James Ashcroft, Building a Successful Business with Pinnacle Business Guides (#187)

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Building a successful business is something that requires the perfect coordination of many moving parts: the team, the vision, the plan, the clients, and much more. A business can only reach success if all those moving parts are being perfectly optimized, and that’s where a business coach can make a difference. James Ashcroft has owned and operated businesses for the past 20 years and is now a Certified Pinnacle Business Guide, where he coaches businesses and business owners to reach the next level of their entrepreneurial journey.

As an entrepreneur, James had spent years trying to scale his business. He knew where he wanted to go, but he didn’t know how. He was feeling stuck, frustrated, stressed, and he let his health deteriorate, a very common scenario among entrepreneurs.

From Struggling Entrepreneur to Thriving Business Coach

In 2012, he realized his lifestyle was unsustainable and took massive action to change: he quit drinking, lost 40 pounds, invested in a coach, and even finished the 2013 Ironman Florida Triathlon. All within 12 months.

This experience taught him about the importance of coaches. That’s why he started joining peer groups and hiring coaches to optimize all the areas of his life. He then sold his business and started his journey as a coach, which brought him to earn the highest certification as a Certified EOS™ Implementer and then becoming a Certified Pinnacle Business Guide.

And now here’s James Ashcroft.

Full transcript below

Video on Building a Successful Business with Pinnacle Business Guides.

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Podcast with James Ashcroft. Building a Successful Business with Pinnacle Business Guides.


business, people, coaching, day, conversation, austin, pinnacle, clients, james, lean, building, thinking, florida, company, culture, feel, tools, leadership team, mental model, kids


James Ashcroft, Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta  00:19

Hey James Hey


Mike, how you doing buddy,

Mike Malatesta  00:21

good, good, how are you.


Very well, thank you.


I am

James Ashcroft  00:26

background and kind of very familiar, just a blank canvas.

Mike Malatesta  00:34

I’ve experimented with different things but I, I don’t know, Just come back to this kind of

James Ashcroft  00:40

all rose beat me back just a blank canvas right

Mike Malatesta  00:44

yes yeah yeah I guess so, yeah, I don’t know if it works, it works, how are you today.


I’m doing really good.


Yeah, yeah, They’re good.

Mike Malatesta  00:56

Okay, yeah, I apologize for having to re, schedule a couple of, I think I had to reschedule a couple of times I don’t normally have to do that but

James Ashcroft  01:04

that’s okay my admin handles all that so I see stuff moving around your mind.

Mike Malatesta  01:11

Okay, great. I’m ready to get going if you’re ready to get gone you want to go over anything before hand or

James Ashcroft  01:24

any rush implementers told you about the new franchise model, the US has taken,

Mike Malatesta  01:30


James Ashcroft  01:30

I opted not to continue with DDoS on another platform for Pinnacle right now. Okay, so I didn’t know whether I just wanted to give you that heads up, but we can have a conversation around it. I love Eos, it’s just not the right business decision for me franchise as an entrepreneur, I just as, as I told some of the US leadership was just do use the UI systems in G WC. I didn’t want it, you know, so, so I moved on and on to Pinnacle which is just the same model the same architecture kind of the same journey but just a different approach we bring more tools. So, we, we focus on meeting the client where they are, and then using all the best tools and all the operating systems.

Mike Malatesta  02:17

Oh, interesting. So

James Ashcroft  02:18

yeah, so like scaling up for example is having a strategy so you can pull strategy from scaling up and we want to get into, goal setting and the four disciplines of execution. It’s, you know, so we can actually bring in different resources into the room and really guide the client with all these all these books all these tools right. Yeah, I’m loving it. It’s been wonderful.

Mike Malatesta  02:43

Well great. Yeah that’s awesome cuz I’ve never spoken to anyone about Pinnacle so that’ll be fun. last year.



James Ashcroft  03:22

sorry about that I have dual monitors like again sometimes that comes up on my different screens, this thing, right, if I actually hit the X it kills the whole meeting so just minimize.


Oh, okay.

Mike Malatesta  03:36

Okay, good. Well, we know we’re not going to do that again.

James Ashcroft  03:41

We will not go I just I just did it right there.



Mike Malatesta  03:45

well yeah, as I was saying that’s I’ve never spoken to anyone with this working with Pinnacle so that scaling up is that yo, It sounds like.

James Ashcroft  03:56

Vern Harnish, the cofounders VO. Yeah, he had a book called Mastering the Rockefeller habits yes it did very well. And then he did a 2.0 version of that rebranded and scaling up. So, it’s very well received in in business community. It has its pros and cons, just like every operating system. So, the thinking of Pinnacle is to bring all the pros, right. Okay, sure I’ll send you some information on Africa. It’s really, really cool. So, about 80 of us and Pinnacle a lot of certified iOS implementers who did not sign the agreement and then some scary folks and some brand story brand people, so it’s like a mastermind effect really cool.



Mike Malatesta  04:41

story brand I’m familiar with those folks as well.

James Ashcroft  04:44

Story brand guides in there as well so we can bring some of those tools in the conversation.

Mike Malatesta  04:50

Okay, okay yeah I’ve been listening to their podcast for a long time Donald Miller and yeah I had JJ Peterson on my show. A while ago but yeah I really like what they’re doing. Okay, well, super. Um, so we’re gonna, we’re going to just plow ahead and go wherever you want to go with, with that and I want to, we’re going to explore everything, so hopefully conversation right yeah that’s it, that’s it so, so I start


going out and audio, audio and video,

Mike Malatesta  05:26

those audio and video and yeah I just asked the, I welcome you to our countdown 321. I welcome into the show, I’ll say a few things. And then I asked you the question I asked everybody get going, which is how to happen for you, James and you answer it however you’d like. And we’re off to the races.


Awesome. Okay, that sounds great. Okay,

Mike Malatesta  05:54

just get my recorder going here. Okay, here we go 321 Hey James welcome to the podcast.

James Ashcroft  06:08

Hey, thanks very much Mike’s my pleasure to be here.

Mike Malatesta  06:10

Yeah, I’m glad that Phil, Phil. Phil Pfeiffer introduced the two of us had Philip on my podcast before, Love, love the stories that coaches have. And because I know, and I’ll get I’m sure we’ll get into this but I know that coaching sort of transformed your whole life, we had a conversation back in February and I remember taking some notes on that. And then, I’ve always been sort of like I’ve always sort of gotten a lot out of coaching but I’ve always kind of thought of myself as a coach but then always talk myself out of being a coach so I’m really interested I’ll be interested in really making that part of your journey, James cuz I just love it. I just love it. I’m

James Ashcroft  07:02

glad. What you mean by talking yourself out of it.

Mike Malatesta  07:06


James Ashcroft  07:08

I remember way back when I met Entrepreneurs Organization I was on a trip. I think it’s Philadelphia, and so it’s like a regional event. And my friend, Cesar who’s also a coach was the chair of a program for he called the accelerator and helps businesses under a million scale over a million, and he said we need a coach for our program. His reaction is I coach with coaching people I’m just trying to get my act together. I’m falling through life feels like running businesses, and it wasn’t till actually done in a room with a, you know, six or seven other entrepreneurs who kind of staring at me and saying okay what are we gonna learn from you today, forced me to start thinking about what was defined as wisdom right like things I learned along the way, and forcing me to come up with content for that right crystallizing experiences down so I teachable moments was very impactful, not only for them but for me because I started realizing, Oh, I do know more than I think I know, right visual as an entrepreneur, you’re always looking ahead, you’re always seeing the bigger people, right,

Mike Malatesta  08:17

yeah, yeah. And you’re always, I think you’re always discounting what you know as well, like if you know if you feel like everybody knows it’s kind of like, Oh,

James Ashcroft  08:26

yeah. Community someone better than you. Yeah, so building a bigger business appears to be more successful. Right. And you know, you got it, you got a business, you might sit around thinking gosh when I get to that size. That’s when I can start coaching and teaching people. Yeah, but that’s really just head trash. Yeah, I experienced that firsthand because I was sitting in the room of those six people and after a four hour session members they were like, that was amazing. Like he taught us so much and I was like, wow, so I always have to watch that thinking is it can truly get in my way.

