Episode #29 - Narco Mindset Podcast - Win/Win Mindset

Author: Dr. Jorge L. Valdés | | Categories: addiction , author , biography , cocaine , Colombia , crime , inspirational , Medellin , motivational , reform , rehab , speaker , CARTEL , CHRISTIAN , drugs , JORGEVALDESPHD , NARCO , NARCOMINDSET , prison


Episode #29

Narco Mindset Podcast

Win/Win Mindset

August 19,2020

Host: Jorge Valdes Ph.D. - An Author, Speaker, Blogger, Mindset Coach, Podcaster, and YouTuber


Show Notes:

In this episode, Dr. Valdes details how one of the most important principles he had to implement in building a multi-million dollar Drug Cartel and then a multi-million dollar company was he believed in a win/win mindset. He goes into detail about how he had a profit-sharing program in the cartel for his employees who were already making an enormous amount of money. This critical and most important principle was also implemented in his company and one of the main reasons he attests to his success.

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INTRO:              Before we watched TV shows and movies on Narcos, and even before Pablo Escobar’s rise to fame, there was one man who was the ultimate Narco. He lived the Narco life of greed, money and power but found a way to reclaim his life, and use his astonishing experiences to empower others to live a life of hope, meaning and redemption. Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast where Dr. Jorge Valdes shares his journey through life before and after the Medellín Drug Cartel. From torture and multiple prison sentences to how he refocused his life onto a path of principles learned as a Narco. It’s time to share that raw truth with you, right here on the Narco Mindset podcast with your host, Dr. Jorge Valdes.

Jorge:               Today on the Narco Mindset podcast: And I realized that one of the most important characters attributes that a person must have is to build a culture of win-win. When I approached the drug cartel, I did not approach it as a drug dealer, I approached it as a businessman. Every employee is going to take a bonus. The question is, do you give it to them or do they take it? At the end of the day, we live in a culture that is about me. What people will do when you go first, and you empower them and you put them first. As a result of not having a win-win in my marriage, I almost lost the most amazing woman God ever created.

                        Welcome to the Narco Mindset podcast. My name is Dr. Jorge Valdes, and I will be your host for today. I want to thank all of our friends who have signed up to our community, and received the free book, and I want to thank those that have sent in some questions. I try to answer every one of the questions, and deal with them, and help you as much as I can. It really has been exciting to see the reception that we have got. One of the questions that came up as people would go ahead and as people tried to contact me was, how was it that I created such a successful company?

                        When I was writing the Narco Mindset Journal, I started with addressing those important characteristics in a human being that we must have in order to build a strong mindset like integrity, being truthful, being honest. I went ahead and I addressed those, then I went and moved over to what I felt like were character flaws. Things that we need to deal with that not only prevent us from becoming fully human but prevent us from reaching our greatest potential that we have.

                        We build strong character traits but then here come these character flaws like lying, being selfish. Different things that end up really negating all the good that we have. But as we went on then I realized that one of the most important characters attributes that a person must have is to build a culture of win-win in their lives; with their family, with their children, and especially in their company. So, I want to talk today about the win-win situation that I created in two different enterprises, completely opposite poles but made me very, very effective.

                        Those two enterprises were at the age of 20, building a group that would be known as the Medellin Drug Cartel. According to the government, in 1979 when I was arrested, had the largest drug conspiracy in the history of America. Then going on and walking away from that life, going to prison, coming up, earning a Ph.D., and starting a company from scratch, and building that company to a multi-million dollar national, international company.

                        What did those two enterprises, one very legal, one very illegal, have in common or what character trait did I emphasize in those two ventures that made them both be very successful?

                        Let’s start with the drug cartel. Let’s go back to 1977. Here I am, leading an organization where we’re importing anywhere 800 to 1,000, 1,500 kilos a month. In 1977, we’re doing anywhere between fifty to eighty, ninety maybe sometimes a hundred million dollars a month. That was a lot of money. It’s a lot of money today. It was a lot of money in 1977. I was making between a million to two million, maybe sometimes I made three million dollars a month. As I looked at my employees, and I was always thinking because when I approached the drug cartel, I did not approach it as a drug dealer, I approached it as a businessman that I was building an enterprise just like any other enterprise. It just happened that the product that we sold was illegal.

                        One of the things that I looked at, I said, “Here are my employees, and I’m paying them unbelievable amounts of money. So, here’s people that normally were making $100 to $150 a week, which was a lot of money in 1977. All of a sudden, I’m paying them $5000 a week.” People would say, “Well, Jo, that’s just a lot of money. That’s enough. You don’t need to give them any more than that.” Other members of the organization would say.

