Who is Martin Rooney? And why you need to know.

In early August I got a call from a guy named Martin Rooney who had just moved to Charlotte from New Jersey. Turns out we had a mutual friend who insisted Martin and I meet.

I agreed to meet. He’s a new guy in town and he’s a friend of a good friend. We’d have a short meeting and be done. So I scheduled a 30-minute breakfast.

At breakfast, Martin and I began to talk. Three hours later, we were still talking.

We talked sales, martial arts, fitness, health, speaking, writing, and 100 other things. We exchanged books and agreed to carry the conversation deeper. Martin agreed to help me get ‘in better physical shape’ at his training facility.

Martin Rooney bills himself as a Fitness Philosopher. But he is at the top of his profession as both a trainer and a speaker on fitness. He has been a trainer-consultant to athletes from the NFL, MLB, NBA, and has trained numerous Olympic medalists. He produced the fastest athlete at the NFL Scouting Combine four times. One hundred of the athletes Martin has trained have been drafted to the NFL, and the contracts signed were in excess of a billion dollars. Not bad.

My training is taking place at one of the facilities he licenses in his, ‘Training for Warriors’ program. He now has over 70 locations worldwide and over 1,000 trainers have become certified in his training system. Not bad.

So, what’s the attraction? Adonis wants to train an overweight old man. Doesn’t seem like a fit – until you discover our mutual passions: thinking, writing, and speaking. We also both have four daughters, and we’re both from New Jersey. We are helpers at heart, and we exchanged amazing ideas in the first three hours. So many ideas that I believe I have found a new life-long friend. Not bad.

He gave me a copy of his book Rooney’s Rules. He creates a new health, fitness, sales, philosophical rule every day.

Here are a few examples of his philosophy, his thinking, and his writing:

  • Want to be REMEMBERED tomorrow? Then don’t FORGET to do something great today.
  • You don’t become the thing you THINK about all the time. You become the thing you DO all the time.
  • The real garbage holding you back is all the time you throw away.
  • Try new things. Biting into the unknown may be the best way to cut your wisdom teeth.
  • Success may have less to do with the depth of your background than it does with the strength of your backbone.
  • When fighting this battle called life, taking yourself lightly may be your heaviest artillery.
  • Hindsight is worthless until you are able to use it to gain insight that can be used to positively affect your Foresight.
  • Algebra and Trigonometry are less important than learning to correctly add your strengths, subtract your faults, divide your time and multiply your talents.
  • Just like a well-prepared meal, a well-prepared day often ends with a clean plate.
  • If you aspire to retire after building an empire, the best way is to inspire as many people before you expire.
  • Most people often develop a weak set of knees when it comes time to take a stand for themselves.
  • Perhaps the most important thing you can be when you grow up is Yourself.
  • The key to confidence has less to do with inborn talent than it does with ingrained practice.
  • Just like the tide, you will rise or fall as a result of the most influential bodies around you.
  • The Road to Success does not intersect with the Path of Least Resistance.
  • Joy follows success. Success follows experience. Experience follows failure. Don’t fear failure. Without it there is no joy.
  • Your life will not be measured by how many days you get to ‘take off,’ but instead by how many of the days you ‘take on.’
  • The easiest way to lead an unsuccessful life is to work hard all day to get out of a hard day’s work.
  • Most people think the difference between easy and hard can be found in the problem. Successful people know it’s found in your head.
  • Your Reputation and Credibility are just like your muscles. They take years to develop but can be lost in a short time of misuse.
  • Action is your most important export. Better to use it up in the storefront than to keep it stored away in the warehouse.
  • You’re a product of your priorities. You have 168 hours a week. If you can’t find five to workout, you’re not busy; you’re insane.
  • Don’t go ‘halfway’ with anything you do. Either go ‘all out’ or not at all. Your ‘whole heart’ always beats your ‘half ass.’
  • Make your enthusiasm for success stronger than your fear of failure and you will become unstoppable.
  • One way to stand out is to be kind, fair and hard working in a world that often isn’t.
  • Unlike a great steak, great effort can be rare and well done at the same time.
  • Waves of problems will always break on the shores of your life. It is not the wave, but how each is ridden that will reveal you.

Pretty cool, huh? Martin Rooney is a deep thinker and doer who is able to express himself in a very intelligent and thought-provoking way.

He’s putting me through my paces. And I’m loving it.

SO FAR: I have been to Martin’s workout facility six times. I’m getting personal training from a world master. And it’s a fun exchange of ideas along with the grunting. I love it. I am building strength and friendship at the same time.

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.

About the Author

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website,, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].

The Big Picture of Business: The Colonel and Me

Business Know-How Comes From Experience – The Value of Life-Long Mentoring.
This article is about:

  • Lessons that I learned to last a lifetime.
  • The value of acquiring and benefiting from mentors.
  • That inescapable quotient of wisdom and life-long learning.

The year was 1959. I was the bright young disc jockey at a radio station. I was being groomed by my mentors to be a White House advisor, which I later became.

Colonel Harlan Sanders entered my life. I was 11. He was 65. I only met him once. He influenced my life. I later reorganized his company. I became him, after a fashion, since I am 65 now.

The Colonel had just founded a fast food empire called Kentucky Fried Chicken. He was heralded as an entrepreneur who was also a senior citizen.

My entertainment mentors were Cactus Pryor and Bob Gooding. The 24-year-old newscaster at the radio station was Bill Moyers. He told me that I must think like a world-class visionary, grow into the role and not just remain a radio DJ.