Mike Malatesta  09:00

That is so interesting because when I joined, I, I belong to YPO very YPO. So, um, and I joined. I don’t know, doesn’t matter when I joined but when I joined. I went through that exact same thing. First of all, I wasn’t sure that I should be there so there’s, you know there’s that maybe every time you join a new organization, but they have, you know, dying around events and other types of events where you go to other members homes and I remember going to some of the homes and I’m like, Oh my gosh, I thought I was doing okay, but obviously I’m, you know, I suppose what I’m telling myself, obviously I’m not because look at this, and it takes a while. It takes it, it takes, deliberate practice I think to get that kind of thinking out of your mind, because, like you say appearances, they may be what they look like and they may not be, but in either case, it truly doesn’t matter, it’s that doesn’t impact where you can go or where you want to go or I know that’s how I think about it.

James Ashcroft  10:10

Yeah, I mean, we throw around that term imposter syndrome. And looking over all my clients. I feel very comfortable saying everybody feels that way. They might have a strong exterior, they might get launched in life in a conference room with their leadership team. I can tell you guys Alonzo having a breakfast with these people and the topics that we discuss. There’s all kinds of emotion around it. You know, there’s the feeling of one day and one’s gonna find out I really don’t know what I’m doing right for. I can’t believe how much money I’m making. And it’s a real struggle for me because my dad was an electrician, what to some to the bone 60 hours a week, and never made a fraction of the money to be in. I mean these are very raw conversations I have. So that’s how me on my journey, even when I’m walking into a leadership team for the first time. You know, I have clients doing hundreds of millions of dollars, right, and like, sometimes that though is like who am I to teach like this Yes,

Mike Malatesta  11:26


James Ashcroft  11:28

CEO appears to have their act together. Almost maybe a bit like bit scary like you know like big personality, right. And so I just learned that, and kind of maybe it’s a mental model that I carry with me that everyone has issues. Everyone is scared to some degree. And my friend Cameron Harold actually said a great mastermind, he said. He said, we’re all little kids and big bodies. And I really think that rings true that’s a really nice filter for me to look towards people you know and so when I’m starting to think that I’m just, I just remember that we’re all human, we all come with our insecurities, to all doing the best we can. So the sooner we open up to each other, and I, when, when I start every session, I have, you know, I have a list of objectives and a list of expectations and on the bottom of both the objective and the expectation says Have fun, because we got to have fun, we’re gonna laugh at ourselves sometimes you serious work but then laugh at our insecurities, just laugh at ourselves, right, and I really breaks the seal, and we get to go down a whole thread about what where that leads is a leadership team that builds trust, right, when someone says, Yeah, I’m the CMO who’s kind of been buttoned up but you know here’s, here’s something funny or quirky about me and maybe one of my insecurities. That’s how teams kind of come together and gel or become more human. So I try to bring that approach with all my clients as soon as I can, I’m really big on Team house like right out of the gate. I’m started doing appreciation exercises with each other, and the check in saying what do you appreciate about Mike, what do you please appreciate about Kenny, what do you appreciate about me, and everyone goes around and I really helps as well, you know, kind of fight loosens everyone up and kind of gets all those, those feelings out and manageable.

Mike Malatesta  13:24

We’re all little kids in big bodies I like, I love it. Yeah, that’s really good.

James Ashcroft  13:29

Yeah, really good cameras got some got some great quotes and I was fortunate enough to sit on one of these masterminds and it’s really cool to see us have a good discussion around that.

Mike Malatesta  13:40

So this is probably the longest I’ve ever gone in a podcast change without asking the question I start every podcast with which is, how did it happen for you.

James Ashcroft  13:50

Oh my gosh, where do we start. So, let me just back up. Yeah, make sure that everyone understands what this weird accent I probably have it removed or replaced. I was born in England and raised in Florida, so I went to high school in Florida. I bounced around professional musician for a while, and then started my first business as a bit of a late bloomer in business my late 20s was one of those like high school, entrepreneurs, yeah. Started my late 20s and built a business, ultimately sold that. And then several years ago bought a fire security company, and the building that and working through an exit right now she’s very exciting time for me. But really, my story around coaching, how did that happen, happened when I left Florida to move to Austin. Put a management team in place I’m in my business, still active in the business but really letting letting letting the management team, kind of, kind of build up. And I was sitting around and a friend of mine Caesar who I referenced before Caesar I was talking about, what, uh, what was I going to do next was going to jump into another business. And he said, Think about everything you’ve done over the past several years and has given you joy, you know you and I have been running some do programs together. It’s teaching, mentoring people. That’s what you get your energy from and that was kind of a blind spot for me. So I sat on that for a while, really thinking about it. Very important Entrepreneurs Organization, you know, like I said, I ultimately ended up running that program in South Florida, just ending my tenure with EO accelerated here in Austin. So and I’m the president of lax Entrepreneurs Organization here in Austin. So that’s the main organization. I just love making an impact in the entrepreneurial community that’s my why. And so I just thinking about it and decided yeah that’s that’s what I want to do. So, I’ve been around these business operating systems. This way of thinking, since I joined the United States kind of built into the culture there. And so I was familiar with mastering the Rockefeller habits with Vern Harnish. We started the scaling up with Eos, and several others and I decided, listen I’m going to go become an EOS implementer. So I spent a couple of years doing that and building that practice got certified, which is at the time the highest level you can get to, and absolutely loved it. And this year I transitioned on to another business operating platform called pinnacle. And I just found that me being in my element and really leaning into my why has been just an explosive professional growing period for me. I’ve got amazing clients, you know, anywhere from $1.5 million digital marketing agency, up to a billion dollar financial services company, and I just really feel like I’m in my element I’ve really leaned into this in the last couple of years and I just have intense joy in watching other people succeed, even more so than myself, to be honest with you, you know, I was on the phone with one of my clients as they were being acquired by PT. And, you know, I was on the phone with him his money hit the account you would make the money sit my account. Yeah, sure. So proud to hear this never would have happened if we didn’t get our act together, we didn’t understand who we are, where we’re going and create this exciting company. So for me that was just a huge way and I just loved doing the work that I’m doing.