                        I said, “No, in reality, I’m not going to give them out of the proceeds of the organization but out of my cut, I’m going to give them a piece.” “Why?” I said, “Because first and foremost, so here you have guys risking their lives, risking their families, risking everything that they have to go ahead and make $5000.” Yeah, a lot of money back then, especially we were all young kids. What I realized was that what would happen, human nature would kick in, and these people would realize, “Hey, you know what, we’re working, and we’re picking anywhere between fifty, seventy, eighty million dollars a month for Jorge. We know he’s making between a million to two million dollars a month, and we’re making $20,000.”

                        They never said that to me, I just envisioned it because as a businessman, I always believe one thing, every employee is going to take a bonus. The question is, do you give it to them or do they take it? To me, if they took it, that means stealing. If I give it to them, it made me feel better. In a selfish kind of a way, I decided that I was going to give them each a cut of the profit. At the end of the month, I got together and I said, “Guys, this month I made a million dollars, so I’m taking 10% of it.” If I made two million dollars, I would take 15%. Sometimes I would take 20%, it would just depend, and I would say, “Here’s the deal, I’m going to divide this equally among you guys.”

                        To them, it was amazing. You thought I was diving 20 million dollars among them because in reality, all they were expecting was $5000 a week, and that was a lot compared to what other organizations that were dealing with marijuana or anything like that were paying people, and they know it because it was a very, very small world.

                        One of the things that was critical for me was for my employees to take the money to my attorneys that I had on retainer. Sometimes, it would be anywhere of a hundred, two hundred thousand dollars a month. A lot of money in the ‘70s. The reason that I did it was so that they would see how much I care about them. They knew one thing, if they got arrested, the best legal minds in the country will be there within hours. Number one. Number two, if we could bail them out no matter what the bail was, I was going to do that. Number three, if they had to go to jail, they knew that the first thing that we would do is there was a family fund that was put aside.

                        In that family fund, they knew that I would buy the wife a house if they didn’t own one, I would set up a fund for the daughter or son to go to college at a great school. I would set up a fund where they would receive $3000 a month until their husband came out of jail, and then every Christmas, I would give them money to go visit their husband. Even if they needed to go visit them besides Christmas, anytime they wanted to visit their husbands, I would give them $1000 for expenses and so that they would have no problem.

                        Now, these guys, God forbid ... I was blessed that none of them ever went to jail. One of them died, and I’ll tell you what we did with him. Anyway, as a result of that, they knew that Jorge care about them. If they went to jail, the last person they would ever believe would betray them would be Jorge. Why cut the hand that feeds you? Whereas every other organization, every other boss didn’t give a damn. They simply, “If you tell on us, we’re going to kill you and your family.” Well, I didn’t believe in that culture. Number one, I didn’t in violence, and number two, I believed that yeah, you can impose fear on people but they’re not going to respect you.

                        The minute that they can realize, “Hey, the government can take my family away and put them on the protective custody then I would tell.” I spend thousands and thousands of dollars doing what I did and thank God no one ever got arrested. I remember one of my good friends died. When he died, the first thing that we did was we bought the wife a house. Then we set up a fund, he only had a little girl. Set up a fund so that that little girl would have school fees. She was, at that time, maybe three, four years old, so we paid for her private school all the way through high school and all the way through college.

                        Then we sent the wife $3000 a month. A lot of money in the ‘80s. Why would I do that? Number one, the wife did not know anything about us. The husband was dead. I did that because number one, it was the right thing to do, and number two, other people were looking at it and seeing what I did. They felt that “Hey, we’ll die for Jorge because this guy, he doesn’t abandon us when it gets dark.” I earned tremendous respect from them. When I started my company with my wife, the first thing that we did was dedicate our company to God. We just felt that “Hey, if we do that, we will be blessed.” It was tough because we would come Monday morning, have a devotional, have no jobs. At the end of the devotion, we would begin to get jobs for the rest of the week until Friday.

                        Sometimes I used to say, “God, give me some jobs first.” The following week man ... you send him weekly to weekly, and I’m here staying on my knees and perhaps that was where I needed to be. One of the things that we did at the beginning is we set up a profit share, and we would have what we call rolling quarters.

                        In other words, in rolling quarters, we got our managers to sit down, and to realize how much it was costing us to run the company. As an accountant, I had daily financial statements because I believe that you’ll never miss a two hundred, three hundred, five hundred, depends on how large your company is, or a thousand dollars but eventually, all those little two, three hundred, five hundred, thousand will become 10,000, 20,000, 50,000 before you catch it. By then, it’s too late. One of the things that we did is we would let employees set expectations of what they could produce for the following month. We compare everything to the same month a year before.

