3 top tips from Scott Rusnak
1. Download the V/TO from the EOS Worldwide Website
That Vision/Traction Organizer is a supercharged two page business plan that’ll set you in the right direction.
Download it here!
2. Get yourself a coach and a mentor
Get yourself a coach and a mentor who can look over your shoulder and point things out if you’re headed in the wrong direction. More often than not, folks don’t realize that a 1% skew, let’s say you’re flying an airplane from New Zealand to Los Angeles, that 1% skew could get you landing in Costa Rica, or Vancouver, Canada. So let’s make sure you’re headed in the right direction. So that coach/ that mentor will get you there.
3. Don’t be afraid to design your year
get out a 12 month calendar, and just put it over, let’s say an 11 by 17 sheet, get your loved ones, get your business partners, get everyone on the same page with how your year is gonna unfold. Because when you do that, you’ve got a really good idea of how things can really come together.
business, core values, clients, work, life, eos, scott, people, debra, clarity, headed, steps, book, success, implementer, mind, moment, big, love, realize
Scott Rusnak, Debra Chantry-Taylor
Debra Chantry-Taylor 00:21
So good morning, we’re here with another episode of Better Business, Better Life. And today, I’m really privileged to have Scott Rusnak with us. Scott has actually successfully exited from to his own businesses. He’s also been working as a consultant providing business advice for a number of years now. And, he’s the author of The Entrepreneurs’ Field Guide, which actually says that ‘it’s up to you to design your own life before someone else does it for you’. On top of that, Scott is actually a coach for many elite athletes. And he is a certified EOS implementer. So welcome, Scott!
Scott Rusnak 00:53
Oh, thanks Debra, you actually made me sound like I’m buttoned up. So I appreciate that.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 00:57
I think you are more than buttoned up. I always like to sort of get people to have a bit of a get to know session with the person I’m talking to. So let’s start, first of all, Scott with giving a little bit about your personal best and your professional best, and what you’re really proud of in your life.
Scott Rusnak 01:13
You know, personal best is sitting here on my porch, in Solana beach, California. The listeners can’t see it. But, I’ve got my surfboard in the background. I just wrapped up a couple client calls. And, I’m just really living the life I want to live and what we said, success isn’t rocket science. It’s just get clear on what you want. Focus on it. And actually, that’s my, that’s my business best. It’s just really being able to focus on those things. Personal best… gosh, it bring tears to my eyes, but my youngest son just graduated from college. He’s got a great finance degree, my oldest son is in the entertainment business. And, my amazing wife is still just cranking away in her field of work. So we’re all lucky to live the life we want to live.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 01:56
That sounds absolutely awesome. So have you always lived there? Have you always lived at the beach?
Scott Rusnak 02:01
No, in fact, I grew up on the frozen prairies in Alberta in Canada, which I’m very fond of. But it got a little chilly for me. So, it was an easy move down to the states when the internet was kicking in.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 02:15
Yep. Brilliant! And look, you’ve had a couple of really successful businesses. What made you want to go into your own business?
Scott Rusnak 02:24
Well, right from a young age, I was that kid who had multiple paper routes and grew them by having neighborhood kids help me deliver papers. Then as I got into high school, I had a bicycle repair business, put myself through college with a lot of different odd jobs. And it wasn’t until I got my first big break, I’ll put a plug in for my uncle Robert Butler gave me a job selling advertising for his firm. And I just realized that I had a real entrepreneurial knack. And, I could put that to work. And from there, I was lucky enough to get a reasonable, decent corporate job for a couple of years that burning itch to get back into that entrepreneurial life really kicked in, in the early 90s.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 03:06
Yeah. So what was it? We talked about the entrepreneurs, I understand because I have a similar kind of background myself. I did a number of years in corporate but was just desperate to get out. What kick started it? What was the itch that you couldn’t live with anymore?