Mike Malatesta  17:43

I want to I want to explore Pinnacle a lot because, as I mentioned in the beginning I’m really interested in, in, in coaching and it seems like a unique program and I’ve never talked to, I don’t think I’ve ever talked to anyone in Pinnacle but before I get there and we spend more time there James, want to go back to. I saw it, you went to, kind of a, what appears to be a fancy High School at Pine Pine Crest prep school, I went to a fancy High School to I’m, I’m wondering how you got there, and what your experience was like there, because I want to compare it to mine so how did you get there and, and what was your experience like,

James Ashcroft  18:27

oh that’s a wonderful question I’ve never gone down this string before, so that’s that’s that’s really interesting to me. So, my, my parents got divorced, We were living outside London in the mid 80s And my mom decided to do something completely wild, which was move her three kids to Florida right to start a new. And, you know at the time, it was Fort Lauderdale, Florida is a sleepy beach town, which is now basically Miami north. And I was fortunate prior summers to TO VISIT FLORIDA. And actually attended the day school at Pine daycamp at Pine Crest, so I was familiar with the place, like a summer program on the campus. And so we just enrolled there I don’t think it was any further thinking it was a terrific school. At the time, and maybe still known for its swimming program and it was very cool to have this international component is having dormitory. Oh okay national students, so it’s great for me coming from England. As you can imagine coming from England, an all boys boarding school. You know that was steeped in tradition, you’ve ever seen Dead Poets Society,



James Ashcroft  19:50

Yeah, it was kind of like that without all that craziness made of the movie but you know there’s very traditional schemes and the same kind of uniforms tradition. Tradition tradition, right. And then, seventh grade showing up to school with the boys and girls. I mean I remember vividly, like standing there in front of Coca Cola machines and I can byte codes from the Rwandan when this place goes everywhere, asked me crazy questions at the time you use those big guys in the UK.

Mike Malatesta  20:21

Yeah, with a with a cool accent.

James Ashcroft  20:22

Yeah, they want to see the accent. And I remember the first day, the bell ringing and everyone’s scattered into different places and I was standing the boys on myself. And I was like, I don’t even know where I’m going to such a culture shock, but I absolutely loved my experience at that school. You know, I mean some of the best friends even, I think, I was talking to today, I think, I think, probably of my wedding party guys were the percussion section of the plane great band that we were in. In seventh grade. No kidding. I mean, I mean, amazing France I love my experience I love the international component. I still getting excited about going to my high school reunions, because it was 120 people in my graduating class so I absolutely loved it I think it prepared me for college really well. And, and the staff that I really think it just felt like it was a safe place to be. With an exceptional education program that prepared me for college and I went to I went off to college and I wish I could say I was a great student in college or was it. Yeah, put enough effort in to pass the classes but I mean, I passed with A’s and B’s, because I was so prepared for college and you had to take notes and you had to,


you had to

James Ashcroft  21:45

go to classes and just be the good student, for my education so I loved it.

Mike Malatesta  21:52

So, my experience was not exactly the same but, but, but Well, before I get into mind, did you, how long did it take you once you got there to feel like you belonged there. I mean we were talking about imposter syndrome before and here’s this kid from England, that’s kind of coming in and I’m just, I’m, I’m assuming that you know the people that are going to this school or are you know the movers and shakers in the kids are the movers and shakers in the community and just, you remember how you felt, and how long it took you

James Ashcroft  22:29

interesting question because I didn’t, I didn’t belong. I do remember not really wanting to get when I first got there, speak too much because every time I’d said something with this thick English accent you gotta remember, this is the basic Billy Idol to write so I showed up to school with spiky hair and I just looked a little different. And then so you know when to ask the question and all the folks who don’t use my accent. But, and certainly there were the movies. When, when, in high school and kids don’t 16 A lot of fancy BMW 325 eyes convertibles. There were Porsches. It was pretty wild. I never, I never felt like a long, I think that I can tribute that to my parents do they got a flashy family when it comes to like fancy stuff. Yeah, so I was lucky enough, my, my dad bought me my best car but it was like a five year old toy, a solid hatchback. A lot of miles on it, it was just a regular kid car. I don’t really have any stories of not feeling included. Okay, great friends and again I really think this is because there was so many Jewish kids there. No, international students there. It just felt like, very diverse. I mean, I was thinking about this the other day, I think, going through this experience I thought there were so many Jewish people in the world like going like, sure as because, you know, like everyone in my world I have my French Jewish and half of the movie, celebrating Hanukkah, half of them selling Christmas.

Mike Malatesta  24:18

You know what I mean. No, I do know what you mean. Yeah,

James Ashcroft  24:20

wonderful diverse. I didn’t even think it was abnormal until this kind of way the worldwide I have was Jewish have the word world’s not, you know, it was great. So, I really did enjoy my middle and high school experience so I’m lucky I’ve got kids going to middle school and high school does struggle a bit more than I did, but that’s to be, you know that’s a normal thing. Okay, boys easiest places to be.

Mike Malatesta  24:48

Yeah, it sounds like so my so I went to a similar school founded 1785 in Philadelphia, Ben Franklin is one of the founders of the school. It of course I didn’t know any of that when I when I went there, but I was going to Catholic grade school, they basically got recruited for to play football at this school. And when I got there, I, you know, it was like a whole different world because I, I, my parents were, you know, very working class and that’s where I grew up in like a parish Catholic parish neighborhood with, you know, you’re either Italian or Irish as it, you know, that’s, that was it and, And when I got there. I didn’t want to go. My parents made me go because they, well I shouldn’t say me. They made a good decision for me that I was not at the time, grateful for. And when I got there I got I got I had to get remedial help so I was put in eighth grade classes as a ninth grader, you know, so you’re kind of starting off, you know, not so great if I hadn’t been on the football team I think I would have been completely, you know, lost but, but, for me, so coming in from that what from feeling like that and by the time I got out I felt like I was just, I thought I was just as good as any person in this school and the school made that happen the kids actually made that happen. You know, in, in all the things that I saw that I didn’t have, I didn’t, I didn’t want them but I knew that I could get them if I wanted them as how I is how my mentality was by the end and it sounds like. Pancras is at least provides an environment that’s, that’s similar, in addition to a great education. Which, by the way. Yeah I mean I was like way down on the list of kids, like, I don’t know where I graduated, we had 83 in our graduating class and I was, I was in the 30s I think so, not stellar. But when I got to college, the kids had AP classes at all these public schools. I found that they had no idea how to actually study, like I don’t know what they had to do to get through. But that part was really easy, like you said, the, you know, knowing how to study being prepared. And it actually made me lazy James. It made me so lazy that I dropped out after a semester, and, and then fortunately got my act together, but anyway, the point is, I love hearing stories about how people get into especially these, you know, selective schools and what they do with the experience because it’s, it’s, it’s such a gift, you know, some, not many people get it and it’s like what do you do with it, as you know, that’s, and I didn’t appreciate it at first and not for a long time actually. But now, now I do.

James Ashcroft  27:53

Well, the older wiser. Yeah, yeah. Down. I just wanted to touch on something you’ve mentioned just about being lazy. Right, yeah like I was a lazy student, there’s no doubt about it. I think that’s part of my entrepreneurial gene, right, like I quickly figured out who to copy notes from. I mean I remember salesmen ended up in SMU in Dallas, Texas. And then they got added forget Chrissy grump actually relocated each other on Facebook and several years ago, does that remember me, I copied oh you know, she said yeah, I very easily find her down library so the best notes for a marketing class. He took the best notes like probably handwriting like he was like reading super

Mike Malatesta  28:41

easy to read,

James Ashcroft  28:43

super easy to super organized yeah, by the way she took notes and I was like, I just need to go to the library, Borrow a notebook for five minutes, Xerox it. And I just studied her notes, so that that for me was like my hack. You know because I did miss classes and I didn’t take the best notes, but I was, you know, had enough wherewithal to to track down Chrissy Grove and borrow notes and get through, you know, as soon as school of business. You know, we’re pretty good grades. I recently got my transcripts. You know my grades were pretty good. So, you know, I think that lazy, this gene is, is kind of a flag for entrepreneurial spirit. Yes, I really do look at that because entrepreneurs want to they want to create this the shortcuts or smartcard, I think is a better word for it, right, right, different ways of doing things. And for me, I think that was an extension of just my entrepreneurial spirit that lazy effect is only they can be more efficient to class like cranking my hands,

Mike Malatesta  29:49

you know, Dan Sullivan from strategic coach calls that finding your who’s that you know is how right yeah who know how right so it’s got, you know, entrepreneurs don’t worry about the how they find who’s that’s,

James Ashcroft  30:02

yeah, that’s a, that’s a really, that, that concept you know how, in the last 12 months has probably been the most impactful mental model. In my life, I’ve really leaned into that

Mike Malatesta  30:13

it has okay.

