Dwayne J. Clark Show Notes
Under his leadership, Aegis has grown to more than 30 locations, employs more than 3k staff members, and has served over 60k residents.
Dwayne grew up poor with often not enough money for food. The family solution was to make a potato soup meant to last a week. Today, he supports more than 70 local and global charities and has founded four of his own including: The D1 Foundation, The Potato Soup Foundation, The Clark Family Legacy Foundation, and The Queen Bee Café.
His book, ’30 Summers More’ contains the “lessons from longevity” that Clark has amassed from a front-line view as the CEO of Aegis Living, combined with the latest health and wellness research on living well as we age.
Most passionate about
- AI don’t lack for passion! I have a book coming out called, 30 Summers More. I’ve been working on the book with a medical doctor and a PhD for almost 5 years now. I’ve taken care of 65,000 elderly in the course of my career and I thought, I’ve got to get some wisdom out of this experience, and maybe there are some things I can pass on to people.
- About 6 months into writing the book, I had a medical issue and ended up in the hospital for 3 days. I asked my wife to bring in the manuscript because I wanted to work on it. And as I sat there, working on the manuscript, I had this epiphany and said, “You know, this book is not about the 60,000 elderly people, this book is about changing the lives of 30, 40, 50, and 60 year olds.”
- The book took a turn at that point, as did my health. So, I changed my diet, my exercise program, I lost almost 50 pounds over the next couple years and totally changed my lifestyle, right down to the TV programs I watched. I started studying longevity programs all over the world; I would read research papers 2-3 hours a day, everyday.
- I traveled to different countries, talked to people who were 100 years old, I talked to people about their longevity practices. It’s fascinating. What I’ve done in 30 Summers More is brought back all the best practices and the things that we’re doing wrong that maybe killing us. Even though we’re highly educated, highly wealthy country, we’re still not even in the top 30 in terms of our health practices. We need to get better.
Dwayne’s best advice about customer focus, marketing, and sales
- When we started the company, we had tee shirts and slogans that say, ‘Our customers are number two’. People would ask why we would say that. Well, it comes at the point of service, the interaction between the staff and the customer. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to a restaurant, a hotel, the phone company, whatever it is, that person who is talking to the customer, that exchange, has to be phenomenal.
- That’s one of the things that I think are incredibly important: you have to focus on that interaction. Our new president, he oversaw $18 billion in revenue and 182,000 staff. Really successful companies focus on that point of contact. So, if your staff think you are a rotten company and don’t like their pay, their benefits, or culture, then that point of service, that view point, gets conveyed in that point of service with that customer. So, that’s the most important thing: you really have to focus on that interaction, that point of service between the line staff and the customers.
Biggest failure with a customer
- I think, sometimes, you can choose the wrong partners. We get caught up in peoples’ resumes: maybe they have a lot of money, maybe they’ve done one thing right. I think what’s critically important for your delivery of service to your customer is the alignment of thinking. I’ve made one mistake where I didn’t choose someone well. I think because of that, it creates a cultural misalignment.
- I was impressed by one aspect of this person, and it was early in my career. What you get caught up in is they can bring this to the table. You get all excited about that.
- At the end of the day, I think what entrepreneurs always have to be rooted in is ‘what’s my value? What is my ethos? What’s my brand, ethically? What do I want to be known for? What kind of culture d I want to have?’ And then only bring in people that align with that. Sometimes that’s hard because you’ve got some venture guy or some capitalist that says, “I bring you this much money and I don’t care about your culture or how you treat your people.” You may need that money; you can be very tempted. It’s a trap. The capitol in the world today is abundant. People are begging to place money in good companies; not in all companies, but in good companies. So, hold out for the right people.
Biggest success due to the right customer approach
- 12 years ago, we were on a tear in terms of development and growth. We were voted by Ink Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in America. The same year, we were also voted one of the best companies in America. I think that’s very incongruent normally. So, what that says is we never lost sight of our customers. That our cultural filter and focus was so strong that not only did it not go down, it went up!
- That is a really proud accomplishment, because you don’t hear that very often. You don’t hear people say, “I was voted as one of the best companies the same year I was the fastest company.” And we were. I think it speaks to the fact that we really focus on both resident customers and our staff customers and don’t let distractions get in the way.
Dwayne’s key success factor
- I think everything that I try to do in the world results in good. I think too many people get wrapped up in their ego in terms of making money or how big their companies are or what kind of material things they have. Everything that I do has to resort back to good. Last month, I had a private meeting with the Pope. He’s an incredible man. Everything he does, he does with tremendous humility and making good in the world, making people feel good in the world. So, what I want to do in my life is whether it’s through helping my residents or helping my staff, or writing books that help people, it’s about promoting good. I always tell my staff: good always trumps evil.
- I’m not a mountain climber. I did set my treadmill to a 12% grade this morning, if that counts. But I do have a mountain climber story. I have a good friend, named Fred, and he’s a CEO of one of the largest latex glove companies in the world, very successful company. 10 years ago, he said to me, “I’m going to become a mountain climber.” When your friends say things like that, you often shrug them off, right? The following week, I see him walking 10 miles with a 100 pound pack on his back, and he told me he was practicing to climb a mountain; one of the highest peaks in the world. Over the course of the last 10 years, he’s climbed 6 of the 7 peaks, and been to Everest basecamp. And he took his 12 year old son with him to the Everest basecamp. He also climbed Kilimanjaro with his son. He’s trying to install this stellar attitude about pushing through pain.
- 30 Summers More – Lessons from Longevity
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