Scott Rusnak 03:23
Well, two things. First of all, we’re a company that started sell this thing called software. And I was like, Wow, look at that, that little chip can make you a fair amount of money can really make a difference in the world to help change a business. At about the same time, I was getting married. And my soon to be father-in-law was a superintendent of a school. And he said, you know, Scott, Apples got this product, and it’s for schools, and it’s not that good. You should look at maybe try to make one of those. And it was called Mac School back then, and luckily enough, had a pretty bright friend that was headed in that direction in the software world. And we pulled together a neat little company that became School Logic and we just competed against Apple and these big Goliath in the marketplace. And it was just a really amazing time of my life.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 04:09
Competing with giants like that. I mean, that must have been scary, exciting. I mean, what was the what are the different stages that you went through in that business?
Scott Rusnak 04:13
I’d rather compete against a giant because you know, it’s a big steamship in front of you. It’s got a big wide wake and we figured out the perfect customer in our industry just went after those customers. And, the giants weren’t looking at the table scraps. While we put enough of those things in place, we were able to build a pretty good sized business that they soon wanted to acquire.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 04:39
Ah, so it was actually end up being bought by Apple. Is that how it worked?
Scott Rusnak 04:44
Not Apple but someone else that I can’t disclose.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 04:47
That’s okay. Fair enough. That’s awesome. Okay, and so, you know, I’m looking from the outside in, people go wow, that you had a great success there. I’m sure it wasn’t all a bed of roses. What were the sort of challenges that you faced in growing that business from being, you know, two guys with an idea, through to actually having a business that was saleable.
Scott Rusnak 05:06
Yeah, one of the temple moments was when I was about to turn 30, my wife was due with our first baby, was ready to leave her corporate job so we could move to the states and really establish the business. While, I was so worried about payroll growth, employees, what was going to happen next that actually checked myself in the hospital, I thought I was having a heart attack. It turned out I had too much ice cream and beer that day. But, it just made me realize that, you know, if you’re doing the wrong things, putting the wrong things in your body into your mind, if you’re not curating that environment, not only for yourself, but your employees, your clients and your loved ones, you’re just not going to get to where you want to be. So, not to, sort of shimmied away from your question in the right way. But for me, it’s kind of one of those if you’re not constantly growing, you’re most likely stagnating, and, gosh, you’re stagnating, you’re in a state of decline. So I always look at these reset moments for myself. So my clients to make sure that you’re putting yourself on the path not only to have the business you want, but the life you want.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 06:10
Fair enough. And so your book obviously talks about designing your life, a lot of people that I have spoken to, you know, work becomes the all consuming thing. And I agree with you, I think if you’re not actually got a really well rounded life, and it’s probably not worth living, if I’m honest! So, how do you? What is your book give in terms of tips around how to design that life and get the most from business and from your life?
Scott Rusnak 06:33
Great question. Because one of the big things is I challenge the readers to be intentional about making every decision from this day forward with their future self in mind. That doesn’t mean some sort of panacea, but it’s just seize the moment and make sure you’re living and breathing with your own core values and your own vision in mind. And make sure others know that you’re on that path.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 06:55
It makes perfect sense. So, in the business, I mean, apart from the moment where you’re checking yourself into hospital, which is pretty major. Were there any other sort of, you know, really big challenges that you faced that almost felt insurmountable? And if so, how did you overcome them?
Scott Rusnak 07:12
Yeah, absolutely. As we were going behind this massive behemoth of Apple and then Pearson Learning, we knew that at certain times, we had to retool the business, and reinvent ourselves. So we did that a couple of times. And it was daunting. It was frightening. But we knew each and every time that we had to walk before we would run, and really designed, how we wanted the business to flow not only for ourselves, but our clients, it was just that open and honest communication part that helped us a ton.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 07:42
Okay, and We had a quick chat before we got onto this sort of podcast and you talked obviously about the fact that you use some of the EOS tools, and you’re now in a certified EOS implementer. What part of EOS had the most significant impact on your business? Do you think?
Scott Rusnak 07:59
Oh boy, core values. You’ve got to live in breed with those core values in mind from the moment you wake up to the sessions you’re in, to how you close out your day, every tricky decision, if you can use those core values, as your bar, your guiding light, I think you’re going to get everything you want out of your business and your life.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 08:21
Now I’m on the exact same page, I suppose it’s a little bit of a challenge though, when you’ve worked in corporate, I’ve worked in corporate, and there is a tendency within corporate to take those core values and stick them on a poster on the wall and go ‘there we’ve got some core values. Now let’s do that!’. And, that means that for some business owners going out on their own for the first time, that’s all they remember of core values. We know that it’s not like that. But, I suppose how would you encourage people to really think about those core values? And yeah, what’s the secret to core values, in your opinion?
