John Mautner

Managing a Fast-Growing Business: With John Mautner

Significantly growing a business usually takes A LOT of time and energy, but sometimes, businesses can grow too quickly.

Welcome to another episode of The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast! My guest today is John Mautner, the Founder and CEO of Cycle-of-Success Institute. COSi is a coaching program that provides small to mid-sized businesses with effective business education. John is also a #1 bestselling author for his book The Profit Pattern.

As a very successful entrepreneur, John has seen both the good and the bad that comes along with the rapid growth of businesses. He has a fear of unmanageable business growth because it can lead to tragic consequences and because of the extreme amount of stress that managing a big team can carry.

We both think that the main challenge that companies have is communication. My advice for John is to start working with people who add a ton of value – thinkers who know how to communicate, and hard workers who can bring ideas and solutions to the table. If John feels that managing growth is viable through managing people, then this is the way to go!

Episode Transcript

[00:00:05] Kim Ades:
Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades, I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching™ and you have just joined The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast, where we invite leaders from all over the world to come onto the podcast and get coached live and in person.  

Today, I do have a live one. His name is John Mautner and he is the president and founder of an organization called Cycle-of-Success Institute. I call it COSi, he calls it...  

[00:00:32] John Mautner:

[00:00:33] Kim Ades:
COSi! [Chuckles] John, Welcome!  

[00:00:37] John Mautner:
Thanks for having me. Appreciate it. I love the show!  

[00:00:40] Kim Ades:
Thank you. So where are you? Where are you in the world?  

[00:00:43] John Mautner:
Currently, I'm either in Vegas, Miami, or Chicago. Today you caught me in Chicago.  

[00:00:49] Kim Ades:
Got it. It sounds like you live a fun life. 

[00:00:52] John Mautner:
I do. I have to say for the last 20 or 30 years since I'd been in-- this is my 30th year as an entrepreneur. 

[00:00:58] Kim Ades:

[00:00:58] John Mautner:
And I have to keep going, 'cause nobody's going to hire me. So I just have to keep going.  

[00:01:02] Kim Ades:
I can so relate to that.  

[00:01:05] John Mautner:
You know, and it's been an incredible adventure. I have to say that the things I've done, the people I've met, places I've gone and experienced that it's always somewhat surreal. And that means I guess I'm doing the right things and sort of living the dream as much as I possibly can because it's just no rehearsal. Every day is important, you know?  

[00:01:25] Kim Ades:
You're a hundred percent right. So tell us a little bit about COSi. What is it? Who do you serve? What is it for? What's your target market? Tell us a little bit about it. 

[00:01:34] John Mautner:
Sure. I'll give you a quick little background. So when I was in my mid twenties, I quit my job in corporate America. I really couldn't sit in the cubicle and live my life that way. And after 20 or 30 years, I get to watch and say "thanks for letting me suck your life out of you". So I decided to quit my job and I started my first company and I had no idea what I was doing.  

I was stupid, foolish, no entrepreneurial background, no business acumen per se. But I had a big dream and a vision. In any case, to flash-forward five years later, became one of the 500 fastest growing companies in the United States. And people had asked me all the time, you know, "how is it possible you accomplished that in such a short period of time?" And I said "well, I have a philosophy, I have a system".  

And you know, my friends and colleagues were, you know, people I knew, business owners... they said "well, can you show me how you did that?" I said "sure", so I taught them my simple four step system and their businesses flourished and grew, and I kind of became this accidental business coach and people would always ask me "how can I grow up very profitable, high growth company?"  

And so, I just started making it my life's mission 20 years ago, just to start teaching other fellow entrepreneurs how to build a very profitable high growth business. So I developed a system and I have spent the last 20 years teaching thousands of owners of companies a very simple approach to growing their businesses exponentially.  

And that's what COSi is, it's a business coaching program. We have entrepreneurs that are single business owners. We have companies with 500 employees. It just depends. And we work with them over the course of weeks and months to teach them how to fish. So I'm not going to give them a fish, 'cause if I give you a fish and you're hungry, you're going to need another fish. But if I teach you to fish, you can feed yourselves forever. So that's really what I'm doing.  

[00:03:33] Kim Ades:
So we have a lot of entrepreneurs and business owners who do listen to the podcast. How do people find you? And usually I save that for last, but let's do it now.  

[00:03:42] John Mautner:
Okay, they can go on my website, which is They can just pick up the phone and call me (312) 371-7929. They can go on Amazon--  

[00:03:57] Kim Ades:
And if they call you, they get you directly?  

[00:04:00] John Mautner:
That's my cell phone. 