James Ashcroft  30:15

Yeah. Yeah, it is all about the who, right, for example of just nice to use such room here in Austin. And, you know how the designer is trying to do it myself. Right, am I, how am I going to, you know, how am I going to create an amazing Client Experience Session. Now let me go from like whose wheelhouse is this, and then just spend the money. You know just invest in them. And it’s been an amazing process and I see all the renderings I’m just like, wow, this is gonna be amazing. I would have screwed it up, you know, it would have ended up looking like a bachelor pad. I thought was cool furniture that was probably mismatched by God look right. Yeah right. Sure, so, you know, leaning into that like, I’ve got an amazing assistant, Camille. You know, she’s much more organized than I am. So she’s my room as far as scheduling and keeping me on track and sending me a little note saying, Hey, you forgot to call somebody or, you know, you haven’t spoken to this client, you know, a few weeks he’s probably half on the phone. Great, somebody I don’t have to worry about now. Besides, I’ve done that too in my life.

Mike Malatesta  31:34

Yeah. It’s changed my thinking too, I mean, I’m used to think about that as delegation, but it’s not delegation, it’s, you know, I like the way he talks about it being a distributed thing like you’re who’s don’t need to work for you, for example, they, they could be, you know, independent contractors, they could be. They could even be competitors, but on this particular project they’re who and you’re collaborating it’s so it’s all about collaboration not about, not necessarily about delegation or having to own all of the people and, you know, information and all of that it’s kind of it’s, it’s a really neat concept.

James Ashcroft  32:12

Yeah, I mean, yeah, the word delegation comes with a bit of a power dynamic too. Right, yeah. If you think about it as I do, I like that collaboration or even giving the gift to somebody else who’s citizen that unique ability.

Mike Malatesta  32:27


James Ashcroft  32:27

yeah we’re gonna need to like yeah, you’re so amazing with this. Can you do this for me, again, right, so I kind of think of it like that too. So don’t get bogged down in the weeds, like it just looks bad. But this is, this is the right thing to do. She’s amazing. She’s the right shoe. And ultimately, she loves what she does. I love her energy. And it’s just cool watching her work and give it, you know, allowing her to give me the gift of amazing design.

Mike Malatesta  33:00

You know, when you said, The delegation, we both said delegation and my mind went to delegation can be and I think I read this somewhere in your software like you were sort of frustrated at some point in your entrepreneurial career where you’re because your team just didn’t get it didn’t get it right and I, I think all of us probably have that thought at one time or another but but delegation, can be a big excuse when for things not going right to so you can say like, oh I delegated that to James and he just screwed it up, you know, because delegating is not about telling someone hey take this and run with it, it’s really about making sure that can’t delegate something to someone, where you can’t describe what you want the outcome to be right, yes. So, but a lot of, I know I did it last time I thought, you know osmosis and sort of the nuances that I would use to explain something to myself were all someone needed to take whatever I wanted them to do and do it exactly the way I wanted to do and then I would be frustrated when it came back and it wasn’t anything like that. And I would always think about it was their fault, but then it took me a long time to go, no, no, I think that’s my fault. No. Anyway, it made me think when you said delegation excuse, it’s

James Ashcroft  34:24

a very common thread among my visionary entrepreneurs right very visionary they see literally see what the company could be right, or the department can be or the market opportunity is, they can see it. And they get frustrated and other people don’t get it. They say they just don’t get what I’m trying to do here. Yeah. And it’s like, and then they, to your point, like they do they delegate and I say go, don’t do this because like we’re on the same page right like go build that. And it doesn’t turn out the way they want. And so when we have those conversations in the session room about Do You Really Are you really on the same page like I know we talked about, you know, becoming the biggest this or becoming a $20 million company this. Did you actually see the same future together. And after some interesting exercises where I’d be like, okay, my CEO Mike, you’ll be and the rest of the team, I said 60 of you sitting in the room, I’d say, take 30 seconds, and I want you to think about where this company is going to be in three years, revenue wise. And I want you to write that down that number. Don’t change it, write it down. And let’s go around the room, and I’ll hear the visionary guy, you know, there may be a $10 million company and visionary says, I think we can be $25 million in three years. And then the next question goes 15 1217. And we, there’s a huge discrepancy there, how you get to 25 from 10 is very different, how you get from 10 to 12. Right. And continue to compensation do some exercises, trying to identify what the company is going to look like feel like, wow, discrepancies, and it’s not until we actually go through an actual workshop together, we’ll even see the same future together, right by literally I’ll write down your bullet points. Right, okay, revenue, right. And so what is it, what does the company have got like feel like, you know, All we know now we’ve got five locations, you know the kosher field is very inclusive and and bond you we got some foosball tables in our headquarter. You know, we’re on a four day work week. You know, You know, our CEO is on podcast speaking he’s becoming a thought leader in the industry, and I get on the same page and see that same future. And it’s usually for the visionary. It’s a very emotional moment, because I’ve been carrying around all this like, they just don’t get it. And all of a sudden they hear everyone in the room around them say, we get it now, we see it together. And then that collaboration piece, going back to what you said about delegation. It should be really collaboration stops taking effect, right, and we’re all kind of rowing in the same direction. So that’s a wonderful piece of the work that I get to do with my clients is allowing that visionary to truly collaborate with his team and put people to step up and people to step out to some people, like, I’m not up to this accountability and I don’t, for whatever reason feel like I’m a fit here, which is a good thing, right, get the right people on the bus, and I really do find from there, that’s when the visionary entrepreneurs can kind of scale the business, and now they’re out front, and they got a self managing business.

Mike Malatesta  38:04

Know when you. You said you started your first business in your mid, maybe mid to late 20s A carry member. I started mine when I was 26 and I, I came to a point, say, probably around 10 years in James where I was, I was we were doing well, sort of that outside, you know, but inside I was, I was feeling lost and I describe it as being sort of dumping myself into a valley of uncertainty and I was uncertain about a whole lot of things. And I was wondering it during your experience, like before all the coaching came along and stuff was there, did you go through something similar was there. Was there a time where you were like, you know, you mentioned, you know, I mentioned that my team doesn’t get it, I think I read that somewhere but was there a time when you were like, I don’t, I don’t know what this is for me, I don’t know what to do I need help, I was there a time that that happened to you and kind of got you on the right path, or on a path to where you are now.