Scott Rusnak 08:55
Oh my gosh, yesterday, I had a session with a really neat client, their client is called 52TEN, and they run a multifamily group out of Phoenix, Arizona. They’ve got some incredible core values. But one thing they do is they make sure these core values are evangelized, repeated, brought up every day every week in their level 10s. a core value I absolutely love that they have is a mindset core value, that’s called it will happen. So everyone has a mindset in that organization that it will happen. And these are flimsy floozy core values that are like Disneyland. These are very realistic based on rocks measurables and the vision within the company so they absolutely live and breathe with those core values in mind. I’ve got another client called Mar Residential, one of their core values is ridiculous and responsive. Well, what does that mean for every employee? So they think about that with their vendors, the residents and one another. You’ve got to be ridiculously responsive. So if we’re living and breathing with those things in mind, I think you’re going to get most everything you want out of your life.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 10:03
Yeah, no,that’s awesome. So, you’ve been doing EOS implementation now for how long, has it been?
Scott Rusnak 10:11
Like, surely about five years, I had a period of my life where I was kind of doing it by the book, but not by the book, but purely for five years.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 10:20
Okay, and what made you decide to become an implementer?
Scott Rusnak 10:28
As I was going through my own journey as a management consultants, let’s just say I use the Scott operating system, which, if you looked at it, which stands for SOS, which could be ‘Save Our Souls’. So my clients were doing pretty good. But it wasn’t ’till a lifelong friend who’d been in the community for quite a while said, hey, Scott, we know you’ve got to ADD, we know that you’re dyslexic, you’ve got all these things going on. Here’s a structure you can bring to your clients. And they can get you everything you want, and get them everything you want. So that was an absolute lightbulb moment for me.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 11:05
Brilliant. And so, you’ve obviously have been certified. You’ve worked with quite a number of clients now, haven’t you? How many clients have you worked with over that time?
Scott Rusnak 11:13
Oh, my gosh, well, let’s say over the last 12 years, I’ve work with well over 100 different organizations. And it’s been fascinating. The journey has many ups and downs. And as we say, at EOS, you’ve got to enter the danger a lot to be able to get people through that messy middle to that really achieve that vision they want to get to.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 11:32
Yeah, no, I completely agree. Again, our listeners are not going to see this, but I’m gonna very quickly show you this. This is my elephant in the room, I have a smaller one that I use in my workshop downstairs. But I think that a lot of what I do with my clients is about talking about the things I’ve probably never talked about before, or not in an open and honest way. And I think that you know, when you actually start to enter that danger and get into it, so much wonderful stuff kind of comes out of it. So a little bit of pain along the way. But the end result is just phenomenal.
Scott Rusnak 12:04
Well as entrepreneurs, we all got to realize that a lot of people will say, that will never work. People might be wincing at your mistakes, your missteps. But if you can pick yourself up, you can realize that every obstacle is a learning opportunity. And if it’s in our DNA to step back, really take that clarity break, we can then get what we want. Again, I keep saying that, by stepping back. That’s that mindset that allow us to get that future success? Yeah,
Debra Chantry-Taylor 12:33
I think you must see it as well. I mean, other companies, we start working with them, and the owners are so engrossed in the business, busy fighting fires, that they don’t do that stepping back. And I think that can make such a huge difference. It certainly has in my life. I mean, I think it was almost the forced COVID lockdown that forced me to take a bit of a break and go, what is important, what do I want? Where am I headed? And you know, it’s amazing what a difference that has made?
