaning in what you do. That’s what property does. The reason property is so...

Acres of Diamonds
Former civil war officer and Baptist minister Russell H. Conwell was once asked to mentor seven young students who couldn’t afford college tuition. This led to his delivery of 6,152 lectures in what became a worldwide tour and the creation of his famous book, “Acres of Diamonds.” The funds generated by the book and his lectures allowed him to found Temple University, and has provided educati...