James Ashcroft  39:15

So I would say my biggest point of despair was after the collapse in the late 2000s You know, the, the financial markets right at the time, I had a company based in Miami, that was resigned construction products for the into the Caribbean talk to our customers would large general contractors building very large resort properties condo towers in the Bahamas Cayman Islands, st, st St Kitts. St Maarten. And when the collapse of the entire global economy happened literally lost 80% of my business overnight. I truly lost my business, overnight, and I made so many mistakes. Right. It was so abrupt, you know all the credit was sucked out of the Caribbean, these developers have no monies continue their jobs literally shut down the job site. In one day across the entire Caribbean, and I made a ton of mistakes, you know, I tried to hang on to my people, why this is gonna turn around, you know, it’s given six months, six months happens. Nothing happened. Nothing changed. I had to let them go, which is a whole different story in itself because, by, by the time I let them go, some of the opportunities. As far as more employment, we’ve gone because of, you know, everyone has scrambled to get to a safe, safe place. But, I distinctly remember sitting at a coffee shop, with one of my high school buddies, and being almost in tears, saying, I don’t know what to do at this business $6 million in revenue, a whole team of people. And it’s gone down to probably under a million rat race is crazy. And you said you know you need, you need to join this thing called. And I said, I don’t know what it is but, shoot me an intro and then the next week I was in the EEO introductory lunch. I signed the dotted line I haven’t looked back. So for me, I, it’s kind of terrifying to think of the path that I would have gone on, by myself, had I not found a whole bunch of entrepreneurs that first day at that lunch, and perhaps the the folks that were running that they were very vulnerable to this and this is a safe space for you guys to be completely honest and open about what’s going on in your life. I remember one of the people running it had some significant things going on with one of these kids in his personal life and he shared that we didn’t even know each other, and I had a place I can literally be myself and say, I don’t know what I’m doing, what’s working, how am I going to continue this business without any clients. You know, I don’t integrate group, because now, you know, so for me just being around other entrepreneurs, sharing the same issues and concerns, has been a theme in my life ever since. So that was tremendously impactful. And so I didn’t, I didn’t end up by sitting in the corner by myself like trying to figure that out. I lean down into other people, I guess in hindsight now, Mike, I got my news, right.

Mike Malatesta  42:41

Yeah, sounds like it.

James Ashcroft  42:43

Yeah, now, so that was very powerful.

Mike Malatesta  42:46

And before your friend mentioned do to had you been, have you been sort of one of those people who just kind of, I can do this on my own type thing just sort of gritted through it or did you have other resources that you had been using.

James Ashcroft  43:02

No, I didn’t know anything about yo I didn’t know anything about mastermind.


Yeah, okay.

James Ashcroft  43:07

The Chamber of Commerce, it was me and my business partner who relocated the business from California to Florida to pursue this opportunity in the construction sector left out. At the time, I nearly married. My partner had a wife to in California we both cruise down to Miami area and got ourselves a little office and what went to town to boy kids, and, and that was about it but I will say, I was very fortunate to just have a great business partner, you know, we both have strengths, you know, he was super, super revenue generator, great salesman, and he could. He could really pull in the clients that I had, I had, I had a bit more sensibilities around the structures, even though I’m not like a, like a CEO type, you know, I can, I can do it, I can put stuff together, I just don’t have a lot of energy of a long term for sure combined both of us, we did it we kind of plowed forward like, nothing, nothing was done for us and I think I really do owe that to my partner Todd, because he was just like, sometimes just like so tired of this guy, but it was always like, you know, if we didn’t get the order or things were slow he’d be like, I know that most of answering I know as a matter of ring I know it’s about to ring. So there was a lot of background energy in my office which is really cool looking back on it probably took a little bit for granted. At the time, but looking back on it so you have to have someone in the office like a partner, or even in your own head who’s saying, it’s going to be okay. We can do this, you know, and keep, keep going, keep picking up the phone. So I have a lot to lose in my life insurance.

Mike Malatesta  44:47

And what ended up happening to the business did it. Did you were able to sell it did it recover a bit

James Ashcroft  44:54

what so it, you know, it collapse. Okay. And I’ve just been named, my partner, and one of our employees, Mike. The three of us just kept it going, and then ultimately, I ended up selling it to Mike, my team. And to this day that company is still going in South Florida. And it was a total win win for the both of us. He got to run his own business. With all that foundation right have amazing relationships and the structure of the client was another thing, and he’s still running it today. And I get I get to sit back and say hey, that was a good run, you know, Those experiences of going through such a downtown, which is invaluable to me. I wouldn’t change a thing. It was it was truly. It was crazy. I mean, absolutely deserves to be, to be in any piece of construction during that time it’s brutal, but it did it really grounded me as an engineer and it taught me that sometimes you have to make really hard decisions and haven’t probably done it differently. They wouldn’t have turned out any different, but I would have been a smarter business person had I really cut my overhead faster. It would have given me some more runway a little less anxiety on the way. He got pretty ugly for a while, both professionally and personally, as far as resources and breaking down, but internet great,

Mike Malatesta  46:28

that was interesting what you said about your people you know you held on to people too long, you thought you were doing them. The right you were doing the right thing right protecting your people, but then you said that, you know, had they been, had they been let go earlier they may have had a better chance of recovering more quickly, you know, getting into a field that wasn’t as devastated as that, as, as construction, you know, or in Caribbean construction. I think all construction was devastated during the great recession but yeah that was really interesting and insightful what you said there.



James Ashcroft  47:04

there were jobs to be had great people so me keeping them around definitely deleted them kind of finding them coming in place and. And also I can really give them a great severance package. Yeah, I do remember where my employees, you know, giving cutting a check that was like the most I could give them the most, said, This is all I can do for you. Again, pay any more. Like we’re down to the bone here the some of this is coming out of a personal encounter. Right. So I think it would have been, because I would imagine it would be really interesting conversation me to have with those folks and oh by the way I’m friends with most of these people saw on Facebook, right, and we have a great relationship, so I’m very happy that we built such a good business where you still feel friendly towards me maybe even, even though I had to let them go. We just had a lot of respect for each other. But, yeah, most of them, in hindsight I could have just said listen, there’s no sciences, this is going to turn around, you know, I can give you three months salary today. And happy to write any recommendation letter you want, you know, and best of luck to you, instead of dragging you out where they will probably concern the entire time. Right. There’s no DGA, what are we doing, you know, am I gonna have a job next week and living in that limbo, I’d imagine they felt like that I mean who wouldn’t do that. I was like keeping it to myself I wasn’t sharing those emotions I probably as a good leader I should put them in wrote saying, what are we going to do is Option A is he can we cut now and give you that severance and I’ll help you get another job with my network as best I can, or be you’re in it with me right now, but at the end of the day it might be just, you’re leaving it with nothing. Do you think,

Mike Malatesta  49:00

well, in fairness, it sounds like you’ve got, you probably had Todd in your ear saying, you know, things are gonna turn around and it’s gonna have we’re gonna get this this is going, we’re close on this, you know, we’re gonna read be able to save this I can just imagine the optimism, sort of flowing through the office as well.

James Ashcroft  49:17

Yeah, absolutely still like that, really, as I’m older now really appreciate that and you

Mike Malatesta  49:25

when you were going through that were you thinking, Boy, I should have just stayed a musician.

James Ashcroft  49:33

The music thing didn’t work out. But I had a really fun, fun band out in Dallas in the 90s and the guitarist and the bands on tour Don Henley know now and Don Henley’s guitar, it’s nice. It’s turned out well but a few of the guys in the band, for sure. I think I’m the only one who doesn’t mean they’re living professionally, all of us playing music. So, but I, but now I didn’t think so early 30s At that point, just, just figure it out, you know, ignorance is bliss. Right. Like, I was just head down, but we got to figure this out we got to figure this out.

