Leadership is Redefining “Profit”. See my post HERE
CEO Space was founded by Bernhard Dohrmann, a fifth-generation San Franciscan and expert in income acceleration training. “Berny”, as he is known, is featured in the acclaimed movie, “Tapping the Source,” and is the subject of a movie that is being made about his life.
The author of Diamond Heart, Money Magic, and Super Achievers, he is also the inventor of Super Teaching™, an accelerator learning hardware that enhances whole brain activity and supercharges a person’s ability to learn and retain information.
Berny’s Super Teaching™ technology has been studied at universities and is installed in public schools and colleges across the country. Super Teaching™ is also utilized at CEO Space to help provide MBA-level training to the membership.
Here’s the podcast:
The Transformational Leadership Strategist
Here’s the transcript of the interview:
Hugh: This is Hugh Ballou, and my guest for this session is my long-time friend, mentor, and colleague, Berny Dohrmann, who is sitting in Tampa, Florida. Berny has a legacy with CEO Space. Over the last ten years, it has impacted my life massively. I’d like to interview Berny today and let him share about the visionary leaders who have impacted his life, those legendary leaders from the past, and the legacy that Berny is leaving that will impact the world. He impacts world cultures: business leaders and non-profit leaders. Berny, you have impacted me massively, so welcome to this interview.
Berny: Thank you so much, Hugh. I am so proud of you and what you are doing with your legacy to the world. Watching you do it is amazing. Universities, institutions, churches, and major organizations are lucky to get transformational leadership when you bring it on board.
Hugh: I have earned my chops. I have certainly made all the mistakes. With all my years working in the church and with leaders with massive power from companies as well as clergy, I have learned what works and what does not work.
You grew up experiencing some legendary leaders that left legacies. You have shared some of that with me over the years. Set the stage for what your dad did and some of the people he brought into your house over the years.
Berny: Dad got his training in human potential development in the Navy during World War II. He retired as a commander and got involved with Dr. Edward Deming, training the major companies of the world after the war. When Deming put together the model with Japan and rebuilding Japan, Dad collaborated with him. On his own, Dad did Korea. Just like Deming was working in Japan, Dad was doing after the Korean War with Samsung, and those companies on higher forms of organizing us into better performance. He did that all his life.
He also founded the human potential industry in the 1940s. He started working during the early years with Michael Murphy at Esalen, which was a pioneer; and with Clement Stone of Positive Mental Attitude. He developed a lot of the material for that, and then he moved into the nature of his leading it. He became the course developer for a program called Mind Dynamics. At that time, back in the ‘60s, doing $100 million a year in human potential classes that were open to the public. Everybody came to that product: the thought leaders that were alive at the time. John Gallagher, president of PepsiCo; Walt Disney, Disney just opening and becoming a dream come true. My dad coached him when the park was opening and after and did a lot of work for Disney. He worked with Martin Luther King and Jack Kennedy; I pitched my first baseball game when Kennedy was a senator. He sought out my father’s council about running. Zig Ziglar got his first job at my dad’s firm when he was 22 and started speaking there. Earl Nightingale, Og Mandino. The greats of the past.
In my work, carrying on his business, I have trained the largest companies in the world from AT&T to Zellerbach. I have done Human Potential training myself, CEO Space being the largest entrepreneurial institution in the world. It is ranked by Forbes year after year as the meeting a business owner cannot afford to miss in the world today. Getting the highest ranking of all the opportunities out there is not easy. That is a legacy in itself. I have trained John Assaraf of The Secret to Ron Zeller who just graduated as the lead trainer of Landmark. Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield, Mark Hansen, Harv Eker, Adam Markel, the thought leaders of today—I don’t think there is one I can think of across the field that I haven’t sat with and given counsel to and loved and supported. The legends that you love like Brian Tracy and others are in my life where I give them counsel whenever I cross their path. I try to build their businesses up. I have inherited the thought leadership mantel. As you know, my work is about cooperation as an organizational theory versus competition as an organizational theory. Competition is a failed model, and those companies that use it are truly abusing their stakeholders and shareholders for their future.
Hugh: Let’s capture your dad’s name.
Berny: Alan G. Dohrmann was how he was known in the business. You can still Google search for him. I run across people who were trained by him, and they are just in tears over his gratitude for his contribution to their businesses or lives.
Hugh: You mentioned Clement Stone. In that chain of people he influenced, was Napoleon Hill one of those?
