Luck is a process where you move to luck and you take luck, and you say, “Come on, luck, I keep you now.”
So when you are free man, when you have love, when you have health, you are again in paradise.
– Jean-Claude Biver
Evan: He’s the CEO of a Swiss luxury watchmaker.
He was previously successful in rejuvenating the Blancpain and Omega brands, which are currently owned by Swatch.
His leadership in the Swiss watch industry has single handedly been credited as saving the industry from the quartz movement.
He’s Jean-Claude Biver and here’s my take on his top 10 rules of success.
Rule number eight is my personal favorite, and I’d like to know which one you guys like the best.
And as always, guys, as you’re watching the videos, if you hear something that really resonates with you, please leave it down in the comments below and put quotes around it so other people can be inspired as well. Also, as you are writing something down, it’s much more likely to stick in your head too. Enjoy.
Rule #1: Love Your Job
Love gives an energy.
With love, you go to the Everest.
If you don’t have love, which means passion for the business passion is love, if you don’t have passion, things are difficult to achieve in life except normal. Without passion, you are in the normality, you are like everybody, you are like a dead fish in the road, that fish in the road swims with the current.
And in the direction of the current and in the speed of the current, a fish that is alive goes left, right, against the current or with the current, so without passion, you are dead fish.
If I tell you that we have 75 screws and that each time the watchmaker is finished going screw and screw, then he should, during 1/10th of a second, when he’s finished, I love my job, then he goes next screw.
“If you don’t have love, which means passion for the business passion is love, if you don’t have passion, things are difficult to achieve in life except normal.” – Jean-Claude Biver
I love this job, the next one, I love the customer who’s going to wear it, I love perfection, if 75 times he’s going to say I love my job, I love my customer, I love my boss, I love my kids, I love my wife, he will leave 75 traces of love in the watch and when he shuts down the case, the movement is inside, the 75 traces of love are there.
Rule #2: Seize Luck
The universe of passion is open to everybody, but many people don’t know, they believe passion should come down from the sky, no, you go to find your passion, passion will not come to you. Is like luck, luck cannot come to you, you can buy as many lotto things, you can make bets on Barcelona and Madrid, luck will never come to you but you go to luck, that’s much more secure, you go and go to take luck, if you are in a state luck comes down to you, forget, you will die and no luck will have ever come, luck is a process where you move to luck and you take luck and you say, come on, luck, I keep you now and you take another one tomorrow and so on.
“The universe of passion is open to everybody, but many people don’t know, they believe passion should come down from the sky, no, you go to find your passion, passion will not come to you.” – Jean-Claude Biver
Rule #3: Think Different
“Whenever you are the first and different and unique, you cannot be wrong, you will win.” – Jean-Claude Biver
Today, especially in today’s environment, where we have so much competition, where speed is so important, we need, we definitely need to always think different, in my company, we have a very easy rule, whatever we do, whatever, in any field, we always try to be the first and/or to be unique and/or to be different, and whatever the project is, we have to put the three conditions and project leader or the guy who brings the idea has to answer those three questions, if he says yes, we will be the first, yes, we’ll be unique, yes, we’ll be different, it’s finished, there is no budget anymore, unlimited budget, no restriction, he can go ahead because whenever you are the first and different and unique, you cannot be wrong, you will win.
Rule #4: Put Things In Perspective
Interviewer: When you have downtime, like if something didn’t work the way you want, what do you do to get back on that positiveness?
I talk to the mountain, I have a mountain next to my home that is called Rocher de Naye, it goes up to two, it’s very low, it goes up to 2004, 2500 meters, or I talk to the Dovey de Vie mountain, which is 4000 mountains, which is a little further away from my home, which I see every morning, I see those two mountains and I say to these two mountains, mountains, I have a problem, but when I look at you you are 37 million old.
And I am a little guy.
Interviewer: You seem to be gay …
I am a little guy here with a little problem, can you help me, and they will say, come on, look, what we have already seen in so many years, your problem is a nano-problem, come on, get up.
Interviewer: Just get up, do it.
And whatever, that’s it.
Rule #5: Be Passionate
Many people are what we call managers, overseers, and today they can spend seven years in the watch business and eventually then they might move and be a CEO in a car business or in a crystal brand, you know, these people are clever and great entrepreneurs but they are not necessarily deeply connected forever to one passion, I am connected just to watches.
I don’t, I would never like to do another job, of course I have other little passions, I love wine, I love cheese, I love classic cars, but I would never transform them in a business because my passion is not deep enough, while watches is my life, if I have to die, I want people to remember two things, I want children and my wife to remember my love and I want people to remember my contribution to the watch business, so that’s really my objective, that’s why I would never leave this business, and not many, I have been in the business since ’74, so it’s nearly 40 years, , 39 years in the same business, and I don’t know many people in this business that have been 39 years there.
