David CM Carter Podcast Transcript
David CM Carter joins host Brian Thomas on The Digital Executive Podcast.
Brian Thomas: Welcome to Coruzant Technologies, home of the Digital Executive Podcast. Welcome to the Digital Executive. Today’s guest is David Carter, a serial entrepreneur, otherwise known as the world’s leading CEO mentor with a 40-year track record in creating innovative businesses. David Carter has mentored leaders and influencers around the globe.
Entelechy Academy is the entelechy of David’s career and his legacy project. Where he has gathered brilliant minds and education, coaching, and professional organizations to support millions and becoming the best versions of themselves. Well, good afternoon, David. Welcome to the show.
David Carter: Good afternoon, and thank you very much for inviting me.
Brian Thomas: Absolutely, David. I appreciate you making the time and hailing out of the great kingdom, the United Kingdom today. And we appreciate traversing the globe, meeting new people from all over the world. So again, thank you. And David, jumping into the questions here. Could you share your journey – from a serial entrepreneur to becoming known as the world’s leading CEO mentor, and how have these experiences shaped your approach to mentoring?
David Carter: Well, I’ve been at work 46 years, so I don’t think we’ve got time to go through my entire life story, but the first 10 years of my career, I was in investment banking with two different banks, an American bank and a British bank, and I was very fortunate that I lived in seven different countries around the world for at least a year during that 10 year period, and I developed a fascination how come those two companies started in the same town in the same year with the access to the same resources and 10 years later one was 110 times bigger than the other one?
What did they do or have that the other one didn’t do or have? And I ended up calling it performance x factor. And when we did a A deal, a leverage buyout, a management buyout, whatever. It was always my job to go in and measure the performance X factor of the companies involved. And to me, what it all boiled down to was character qualities, which I’ll come on to in a minute.
I had 10 glorious years traveling the world, doing lots of fascinating deals, learning about different cultures around the world in different industries and verticals and cultures. And after 10 years, my amazing boss, who was a fantastic mentor, called me into his office and said, well, young man, record year, record.
Pay rise, regular bonus, regular share options. I think it’s time you moved on. Stop consulting and advising and financing entrepreneurs and go and be one. And I laughed and smiled and thought you’re absolutely right. I was thinking the same thing myself. So, the next. 10 years, I did two startups in the UK hospitality industry.
The first one I built up and sold to a trade buyer. The second one I floated on the AIMS stock market. And then I had a rather massive tectonic plate shift in my personal life. And I ended up as a single parent to a seven-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son. And I found it very difficult, if not impossible, to juggle being a great dad to those two and being a public company CEO.
So, I decided to resign. And whilst I was figuring out my new life and what I was going to do people who were CEOs of at the time. Smaller medium sized businesses wanted advice and help with strategy, fundraising, mergers and acquisitions and all the things I’ve been doing, you know, over the previous 20 years.
And I sort of fell into mentoring CEOs and didn’t really think that was going to be my career. I was just doing it to, you know, keep the boat afloat and figure out what I was going to do next. But after two years, I got a dozen clients. And my mother said to me one day at Sunday lunch, oh, it’s going so well for you, isn’t it, darling?
And I said, what is going well, mom, but I haven’t got any time to think about what I’m going to do next. And she said, oh, I thought this was what you were doing next. And I realized in the drive home that I was really loving doing it. I was good at it. It was paying the bills and making a difference. And so, over the subsequent 15 years, I built that company up into the world’s leading CEO, mentoring organization.
with offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, London, New York, San Francisco. And it was a big successful company. And I, I, it sounds trite to say it, but I was bored at the end of 15 years. There wasn’t another region to open. But I also wanted to democratize what we were doing with a small number of expensive fee-paying CEOs and cascade it into the whole organization.
And that ultimately is what led to after five years of being known as the world’s leading CEO mentor and writing a book and doing lots of television and radio and speaking tours and book tours and what have you. That’s when I’ve essentially came up and formulated the idea that is now Entelechy Academy.
So, but I’ve been a serial entrepreneur, I think, ever since I was about 11. And apart from 10 years at the beginning of my career. Working for someone else since June of ‘88, I have been self-employed and a serial entrepreneur and like all serial entrepreneurs, I’ve had a few great success stories, a couple of near disasters that I managed to rescue and turn around and one complete failure, so I’ve covered the full spectrum.
Brian Thomas: Thank you. And I appreciate you, as you mentioned, 46 years you did the, obviously a bridge version, but I do appreciate it. And I think it’s a great story that we can share here with our audience having from, you know, trial to triumph, right? I think everybody’s had that sort of experience in their life.
So, thank you for sharing and David moving on to the next question. What inspired you to found intellect key? Academy, and how does it reflect the culmination of your career and experiences?
David Carter: As I mentioned in answer to the earlier question about performance X factor, which is an individual’s performance X factor or a team’s or a whole organization.
I learned very early on it boils down to. a phrase from Aristotle who Aristotle coined the phrase entelechy and the entelechy of an acorn is an oak tree. The entelechy of a caterpillar is a butterfly. The Entelechy of David is the ultimate version of David with all of his potential fully actualized.
