At first, Jon Dwoskin was not happy with his father Marc’s announcement.
“When I was 18, he signed me up for a time management class, telling me, ‘If you can master your time, you can master your life,’” Dwoskin said. “I said, ‘That is the most ridiculous thing — I am not spending a weekend doing that.’ Well, now I have spent my life studying it.”
Marc also gave his son some tapes by Brian Tracy and other business gurus, promising, “You will learn more from these types of people than you will in college.” Dwoskin dutifully popped them into his Walkman “and the minute I put it in my ears I knew this is what I wanted.”
Some 25 years later, Dwoskin, 44, is more confident than ever of the path he has taken as an executive adviser and business coach. After establishing an internet company and selling commercial real estate, he launched the Jon Dwoskin Experience in 2015.
“My sweet spot is really understanding how companies operate,” he explained. “When a client is successful but stuck, they work with me to get to their next level — to grow the bottom line, their culture and their business, and get their company to a place where they are continually growing, healthy and thriving.”
“It’s about a character who is successful but stuck. Through a string of coincidences and people he meets, he rebuilds his company and his soul,” Dwoskin said. “It’s told as a fable so even if you’re not a business person you can really connect and relate.”
Last March, Dwoskin received a phone call from Waldorf Publishing, which liked his LinkedIn profile and thought he’d be perfect to write a business book.
“I’ve always wanted to write books, and I have four backpacks of my business writing under my bed, but I knew I would need a co-writer,” Dwoskin said. The publisher introduced him to AJ Riley, a history teacher in Dallas, and the men hit it off during a six-hour dinner with their wives. To create the book, the men met via Skype and Google Documents each Sunday at 9 p.m.
“We would talk for one or two hours and then write all week,” Dwoskin said. “The book took on a life of its own — it evolved to almost what the book was dictating to us. We had to listen and follow the instincts of where it was going.”
Fittingly, a key character is named Marc, a fact Dwoskin got to share with his father shortly before he passed away last summer.
Meanwhile, Dwoskin continues his business consulting for C-level executives — those at the top of an organization. Though they have demonstrated success to get to that level, many executives find it can be lonely at the top, he said.
“They don’t have anyone to talk to a lot of the time, and they get very stuck in their business. I help them clarify objectives, identify where the gaps are and give them a road map on how to implement them,” Dwoskin said. “I can see things they can’t see and hear things they can’t hear or are ignoring. I consider myself a little of a business whisperer.”
Bigger in not necessarily better for companies, Dwoskin said, but it is essential to look forward. “I define thinking big as doing small things every single day that compound over time to grow your business. If you are not forward thinking, you put your business at risk at some level.”
He uses the examples of Uber and Airbnb, two companies that have changed the landscape of their industries without owning a single product. “Who would have thought that 10 years ago? Or that Macy’s and Kmart would be closing stores? That Amazon would be the biggest retailer?”
Dwoskin places a high premium on keeping his services confidential. But Adam Lutz, CEO of Lutz Real Estate Investments and Q10 Capital, is happy to admit he’s used Dwoskin’s services and has recommended other clients to follow suit.
“We were going through some transitions, and he was immediately creative and helpful with both my businesses,” Lutz said. “He is excellent at breaking down the situation, deciphering where there are communication issues and helping to alleviate that. Even the salespeople on our team who were skeptics have been converted because he never put them down or in a defensive position — he teaches them ways to make more money, and everyone appreciates that.”
Dwoskin is just as committed to volunteer work. He sits on the board of Hebrew Free Loan and was on the Rabbi Search Committee at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield. He’s also been involved with the Jewish Federation and its Young Adult Division (now NEXTGen Detroit), World ORT and others. A testicular cancer survivor, he mentors men going through the same thing with the Chicago-based group Imerman Angels.
“I have committed myself to being hands-on and making a difference,” he said.
Nothing, though, comes before family. “We spend a ton of time together,” Dwoskin said of wife, Joanna, a nurse and Reiki healer, and children Jacob, 14, and Aria, 11. “To me, that’s what it’s all about.”
The habits his father helped instill decades ago still have an enormous influence. “Not a day goes by that I am not reading a book or article or listening to a podcast,” Dwoskin said. “I study my craft every day — every day.” •
WORDS OF WISDOM
“As business owners and C-level executives, it’s common for what once was our passion to slowly become our prison,” Jon Dwoskin notes. “Make a conscious effort to break through daily habits of complacency and re-examine the fundamentals that got you to where you are.”
From his “Think Big” strategies:
• Make time for yourself: Have a morning ritual; don’t just wake up and go to work.
• Prepare. Prepare. Prepare: Always end each day preparing for tomorrow.
• Have integrity: Always do what you say you are going to do. You run the risk of ruining your company when your team sees you as wishy-washy.
• Be like McDonald’s: Have a system, process and solid operations in every aspect of your business. Be a well-oiled machine.
• Leave them alone: Let others know what your expectations are and let them ﬂy. Nothing kills creativity faster than micromanaging.
• In vs. on: Many executives are working too much “in” their business and not enough “on” their business. Delegate authority and projects.
• Treat your clients like gold: Always communicate how special they are to you. Create raving fans and your biggest cheerleaders out of these clients. If not, they will become cheerleaders for someone else.
• Keep an idea journal: They will begin to morph together to create the ultimate idea that will create a paradigm shift in your organization. Have fun with this one!
• Please, be quiet: Make it a habit to not interrupt people. Keep paper in front of you and always write down your thoughts and next questions and let people have the ﬂoor.
• Get the scoop: Have an “undercover spy” who is the secret eyes and ears of the organization to give you the inside scoop on all the drama, issues and real feedback you need. This is a secret weapon for keeping, reﬁning and growing your company and culture.
Learn more at jondwoskin.com. “Think Big” can be pre-ordered through Target, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. Dwoskin is excited to promote it at a New York City book expo in May.
Joyce Wiswell Special to the Jewish News