There are probably very few people in the business world who have not heard of Dale Carnegie’s famous book “How To Win Friends and Influence People,” which was published in 1936.
Dale Carnegie first started bringing his self-improvement methods to the world in 1912 and turned his ideas into a global performance-based training company with 200 offices in 90 countries. The company works in 30 languages throughout the world and includes as its clients 400 of the Fortune 500 companies.
It partners with middle market and large corporations as well as organizations to produce measurable business results by improving the performance of employees with emphasis on leadership skills, sales, team building and interpersonal relations, customer service, public speaking and presentations and other essential management skills.
More than eight million people throughout the world have experienced Dale Carnegie Training. But 106 years on, do Dale Carnegie’s methods fit into the digital age? Definitely, says Joe Hart, president and CEO of Dale Carnegie Training. The principles of being genuinely interested in other people, being a good listener and winning others to your way of thinking are just as relevant today, says Hart who has been president and CEO of the company since 2015.
In addition to being a Dale Carnegie graduate, Hart worked closely with the company as a strategic partner for nearly 10 years. He attributes much of his success in business to the Dale Carnegie training he had early in his career. Hart first took the Dale Carnegie Course 20 years ago when he was a successful attorney, which ultimately led him to leave a thriving legal and real estate career and to start his first business.
Hart’s first business, InfoAlly, provided online programs to support the Dale Carnegie, Leadership Training for Managers, and Sales Advantage Courses. Hart sold InfoAlly in 2005 and helped start a new company, Asset Health, where he served as the company’s president until joining Dale Carnegie.
Hart holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan and a law degree from Wayne State University Law School.
Japan Today caught up with Hart during a recent visit to Japan where Dale Carnegie has had a presence since 1963.
What have you been focusing on this year?
Although we are a well-known company and are in 90 countries, I believe we can have a much greater impact in the world. In many places, the name Dale Carnegie is very well known. In other places, we still have work to do to build the brand. Our challenge is to make sure we can bring Dale Carnegie to a newer generation.
Over the past year, we have worked to rebrand the business to better reflect the impact of what happens in our training programs. Also, we are introducing some new products this year and working together as a global business in more effective ways. Of course, when you rebrand an iconic company all over the world, it can be a risk but, in our case, it has been well received.
While you were in Tokyo, you spoke on AI in the workplace. How does that relate to Dale Carnegie Training?
The fundamentals of who we all are and how we interact with each other are the same. Basically, people want respect and sincere appreciation when they connect with each other. What’s changing are the modalities and the way we interact. Early on, we had telephones, then cell phones and now there’s AI. Throughout its history, Dale Carnegie Training has been able to look at human interaction through the lens of the latest technology.
In Tokyo, we talked about how AI is impacting the workplace, but particularly human resources and employee engagement. Leaders will need to not only evaluate the cost/benefit of adopting AI technologies in terms of productivity, but they will need to be mindful of the impact it has in their culture and employee engagement. Maintaining a strong culture as AI begins to be introduced will require leaders to understand that humans will work alongside machines; they won’t necessarily be replaced by them. Moreover, leaders will need to ensure employees understand why AI is being introduced, and what it will and won’t do. Above all, employees will need to acquire the right skills – the soft skills they will need to focus on tasks that involve judgement, reasoning, emotional intelligence and interpersonal relationships as AI assumes the routine-oriented and automatable activities of jobs.
Does your training methodology change depend on the country or culture?
When I travel all over the world, people tell me about the impact Dale Carnegie has had on them, no matter what the language, culture, generation, ethnicity. It’s pretty powerful. The core methodology — the way a Dale Carnegie course is taught — is the same. The way we certify our trainers and how our courses are delivered are the same. The thing that makes our training organization unique is that we do not import trainers. That means that our trainers inherently incorporate the local business context and practices. For example, in some cases, like in Japan, companies want to have Americanized training for their people because they do a lot of work outside Japan.
What about in areas such as the Middle East?
We have great operations in the Middle East. In fact, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are two of our largest and most successful locations.. Again we rely on our local representatives to provide the local context and business practices. We believe that this has allowed us to create more opportunities in the region over the past decade.
Which markets are growing for you?
We see a lot of growth in the APAC region. China and India are big markets for us. Additionally, Germany and Brazil have been very strong. Operating in 90 countries, you have different levels of maturity in different markets. Although we have millions of graduates, there are still so many people and companies where we see Dale Carnegie providing tremendous value. It is really that opportunity that excites us and drives us forward.
Can people be taught leadership and marketing skills, or do you think it is just something successful people have?
The great thing about what we do is that it can be learned. I remember my first Dale Carnegie course experience. There was a young woman in class who couldn’t even stand up and say her name at the start. By the time the course was finished, she had made a breakthrough and was more confident. The principles are all very learnable and they do help people in their work. Many TED speakers have taken our courses.
Tell us more about your first Dale Carnegie training experience.
It was in 1995 when I was a young attorney. I did it partly because my father had talked about Dale Carnegie. I was always interested in self-improvement and had read the book. I didn’t know what to expect. What that course did for me was phenomenal. It helped me see a different vision for myself. I started my own business and it helped my interpersonal skills and I found myself interacting with people in a much more positive way, with greater empathy … so much so that afterward, people would ask me, “What’s going on?” I was applying the Dale Carnegie principles. So I think I am living proof of someone who started at one place and came to a different place, which is why I am so passionate about what we do.
What do you look for in trainers?
They need to have enthusiasm for what we do. Trainers can unlock the greatness in someone else. They need the skills and self-confidence to stand up in front of a room and give a presentation. It is a two-year process to become a Dale Carnegie trainer.
Do you travel much?
Quite a lot. When I go overseas, it’s usually for a week. Last year, I did a lot of international travel. It’s an awesome thing to come to a country and meet people who have taken our programs and hear the impact we are having. That really fuels me. Unfortunately, I don’t get to see as much of the cities I visit as I would like.
What areas of the business are you hands on?
We have 200 operations all over the world and my goal is to support them and make sure our team is doing a good job. I am hands on with the strategic planning of the business, and I like to meet with our customers and work with our leadership team.
How do you like to relax when you are not working?
I spend time with my wife and six kids, four of whom are still leaving at home. I like to run. This year, I ran in the Boston and Houston marathons. I’d like to run in the Tokyo Marathon one day.
For more information about Dale Carnegie Training Japan, visit https://japan.dalecarnegie.com© Japan Today