Berny: Napoleon Hill worked for my dad’s company until he died. He was coached by Dad from the 1950s. My first memory of him was at four years old on his lap. In our house, because he had stayed for quite a while with us, he was Uncle Nappy. He guided us. He was great with children. He was a very dignified, removed man. As all great men that are out in the world and have a public persona, if you are living with them, you see the other part. My dad was seen as a giant in human potential with what he could offload mentally in conversations when people came to see him, but for those who knew Dad well, his humor was his glue—people remember how funny he was. Napoleon Hill was particularly funny but in a dry, sarcastic, intellectual way. When I got to be older, I really appreciated his humor a lot more. Dad would always be laughing and having such fun while doing very serious work on human potential.
Hugh: Near you across the state is Disneyworld. Disney certainly changed the whole makeup of that part of the country, and his legacy is profound. Near me is the Napoleon Hill Center in West Virginia. Napoleon Hill certainly influenced Tony Robbins and a bunch of those other thought leaders from his work Think and Grow Rich. His concepts of the law of attraction and laws of success were so profound. You grew up experiencing these people in person. What about them impacted your life? And your dad, how did he impact your life? What gave you the vision, the passion, the momentum, the wisdom to build a legacy for yourself?
Berny: When you are young and are raised with access to these thought leaders, you are children. You are in his life as a child with eight other children. You are treated as a child. When I was 15 and my dad took me down to the march in Alabama, then I became a man. My rite of passage was being smashed in the face, yelled and screamed at, and put in juvenile delinquency. I did not understand the civil rights movement, having played with black children in San Francisco. We did not have prejudice there. I did not understand it. When I got to the South, then I understood it. My dad wanted me to understand it. Those are the lessons that grow you, the experiences. Then I knew who this uncle Martin was. I knew who this man that had come over to the house was. I knew who he was then. I did not get it. Even when we started the march, I thought it would be a great day, and that we would be in the news. From the standpoint of these lessons, as I got older, I had more guidance from these thought leaders. They certainly shaped me as a boy.
My dad was extraordinary. My dad was of an era where we had conversations and formal dinners as a family rather than watch television. We went on this hike on the Fourth of July every year; we never missed that hike together. We brought our kids, his grandkids. Even when he was ill at the end, the last thing he wanted to do was one last hike. His traditions, to be with his family as the head of it, guide his family, and give his principles and values, he always had time for us. He spent lots of time in our development. Looking back, I would say we were his testimony. He wanted to show that if he could take brains that did not have bad software and put extraordinary software in those brains, then all nine of those children would demonstrate lives of extraordinary contribution. I have done 140 countries as an investment banker economist and then CEO Space, influencing millions, and all eight of my brothers and sisters have contributions of worthy note. He has created not one average child, but extraordinary children, all of them. We all love each other. We have no sibling rivalries. We all miss our parents. We have such an extraordinary family that we get confused when we see that others don’t.
Hugh: Now that is a legacy.
Berny: He was the greatest dad I could ever hope to even write about. My book is about how perfection can be had. It is really a book for relationships, parenting, men and women, and lifestyles at home. It’s his stories to his children that he really told us. They were extraordinary. You have heard many of them. They are quite lingering and impactful once you have read them or have had them told to you.
Hugh: One of your profound gifts, out of many, is storytelling. You tell your father’s stories, and they are the learning lessons, the object lessons, the experiential learning that he gave you growing up. When I hear you interview somebody, you have this vision that comes out of nowhere. You have this amazing ability to forecast things that people don’t even know they have the ability to do. I was one of those. I came in ten years ago.
Berny: When you talk about vision and planning, I think that’s my 22 years on Wall Street. You have to remember I am an investment banker economist by education and background. I was chairman of an international, global, publicly traded, major investment banking house that operated all over the world. I was a student. I was not big like Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan. I did not have the capital those people had; they had billions in the bank. We had a lot of money, but we were not that big. As you watch a company come into New York, they would frame what the potential of their future is time and time again in a wagon wheel of all the different industries over 22 years, you see from where any business is, what it takes financially to stage it and stop it and move it into the next phases of its life. I like to frame up those blueprints because to get that kind of information takes 250,000 or so if you pay Wall Street underwriters to give it to you. They really frame it up. If you want Price Waterhouse to do a feasibility study for you, they will do a great job. When you get a retired chairman of an institution on Wall Street who can help guide you, those are the greatest coaches.
Mentors make millions. A coach gives you their expertise and performs work for you. It’s a fair exchange of fees. You get that work done, and hopefully, the quality you wanted and the time frame you wanted. A mentor transforms the skill you have. You are not dependent on them. You are able to do what you need to do yourself because they enriched you. The coach to some degree is filling up your glass, which is 85% full, and you want to go to overflow with a beautiful new talent. A mentor gives you a much bigger vase. You get a bigger container, and they give you a bigger vessel. Your skills are exponentially magnified. When you get one of the great mentors living in the world—and that is true for me, too, for anyone—it is the greatest gift that can ever cross your path.
