LIFE Leadership Breaks Guinness World Record!
Posted by Orrin Woodward on June 25, 2014
When Ken Dunn (CEO of Next Century Publishing) informed me that Sammy Lee from Hong Kong had shattered the old Guinness World Records by signing 4,649 books during one book signing, I was impressed. For the previous mark was mid-2000’s and he nearly doubled that amount. Shortly afterwards, Chris Brady suggested that maybe we could break Lee’s world record with the release of my new book. I knew it would demand world-class levels in the process, people, and perseverance, but also knew LIFE Leadership was up for the task.
However, I didn’t just want to break the record, I wanted LIFE Leadership to smash it by topping 6,000 books signed. Of course, this wouldn’t be easy, especially when one considers that Mr. Lee took over 11 hours to sign 4,649 copies of his book. There is no way that I could sign 6,000 copies of my new book And Justice For All at that pace and still speak later in the day. Accordingly, if LIFE Leadership truly wanted to break the Guinness World Record, an interdependent leadership strategy was needed involving people, processes, and perseverance. In other words, not just working hard, but working smart was in order.
The people portion was the area I was least concerned about. With tens of thousands of active members and customers, I knew the people needed to break the record would be in attendance. However, it wasn’t just the number of people, but the quality of the people that made the difference. The LIFE Leadership Convention is filled with people trained on the best leadership information provided on a monthly basis. I believed the people would “buy into” the record-breaking strategy and discipline themselves to get their book signed quickly with few delays. Remember, time was of the essence because even at just 10 seconds per book, to sign 6,686 books would have required over 18 1/2 hours! No way could I have done that and still fulfilled my other responsibilities.
This forced LIFE Leadership to develop a process to hit the 6,000 plus book signing target and do so in under 10 hours. This had never been done before. Undeterred, Chris Brady, Rob Hallstrand, and Michelle Turner planned a process to do what until that day had been impossible. These three studied the constraints in the people and process to improve the book ordering process. From the queue to order the book, to the line to get the book signed, to how the books were placed in front of me, everything was simply world-class. To say that the process achieved its goal would be an understatement. In fact, the old record was broken in under 4 1/2 hours without even taking a break.
Finally, the small part I played in the record was perseverance to serve the people and follow the process. I made a vow at the start of the signing to not remove myself from my chair until after the record was broken. Given the length of time required to break the record previously, I knew my bladder would probably be the weak link. Nonetheless, by believing in the people and the process, I sat down and did not move until I had signed over 5,000 books. Even though I was legally allowed 5 minutes every hour that I could break to eat, drink, or use the bathroom, I wanted to beat the record without the luxury of a break.
After my first break, we pressed forward and blasted past 6,000 books on our way to our final count of 6,786 total books signed. This was a team effort and I would like to personally thank everyone involved. First of all, the people who disciplined themselves to follow the process flawlessly. Second, the office personnel for developing a world-class system to break the record. And third, a special thanks to Marc Militello, Neal Ruffner, and John Croyle for making the process fun and orchestrating the process and people through the line at record breaking speed. The Guinness World Record could not have been broken without your efforts.
Last, but not least, I would like to thank Michael Empric, the adjudicator from Guinness World Records, for investing his day in certifying the proceedings. Michael was a treat to work with and said this about LIFE Leadership’s process and people, ““What people often forget is the scope of organizing and coordinating a record attempt this large. The number of people in line was almost like being at a theme park, except instead of Space Mountain, all of these people were waiting in line to buy a book and have it signed by Orrin.” Michael went above and beyond by personally presenting the Guinness World Record plaque on the LIFE Leadership stage in front of a packed out Columbus arena. That was the perfect culmination for the record breaking day as it was a team victory.
In closing, leadership is the art of building belief. When people believe on the inside, a previously impossible task becomes possible. In this case, the impossible became possible once leaders believed and then developed the people, processes, and perseverance to finish. All of this, of course, inspired by the power of the dream. LIFE Leadership’s Guinness World Record performance proves that it is among the best of the best in the leadership field today. I am a blessed man to be associated with such a fine group of leaders on our way to changing the lives of millions of people.