[00:04:02] Kim Ades:

[00:04:02] John Mautner:
Yes, they can call me directly and talk to me. I love calls. And when I get a phone call from a fellow entrepreneur-- 

[00:04:11] Kim Ades:
Now I know how to find you..  

[00:04:12] John Mautner:
I know, I know, exactly [chuckles]. And you know, I'm also a number one bestselling author, and you can go on Amazon and look up the book called The Profit Pattern. And I wrote this book a few years ago, and then at 24 hours it became the number one best-selling business book on Amazon. And it really talks about the 10 things that every business that I've ever worked with has in common that are killing their companies.  

These are the common 10 things that every company, I mean, imagine I've worked with thousands of businesses and they all identified their top 10 biggest challenges. And I discovered that they were all the same. Why is a law firm and an architect and a restaurant and a manufacturing company, all of them have the same 10 problems?  

So I wrote this book just because it was something I thought people would have an interest in. I had no idea that, you know, in 24 hours it became the number one bestselling business book on Amazon. 

[00:05:11] Kim Ades:
Can you give me an example of one problem that is common among all these companies? Just one.  

[00:05:16] John Mautner:
Yes. Communication. Communication is a constant, repetitive, reoccurring, costly company killer. And when I talk about communication, it could be from the bottom up, the top down, side to side, from the field to the office, from the office to the field, from the customer to the salesperson, the salesperson to the customer. All of those little connections. If they're not perfect, it causes a lot of downstream, costly problems for the company.  

[00:05:44] Kim Ades:
I couldn't agree more. I couldn't agree more and that's why we work with leaders and we help leaders communicate effectively, but also just become better leaders. I have a philosophy about communication. I'll share it with you. 

[00:05:58] John Mautner:

[00:05:59] Kim Ades:
I remember not-- I mean, several years ago I had a client who... she wasn't quite a client yet, she was shopping around for a coach. And she came to me and she said "you know, I've spoken to many coaches. I've picked one, but okay, fine. I'll talk to you". And I said "okay, well just tell me what's going on in your world. What's your greatest challenge?" She said "well, I have a communication problem". I said "well, tell me what's happening. Describe the situation". And she was able to describe it with perfect precision. I understood her English perfectly.  

And I said "I don't think you have a communication problem. I think you have a thinking problem". Why? Because we think first, then we communicate. And very often, it's the thinking that causes us to communicate in ways that are not aligned with our goals or our desires. And so, when I said that, she's like "what do you mean by that?" I said "well, what do you want?" She's like "I don't know. I haven't thought about that", I said "well, let's start there".  

[00:06:53] John Mautner:

[00:06:54] Kim Ades:
Right? And so, what I've discovered--  

[00:06:57] John Mautner:
How can you follow them if they're not communicating to you? I you have a boss, or your colleagues, if they're not communicating, you can't read their minds. So go ahead. Yes, I agree with you.  

[00:07:08] Kim Ades:
But what I find is like, communication comes second, thought comes first. Very often, we try to fix communication by teaching people how to speak more effectively or how to write more effectively or how to mean what they say or whatever it is. 

And I like to step back from that and say "well, before we work on those things, let's really look at how you're thinking, to see what it is that's coming out of your mouth and how it's coming out of your mouth, or how perhaps it's not coming out at all. But let's look at your thinking first". And that tends to have a profound impact on communication at the end of the day. 

But tell me, you're on The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast, and I know we're turning the tables. I know that normally you are the coach, but I get special privileges today. So what is your greatest challenge?  

[00:08:01] John Mautner:
If I had to pick one for my company, I would say, well, my biggest challenge is that it's managing growth, I think. I happen to be very fortunate to have companies that I've founded that have just grown like crazy. And if you're not managing the growth, it can literally put you out of business. And I think it's an important thing.  

I know everybody say "oh, poor John, he's got this problem with this company that's wildly successful and growing like crazy", but the reality is you can grow yourself out of business if you're not careful. I think that I'm chasing what I call chasing a shiny object is a problem.  

Opportunities come to me all the time and you know, you deflect your focus on "should I look at that opportunity? Should I do this?" versus really saying "what is it that we really want to do with this company? What is our going to be our focus? We can't be everything to everyone. What is our niche? Who are we? How do we stick stay with the niche instead of finding shiny objects?"  

You know, if you look at Apple as an example, great company, but every product they make, you could fit on a top of a dining room table. You know, they're not making cars or televisions or a hundred other products, they've just narrowed their niche. And I think the biggest challenge is sticking with your niche and filling the niche and not trying to be everything with everyone.  

