May 17, 2020

JF2084: Raising Your Performance With Robert Glazer #SkillsetSunday

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Robert is the founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners, a global performance marketing agency, and his newsletter is read by over 100,000 leaders each week. Robert also helps others build their capacities and raise their personal and professional performance. You will learn the four elements that he teaches others to help raise your performance.


Robert Glazer Background:

  • Founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners, a global performance marketing agency
  • Helps others build their capacities and raise their personal and professional performance
  • His newsletter is read by over 100,000 leaders each week
  • Based in Needham, MA
  • Say hi to him at 
  • Author of Elevate: Push Beyond Your Limits and Unlock Success in Yourself and Others

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Best Ever Tweet:

“What are the three most important things that I can do today that will move me towards my goal” – Robert Glazer


Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast, where we only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff. With us today, Bob Glazer. How are you doing, Bob?

Robert Glazer: Hey, Joe. How are you?

Joe Fairless: I am doing well, and welcome to the show. Best Ever listeners, first off, I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. Because today is Sunday, we have a special segment for you called Skillset Sunday. By the end of this conversation you will have a model for how to raise performance in your life, and maybe understand certain parts that are out of alignment. With us today to talk about capacity building and what the four elements of it are is Bob.

Bob is the founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners, a global performance marketing agency. He helps others build capabilities or capacities and raise their personal and professional performance. Based in Massachusetts. With that being said, do you wanna give the Best Ever listeners first a little bit about your background, then your focus, and then let’s roll right into capacity building?

Robert Glazer: Sure. My background is that of an entrepreneur, eventually… I started two businesses actually, 13 years ago; Acceleration Partners has gone on to become a 180-person global marketing services firm. We work with a lot of enterprise clients and help them build partnership programs. That’s  my day job.

My night job is I’ve always renovated, knocked down, tore down places that we’ve lived along the way, and done some real estate stuff on the side as well… But one of the things that I started a couple years ago was an email to my team every Friday about ideas around getting a little bit better. I thought I’d start sending it into the weekend; it really wasn’t about work, it was about improvement. We were growing a lot, and I felt like we would need to keep our team growing [unintelligible [00:04:45].28]

That email that I started sending to 30-40 people – they started sharing it with colleagues, friends and families, and a couple years later it was 100,000 people in 60 countries. That led me to — it’s called Friday Forward today. That led me to sort of look at the themes of these and why these notes were having an impact on people I hadn’t met, a lot of the changes I’d made in my life, and also how we had invested in people holistically, and they’ve grown with the business, and that all led to the same four elements of capacity building. It was the same pattern I had seen in my life, in those situations, and across every high-performer I had met.

Joe Fairless: Hm. Well, that’s phenomenal, to have an email that gets sent out to 100,000 people… And I wanna talk to you about your business, and then we’ll talk about what I teed up earlier… Because I’m personally curious about your business.

With that email, real quick – what’s your open rate?

Robert Glazer: It’s tricky… I think that opens about 30, and that’s what I can track. I know a lot of them are reposted in Slack channels and are sent through companies… So that’s the individual open rate from a percentage… But each one sometimes — I can see that it might be forwarded even 500 or 1,000 times.

Joe Fairless: That’s incredible. So you have 30,000 people at minimum opening up the email that you send out.

Robert Glazer: Yeah. It’s indicated on LinkedIn, when I was one of the first people to join their [unintelligible [00:06:07].18] program. I have 180,000 members of that series, so it also goes to all those people on Fridays as well.

Joe Fairless: Wow. In addition to the 30,000.

Robert Glazer: Yeah, in addition to the emails. I don’t know the exact reach, but at this point it’s over 100,000…

Joe Fairless: Yeah, it’s safe to say that, and you’re definitely covered. Alright, well I do wanna learn more about your company first, and then we’ll roll into the other stuff. So when I’m on your  site, I click “How can we help you” and then “What we do” and it’s affiliate program evaluation… So what exactly do you do for companies?

Robert Glazer: We help brands set up these affiliate or partner programs, where they partner with the people that you normally buy advertising from. People that have influence, audiences, otherwise… And instead of paying them for the advertising, they agree on a percentage or an outcome that they would have, and we track the whole thing, and then they’re paid on a successful completion. So for the company – you’re actually paying your marketing after you get a sale.

Amazon’s got one of the biggest affiliate programs in the world. You think about a lot of the podcasts that I’m on – you put a link to my book, you could join Amazon’s affiliate program and get 8% of everyone who buys my book off your site after listening to the episode. That’s what an affiliate program looks like.