If you are a mentor, and I hope I am, and you are giving back without charging anyone, that is my legacy. I have the ability to give back today. I call it to learn, earn, and then you have an obligation to return. It’s not just money. Invest in entrepreneurialism. Have your children mandate that they have to be paid based on the successful returns they are making on the money. You will make your children. You will build them. That legacy plan. I see these wealthy players and their beautiful lifestyles. I say, “Where have you created another you?” If you have not created a duplication of yourself by mentoring someone coming up behind you to your level, then you owe the world your mentorship. Give 15% of your lifetime until you create at least a handful of clones where your mentorship gave them the empowerment to give back to the world at your level.
Hugh: Bingo. You have hit on a major thing. All of our audience are social entrepreneurs. They are impacting the world with their visions. They might lead a business or a charity, or they might be clergy. This series of interviews is putting business principles into those organizations, whether they are an entrepreneur running a business or a charity. We still need good solid business principles. You have hit on a key point of establishing a succession plan. We don’t know how long we are on this earth, so we need to create a vision that is sustainable.
I commend you. If you ask ten people about CEO Space, you would get ten, maybe eleven different descriptions. It’s a movement. It’s an energy field. It’s a business growth conference. For me, it’s a place where people gather that are worthy. I meet some amazing people there. Berny, you have put a legacy in place already. It is a place where people gather who matter and who want to continue this cooperative capitalism because they believe in it and know it works. Recently, you had a family tragedy, so you did the opening, but then you and September had to leave on the first day of this event. It ran really well because you had put the systems in place. One of my definitions of a good leader is the organization runs just as well whether they are there or not because you built a system.
Berny: On Friday, the most important part of the conference in which we graduate our members and have our final weekend events, I want you to know that I will be on a cruise ship with my children going to Alaska. I am leaving Friday because I know you and the rest of the board will be able to replace me and run it just as smoothly as you always do. Get ready. You’re doing graduation. You will have fun with it.
Hugh: I’ve said that to you many times. You are so giving that it is hard for you to accept the thanks. I want to thank you. You have meant a lot to me and have shaped my life and my career. The visionary part of this is very profound. There is not a person in this culture that would not give anything to support this because we love you and believe in it. You are a giving person. That set the standard. Charities and churches ought to be like this. The first thing I was told was “Don’t ask for anything.” It reverses the whole culture.
Berny: There is one virus in human consciousness, and it creates all toxic symptoms. All of your relationship issues, all of your parenting issues, all of your organizational issues. Your company either goes with a competitive organization or a cooperative organization. Once you move to cooperative organization theory—and my book Redemption: The Cooperation Revolution tells you how to do it if you want to do it in your home space, your workspace, or your faith space, so you can do it in any context on any basis—the more you get competition out, the more that you have heaven on Earth in wherever that space is that becomes cooperative. Work on that because you can never get rid of a virus if you have it. I have whole sections in my book for faith leaders, saying that it has to start in churches and be an example of what we stand for so the world can see it.
Hugh: Let’s go back to vision for a moment. Your book is Redemption. I remember sitting a few feet from Martin Luther King in Atlanta, and he has a dream.
Berny: If you heard my uncle Martin more than one time, you will remember how early he was in talking about cooperation. He is the one who kept saying the famous saying my father and I talk about. I can remember my father leaning over the table. It is one of my big memories. In 1959, he was very young then, they both were, and my father said, “Martin, this really stuck with this young boy. You can never remove darkness with more darkness. You have to bring in light and illumination to remove the darkness.” That became a big theme Martin used in his cooperation. You don’t look back.
Berny: I won’t cooperate with you, Hugh, and you won’t cooperate with me unless we hold the highest forms of personal integrity.
Berny: In heaven, you have to have integrity; there is no absence of integrity. We have to bring heaven to earth. We are bringing heaven to earth by not expecting integrity. We are told competition is good and competition is from God. If I have a legacy, it is to tell you that competitive capitalism is a corrupt and horrifically horrible system. Communism and socialism are worse if it is even possible.
What we need is cooperative capitalism, where we have full reporting, full accountability, full auditing, rules, and checks and balance. There are no secrets in the financial system, and it is fair globally. One set of global rules for how we operate. I have asked for the G100 to have an economic constitution in the digital world, to come together over three years for all nations to adopt. We have a fair platform to regulate speculation and a cooperative economic system with cooperative capitalism and fair ownership. We will get rid of our ups and downs. We will get rid of world war because we put the cooperation of the Holy Spirit into our economic system instead of the wrong side of the force in our economic system, which is dog-eat-dog capitalism. Capitalism is terrible and awful. You should not have consolidation where 1% owns more than 99%. Any system that does that is elitism. It is bad for humans. Humans should make a lot of money when they bring great things to society, but they should truncate; after that, it should go back into society into roads, highways, and dams, things that make all society better. To have unlimited wealth consolidated into individual hands is not an economic system that has a future. Competition is always a form of insanity. Any competitive brain that thinks it’s good to the extent they are so virus-infected you cannot remove the virus, they are insane. Competition is insane.