In 1959, radio stations used to do live remotes from advertisers’ locations. The first which I attended was at the Armstrong-Johnson Ford dealership. The second was at what was the fourth KFC franchise to open in the United States. It occupied one counter at 2-J’s Hamburgers, an established Austin restaurant, owned and operated by Ralph Moreland.

There I was on live radio, interviewing Colonel Sanders about his new business enterprise. Rather than discussing the taste of the food, I asked about his desired legacy and the Big Picture goals of the organization. Already thinking like a visionary then, I asked the bigger questions. I still ask them, while most people are more comfortable in discussing the trivialities.

The KFC empire grew, and a burgeoning fast food industry engulfed it. There became too many competitors, too much franchising, too much hype and just as many who exited the industry as quickly as they entered it.

Fast forward 20 years to 1979. I was retained to come in and analyze the strategy and structure of the KFC corporation, asked to recommend changes and improvements. That’s what I do for businesses of all sizes. I come in after the wrong consultants have given bad advice, after knee-jerk reactions to changing business climates had taken tolls on existing market players.

By 1979, there were other players dominating the fried chicken niche. Nationally, there were Popeye’s and Church’s. Locally, we had Frenchy’s and Hartz. And then there were the players in the burger wars, who were adding chicken items to their menus.

Over at KFC, the Colonel had long ago sold his interest to a corporation and remained on the payroll as a commercial spokesman. Colonel Sanders died in 1979. Meetings commenced at headquarters about the future direction of the company and the product. The corporate owner was a liquor company. Its CEO (John Y. Brown, later to become Governor of Kentucky) asked me to envision the overall future of the fried chicken industry, not just the KFC ‘brand.’

I commissioned focus groups. They verified what I already knew: that KFC had too much of a white suburban image. By downplaying the Colonel on the packaging and amplifying the taste of the food, we had opportunities to broaden the KFC appeal.

I opined that we needed to go after minority consumers and aggressively build stores in inner-city neighborhoods. To test the premise, I staged a focus group dinner meeting at a prominent inner-city church, eliciting ideas and insights. One resulting project was ‘KFC Kalendar,’ an advertising campaign that showcased community events and public service announcements to diverse communities. I wrote editions of the Kalendar for radio and newspapers. Its recognition and success evolved into the national ad campaign: “We Do Chicken Right.”

KFC was a watershed in my career (at that point 21 years long). It influenced what I’ve preached for the last 30+ years: determine who your stakeholders are. Learn all that you can about your customers, their customers and those affected by them. Extend your business model beyond what it once was and into new sectors. The branding does not drive the strategy but instead is a sub-sub-sub set of Big Picture strategy, which must drive all business disciplines.

Here is some closing wisdom, connecting back to 1959. I juxtapose my advice to some of the records that we were playing on the radio when doing that live remote from the grand opening of that early KFC franchise. These insights still hold impact on the business culture of today. These come from the Golden Oldies music of that era:

  • “Did he ever return? No, he never returned. Yet his fate is still unlearned. He may ride forever through the streets of Boston. He’s the man who never returned.” Song by the Kingston Trio. (Pursuing the same strategies, year after year, yields you the same predictable outcomes and shortcomings.)
  • “And they call it puppy love.” Song by Paul Anka. (Living in a fantasy without viewing the realities of the marketplace sets companies up for failure.)
  • “Higher than the highest mountain, and deeper than the deepest sea. Softer than the gentle breezes, and strongest than the wide oak tree. Faithful as a morning sunrise, and sacred as a love can be. That’s how I will love you. Oh darling, endlessly.” Song by Brook Benton. (An empowered workforce must support the corporate objective, and the art with which it does spells success.)
  • “I told her that I was a flop with chicks. I’d been that way since 1956. She looked at my palm and she made a magic sign. She said what you need is Love Potion Number Nine.” Song by The Clovers. (Research tells us that only 2% of all consultants are real advisers. Most are vendors who prescribe what kool-aid that they’re selling. Business coaches and their ilk are to be avoided.)
  • “Who walked in with Mary Jane, lipstick all a mess. Were you smooching my best friend, if the answer’s yes. Bet your bottom dollar, you and I are through. Cause lipstick on your collar told a tale on you.” Song by Connie Francis. (Ethics cannot be edicted from afar. The ethical conduct of business has a direct relationship on the ability to grow and prosper.)
  • “Hold me tight and don’t let go. Thunder, lightning, wind and rain. This feeling’s killing me. I won’t stop for a million bucks. If it wasn’t for having you, I’d be barking in Harlem too. Don’t let go.” Song by Roy Hamilton. (Sustainability of a growth strategy breeds steady, measured success.)
  • “When you’re near me, my head go goes all around. My love comes tumbling down. You’ve got what it takes to set my soul on fire. You’ve got what it takes for me.” Song by Marv Johnson. (66.7% of all businesses cannot grow any further. Learn when enough growth is enough.)
  • “Venus, goddess of love that you are. Surely, the things I ask cannot be too great a great task.” Song by Frankie Avalon. (Building corporate cultures and successful businesses means making and sticking to commitments.)
  • “Here I stand in my world of dreams. You don’t know how much I care. You don’t know the torch I bear. You don’t know how much I care. Yes and here I stand.” Song by Wade Flemons. (Corporate cultures depend upon real-time conditions, projected outcomes and policies that promote steady growth.)

About the Author

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flameis now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.