“I have other little passions, I love wine, I love cheese, I love classic cars, but I would never transform them in a business because my passion is not deep enough, while watches is my life” – Jean-Claude Biver
Some great people came but they came from a car brand or came from Ferrari or Maserati, and joined the watch business and maybe in seven years they’re going to move and go to Hermes or Vuitton, so it’s different, I am a watch fan, a watch freak.
Rule #6: Stay On The Right Track
It’s not enough if you get help, you must accept help and to accept help, you must be capable of learning.
And who teach you how to learn, nobody, the schools are giving you every day a spoon of knowledge, and you get it in, and tomorrow another spoon, and then you leave university, but you don’t know how to learn because you have been used that they feed you with knowledge, but after the university, then you have to start to learn.
” Ask yourself am I on the right track, what I did yesterday, is that right, my vision, is my vision still okay, and if you forget to ask these questions daily, one day, you will be in the wrong direction.” – Jean-Claude Biver
You have to start to learn how to learn and you have to be humble and you must never believe you know it, you must have doubts, the doubt is your friend, anybody with little doubts, I’m afraid of because these are the dangerous people, people who drive the car with no doubts in the fog or on the street full of snow, I am afraid of.
I want people that have full of doubts because the doubt helps you to stay humble and helps you every day to ask yourself am I on the right track, what I did yesterday, is that right, my vision, is my vision still okay, and if you forget to ask these questions daily, one day, pfft, you will be in the wrong direction.
Rule #7: Nurture Creativity
So innovation, creativity at the end of the day is more powerful than knowledge.
Yeah, knowledge is so easy for anybody to get, of course you have to study, you have to learn, but knowledge is there whenever you want with the new technology, whatever, with all the universities, knowledge is for everybody here, and where is innovation, where is creativity?
Innovation and creativity is above knowledge, that is what you put on top of knowledge and thank God, innovation and creativity, people normally cannot learn, that gives a huge advantage to the ones who are innovative.
If everybody could learn creativity, if everybody could learn innovation, we would have to invent something more or different to make the difference between the people who have learned something and the people who are innovative so innovation.
Creativity is definitely more powerful, is much stronger, than knowledge, creativity and innovation is a way of thinking and in order to make people become innovative we have created around in our company an atmosphere that brings people to be innovative, and the most important atmosphere is that you must permit people to do mistakes.
“Innovation is like vision, it’s not reality, the reality you have to make it through later and that, to bring people, to take risks, to be active, you can only bring them to that stage if you are capable of forgiving mistakes and how can you show that you forgive mistakes, you give a little bonus for every mistake” – Jean-Claude Biver
If you give bonus for every mistake, then people make mistakes, but they make mistakes with a huge pleasure because they get an additional pay, an additional money for every mistake and when you ask people to do a lot of mistakes then people become very active and they trust, they start to trust themselves.
The problem is in many companies, people are afraid to be active, they are afraid to take initiatives, they are afraid to innovate because innovation brings uncertainty.
When you innovate, you never know, innovation is like vision, it’s not reality, the reality you have to make it through later and that, to bring people, to take risks, to be active, you can only bring them to that stage if you are capable of forgiving mistakes and how can you show that you forgive mistakes, you give a little bonus for every mistake and I promise you, if you do that, little bonus, 100 to 1000 Swiss francs for a mistake, if it’s a very big mistake, a big bonus, if it’s a small mistake, small bonus. So you see it’s also a very innovative way of bringing creativity out of everybody.
Rule #8: Have A Brand Message
Hublot came out with a product in 1980, a product that was based on an innovation to introduce rubber as a strap, it seems very common today, but rubber in 1980 was a real courageous move, it was even the provocation, people said hey, on a gold watch, rubber?
“We are not a product, we have a message first, we have a concept” – Jean-Claude Biver
Because people didn’t know rubber comes from a tree, rubber is natural, rubber is very comfortable, it’s very flexible and rubber is very resistant and it’s waterproof so finally it’s ideal for a watch but in those days, people thought it’s a provocation.
And then Hublot could not evolve, they stayed on a product and I said, we are not a product, we have a message first, we have a concept, and a concept is fusion, why, because in 1980 when we put gold together with rubber, we created a fusion because gold and rubber never come together, they were together only one time in life, during the Big Bang, then everything was in one.
And then rubber went away and said, okay, I go now on my tree and gold said, okay, I go and rest in South Africa under the earth and since then they never met til people take them and connect them.