Mike Malatesta  50:21

I think when we talked the first time, you mentioned, You must have moved to Austin somewhere after this, the collapse of this business or the sell that to, to Mike. And that was, I get the impression I think I remember that being, you described as maybe the best move you ever you ever made.

James Ashcroft  50:42

Yeah, yeah. You know after college and moved down to Austin from Dallas in the late 90s, and my wife, she’s my girlfriend at the time. We really found our happy place, we’re like, this is where we want to be, you know, my wife’s an actress. So we ended up moving out to LA to get very sharp. So I start my business with Todd and Bill always had this feeling, like next year we’ll move back to Austin. Next year we’ll move back to Austin, and then we moved to Florida, it was like Alright we’re gonna build this thing, three to five years then we’ll move back to Austin, all of a sudden we woke up one day and we got a kid in sixth grade a kid in fourth grade and he came in first grade, saying, What are we doing here, we don’t go back to Austin and we got the kid in high school we don’t move the kid in high school does he want to and that’s a big decision for him out of that social network and everything. Yeah, but we pulled the ripcord on Florida, literally it was that feeling like, oh my gosh if we don’t do this right now, we’re gonna be in Florida for the next 1012 years while like until four kids are graduating from Florida. So we flew out to Austin so looking some houses and just made a snap purchase to the house we went back to Florida oh my gosh we just bought a house in Austin, 2016, and we moved the whole family here just a little bit school we can jump right into the community here, and it’s been the most. It’s been one of the best decisions we’ve made in our lives by coming back to where we physically feel like home is right. Looking back a lot of time in Florida we made wonderful friends. We have wonderful memories of growing up on the beach and Disney trips and all that but coming home, I think is very, very important for people to feel like they are physically really truly believe that. I feel very fortunate that we’re able to do that.

Mike Malatesta  52:40

And where’s your mom now.


She’s, she’s in South Florida, she is.



Mike Malatesta  52:47

Did you maintain a relationship with your dad, I mean living on separate continents and

James Ashcroft  52:52

oh yeah, absolutely. You know, flew back. Gosh, my grandparents, both passed on, now but, you know, my cousins, my mom’s side my dad’s side it’s just me, my mom, my two siblings. Over on this side of the ocean right. My family’s over that so we went back a lot i Every summer spent a chunk of the summer there. And, you know, my kids were born, we took them to meet the family. And, you know, international in that capacity, especially when they’re younger, they’re older now, there’s many trips but you know it’s kind of it’s very important to me that they felt connected to England.

Mike Malatesta  53:35

Right, okay. And you mentioned, maybe early on about your. In addition to the work you do at Pinnacle which we’re going to get to in a second. This fire protection company that you have that you started well while you were still in Florida, or it’s maybe it’s still based in Florida. Okay, so the so you’ve got that into the move dynamic too.

James Ashcroft  54:00

Yeah, yeah, so after selling that business to Mike, the export of business you know I really looked at it and said, boy, a lot of sleepless nights, you know, in a transactional business so we wake up every day and say, What are we going to sell today, right. So, you know, I was really looking for recurring business. You know something with contracts. And, you know, you know the wish list is right, high barriers to entry,

Mike Malatesta  54:31

well I’m regulation that

James Ashcroft  54:34

high regulate Yeah, gotta have it right. Even when the economy’s down, Even during a pandemic,

Mike Malatesta  54:39

still got to do the fires.

James Ashcroft  54:42

Fire security system, you get your insurance you can’t open your building, right. So, I ended up buying a mom and pop with my partner. And then we did two more acquisitions and and bought them into absorb them into the business, different verticals. So, you know, we had, we had a lot of fire alarm and we’ve, we’ve kind of grew the fire sprinkler side of things we bought some other alarm companies we bought a fire extinguisher company we bought a kitchen, you know, a commercial kitchen. Kitchen hoods, you know, events, now systems in commercial kitchens, so we bought this whole to get all these together and create this one stop shop. You know where, where a property manager has the same vendor and for all those different verticals is so fragmented, the entire industry surface hyper fragmented mom and pops right able to have that one stop shop that we can really be everything to all property managers, developers, you know, high res owners and companies. Very well. And like I said before, I’m in the process of executing that company, which is going to be fantastic, knock on wood, a fantastic situation for all involved. So, yeah, good run

Mike Malatesta  56:04

cool for you. So the when I first met you, you were coaching in, in EOS as you mentioned, and I’ve had several EOS implementers on my show because I love EOS we’re in EOS. I’m an investor in EOS so I have I have all these sort of connections to EOS. But you’ve made a change. Now you’re working. The pinnacle platform as you mentioned, which is something I wasn’t familiar with. So let’s talk about what the pinnacle platform actually is and why that’s, you know, fits, why it’s good who for you. Yeah.

James Ashcroft  56:46

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, you know, looking back on the last couple of years, you know, with us I just, I made great friends I love us, attraction, books rocket fuel store my favorite. I love it. You know, decided to ultimately make a long story short I ultimately decided to, to join another business operating system, community. My pinnacle. I think of it like a mastermind right getting as a group building this business operating system. And thinking of it, like, kind of flipping the script of it and saying, instead of bringing a business operating system to a client’s and putting them through that specific journey with those specific set of tools. Why don’t we ask the prospect and saying, Would it make some sense for you to hire an expert to go out and bring the tools that you need. Right, meet you where you are. And as we go through, through the journey from today to achieving your B hag big hairy goal, right, help you climb that mountain. Right. Go locate the tools and resources that can really help you along the way. And I’ve had so many great conversations right, I’m saying now, flipping that masks, and people seem to really resonate with it right because every business opportunity every business operating system how that has its pros is strengths. Right. And usually they’re their weaknesses, but they really lean into certainty. Sure, Right. And so I can look at and say hey this is really cool tool out of this book, that we can bring into the session room and facilitate very good conversation. Because at the end of the day, my coaching days, like when I spend, I spend full days with leadership teams. So, I, I’ve just had great patients I frame it like that we’re gonna have a look at this tool together. Maybe it’s a different kind of mental model, and have a conversation and see if this helps us, and that’s what I love, love, love about pinnacle, is that constantly like consistent endless toolbox thinking, you know, for example, Jim Collins his hedgehog concept right you familiar with that is like the, you know, what do you what are you passionate about, you know, what can you do the rest of the world that, right, like, what is your niche. What is your purpose, and then what is your act, what drives your economic engine your profit per x and our sweet spot in the middle is very powerful. That’s what’s going to get you to be happy. So, putting that tool on the whiteboard and having conversations about what is the why of this business, really leaning back through to get everyone understanding what the purpose what excites everybody what’s the rallying cry for the business right. What is brought this team together with such a great culture about you, all of you I’m very clear on what it is that actually brings you together. And then, then, You know what business are we really in right and that creates that lane, my focus right. And then, what is your profit correct like what is that one number in the great game of business for example they

Mike Malatesta  1:00:16

call it the critical number, jak stat, what


is that one number.

James Ashcroft  1:00:19

Yeah, like Walgreens is like profit per transaction. Right, and they lean inside of that they just put all their decisions around does this increase the profit per customer. So, I love him to bring new tools in and just sort of Celtic conversations what they need in that moment.