[00:09:29] Kim Ades:
So let's go back to that for a minute. When you say "my greatest challenge is managing growth", for you in particular, like, you're this magnanimous personality, let's call it what it is, right? You're interesting, you're dynamic, you're well-spoken, you're outspoken, but you have an excitement around you. There's no question about that.  

But when you look at yourself and you say, if it's really your challenge, "my challenge is managing growth because we grow at a very, very rapid pace". How does that challenge affect you on a personal level?  

[00:10:07] John Mautner:
Well, it can be stressful to some extent. I've tried to make the companies that I own and operate, not about me. I just want to be some guy on a beach somewhere, you know? So, to manage growth, I have to have great people who are really well-trained. And if they're not well-trained... and I've tried to get people that are smarter than me and better than me, but I have to train them in our system, on our approach and what we're doing.  

So I spend a lot of time training people and people have a tendency to want to sort of do things their own way versus the system that I've developed, right? On how do we really successfully coach and manage a company to help them be more successful. So it's managing growth by managing people who can just stick with the system and not go off and change everything.  

If we were McDonald's, you know, we want everybody just to make the Big Mac the same way and make sure that, you know, and not change the way things work. And that's the problem.  

[00:11:12] Kim Ades:
It's a bit tricky for you because-- it's funny, you started off by saying basically... You didn't use these words, I'm using them for you. "I'm unemployable", right? Like, "I'm a guy who needs to go run my own show. I need to have-- right? I need to be the boss. I need to be the inventor, the creator, the visionary and all that stuff". 

But at the same time, you're a guy who says "but I want to go live on a beach and here's my phone number, so you can call me". Right? 

[00:11:37] John Mautner:

[00:11:38] Kim Ades:
And you're a guy who says "I want to be surrounded by all the smart people". Right? 

[00:11:45] John Mautner:

[00:11:45] Kim Ades:
"But I just want them to follow what I say".  

[00:11:48] John Mautner:
That's right. 

[00:11:49] Kim Ades:
Do you see some inconsistencies here?  

[00:11:51] John Mautner:
I do, I do. There's the challenge, right? I mean, how do you work around that? But, you know, I don't want to be the smartest person in the room, you know, I know none of us are smart as all of us, right? But I have a particular approach and it would be like me going to McDonald's and saying "I don't want to make the fries that way, I want to make them this way" and they're going to throw me out the door. My challenge is getting people to follow the system, so I can be on a beach.  

[00:12:18] Kim Ades:
Well, and I propose to you this. I think that there are some people who are system followers, and some people who are system shaker-uppers [chuckles] and I think you kind of want a bit of both in your mix. Why? Because I think it's okay to have a system that's effective and works. And I understand that.  

I have a very particular coaching system and it's incredibly effective and it works. But at the same time, I also want people who are thinkers, who say "hey, you know, would this make the system a little bit better?" Or "you have this system, what about this extra component?"

[00:12:55] John Mautner:

[00:12:55] Kim Ades:
People who bring a huge amount of added value to the table, I want that too.  

[00:13:02] John Mautner:
I do too. You know, I have coaches all over the country that work for me, in the United States, and I'm hoping to expand that all around the world. But before a coach can say to me "Hey John, I think we need to do it this new way", I just want them to get to learn the system first. Get good at this, I keep telling them. Just learn the system and then come back to me with your great ideas. But unless you really understand what it is we're doing, how can you obviously make suggestions on how to improve it?  

And part of our approach and philosophy is continuous improvement. I am always teaching our-- we teach our clients how to constantly refine and improve and polish the diamond that their business is, so it's brighter and more successful all the time. 

But unless you know how to do that, how can you tell me that we need to improve it, unless they've gotten good at it. So that's the challenge. That's why I have to go back to the training, make sure they can follow it and then get good at it, and then come back to me with 10 improvements.  

[00:14:04] Kim Ades:
I completely understand and here's a thought. It's just a thought, right? 'Cause I don't know your system, but the thought is that in the system create a timeframe for getting feedback and ideas. So that's part of the system, learn the system, ace the system, do the system for two years, and then we're going to have a time where you're going to give me all the things that we could be doing better, and that becomes part of your system too.  

[00:14:29] John Mautner:
Right. I will never squish an idea that anybody gives me, ever. And brand new coaches that I have, that I onboard within a few days they're like "have you thought about this and you have thought about that?" And the answer's "no, but let me consider that and see-- let's review that together". 

So I'm never going to say "I don't even want to hear from you until you've gone through a year's worth of working with me", but because the people I hire are very experienced professionals, and they've got a diverse background, so I want to apply those things. But at the same time, I want to kind of get them back to the basics to learn what we're doing. 