And Aristotle also said that character determines destiny. And what he meant by that was we all end up in life wherever we end up as a direct function of our character. And there are 54-character qualities, which I’ve worked with for over 30 years in my work that underpin the development of all skills, hard skills, technical skills, soft skills, human skills, interpersonal skills.
And those 54-character qualities are things that were baked into the education system 30, 40, 50 years ago. But due to. Cuts in education budgets, a lot of the things that have been eviscerated out of the state education system, sport, drama, music, debating and all those things have hampered the development of critical thinking skills, collaboration skills, team leadership skills, you know, and so forth.
Thank you. These 54-character qualities have, I’ve worked with them for 30, 40 years and I realized that what I wanted to do was to codify them into a system that any individual or team or organization could utilize to develop the potential, the entelechy of each individual and the collective organization.
Brian Thomas: Thank you, David. I appreciate that. What you’ve done is really created something that is very powerful. Obviously, it’s worked and you’ve kind of duplicated what you’ve done successfully and again, it’s been proven around the world. So, I appreciate the inspiration behind that. And, David, how do you envision the future of work and what role do you see Entelechy Academy playing in preparing individuals for these changes?
David Carter: Well, we all are bombarded every day these days with how AI is going to impact the future of work and you know, there’s some pretty scary stuff that you can extrapolate out from the various conversations. So, I believe that what humans have to do in order to be relevant is to be more human. And to do the things that only a human can do, that a robot or a machine can never do.
And so that’s what these 54-character qualities are all about. It’s essentially unlocking the innate human potential that every baby is born with, that perhaps people have had parented out of them, schooled out of them, churched out of them, social media’d out of them, community’d out of them, but they are innate.
Character quality strengths in everybody that what Entelechy Academy as mission is to help people understand their human potential and how it can be developed through their character and then to help them develop whichever of the 54-character qualities is appropriate for them.
Brian Thomas: Thank you. And I like how we can get back humans really get back to our core foundation of really having that human-to-human interaction and authenticity.
I think that’s important is especially in this digital age where I is really. Part of our everyday lives and we can’t lose that again, just the basic foundation of that human need and that connection. So, thank you. And David, last question of the day, based on your extensive experience mentoring CEOs and leaders, what advice would you give to aspiring leaders and entrepreneurs today?
David Carter: I’m always hesitant to answer that question, because I think the, the question presupposes what the definition of leadership is. And, you know, Mr. Putin is a leader, Mr. Trump is a leader, Mr. Biden’s a leader. And so Zelensky and so’s, you know, the head of the Israel defense force and Hamas, they, you know, everybody’s got leaders these days, but there’s plenty of those names I’ve just.
reeled off that I don’t think anyone particularly wants to aspire to. And so I’m focused much more on self-leadership, being the best version of yourself. And some of the most successful people I’ve met in life. and I define success as living their best life are people who’ve spent 20, 30 years as a primary school teacher and have developed thousands of young people’s futures because of the great job they did as a teacher.
I’m a few days ago. I met a lady who had just delivered and delivered her thousandth baby in a maternity unit, and she just decided many years ago she was going to be the best maternity nurse in England, and I think she’s, you know. Well entitled to that clip. So, I like to think of everyday leadership rather than the leadership of Goldman Sachs or JPMorgan or all these big organizations or politicians.
And if leadership is about followership, to me, it’s self-awareness. And the ability to develop other people and nurture and mentor other people. That’s what I want to help the world do. So, whether, wherever you work, whatever level in an organization you’re at, if you’ve got people you’re responsible for, you’re their leader.
And it’s how do we help you become the best version of yourself as a leader of your team? And how can we help each of them become the best version of themselves as a leader of self and eventually of a team? And I believe that that is all achieved and accomplished through everyone committing to developing and optimizing their character qualities to become their own entelechy.
Brian Thomas: I’d love that. Thank you. You know, a lot of times we do compare ourselves to some of the great leaders, whether they’re good or bad. I know some people kind of get misguided in sometimes leadership or a cause, but I appreciate the fact that you can bring it back down at. Really that lower level of leadership where we can focus on ourselves, and I do appreciate that.
David Carter: And also, sorry, can I just add one thing? Sure. You also asked about entrepreneurs, and I again, I also think that’s a term that’s often misunderstood. You know, people think of Elon Musk or Richard Branson as Entrepreneurs. And of course, they’re very famous, big, successful ones, but the guy who cuts my hair in, in the local salon, who’s got 10 staff and is building up, you know, he’s an entrepreneur.
And there’s lots and lots of people who live in my community who are farmers or have a doctor or they’re all sorts of people and they’re entrepreneurs too. In other words, they employ themselves and often others rather than they are employed. And I think everything I just said about, you know, people who work in a company applies to entrepreneurs and their teams as well.
Find something that you’re passionate about. Find something that you’re brilliant at. Find something that pays the bills and makes a difference. That, for me, is the formula for success in life.
Brian Thomas: That’s awesome. Thank you again. And I appreciate you doing a little bit of explanation there around the entrepreneurs as, as well.
So, thank you. And David, it was certainly a pleasure having you on today and I look forward to speaking with you real soon.
David Carter: Thank you very much indeed for inviting me.
Brian Thomas: Bye for now.
David CM Carter Podcast Transcript. Listen to the audio on the guest’s podcast page.