Mike Malatesta  1:00:43

So it’s custom designed because you’re saying it’s custom designed based on the audience or your company or the group that you’re working with and what they’re who they are where they are, where they’re going. that’s okay we

James Ashcroft  1:00:56

have the fundamentals right, like, you know, the vision pieces. We call it rocks right like quarterly goals. By understanding where we’re going, what are the key priorities for the next year, you know, and then reverse engineering, what do we need to work on this quarter, like we have the very tactical but then we can also supplemented with, with great conversations such as usually the hedgehog concept and total profit first using a great model, we traditionally think revenue minus expenses equals profit, that book talks about revenue minus profit equals expenses, right. So putting a salary cap on your expenses is really good because the owner is like, yeah, why don’t I made any money out of the company like everyone else is making money but I’m reinvesting everything I would want to actually put some money in my pocket, or maybe you know the business should save up for a rainy day. We have these great conversations right, so he’s got this really nice structure to it, is that there’s definitely a framework you have to follow but we can implement different tools, and I’m a huge teamhealth guy, right, like I said before, like day one, I’m just like, that’s my thing they want is like one build upon the success of this team and lean into it. Make your feel good, because at the end of the day as humans we want to do that right so my sessions are a lot of team laughter do madlibs kind of like Team house exercises and kind of having fun together, like we talked about before, like poking fun at each other in many agencies healthy teams. They all like family to enumerate and then out of push each other’s buttons and laugh at each other and it’s wonderful. So, clinical spin and blessing for the

Mike Malatesta  1:02:44

issue. Can teamhealth be faked. And your, your experience kind of like they when they show up for, you know, the clinical meeting or their, you know their session with you I’m just because I’m just curious how you see so many I’m just, I mean I know there are people who can fake might be the wrong word but they can adapt to what’s expected of them in a particular environment and then they can go back to something else like who they really are, for example,

James Ashcroft  1:03:16

it gets, it becomes apparent very quickly. And that’s usually. So we, when we talk about people in their organization. We said everybody says we want great people, right, but what’s great for your business. Mike is different from what’s great for my business, right, so we need to codify it. And if someone’s not the right fit, assuming they’re in the right seat. Right. Great people right people erasies is going to be that right people, and it’s going to be a cultural misalignment. Once we start having these conversations and actually codifying culture, usually through the core values. Right. It becomes very apparent that they’re not the right fit. And they usually spend some kind of action. So, I would. I’ve certainly had sessions after the first day, people have left the leadership team on their own accord and being like, this is, I was thinking about leaving or they just pull the record, I don’t think it’s possible to go through a process like mine, and be the wrong person, because it’s just gonna be uncomfortable as it was gonna note codifying this. Yeah, yeah, looking at right person right see it’s very easy to actually access and this is from staring out at the talent assessment, right. So you’ve got culture vertically performance going horizontally, right, you have this project right someone’s high culture high performance eight lines, right, if they’re high performance, and low culture is sitting in that bottom right. And I for those terrorists, right, because they’ve got, they’re holding you hostage right then, and I’ve had people like that, yeah, sales, for example, like, crushing and like it’s $1 Damn okay man that’s a lot of money. The bottom line is that they’re caught, they’re misaligned, and ultimately they’re held hostage by them. And the anecdotal evidence from my eyes is that you pull the ripcord and


you have to

James Ashcroft  1:05:20

kind of suck it up as far as the revenue but usually you find someone else who’s just getting the former high culture become a player, and they sell, and everything into, into the courtroom piece in the ground, environment, culture, I mean they just know that not all right. Who wants to hang out in a room where you don’t feel comfortable. Right,

Mike Malatesta  1:05:43

yeah, that is so been my experience to James you got, if you’ve got this high performer little culture. It’s scary to let that person go because or Move out, move on or help them transition to something better, whatever you want to call it because, well, it can be money, you know, in the case of a salesperson, it can be tribal knowledge are really good relationships with clients, but not so great relationships with colleagues, and it’s hard to make that choice, but our decision. But I found and I always wait too long, but I found that when you finally make it. The person you get to replace that person, you’re looking at, you’re like, oh my gosh, how did I put up with x, so long when why this person was out here and you know I just thought that no one could be as good as the person I had and that that fear kept me sort of locked down.

James Ashcroft  1:06:40

Yeah, in the real sad piece about this might. And I’ve been guilty of this too right and so I’m just using you as an example. Yeah, but most likely the rest of your organization was standing around saying, What is taking mike so long, Right, right, obviously this game about culture and, but, you know, so Rachel’s trust with the entire team, and really the, the people I hear about my experience, I’ve seen it I see it with my teams that that person. And everyone rallies around and says, You did the right thing, and then finding someone else comes in organization, they love the culture that high performance, and you’re off to the races that’s at scale. So, I can’t think of a better word than terrorists or maybe a kidnapper or something because they really are holding you hostage, like everything.

Mike Malatesta  1:07:31

Yeah, It’s funny too, when, when people talk about coaches they, they are always thinking about you know what a coach can teach you and so often, and coaches do teach and you were talking about all these different things you bring these customized things you bring to your groups but the other thing you bring is just, you already know the answer to this, I’m just going to help you keep, you know, focused on the answer because if you’re left to your own devices, you will ignore the answer, because a little bit of that, that the pain of ignoring it, you, you assess to be less than the pain of dealing with it when it’s often the other way around.

James Ashcroft  1:08:11

Sure, yeah. I tell my teams all the time, I really do believe that I’m not a consultant I don’t go in there with finances for them I just facilitating conversations for them to come up with their own answers. I give them tools lenses filters mental models right to happen to have great conversations and make their own decisions, I tell them all the time I’m like, 95% of all the wisdom needed to grow this business into what you want it to become, whether that’s scale or whether that should be the best small business press marketing agency in Austin, right, whatever it is whatever your end goal is 95% of wisdoms already in the room. Yeah, we just need to harness that human energy and get you on the same page, have very honest dialogue with each other. You know, it’s amazing just to see that shift like, you know I’ve had, you know, CEOs who are very high drive and they think they’re listening to ask question the room but they’re not really listening. They’re just creating space but they ignore really what they’re hearing. And there’s a culture of that and all of a sudden it’s like whoa, Hold on a second as the CEO, like you said you will want to listen. So Susan, you can’t literally do that every day now what do you have to say,





James Ashcroft  1:09:30

is it okay for me to say this,



James Ashcroft  1:09:33

he brought me in to make sure to elevate your to build his business. Right. Yes I did. Okay, Great. What do you have to say, Susan says something, and it’s like, wow, and the CEOs like, wow, that’s an amazing idea. Okay, cool. And so it’s not pulling, pulling that out of the team and bringing it together. Right. This successful already I’m not. And I always telling us to like we’re building on the foundation of SAS or Hancock to get this far, but they imagine what we do, we have a truly healthy team and Lencioni Patrick Lencioni Five Dysfunctions of versus the first layer the foundation of a healthy team is trust, and his book is about the lack of trust, is it a dysfunction. So we have to lean into that you have to say what’s on


your mind,

James Ashcroft  1:10:20

it’s okay to be wrong. It’s okay to disagree, but you have to get it out. You have to talk about it so we do a lot of work by really saying to get to go back to my objectives and expectations. The first two things and expectations is open, open to change your perspective open to changing your mind and honest saying what needs to be said. Respectfully challenging each other. So, yeah, it’s great work. I love it.

Mike Malatesta  1:10:49

Well this has been so interesting spending an hour or so with you, James. Thank you for coming on. I know your website is your name, James Ashcroft, calm, is there other ways that you want people to connect with you or reach out to you.