                        Having disaster restoration was really difficult to pre-plan anything because a catastrophe did not have a calendar. We knew cycles, and we know in the winter there could be frozen pipes. We know in the summer there were hurricanes. We knew different things like that. Why did I do that? Why would I give the employees a percentage of the profits every month? Really simple because even though we paid our employees better for the labor they produce in the same industry than anybody else would pay them, here they were collecting checks sometimes for 30, 40, 100 thousand dollars.

                        As their human nature kicks in, they look at those checks and wow, we’re making Jorge rich without realizing the thousands of dollars that are going out every month to pay and to keep the company running. With that in mind, with the win-win situation, we always made sure that we stressed that you know what, we’re going to put our company first ahead of our needs. We didn’t buy a car for years. We drove an old pickup truck until we built a company that could afford to buy us a nice car.

                        For many years, our employees had much nicer cars than we did. There were times when they knew that the cash flow was slow, that we didn’t have enough money to pay their salaries and ours but we always paid theirs first. When times came that we missed two and three weeks without cashing in our salary, and they knew our lives because we were like a family. Many of them would come to us and say, “You know what, I can hold my check for two weeks, three weeks. I have enough savings.” I always refused that because I believed that if I put the needs of my employees first, as a Christian, it was just simple. Put the needs of others ahead of yourself. Love others as you love yourself.

                        As we created this win-win situation, to me, it was one of the most important things in our company. Actually, one of the reasons why I believe we grew as we grew, part of our win-win situation was that we gave back. We allowed our employees to see that we gave back. We gave 10% right off the top, and that was difficult. I’m not going to sit here and tell you, “Give 10%, everything is going to be fine. God is going to bless you because he’s so biblical.” Forget about the bible, forget about any of that. Whenever I mention the bible, really, in reality, I’m talking about extracting the moral principles that are in it. This is not a podcast to convert anyone or to talk about religion.

                        When I mention it, it’s because it’s what’s important in my life. It’s part of my story. To negate that would be to just be fake, and not to tell you really the truth. I believed in that principle of giving because even there were times when we said, “Okay, you know what, we can’t go on vacation this year. We don’t have enough money to go out to the movies this weekend or to go out to dinner.” But we knew one thing, that 10% that we gave to people will make a much bigger difference in many lives because yes, we couldn’t go to the movies, wow, what a tragedy.

                        There were people that didn’t have a roof over their head. There were people that were struggling to figure out. How are they going to feed their family? Part of our win-win attitude is we realize that there were a lot of issues that single moms were facing as they work. Many of them, especially when the children were little, had to leave the office, had to go take care of their children, had to run errands for the children, had to take the children to a doctor. With that, we sat down, my wife and I, and we decided, “You know what, let us build a nursery, and let the employees pay $25 a week.”

                        Now, $25 a week, as you know, for daycare is nothing. In reality, it wasn’t the $25 that we care about. The reason that we were charging $25 was so that they felt that they were part of this, that they had ownership in this enterprise.  We let them decorate the room. We took a space of 20 by 20. We hired a lady that knew how to take care of kids and had experience, and then one of the only conditions that we put was that every break that that mother took whether it was a midday break or midmorning break or a lunch break, she had to spend it with her child.

                        It was amazing to see the impact that that had. When we looked at it, all it took was some space, pay someone ... at that time, I think we were paying the lady $400 a week. This was in the mid-'90s, so we’re paying anywhere between $350 to $400 a week for that person. It might seem like a lot but at the end of the day, it was the cheapest thing that we paid for. Why? Because no longer were employees having to leave the office. No more were employees worried about what was happening with their child. No more was a mother worried about what time she needed to run out so that she could make a doctor’s appointment. They had total flexibility.

                        What we begin to see was that when a mother had to take their child to the doctor during the day, number one, the first thing that many of them did without us asking, was they would stay after hours and finish their job. Did they love the company because what other company provided daycare? We were making a million dollars a year. When you think about $16,000, $15,000, whatever it was that it was costing us, it was nothing compared to the loyalty that we got. Nothing compared to the goodwill that we got with our employees, and nothing compared to us giving back. Giving back to our employees, empowering mothers not to have to worry and to sacrifice, wondering what was happening with their child.

