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Meet the Xceptionalists: Agnes McCourt www.unislim.com

Kevin Kelly

In my latest book, DO! The Pursuit of Xceptional Execution, I interviewed entrepreneurs from around the world. They are the leaders of some of the most compelling global brands and companies, ranging from one to 3,000 employees, with turnovers from $100,000 to $130 million. I call them the Xceptionalists. They hail from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Bologna, Italy; from Des Moines, Iowa to Galway, Ireland. They run app companies, consultancies, clinics and sprawling technology corporations.
Agnes McCourt, founder of Unislim inspires me with her passion and her genuine desire to see people improve their eating habits. This passion burns very brightly even after 40 years in the business.
Please find below an excerpt from my interview with Agnes:
WHAT INFLUENCE DID YOUR UPBRINGING HAVE ON YOUR BUSINESS ACUMEN?
“I was the third of nine children and was brought up with a strong work ethic. … It taught me the importance of taking personal action, an understanding that gave me the courage and perseverance during the darker moments of life. My father was a cattle dealer so wheeling and dealing was in the blood. My mother was very much the carer, always conscientious and reaching out, helping the less well off in the vicinity. Despite my entrepreneurial upbringing, I ended up in a permanent and pensionable teaching post, married to another teacher….”
WHEN DID IT CLICK – THIS COULD BE BIG?
“At our first class in Warrenpoint under the Unislim brand we attracted 58 people. The attendance was overwhelming. That night I spoke to Brian’s brother who posed an intriguing question – “What happens when everyone in Warrenpoint loses weight?’ Not long after, that question prompted the following written response recorded on a piece of paper, “I am going to have a Unislim class in every town in Ireland.” This was my clear and compelling vision. … At that time, apart from a possible visit to bingo in the week, the woman’s place was firmly at home. …The early seventies in Northern Ireland offered another challenge – the Troubles – which was to have a profound effect on our life.”
RECRUITMENT STRATEGY?
“… the decision is very much based on how I feel about the person. … The Unislim company philosophy is something we take very seriously: To serve our members with enthusiasm and excellence, to provide the highest standard of service in our field and to improve the quality of life for all our members. If our leaders don’t live and breathe this philosophy, I would have no hesitation in firing them on the spot. …”
HOW IMPORTANT ARE VALUES?
“Values are also a key driver in my life and decisions. My three main values are honesty, integrity and trust. …. I never worked for money, I wanted to help people but I knew if I did a great job I would be well rewarded. “
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON XCEPTIONAL EXECUTION?
“When you leave a class with a smile on your face, that’s xceptional execution. A smile on your face means I have done a super job…”
UNISLIM TAKEAWAYS
• Retirement is not an option.
• Is work ethic in your genes?
• If you can find a solution to a problem, go for it.
• No knowledge required.
• Persevere – don’t mind if you get the odd door slammed in your face.
• You won’t please all the people all of the time.
• Be fearless in the face of injustice.
• Money follows a job well done.
• No ‘buts’ when you are recruiting.
• If your best isn’t enough, look for a new business venture or job.
Taken from Kevin Kelly’s new book “Do the pursuit of xceptional execution” Kevin is an internationally acclaimed leadership and motivational speaker and best selling author. For more information www.kevinkellyunlimited.com
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