David Ibarra on Utah’s leadership deficit and how to solve homelessness.
Utah’s “success industry” is massive. Steven Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and the Franklin Covey Group originated in Utah. Here everyone has a “guru” or “expert” they follow. But inevitably the success industry has attracted charlatans who flaunt their wealth and rope in naive buyers of get-rich-quick schemes. Over the years many of these hustlers end up in court, as we recently witnessed from one of the stars of Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. Covering local business owners for the past 14 years, I’ve gotten a sense of what makes an authentic successful leader.
First of all, business leaders have little time to sell seminars, write books and speak. This is because authentic leadership is not a degree a person can hang on a wall nor a commodity that can be bought and sold. Leadership is a spirit a person must fully embody. Common among leaders is a devotion to positive thinking strategies which enable calm perseverance under extreme pressure.
David Ibarra is one of the rare men in Utah who has authentic experience in operating successful businesses; he is now number seven. And he does offer a secret to his success: a genuine passion for serving others. “Don’t ever lose the joy of serving another, “ he says with bravado,” he adds, “I’ve made a career out of serving others.”
I met Ibarra nearly two years ago when he was running for Mayor of Salt Lake City. It was obvious in our debate/interview with Luz Escamilla at that time that he had an excellent handle on the big issues such as housing, homelessness, the inland port and medical cannabis, along with actual plans for how the problems could be solved. Ibarra didn’t win his Mayoral bid, which he blames for his speaking the truth rather than telling voters what they want to hear. Ibarra has recently completed his first book, called Stop Drifting. Ibarra’s accomplishments are especially impressive considering his rearing and childhood.
Ibarra grew up in the foster system. His parents couldn’t raise him, so he was shuffled from home to home. He was fighting and getting into constant trouble until he finally convinced his father to allow him to settle in with him in California. After this, he gained his first job as a dishwasher at a Ferral’s Ice Cream parlor.
From there his story and his upward trajectory, all thanks to the mentorship and mindset of Mr. Feral and the book he recommended to him “Think and Grow Rich” by Dr. Napoleon Hill.
Ibarra recounts this story at the very beginning of the podcast. For a good dose of inspiration for all business leaders, as well as some great advice for how the current Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall could handle our homeless situation, Ibarra is a very impressive man to talk with about the big issues and follow.
Asked about how so many young people are embracing the idea that so many things should be “free” including college education and the offering of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) Ibarra responded:
“There is no such thing as free. This country should invest in talent building for its people. If you get something for a dollar and you don’t give anything back for a dollar in services, then we have just ruined you. Everybody has got to pay back in either services or payment back. We need to get everyone paying for the services they are getting.”
Watch the video for the entire conversation:
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