Peak Your Profits: Lunch and learn

Jeff Blackman

Two to three times a year, I look forward to having lunch with John Trakselis. We met several years ago, when I spoke to CEO and executive leadership groups John coaches.

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He’s a fascinating guy. Bright. Friendly. And philosophical. Our conversations can be focused or tangential  —on a variety of topics; family, business, politics, travel, current events or what-if possibilities. As you’ll soon see, John has a unique perspective and valuable insights.

John Trakselis

Jeff Blackman: What’s foremost on the minds of the leaders you work with?

John Trakselis: Uncertainty: with their marketplace, tariffs, inflation, the stock market, cybersecurity, or meeting customer demands because of labor and/or material shortages. Plus, the economy will change significantly in the future because of technology, artificial intelligence and robotics. Middlemen are being eliminated by a process called disintermediation. For example, retail has taken it on the chin because of Amazon.

JB: How is the political climate in the U.S., affecting our “culture” of business and dialogue?

JT: Talking politics can make us highly irrational, yet most businesses abhor the current political environment — if they believe the primary task of government is solving problems. The current political environment is sucking all the air out of thoughtful deliberation. Washington sets a poor example of how to discuss difficult issues and reach a resolution. And money in politics and the lack of term limits, creates fiefdoms and divisiveness.

By contrast, an aircraft carrier changes its personnel annually, and they’re still combat-ready. Because they have a clear mission and create a strong culture that manifests their values. Most successful companies also have a strong mission, clear values, and engaged employees.

Many of our electorate don’t care what the facts are — they just want to go forward with their beliefs on how things should be done. Carl Jung said, “Thinking is difficult, that is why most people judge.”

In business, bias can be lethal. Fortunately, most businesses must respond to customers, who vote with their dollars. They also must compete for talent in this tight labor market, who vote with their feet.

JB: You assert, “The United States has a fever.” Yet, you have a prescription, which is?

JT: I’m troubled by our public and private discourse. We have freedom of expression, it’s a basic right. However, with rights come responsibilities. Conversational responsibility now requires greater emotional intelligence. Otherwise, we agitate others, and that, in turn, prevents constructive dialogue.

Here’s my full prescription ... 

  • Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
  • Control your impulses — strive for emotional maturity.
  • Beware of false prophets — separate fact from fiction.
  • Think critically — set aside your biases and prejudices.
  • Employ these Stephen Covey habits: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. And think win/win.
  • Make sure your brain is engaged before speaking.
  • Seek clarity. Be clear.
  • Mind your own business. Take care of your internal state instead of projecting it on others.

Remember …

  • Personal character is necessary for a healthy society.
  • Rights carry responsibilities.
  •  Attachment is the source of all suffering.
  • Merely winning an argument, is a delusion of grandeur.

JB: What do effective leaders do, others don’t?

JT: A leader develops a vision, enrolls others to buy into the vision, consistently communicates the vision, executes according to the vision and holds oneself, and everyone else, accountable for achieving the results envisioned. The most effective leaders orient to something bigger than themselves.

True leaders are believers about where they want the business to go. They also assemble their team and gets them to play from the same playbook. It’s about getting results that are planned for.

JB: What are simple, yet powerful ways, for an individual or company to create a competitive edge?

JT: Here are seven:

  • Be yourself. As Oscar Wilde said: “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
  • Seek new, uncontested markets.
  • Be alert to what’s going on in your world.
  • Know what you want. Define your future state.
  • Validate. Find others to challenge your beliefs and assumptions.
  • Use you head, heart and gut to make decisions.
  • Ask for help. Reciprocate.

For more insights from John, please take a peek at

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Jeff Blackman is a Hall of Fame speaker, author, success coach, broadcaster and lawyer. His clients call him a "business-growth specialist." If you hire speakers, contact Jeff at 847-998-0688 or And visit to learn more about his other business-growth tools and to subscribe to Jeff's free e-letter, The Results Report. Jeff's books include “Stop Whining! Start Selling!” (an Amazon Bestseller) and the new 5th edition, of the bestselling “Peak Your Profits.” You can also stay connected with Jeff via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter: @BlackmanResults.