                        If a mother felt anything was wrong, all she needed to do was just go to the nursery and see her baby. If she needed to stop work and deal with some issues, there was no problem. There was no restraint. She had complete freedom to do this. That’s a hell of a lot better than many mothers leaving the workplace saying they had to take their child to a doctor when in reality, they don’t, or a lot of mothers not coming to work because their child might just be a little sicky when in reality, he was fine.

                        It was amazing the result that we saw but again, it was all part of a win-win attitude. When we live a selfish life where it’s all about us and not others. When we don’t care what happens to others, all we care is about the bottom line. When people become nothing but an item in that enterprise. When they become a number, in other words, she’s supposed to produce X, she’s supposed to produce Y. When people become nothing but that then in reality, what ends up happening is every minute an employee has, they will take advantage of it.

                        I always say that the number one reason employees leave the workplace is not because of lack of money, it’s because of not being appreciated. Think about what it costs companies in turnover. Think about what turnover costs companies day in and day out, across America, across the world. It’s amazing if we only appreciate our employees. If they become something more than just a simple number or a simple asset that will produce X, it’s amazing how much we will save our company. At the end of the day, we live in a culture that is about me. Me, me, me. It’s not about he, she, he, she. Therefore, when somebody ends up costing us more than we think, we dispose of them.

                        It doesn’t matter what situation they’re in. It doesn’t matter how much they’re hurting. It doesn’t matter what challenges they’re facing in life. We don’t care. In our win-win attitude, we did everything that we could to make sure that number one, our employees would have a safe vehicle to come to the office. Many times, we financed. Another thing that we did is we made sure that we helped our employees to buy their first home. I’m feeling proud to realize that yes, many of our employees did. Every time that we had a good month, there was a bonus for everybody. One of the things we did in the summer is we began to let the office personnel rotate and take a Friday off.

                        That day, they ended up having a four day week but they rotated, they drew numbers what Friday they would take, and it made them unbelievably ... when they came back, sometimes they didn’t work eight hours. They worked nine, ten, eleven hours because they felt that they had an obligation to go ahead and fulfill their commitment. We didn’t demand out of them, it was just the outcome of the goodwill that we earned by giving them a Friday afternoon or giving them a long weekend. Another thing that we did to create a culture that our employees were happy and where they felt that the company was part of their own family is that we ended up putting TVs, and we told employees, “Listen if you want to take a break,” and we had a lounge with a coffee shop.

                        I said, “Look if you want to take a break during the day and it is not your break time, and you don’t have a child to go to the nursery with, take a break. Turn the TV on. Watch the news. Watch Oprah. Watch whoever you want to watch. It doesn’t matter to me.” I never said, “If you do this, you have to,” because then that is quid pro quo, right? If you watch the TV, you’ve got to work that X amount of hours. Listen, it’s amazing what people will do when you go first, and you empower them, and you put them first. You don’t have to demand something in return. Human nature is that they will give it back.

                        Those employees that are selfish, and will do nothing but take, take, take, and give nothing back, you’re not going to have to fire them because they didn’t give back, and they watched Oprah. You’re going to fire them because there will be a lot of things that they will do that will go ahead and just show you how selfish they are, and how they care nothing about themselves because it’s very interesting. One bad apple will ruin a whole bunch, and that is true. Like I tell parents when you think that your good child can hang around with a bad kid, and change them, and convert them, and make them good, you’re so wrong.

                        One bad kid will make 100 good kids bad. One good kid will not make one bad kid good. It’s not that a kid is good or bad, I’m talking about the lifestyle that that child has chosen to live. To me, every child is precious. To me, every child was born with an amazing gift from God and unbelievable potential. It’s just the circumstances of their surrounding. Just the circumstances of parents out of control. When I say one bad kid, I’m not saying one bad kid because that kid is bad, I’m just saying one bad kid that is exemplifying behaviors that are just not correct. One bad kid that might like to steal. One kid that doesn’t have any respect for others.

                        He wasn’t born like that. It’s just we look at the hatred that exists in the world today. People are not racist by birth, it is a learned behavior. When we see parents tell their kids horrible things about another person because of their color or race, and that’s all that child sees, how’s he or she going to become? In a win-win culture, that doesn’t exist. In a win-win culture, when you even deal with your children, you let them know that listen, it’s not all about you, it’s about us as a family. There’s no I in the team. I might sound like a cliché but it’s so real. If you tell your children that from a young age, if you give them a culture where you go first, and when you show them that, “Listen, I’m out here busting my rear end to create a better world for you. To provide an opportunity that I might never have had. To allow you to live a better life, a fruitful life.”