Scott Rusnak 12:58
Well, Debra, I have to be careful how I say this. And I always look at every obstacle as a gift. When I looked at COVID as an opportunity for me to hunker down with those I love and really dig in with those clients to make sure that they were really working towards that Dan Sullivan term of unique ability. And, just to get into that EOS tool that delegate and elevate checklist, make sure that you’re doing what you love, and you’re great at and delegate all that stuff that you don’t really or you’re good at. delegate that stuff. Work with that unique ability in mind, like we can really get there.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 13:35
But that’s sometimes really challenging, though, isn’t it? Because, you know, all entrepreneurs have started from potentially ran a kitchen table in a garage, working with a mate or potentially on their own just starting up a business. And so we become control freaks, don’t we? I mean, I, I saw it, I saw it in myself in my own business after the event, is that I was really struggling to let go, because it was my baby, I built it up. I knew how to do everything. And it was only when I actually started asking the question about, you know, what is it that I’m really, really good at? What is my unique ability? And why am I doing all this other stuff, then I was able to see that it could free me up if I actually… and improve my life if I can actually focus on that stuff. But I’m a control freak. I’m an entrepreneur, that’s what we do. We like you know, we need to keep a grip on everything that’s going on. So how do you encourage your teams that you work with to take a look at that? How, I mean, I know we’ve got the tool to delegate and elevate but what would you say is the successful thing that you do with them to get them to understand what’s important?
Scott Rusnak 14:35
That’s great. Well, not only do we have the V/TO that sets up their core values, their core focus, your 10 year target, through your picture, point your plan, we dig into those rocks, those rocks have got to be that defining moment. So we can reset every quarter and make sure we’re getting what we want. Now, to fill in something else. I love to go back to that stoic philosophy of an if than intention is faced with this, what will you do then when that obstacle occurs? What will you do to go back to that clarity break and ask ourselves? Hmm, am I making the right decisions for the business? And for myself, we can step back and do that. More often than not, you’re headed in the right direction.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 15:18
Now, I’m going to ask you, and I guess some of this will come out in your book, and your book is available on Amazon now, isn’t it? So we’ll put a link in the podcast, so people can actually find the book. I must admit, I only got it a couple of days ago, I’ve started reading it, but I haven’t gotten to the end of it yet. But three tips that you could give to people who are in their own business who perhaps are feeling like it’s not quite going the way they had expected it to? What would they be?
Scott Rusnak 15:43
Yeah, number one, download the V/TO from EOS Worldwide website, that V/TO is a supercharged two page business plan that’ll set you in the right direction. Number two, get yourself a coach. And it doesn’t have to be an EOS implementer. Obviously, we’d prefer that. Get yourself a coach and a mentor who can look over your shoulder and point things out if you’re headed in the wrong direction. More often than not, folks don’t realize that a 1% skew, let’s say you’re flying an airplane from New Zealand to Los Angeles, that 1% skew could get you landing in Costa Rica, or Vancouver, Canada. So let’s make sure you’re headed in the right direction. So that coach that mentor will get you there. The other one, which is a little bit different is don’t be afraid to design your year, get out a 12 month calendar, and just put it over, let’s say an 11 by 17 sheet, get your loved ones, get your business partners, get everyone on the same page with how your year is gonna unfold. Because when you do that, you’ve got a really good idea of how things can really come together.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 16:47
So, do you have… I know I’ve got one on my wall actually up here. Do you have something at home that is visual? Because I mean, I love technology and I love software. But I actually found that having a physical planner on the wall, made it so much easier. And we’ve got one at home as well, which also kind of puts out our holidays and when each of our… because my husband’s a musician, so he has a lot of music, concerts and events and things. But I have to say that yeah, it seemed old fashioned to go out and buy a wall planner, but I really loved having it.
Scott Rusnak 17:14
I think it’s a game changer! We’ve all got these digital devices that we can look at our phone or a laptop. And I’ll have to send you a picture for my session right now. I’m sitting outside, the birds are chirping and all these things are happening…
Debra Chantry-Taylor 17:25
I can hear them, yeah.
Scott Rusnak 17:26
Yeah, but in my room, I’ve got a bear rug from my grandfather that he shot way back in the day and my annual calendar sits on top of them, it just folds over top of it. So I’ll send it to you for a laugh. But…
Debra Chantry-Taylor 17:38
Oh I’d love to see that. Yeah.