Joe Fairless: Right, so that’s an affiliate program. I think a lot of people know what an affiliate program is. But what do you do exactly?

Robert Glazer: We help build and manage those programs for really large brands. Programs that have hundreds or thousands of partners in them. They’re very resource-intensive. So we’re out there recruiting and managing, and we’re an agency that focuses on helping global brands like eBay, Adidas otherwise build those programs.

Joe Fairless: Okay. So you find the affiliate partners and then you manage the payment and the structure for how they’re compensated…

Robert Glazer: Yeah, we work with a software that handles the actual payment… But yeah, we would help design the strategy, and incentives, and stay in touch with them every day… Most companies can’t support a program with 10,000 partners, that runs seven days a week, and people need stuff 24/7, so we built a company to do that.

Joe Fairless: Got it. And what’s your fee structure doing that?

Robert Glazer: We usually charge a fixed + performance. We can track exactly the performance of all these programs, but the determinant of our team sizes, how big the program is, what countries they wanna be in, where they want language coverage… So there’s some basic costs for setting that up. So it’s usually a hybrid model of a fixed fee + upside in the performance of the program.

Joe Fairless: Okay. And the last question on that is “What is the threshold in order for you all to work with a group or an event or an organization?” Because listeners of this podcast might not be the CEO of Coca-Cola, but they might have a very large following and they’re looking to host something where they could use these types of services.

Robert Glazer: Yeah, so we always say, people can reach out to us. We have a network of people that cover stuff that may not be a right fit for us; most of the companies we’re working with are doing in excess of 10 million in sales online, and that starts to have the kind of economics where the types of programs that we run make sense, where they really want kind of a half-time person at least kind of setting up and running that program.

Joe Fairless: Got it. So let’s talk about capacity-building and the four elements of it. I’m just repeating words, “capacity building” – I don’t even know what it is…

Robert Glazer: Alright, well I can give you the long answer and the short answer.

Joe Fairless: Okay…

Robert Glazer: The long answer – it’s the method by which individuals seek to acquire and develop the skills and ability to consistently perform at a higher level in pursuit of their innate potential. And the short answer is just actually how you get better.

Joe Fairless: And also it sounds like the seeking part is important, too.

Robert Glazer: Yeah, it starts with — so it’d be helpful to run through the four elements…

Joe Fairless: It would.

Robert Glazer: And these go in a specific order. So the first is spiritual capacity. And that is not religion, but it’s about understanding who you are, what you want, and the standards you wanna live and operate by, personally and professionally. This really manifests itself in understanding your core values, in even your purpose (your Why) and you’ve gotta know where you’re going and what your compass is. And I think to me – and we just did this for two days with a bunch of leaders in our company, and a lot of epiphanies on how people can really understand their core values; at lot of things start to make sense to them about  why things are working on not working in their life, and feel good or don’t feel good. So that’s sort of the direction…

Intellectual capacity for me is what you want, and then how do you get it. This is how you learn to improve your ability to think, learn, plan and execute with discipline, things like having a growth mindset, being proactive, setting short and long-term goals, establishing routines and habits and having accountability. It’s really the discipline piece of going after what you want.

Physical – we understand that more. I lift a weight every day, for a few weeks, and eight weeks later I can lift more weight. The same is true in all of these things – it’s more of an intellectual exercise than a physical. Physicals – your health, well-being, physical performance, how we get sleep, managing stress, embracing competition, building resilience… And then the last one is emotional capacity. That’s really  how you react to challenging situations, your emotional mindset and the quality of relationships around you. If the first three are really about you, emotional is like how you interact with the rest of the world, which is people, and also things that you don’t control. For instance, if it’s gonna rain tomorrow, are you someone who is stressed, looking at your weather app and moaning that it’s gonna rain tomorrow, or do you just bring a freakin’ umbrella and move on with the day? It’s a very different use of energy. People who are able to focus on controlling what they can control, and not the things that they don’t control.

Joe Fairless: Okay. So I understand each of those – spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional… Now, what do we do with this information?

Robert Glazer: This is the premise behind my latest book, Elevate, and talking about how to identify them, and some exercises in these things. So if we’re starting with the beginning, kind of give you an example of each one…

Spiritual – if you can’t articulate your core values, there are some exercises on how to do that. It becomes the most important thing if you can say “These are my core values.” You can put them on the desk as decisions, opportunities, partnerships, other things that come in front of you; if you’re able to use that as a litmus test, your decision-making will get so much better.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, I understand that.