                        There are consequences and there is he or she who much has been given, much is expected. The problem is that we give, give, and don’t expect anything in return from our children. It’s not that we need something in return, it’s a matter of teaching them to give back. A child only becomes who you are. I tell this to my children, I tell this to my girls and boys. I tell my boys, “Listen, the man that you become is the man that your son will become. The way you treat your wife will be the way your son treats her.” My daughter, I have one that’s already married. Amazing, married to a wonderful young man. I tell the other ones, “When you marry somebody, if that person abuses you, I have no doubt that you’re going to say, no, I don’t know how to take that crap because I saw how my father treated my mother.”

                        That’s very, very important because children are like a sponge, they’re looking. So, in a win-win attitude in the family, in a win-win attitude in your marriage, is it all about you? That’s how it used to be for me, and it nearly cost me my marriage. I remember whenever I wanted to say a barbeque, I waited until Mother’s Day, and I said, “Honey, look what I got for you, a barbeque.”

                        She didn’t want any barbeque, I wanted the barbeque. We were able to buy our first good vehicle. It was a Land Rover. I remember telling my wife, “Look, the amazing car that I got for you.” Well, she didn’t want the Land Rover. She hated big cars. All she wanted was a smaller vehicle. But I didn’t. I wanted that, and I used Christmas as an opportunity to tell my wife how generous I was giving her that wonderful vehicle. As a result of all that, as a result of not having a win-win in my marriage, I almost lost the most amazing woman God ever created.

                        I had to learn a lot [inaudible 00:23:56] and to save my marriage. Today, 23 years married and 25 years together, the thought of spending a minute away from my wife just hurts me. The thought of spending the rest of my life without her, I’d rather die. That is the truth. That’s how I feel. You know how you really love someone, when you realize what it is that you truly love someone, to me, I learned that the day I realized that to spend the rest of my life without my wife broke my heart. That is because my wife is everything. I had to create an attitude of a win-win in our marriage. It wasn’t about me.

                        For many years, it was, that’s all that mattered. For many years it was just like ... in the cartel, I would tell people, “Listen, we will die for each other,” and there was a time when I got shot at 28 times going to a house in the middle of the night to get my partner out because he was being shot at. Thank God I didn’t even get a scratch but I said, “You know what, I’m willing to die for anyone of my employees because faithfulness is everything. Then I look back at what I hypocrite I was. I cheated on my first wives. They didn’t deserve that. They were good women, and it was me who was a scumbag. I was never able to realize when I could have a good marriage, why it was that I kept having divorced.

                        I used to think that it was because I kept marrying the wrong women. No, I didn’t marry the wrong woman. Each and every one of them would have been an amazing wife. The problem was I finally realized that the common denominator in my failed divorces was me. I kept bringing myself into the marriage. It wasn’t until the day that I changed, the day that I realized I needed to look at the pain of my wife and not mine. I needed to love my wife the way God loved me, unconditionally. The way he loved me when I was the scum of the earth. He didn’t love me when I became a good person. He loved me when I was in the deepest of all sin.

                        The day I could learn to love my wife that way. The day I could put a win-win where my wife came before me. As a result, she’ll take care of me. We must learn in life that the only way we create win-win situations is when we do things unconditionally. When we express love when we express appreciation unconditionally because if not, it’s not a win-win. It’s just a result of a condition. As you build a strong mindset, one of the most critical components that I teach those that I coach is to create a win-win. To create a win-win in their family, to create a win-win in their children, to create a win-win in the workplace. Usually, the first step in creating a win-win is when you put the needs of others before you. Think about that today.

                        Thank you so much for listening to another episode of the Narco Mindset podcast. My name is Dr. Jorge Valdes. If you enjoyed this episode, sign on to our website, sign on to our community, get a free copy of my book, and share the message with others. I can’t do this alone. I’m on a mission, and you can join that mission. Together, we can change the world for better even if it’s just changing one person at a time. Everyone is struggling. Everyone is hurting. Everyone is need of some hope. Everyone is in need of some redemption. Sometimes I feel that most of us change when we see that somebody has changed.

                        If Jorge Valdes was able to change, any human being can change. It’s how bad you want it. Again, thank you for listening to the Narco Mindset podcast. Tune in next week for another episode. God bless you. Have a wonderful week.

OUTRO:            We’ve come to the conclusion of this episode of the Narco Mindset podcast but your path towards hope, meaning and redemption continues. For more information and resources to help you on your path towards finding a life built on integrity, honor and truth, head to jorgevaldesphd.com, and join our community. We appreciate you joining us for this episode, and look forward to helping you find your turning point right here on the Narco Mindset podcast.