So I said Hublot made a fusion and fusion must be our message, must be our philosophy, must be our religion and once we have this religion clear and it is named fusion then we can develop further products that not necessarily need rubber anymore because fusion goes further away than just rubber, it can be carbon, it can be ceramic, whatever, so I was capable to free Hublot from the product and give Hublot a message and from that message new products were born and that was the most important element in the revival of the brand, it’s to take it away from a product concept and to give it a brand message and from the brand message we are then later born in 2005 new products.
Rule #9: Learn To Learn
This guy from that company told me, you going to work one year, Mr. Biver, and I give you half a salary, I said, what, half a salary, 50%, I said, why, I’m going to tell you, because we not work during one year, you will not work, you will learn, and because you learn, somebody must teach you, and we, my company’s going to teach you, so you pay me half of your salary to teach you.
These were the good bosses, that’s the right way to think, that’s what you have to tell to the young people, you come to me, during one year, I give you a half salary because the other half you pay me because I teach you, which is true, by the way, that’s how it is, but the young people, they don’t want half salary, they want full salary, okay, then I don’t employ you, stay outside, go to another company, young people must be ready to accept half salary, and they are not ready, at least not in the few countries I know.
So this guy told me, half salary and no office, no secretary, no visit card, no phone, no traveling, no nothing, I said, what will I get, you’re going to learn, and to learn you don’t need an office and to learn you don’t need a secretary and to learn you don’t need a phone and to learn you don’t need a credit card and to learn you don’t need a name card.
So I started to learn, and in one year, I was there learning, and how do you learn when you go in a company, they put you in an office with the director of the design and then you are there and then you sit, and the guy designs watches, and he says, okay, hello, sit there, and then you look, and the guy designs and after two hours, you say, what am I doing here, I cannot look at this guy designing all the time, so you start to ask questions, and then the guy said, sorry, I have no time, I must design my watches.
Then you tell him, do you want the coffee, and he says, yes, and then you go and make coffee. You start becoming very, very humble and you don’t want to lose too much time so you try to take from him, to take knowledge from him and then you tell him, yeah, for lunch, can we have lunch together, they say no, not now, I have my wife, yeah, but maybe one day, he says, okay, let’s see.
And then you have one day lunch with him, and then the guy starts to become more open, and one day, you say, oh, can I invite you with your wife to my home and so I have been one day in the company sitting with everybody, with the director of production, with the director of the after-sales service, with the director of quality control, with the director of the design, with the director of IT, with everybody, with the finance, with everybody and because of this.
I learn the basics of the history of the company, but also at the same time, the history of the watchmaking art and after one year, I knew much, much, much more about the history of making watches, about how to make watches, about the mentality of the watchmakers, about the history of the Swiss watchmaking industry, than anybody else because I had been one year just listening to people.
Rule #10: Find Your Paradise
I had the passion as a child, which was to play with steam machines, and one day I believed that I should take the steam machine and I should see how the steam machine as an adult can be present, not anymore like a steam machine but like a watch so I made the transition from the steam machine to the watch, and then the watch has become my toy as an adult, toy of a child, steam machine, toy of the adult, the watch, and from that day on, I entered the watch industry, and I was free of work, I became a free man that didn’t have to work anymore, so when you’re a free man, when you have love, when you have health, pfft, you are again in paradise, so, I should call myself paradise man.
Evan: Thank you guys so much for watching, I made this video because Joe Bordo asked me to, so if there’s a famous entrepreneur that you want me to profile next, leave it down in the comments below and I’ll see what I can do.
I’d also love to know what did you take from Jean-Claude today that had the biggest impact on you, what message hit you the hardest that you’re going to immediately apply somehow to your life or business, leave it down in the comments below and I’m going to join in the discussion.
I also want to give a quick shout-out to Janina Lee Del Rio, thank you so much, Janina, for picking up a copy of my book, Your One Word, I really, really appreciate all your support.
so thank you guys again for watching, I believe in you, I hope you continue to believe in yourself, and whatever your one word is, much love, I’ll see you soon.
I did a lot in my life, just because I got a lot of help. Help is all you need, and help, how do you get help?
The first help is love, love is all you need. It’s a song from the Beatles, all you need is love, and the day you die, and you have given love, and you have received love, then that day you can say, I was successful, that’s the only measure of success, is how much love have I given to other people, that’s the success and that’s life, we are here for a little period, and during this little period, we have one mission, to share, sharing is an act of love, try to share, try to think, a mother shares her body with all of you, nobody here in this room is not the result of a sharing process between your mother and yourself, if women would refuse to share their body, to share their blood, to share their oxygen, nobody would be born anymore, so we are the result of a sharing process, the result of love. And that’s the rule of life, and that’s all what matters.
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