[00:15:05] Kim Ades:
I totally understand. And in my case, that's why I don't hire coaches. I hire people who don't have that background.  

[00:15:12] John Mautner:
Right, right. 

[00:15:13] Kim Ades:
[Chuckles] And in fact, they go through our certification program from scratch. And so, I don't have to undo what people have already learned. That's just how I approach--  

[00:15:20] John Mautner:
Yeah, it's true. And one of the things I would say to a new coach that I would hire is try and take everything you know and throw it out the window and just learn this approach, but it's hard for them sometimes. You know?  

[00:15:30] Kim Ades:
I totally get it. And that's why we start from scratch. But all I'm suggesting is that perhaps if there's a window built into the process where you get their feedback and input, so that they know they will have an opportunity to give you what they're dying to share with you, build it in. 

[00:15:50] John Mautner:

[00:15:50] Kim Ades:
That's just an idea.  

[00:15:52] John Mautner:
And I'm trying to tap into their potential. I think there's huge amount of untapped potential and I just don't want them to reinvent the wheel. That's all I'm saying.  

[00:16:05] Kim Ades:
I get it. I totally do. I really do. [Chuckles]  

[00:16:08] John Mautner:
I love the fact that we're in the same kind of industry and you can be empathetic and you understand where I'm coming from because that's the challenge, right? 

[00:16:15] Kim Ades:
Yeah, it is a challenge, especially when you come up with a concept or a system that is effective, that you've seen work over and over and over again, and you know, and you want people to stick to that program, and also bring themselves to the game, bring themselves to the party. And I completely understand. But you also want to create consistency and you want to make sure that the clients that they are serving, who are also your clients, are completely and utterly satisfied with what they're getting. 

So I understand that fine balance between, you know, allowing people to bring their personalities to the experience and at the same time, following the protocols that you've set out. I understand this problem. And again, my suggestion to you in today's call or in today's conversation, is to create a space for them that they know they are going to get.  

Whether that's "hey, we're going to meet together 10 at a time, and I want to hear all your thoughts. How do we improve this thing? What could we be doing different, better? What can we eliminate? What can we add? What can we subtract?" All of that kind of stuff. But to create it in part of your... not onboarding, but continuous learning experience, so you're also demonstrating that continuous learning too. And I think that's an impressive idea.  

[00:17:37] John Mautner:
I can have all the coaches together once a week for a couple hours, from all over the country, we're all together in one big group and I kind of call it the Think Tank, and I always learn from them and, you know, I kind of feel like I'm being interviewed the entire time because they have so many questions, but it only means that I obviously needed to do more training or reassure them or just give them the confidence they can succeed.  

[00:18:00] Kim Ades:
Yeah. Well, it sounds like you're doing a lot of the right things.  

[00:18:04] John Mautner:
I'm trying. I appreciate that. And I love the insight, so I'm going to apply that and I'll get back to you and let you know how that giving them that sort of that window and space to think, you know? 

[00:18:14] Kim Ades:
Yeah. In fact, the window to say "I'm going to ask you questions and I want you to give me feedback. I'm going to take notes". So turn the table around.  

[00:18:23] John Mautner:
Definitely. Alright.  

[00:18:24] Kim Ades:
Yeah. It's an idea, it's a thought, let me know how it goes.  

[00:18:28] John Mautner:
Well, you know, thoughts are very powerful and, you know, I love that insight and I appreciate that very much.  

[00:18:36] Kim Ades:
John, thank you so much for being willing to be a guest on my podcast, and more than that, thank you for being open to turning the tables and allowing me to be the coach. I know that, you know, it's definitely a different role for you. I appreciate it.  

For those of you who are listening, I hope that you took something away from this podcast. If you have a challenge that you want to share on the podcast, please reach out to me. I can be found at 

And if you have a challenge that you're not so willing to share on the podcast, but you do want to discuss, please reach out to me as well. Again, my email address is  

John, one more time, how did people find you?  

[00:19:20] John Mautner:
They can email me Or you can pick up the phone and call me at (312) 371-7929.  

[00:19:32] Kim Ades:
I have it. I wrote it down.  

[00:19:34] John Mautner:
I appreciate that.  

[00:19:35] Kim Ades:
I'm going to text you right after we're done.  

[00:19:37] John Mautner:
You better! Stay in touch. I can't wait. 

[00:19:39] Kim Ades:

[00:19:39] John Mautner:
I'm looking forward to getting to know you better too.  

[00:19:42] Kim Ades:
Please do. Thank you so much. And I am sure we're going to be talking again soon. 

[00:19:48] John Mautner:
Sounds great.

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