Scott Rusnak 17:40
I look at it every day.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 17:42
Wonderful. Okay. I heard you mentioned just a little while ago, ADD. This is something that… I’m quite fascinating. So I just recently did an ADHD test myself. And it seems like I might well be on the scale somewhere, which might explain a few of my life decisions and things that I’ve done. But, is that something that you have been diagnosed with? Is that something that… and how do you deal with it? Because I think a lot of entrepreneurs probably do have it.
Scott Rusnak 18:08
Yeah, I know, it’s it’s hilarious, this journey we’re on. About four or five years ago, I started working with a group that does mental health, drug addiction and awareness. They also do some personal mind rebalancing. And, like, Scott, we need you to take a couple of tests because we think you’re on this spectrum. Like, hey, you know, you’re dyslexic too. I was like, yeah! I said, the cool thing with EOS is we put that structure in place so we can create this scalable, repeatable machine by following steps. So for me, Debra, those steps are the absolute ‘aha!’ moment. I know what my steps are in the process. And my clients know, the proven process too. So, it makes it so much easier when everyone understands the steps and your deficiencies. Because when you’re vulnerable with one another, oh my gosh, that truck trust factor goes through the roof.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 19:01
It is interesting, isn’t it? Because I must admit that initially looking at EOS, and I’ve done an MBA and I’ve read all the books so that you know, academically reasonably bright, and it’s sort of like, Oh my god, it’s simple. I loved it, because it is really, really simple. What will other people think it’s too simple? And I had this fear at first when I started speaking to people, because if it’s that simple, you know, how does it really work? But of course, we know it’s brilliant is in the simplicity. So, have you ever had any clients who’ve kind of gone ‘hey, look, this is all a little bit too simple, we don’t think this is going to work’ and what do you do with that?
Scott Rusnak 19:35
That happens all the time. In fact, I had a client that was the first North America to win a gold medal in ski jumping and cross country skiing. His name’s Billy Demong. He said to me, you know, Scott, this is really simple. I said, Well, so is ski jumping. All you gotta do is just go down that thing. He’s like, well, it’s not like that. Well, neither is running a business. Let me explain this, this little fine tuning moments about, what’s your clarity? How do we get mindset? How do we execute? just stepping back and putting these simple tools in place? It’s trickier than that it works… than it looks. Sorry about that. It happens all the time. It happens all the time. But you get clarity on that stuff. Off we go.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 20:16
Yeah, no, I completely agree. And do you have? I mean, obviously, you’ve got your book, and we’ve got the EOS things. Do you have a favorite kind of personal tool that you use in your personal life as well? Or do you actually apply the EOS principles to your personal life?
Scott Rusnak 20:29
Oh, I do. It’s in the corner over my right shoulder. Yep, this session room over my left shoulder, it’s a surfboard and a mountain bike. And that tool is called a clarity break. So all that served this afternoon, probably for a couple hours, but not very good. But it just gives me this clarity of just if I can’t catch a wave, that’s fine. I’m just sitting there and thinking about things they popped to my head, or I’ll go for a long, two, three hour mountain bike ride. And again, it’s that clarity that really allows me to attack the week and the day.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 20:59
Yeah, I just posted this morning, actually on LinkedIn. We do a cycle ride each morning with our dogs. And we don’t go particularly fast, because we have to let the dogs keep up with us. But, it’s actually a really great time. And, what I’ve started to realize is the days that I don’t do it, I don’t have a such a great day, the days that I actually go out there and do that. It’s just, it’s a great start for the day, it really is. But, I think you’re talking about even taking longer breaks as well. Like, it’s important to actually allocate time as net, where you can say, I’m going to have two or three hours without electronic devices without any distractions that I can actually just be with myself. And with my thoughts. Is that fair?
Scott Rusnak 21:38
Really. In fact, I did a talk last week at one of our breakout sessions for EOS worldwide. And I talked about designing your environment. So you can have those breakthroughs in your environment is so much more than what you’re looking at. It’s what you’re putting in your head, what you’re eating, what you’re experiencing, you’re looking at, how you’re behaving, who you surround yourself with. So if we put all those things together, that clarity really comes together. And if it’s take your dogs for a bike ride, I like that too.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 22:06
And they enjoy it too, which is great. And I must admit it sort of it also means if you’ve got dogs, for us, it was you know, you have to go out every day rain, hail or shine. We’re going out there and we’re actually doing it, which is really cool. Okay, I’m looking at time we’re about to wrap up, is there anything else that you’d like to share with the listeners. And I’d also just like to tell you to tell me a little bit about you know, your business and how they can get in contact with you.
