Norton: Coming full circle

Having spent more than 25 years in the personal and professional development business, working with people in a variety of industries, I have been blessed to have worked alongside some of the most recognized iconic authors, speakers, trainers, and motivators in the industry.

Additionally, having spent so much time in the business, I have worked with some of the most phenomenal people, both inside the organizations where I have worked, and with the companies where we delivered training and performance development solutions.

If you happen to read this column regularly, you will recognize the name Zig Ziglar as I quote him often. I became a fan of Zig’s long before I partnered with him to launch a business and then becoming a part of his organization from 1998 through 2010 in some capacity, eventually becoming the president of the company. When people ask me what that run was like, I always respond the same way: It was a tremendous experience and I was blessed to have worked alongside some incredible people within the organization, including Zig’s son Tom Ziglar, who is still the CEO today as well as one of my partners.

As Mr. Ziglar retired, I joined the Sandler Training organization led by David Mattson. I had known David for several years as he was a partner in one of our businesses with Zig, so making the decision to join Sandler was an easy one. Again, I worked alongside some tremendously talented people at Sandler, and continued to learn so much more about the corporate training environment. Sandler has a vast network filled with men and women who are at the top of the list of corporate training professionals, speakers, and coaches. Sandler’s global presence provided me with an opportunity to build upon and expand my international experience, learning so much more about the cultural nuances of the many different countries we served.

Why am I sharing this? Having spent 12 years with the Ziglar organization and nearly 10 years with Sandler, I never lost touch with the people that I worked alongside of at either organization. As a matter of fact, it went deeper than just staying connected, I was able to partner with Sandler while at Ziglar, and then partner with Ziglar while at Sandler. Several weeks ago, I wrote a column about the importance of not burning bridges, and instead looking for ways to stay connected for the benefit of all parties. That lesson and the spirit of working cooperatively is demonstrated here.

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In 2019 I branched out to launch my third start-up. A personal and professional development consulting organization. Ziglar and Sandler were both partners as were several other of the leading training and development companies in the industry. I have so much respect for those companies and the work that they do and the difference they make in the lives of the people they teach, train, motivate and coach.

Bringing it all back full circle. Living and working with the attitude of abundance and in the spirit of true partnership, I was always able to call upon my friends in the industry, even my competitors, and talk openly about what we see happening in our industry. Coopetition instead of competition. And as I was ready to relaunch our start-up in a new way, and reached out to our partners, including David Mattson at Sandler, he posed an interesting question. He asked me if I would like to come “home” to Sandler and pick up where we had left off together.

Some people say that we cannot go around the block again, or it’s a bad idea to try. But when we live and work in a way where we can do great work together keeping our options open, we will most likely be able to come full circle, working, partnering, and changing lives alongside the people you love and trust. I would love to hear your story about coming full circle at and when we can keep ourselves, our employers and partners connected, it really will be a better than good life.

Michael Norton is an author, a personal and professional coach, consultant, trainer, encourager, and motivator of individuals and businesses, working with organizations and associations across multiple industries.

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