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Positive Enterprise Value Blog M&A = Mood Altering
Pete Worrell & Ken Johnson

M&A = Mood Altering

October 27, 2021

54 minute listen

Portsmouth, NH

On this latest episode of the Positive Enterprise Value podcast our guest is Ken Johnson from MAS Medical Staffing. Ken, and his partner Jay Hamel, owned and ran MAS Medical for the last 20 years, building it into a very well-known and respected medical staffing business, serving the Northeast and the middle Atlantic states. Jay and Ken built the business basically from scratch. They were both executive recruiters in the IT area and when that business got exploded during 2001, when the bubble burst, they sat down, looked at each other and started the staffing business, essentially by taking second mortgages on their homes, lending the business some money and getting started, investing in themselves and hoping they would be able to make it work.

Twenty years later or so, they engaged Bigelow and we helped them with architecting, the recapitalization of MAS Medical by Periscope Equity. Jay Hamel was able to transition quickly out of the business while Ken stayed on as a principal stockholder. Ken relates to us very candidly and very humorously, a lot of the opening chapters of MAS Medical, some of the challenges that they had with the market, their products, and their services, along with some of the ways they stubbed their toes along the way.

Listen to the interview here:

What I am Reading / Listening to

Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork (2020)
By Dan Sullivan with Dr. Benjamin Hardy

Who Not How is (like most of Dan’s insights) a super simple concept.  As EOMs, we often get enthusiastic about a new idea, and spend all our time figuring out how we are going to get something done. Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy point out this is the wrong question. A much more productive line of thought, whenever you get a new idea, is to pause and ask, "Who can I get to do this for me?"

When you think that way, it's can be freeing. Instead of your own To-Do list growing longer and more challenging, you shift your mindset to thinking about partnerships or strategic alliances. You can start thinking about all the best ways you can take advantage of the skills and competencies of others to reach your goals. You can start coming up with a version of your future which is not limited by merely what you can do.

In a way, this concept rhymes with psychologist Al Bandura’s work on collective efficacy, “a group's shared belief in its conjoint capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given levels of attainments” (Bandura, 1977).

Just as self-efficacy inspires an individual Entrepreneur Owner-Manager to chase their dreams, collective efficacy motivates the group to set shared goals, coordinate their actions, and overcome obstacles.

Dan Sullivan’s insights are remarkable in that first, they are intended mostly for Entrepreneur Owner-Managers like us. Second, they are practical and immediately actionable. I tease Dan that many of his insights I too have had—except for me they went in and out of my head and consciousness in a fraction of a second, and I lost them. He is able to capture them, articulate them, and write them down so that they are useful by others. That is incredibly valuable, and it turns out that Dan’s body of work has been meaningful and helpful to me for over thirty years.

Ben Hardy is a young writer whom Dan has enlisted to be the Who in writing Dan’s big ideas. Dan is a terrific conceptualist, and Ben writes in an approachable, useful way. He’s gotten a PhD along the way so he may represent the academic credentials important to some that Dan doesn’t carry. I really enjoyed his books Willpower Doesn’t Work (2018) (deeper than it sounds trust me), and Personality Isn’t Permanent (2020).

Who Not How as a book was released last year. Great insight. Love it. Do I think in and of itself it’s a book length work? Umm, not sure. There’s a lot of repetition in this book (which to some might feel like finger shaking). You sense that Hardy is the principal pen here, and it’s evident he doesn’t have the scar tissue that Dan does when it comes to stories and examples. Regardless, it is a breakthrough concept and I'm going to ask "Who?" a lot more in the future.

​​“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”.
-Margaret Mead

Entrepreneur Owner-Manager Quote

“My friends at Bigelow helped to unravel the mystery in my mind about the marketplace, valuation, where my heart and spirit were residing and how to place all the pieces together. They helped to craft, orchestrate, and execute a complicated opportunity into a future for myself and all the people at Sunbelt that mattered dearly. I could not have asked for a better group to work with and befriend!”

-James C. Landino, Former Owner / Chief Executive Officer of Sunbelt Transformer Ltd


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