Yeah, sure, I

James Ashcroft  1:11:04

mean I’m on LinkedIn. I would love people to reach out and email me and just, you know check in, ask me a question. If you’re, you know, if you’re not in Austin, Texas, you know, and you just looking for a coach for example I’m happy to reach out to my network and find your coach in your local area. I know a ton of great coaches. So I just doing this community. So, if I can help in any way, please, please reach out, I’m happy to help you in any way I can’t even get on the phone and have a conversation. You know what I leaned into my wife.

Mike Malatesta  1:11:44

Got it. And your email is James at James Ashcraft James

James Ashcroft  1:11:48

ashcroft.com, simple as it gets. There’s a whole story behind how I had lost it and got it back. Oh really. Yeah, oh I had it like probably early 90s is like going on my name, I forgot to renew it, you know, junk spam I kicked myself like 10 years as the internet grew, I


was like, geez,

James Ashcroft  1:12:11

I looked up the guy to James Maxwell, calm on that, everything wasn’t doing anything with it and I got one of those, you know auction sniper Domaining capture things with a drop. Commander box haven’t been on in just one quiet morning. Congratulations you’re James Ashraf, calm,

Mike Malatesta  1:12:31

so he did the same thing he forgot to renew or whatever.

James Ashcroft  1:12:35

Yeah so, looking for a domain good like snapnames or one of those things, plug in and forget about it set and forget and you’ll be surprised that one day you wake up and you’re like oh my gosh I got Microsoft comm.

Mike Malatesta  1:12:47

I never heard of that, that’s good so it’s called Snap names you said,

James Ashcroft  1:12:50

I think when I use the snap names is a bunch of I think GoDaddy does as well they will do it now we pay a premium fee, and they basically, as it drops their knowledge goes and

Mike Malatesta  1:13:00

grabs employees, and it’s so interesting.


So, yeah, I

James Ashcroft  1:13:03

was very, very happy to have my domain felt like I felt like I was home again on the internet, you know, for a while some guy hijacked my identity felt like so. So I did that with all my kids got to them, by following that process.

Mike Malatesta  1:13:18

Oh you did okay. I was fortunate to get mine without that, but I have a weird or last name you know you’re, you’re, you’re smart,

James Ashcroft  1:13:25

you’re all the ash roster in England,

Mike Malatesta  1:13:26

right, yeah. English guy. Yeah, interesting. Well anyway, Thank you so much for coming on. Congratulations on your new Pinnacle platform, congratulations on the pending sale of your business which is always a phenomenal event and this one sounds like a much better spot than you were dealing with, with your, with your previous business so congratulations on that and congratulations on, on being an Austin where you, where you belong.


Thank you.

James Ashcroft  1:13:59

I’d love to your questions.

Mike Malatesta  1:14:03

Yeah, sounds good. Thanks, James.


Thanks Mike.

Mike Malatesta  1:14:08

Okay, well thank you. That was good. Yeah I did. Yeah, you’re really interesting guy.

James Ashcroft  1:14:16

Oh, thanks man. I didn’t even get into my Iron Man.

Mike Malatesta  1:14:20

I was gonna ask you at the end but I was already kind of more time than I asked for so I thought well,

James Ashcroft  1:14:28

yeah, that’s a big. That’s a whole. I felt like you guys that will take us down the path that was fun. I really enjoyed it and you’ve got great questions.

Mike Malatesta  1:14:41

Oh, thanks. Thank you usual.

James Ashcroft  1:14:42

Tell us about coaching. The font because I was like, did not expect to talk about my school

Mike Malatesta  1:14:51

and, yeah, I’m glad you were okay with it because I was really, I just thought it was interesting

James Ashcroft  1:14:57

conversation built on curiosity, which is cool. Yeah,

Mike Malatesta  1:15:01

thank you. So, I’m, I am super interested in the fire protection space. Are you selling to someone who’s like Cintas or someone who’s sort of trying to roll out private equity, okay. Yeah,

James Ashcroft  1:15:15

they want to they want to buy that find platform companies in Florida, Texas in California. Okay.

Mike Malatesta  1:15:28

Drop in the chat. Right, so it’s new for them they don’t have a company like you’ll be the platform and we’ll be the platform company and

James Ashcroft  1:15:36

my management team will be talking to them, they’re going to they’re going to not mess with the company at all. Let my team. Just, just have more resources to buy for the mom and pops around and more so than in my partner these movies are bootstrapping.

Mike Malatesta  1:15:56

Yeah, what’s the, what’s the approximate size of the business.


10 million 10 million

Mike Malatesta  1:16:01

Okay. Hmm, interesting. And that’s still a real pretty, still pretty much a mom and pop industry in


South Florida. Yeah,

Mike Malatesta  1:16:18

no I mean, I mean, I’m sorry, not your company but the rest, that’s what I guess that was my point the wrestlers, it’s fragmented. Yeah,

James Ashcroft  1:16:33

it’s probably hasn’t changed too much but if you, if you say ABC went back into commercial five, if you look at the ATT Tyco since us symbol x, like all those and add them all up, it’s like they’re only 10% of the entire market share.


Oh is that right,



James Ashcroft  1:16:49

so fragmented. So even it might not be a 10 million of you got like 70 employees. Even, even that size. It’s, it’s one of the larger companies in the market, Florida.

Mike Malatesta  1:17:05

Okay, interesting. Yeah,

James Ashcroft  1:17:08

it’s primes. It’s time for someone to scale it, you know like with funds like my partner and I were just always looking. It was our money so you could argue like bit too cautious you know because you imaginers, we have to be very comfortable with the technical crew, the contracts, because it’s fire safety so there’s a fire in this event and someone gets hurt. That’s a big, big issue, insurance carrier suing you. Right, okay. Out of this contract, I think it’s scalable that we’re willing to take the risk of saying, same yeah we get it. Let’s find a company, let’s change your contracts down the road but these have more resources to go over pay technicians are good ones, at least in bootstrapping system. So, I think ultimately, I’m moving to Austin is not a day so it’s this is right for you. That’s why I’m so excited about my routine, go down there next week. And I’m going to be looking at the faces and I truly, I wasn’t looking to sell this company these guys came along, and I’m truly excited for the opportunity to check I feel like it’s really good. By the way, it isn’t big Jack, you help us close it and here’s another jacket. And by the way you can have long term equity in the fund, and potentially be on the national leadership team. I think it’s wonderful. So I get some money, you’ll get an opportunity. Nice. Good for you.

Mike Malatesta  1:18:42

Yeah, it sounds good. Okay, yep. I won’t, I won’t release this until after it’s done so. Alright James Thank you so much. Right, Yeah, yeah, no, not this No. Okay. All right, thank you

James Ashcroft  1:19:02

very much Mike and, yeah, stay touch me. I’m really glad to introduce those folks, lovely. Yeah. Yes. He introduced us. Alright, I’ll

Mike Malatesta  1:19:11

let you know when this, when this comes out, it’ll be a while, but I’ll let you know James and yeah if I can do anything for you. Same thing

James Ashcroft  1:19:22

would be an interesting conversation I do really have like five remote teams now so it’s nice to be here. Compensation. I know you’re invested in the US.

Mike Malatesta  1:19:39

Well I love coaching businesses so it’s not, I’m not just, it’s not just, I like the recurring revenue nature of coaching businesses just like fire protection. So

James Ashcroft  1:19:51

yeah, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I’ll send you some information. In the book I use for the legal auditions right audition. Okay, I see some information you can kind of walk through and see some of our charts about the strategy behind what we’re doing is pretty cool.

Mike Malatesta  1:20:07

Okay, great. Yeah, perfect. Thanks. Thank you. Alright, I’ll see you Enjoy.

Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta

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