Scott Rusnak 22:29
Yeah, biggest piece is ignore society, build your version of success. Be authentic to yourself. Understand that your version Debra, success is different than mine. My version of success says I’m going to pull my practice back to have 15 amazing clients, that I’m going to coach them and just really be vulnerable. That’s my version of success. Also, got a personal plan that tells me in 15 years, here’s what I want my life to look like when I’m 70. So I’m trying to be as forward thinking as well. So design your own version of success, be authentic to yourself, communicate that with your loved ones, and your business partners, I think it’s really going to help everyone out a lot.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 23:12
It is interesting, actually, I think social media has made it easier for us to do a comparison, you know, really, really easily. And also we have people sort of forcing their version of what success looks like. And I must admit to being a bit vulnerable, I kind of fell down the rabbit hole, probably about 12 months ago, where I was seeing all these people say you need to do an online course you need to, you know, you can make millions by doing an online course and selling your IP and I kept kind of not really wanting to do but feeling drawn to it, and then realised that I actually love people and nothing gives me greater joy than being in a room with a team full of leaders. And you know, working with them one-on-one. I don’t want to be doing an online course, I don’t want to have millions of clients, I don’t need to be a celebrity, much like yourself, you know, 15 or 20 really great clients and I am in my element. But you know, there is that temptation to see the stuff that’s out there on social media and go, Well, that’s what success looks like. How do you…
Scott Rusnak 24:15
Sorry, Debra, you’re living and breathing EOS life. Not only you’re, a master of your craft, well thought of, well respected, but you’re helping others. I think that’s just amazing.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 24:27
Thank you. And I say you are to. That’s fantastic. So you’ve got your own EOS practice. Tell me who do you work with? Do you have a particular region that you’d like to work within? Tell me a bit about your practice?
Scott Rusnak 24:39
Yeah, so the two areas that I focus in Southern California, mainly San Diego, and Scottsdale, Arizona. So those are the two areas I focus in. And it’s really rewarding. You know, we always say you can have 15 to 20 clients in your own backyard. Well, I absolutely love coming back and forth between San Diego and Scottsdale. creates a fun environment for my family for my wife and myself and allows me to live the life I want to live. Yeah, that’s great.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 25:07
I to do a similar thing. I’ve actually got family over in Sydney. So my two areas are New Zealand and Sydney (Australia). And, I think it’s great to have clients in both of those areas.
Scott Rusnak 25:16
Yeah. That’s great.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 25:19
Hey, Well, look, I would just like to say it’s been an absolute pleasure to talk to you, I’m really looking forward to finishing the book. And I would encourage everybody to grab a copy of that, because honestly, from what I’ve read so far, it is great. And really nice, easy read, and lots of nuggets of wisdom in there. Thank you for sharing your experiences and your journey to and I look forward to sort of following what you’re up to, over the years.
Scott Rusnak 25:41
Yeah. And if there’s folks that are in New Zealand, or in Australia, they want a copy of the book heads up, it’s not on Amazon down there. But they send me an email to email@example.com, I’ll send them a PDF just as a help first.
Debra Chantry-Taylor 25:54
That is wonderful. Thank you so much. And, as people know, that is one of our EOS values. And it’s actually one of the main reasons I fell in love with EOS when I saw help first, when all the other values have just as much money for me, but that one was like yet that it’s great. So I really appreciate that. Thank you. And thank you again for your time.
Scott Rusnak 26:11
It’s cool. Yeah
Debra Chantry-Taylor 26:13
Scott Rusnak 26:15
Professional EOS Implementer | Entrepreneurial Leadership & Business Coach | Business Owner
Professional EOS Implementer New Zealand
Professional EOS Implementer Australia
Professional EOS Implementer UK
Professional EOS Implementer NZ