Hugh: I have heard you say that competitive capitalism was greed, and socialism/communism was about power. What you are a prophet for is a new way of doing things—cooperative capitalism—which is very collaborative. Early on, you mentioned transformational leadership. What you are a champion for is the vision, which is what transformational leadership is. It is not about you; it is about the vision. You equip people in the culture. That is a summary of what transformational leadership is. It’s about the vision, it’s about getting the best out of people, and it’s about setting high standards. Berny, ultimately culture is a result and a reflection of us. Look at CEO Space. It is a reflection of giving, your personality, your gift, your vision. You created an energy field that exists.
Berny: I created an economic example of cooperative capitalism. You have seen miracles where a second-grade school teacher ends up with a $500 million merger acquisition with Airborne, the allergy/cold medication. You have seen companies like Two Truck in a Box where a guitar player is in 40,000 retail stores. You have seen a music teacher in all the Walmarts in the United States. You have seen miracles happen, and fast. When Karl Marx was alive, he hated that capitalism created wage slaves where everybody was just over broke and never had a full partnership in any system. There was not ability to fairly distribute wealth, and too many were starving to death and poor. Too many years later, we have that, and it is worse than his communism. He created a competitive bureaucracy, and that is even worse than competitive capitalism.
A movement affects a few. A revolution affects many. How do we have a revolution, which we started over 30 years ago with CEO Space, where the economists, the university professors, and the leaders that will shape the future could come in with enough weight, over 30 years of continuing to put new software in this brain, where they could see it? It was not a book. It was put in place where they felt it, they did it, they brought it back and used it. We showed the world cooperative capitalism. Now we are getting weight in 140 countries to change the world. I am being brought in increasingly to change national agendas, national thought perspectives, and economic development in nations. I have a team I have put together, and I am being sought after by presidents and heads of state to accelerate greatly their economic development upward. The economic development of nations is the next part of CEO Space’s life.
Hugh: Great. As we draw this to a conclusion, there are several themes here. When I work with people, I help them focus in on their ability to implement because ideas are just ideas. If we don’t do it, it isn’t going to happen. I have this summary, which you may not agree with. Leaders are three things to me. They get things done, they figure out how things get done, and leaders are fundamentally a person of influence. I would say all of those apply to you. You have certainly influenced a massive amount of people in lots of ways that you have talked about and lots of ways that you haven’t. As we leave this, we have these people that are listening to this that have a great vision. What would you say to them as leaders to go from vision to execution?
Berny: One, it all sums up in one sentence: Weak plans, weak teams, and resources to execute. You develop strong plans, strong teams, and resources to execute. That usually takes two to three mentors. Two, and you’re through. Three, and you’re free. Mentors help you get strong plans, strong teams, and resources to execute.
Next to that, my father used to tell us all great stories. One of them was he had us around a fireplace in Lake Tahoe on a snowy day. He said, “Children, do you know the difference between a super-achiever and a dreamer?” We had different ideas. He said, “Let me tell you the lesson.”
The dreamer children have accepted God’s capital, which is an inspiration. God’s bank account has a withdrawal without a deposit. He has unlimited inspirational deposits for you. You get these inspirations in your life, and you don’t act on them and make them real on Earth. God wanted you to. They come to you all throughout your life without stopping. The dreamer goes to their grave with all their dreams and all of God’s inspiration, which they squandered all of their life. Their real regret at the end of life is they didn’t do their dreams, which is what God gave them to do in the first place.
The super-achiever, who did their dreams and has no regret in the end at all, is a person who has found out how to finance their dreams. The distance is this small, but they gained the mentorship and the skillsets. When you have God’s capital, you still have to print it, put it on a website, do things with people through a computer and through a cell phone, and through things that cost money. You have to take airplane trips and book hotel rooms. You have to finance your dream all the way through. That is part of the resources to execute. A super-achiever has learned about capitalism and how to get the ability to get resources so they can execute the development of any division of a mature company. They know how to do it. Those that are just starting out, when they learn it, they become unstoppable. That is true in the not-for-profit space and every space. I wish you all to move from dreamer to super-achiever because my father would insist on it.
Hugh: Berny Dohrmann, chairman and founder of CEO Space, you are a profound person of influence and legacy builder. I am grateful for this time.