The Journal Gazette
Sunday, February 02, 2020 1:00 am

Motivational speaker's son comes to area

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Entrepreneur, leader or legend. 

Tom Ziglar pauses when asked which label fits him best.

Good question, he says, and then chuckles.

Entrepreneur, yes. Leader, yes. Legend ... well ...

“I'm not going to put myself in the legend category, although the Ziglar brand probably is, and that's because of my father,” said the businessman whose dad, Zig Ziglar, became a prolific author and internationally known motivational speaker.

Tom Ziglar was invited to Auburn to speak at Saturday's first Entrepreneurs, Leaders and Legends conference, which fell on Ziglar's 55th birthday. At least 150 people were expected to attend, based on advance registrations.

“My wife says, 'You're speaking on your birthday?' And I said it's the best birthday present ever,” Ziglar said during a telephone interview the week before the conference.

Tom Ziglar joined his dad's business, the Zig Ziglar Corp., in 1987 after working in retail and direct sales. He is currently CEO of Ziglar Inc., continuing in his father's footsteps.

“I'm very focused on legacy and so when I think of legend, I also think of legacy, and I think legacy is by design; it's not by chance,” he said. “I think we need a few more years to get into that legend category, and then other people have to tell you you are.”

Ziglar's dad authored nearly 35 books, including “See You at the Top.” Tom Ziglar collaborated with him on the 30th book, “Born to Win.” You must plan to win, prepare to win and only then can you expect to win, the book suggests, encouraging readers that they can have success, significance and leave a legacy.

The senior Ziglar was also known for his philosophy that suggested: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

Tom Ziglar still shares that philosophy. It's applicable even in the business world, he said, for leaders who have to cater to the performance expectations and demands of executives or a company board of directors.

In business, the goal often involves solving problems for customers. When you solve their problems, you solve your own, Ziglar said, adding that a friend of his says success entitles you to more “certificates of appreciation” – translation: money.

Leaders and managers in business should help people on their teams solve problems, enabling them to be more efficient.

“When I do that effectively and help them solve their problems, then we can solve customers' problems,” Ziglar said.

Another saying he loves: The best way to achieve your dreams is to help others achieve theirs.

“The challenge in the workplace is if I don't know what your dreams and goals are then I have a hard time understanding what motivates you,” said Ziglar, who last year published a book titled “Choose to Win.”

As a leader, your “secret weapon” is to know people personally. That's challenging because people are increasingly focused on technology, texting and social media, he said, “so we've lost the art of meaningful conversations.”

Add to that the normal stress a workplace can bring and you can easily have an “us and them” environment. But when meaningful connections and conversations occur, the results can be powerful.

Ziglar said he's been in manufacturing plants that were “sweaty and dirty” but the “atmosphere was electric because it was friends doing life together.” 

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at

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