Robert Glazer: So that’s the one thing you can do in spiritual. I’ll give you an example or two in each one. Intellectual – two things I think are really important. To me, it’s the sort of goal-setting alignment. I think a lot of us do goal-setting. We do one-year goal-setting, and we kind of hit them all… They just may not be the right things. One of the things I’ve really learned, that I’ve seen with people, is they reverse-engineer their most important goals. They take a five or a ten-year goal and they turn it into their one-year goal, and then their quarterly pieces, and the things that they wanna get done, and then they constantly realign around that, so that they’re getting the things done that are most important to them.

Also, really establishing for most people a morning routine or habits where they get up in the day, they don’t watch the news, they don’t check their phone… They sit down, they read, they write, they think, and they focus on “What are those three most important things that I can do today? Because those are towards my quarterly goal. If I get my quarterly goal – done. I’ll be towards my annual goal.” These are the people who are getting the big things done, where other people are getting lots of things off their checklist done, but aren’t really moving any of the big things forward.

On the physical side I think we’re all pretty stressed out, more than we need to be. We’re using our fight or flight mechanism all day long. One of the tips is finding some sort of event that you wanna do, whether it’s a 5k, or it’s a Spartan, or it’s an Olympic triathlon, and just paying the deposit fee. I have found that that is one of the single greatest motivators to force people.

They have gym memberships they don’t go to, or whatever, but signing up for something, and maybe something they haven’t done before, and that physically challenges them – they sign up, they’re forced to do the work, they feel better, they accomplish that,  and then they’re like “Huh… I can do that. Maybe I should sign up for a harder one.” This sort of interplay between physical and emotional to a resilience of – you do something you don’t think you can do, and then it changes your psyche about what you can do next.

Joe Fairless: When someone signs up for a Spartan race, why do you think giving that deposit is more incentive for them to reach their goals, versus a gym membership in January that they sign up for to be physically fit, as you mentioned? Because a lot of people don’t follow through with the gym membership.

Robert Glazer: The motivation actually wanes… So you sign up for the gym and you pay the money, and then the motivation kind of wanes.

Joe Fairless: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Robert Glazer: I think the reverse is true in these cases, where as the deadline looms, and that obligation looms, you feel really more committed and you have something  specific that you’re working for. So goals need to be specific, measurable. There’s the SMART acronym: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely… And there’s something about paying for the thing and just committing to do it that covers all of those… Because I have the time, I know what it is — for example for me, one of my core values is health and vitality, but I also like doing different things, and I like trying new things, so I merge those.

So by picking an event every year that’s a challenge, but that also me doing it results in training for four months that makes me healthier – it’s kind of one of those examples of alignment where I’m kind of getting everything that I want… Versus joining the gym can feel like the accomplishment, rather than going to the gym each day.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, it’s a great point.

Robert Glazer: And the crazy thing is the actual value to me, other than the psychological value of finishing that race that day, the value is actually in all the training, it’s not in the day. It’s all the work that has to go into getting there.

Joe Fairless: And emotional capacity?

Robert Glazer: So there’s a couple tricks here… One we did this week with a group that I find super-helpful is to make a list of three different types of relationships. One of the ones that you need to develop in your life for personal or professional success – which are the ones that are really productive, but you’re not giving a lot of time to, and you wanna double down on… And the third is the ones you need to start walking away from, and that your asset allocation is off. Spending more time with your underperforming assets.

I think a big trick I learned is that you don’t have to break up or have a whole thing, you just need to apply less time. When you put them in front of you and you say “Oh, Joe is a guy I wanna get to know, but I haven’t invited Joe to do anything in months”, and I look at that list and I say “Joe, let’s grab a drink next week.” And now suddenly Joe is on my schedule. I think that’s a really easy way to start shifting your relationships away from ones that maybe have run its course, towards ones that can help you get to where you wanna go… And surround yourself with the right people. The Jim Rohn quote – if you are the smartest person in the room, it’s probably time to switch rooms.

Joe Fairless: Mm-hm. And when you made that list for the whole audience, who are the people you listed as you wanna walk away from?

Robert Glazer: So I actually was leading this exercise… I have done this in the past, other people have done it, but – it was professional relationships, it was personal ones, where I was like “I like the people…”

One of the interesting things is that as you hone in on your core values, you start to see where you have philosophical mismatches with people, where you’re like “That’s a nice person, we just don’t see the world the same way.” And that’s why we keep bumping into these things. I’m giving myself permission to just not tell them we should catch up again next month if I don’t really mean that.

A lot of people, I would say, those lists had a lot of family on it. They had a lot of relationships in their family that were just draining to them. The definition of an energy vampire is someone you feel worse after spending time with. You actually walk away and feel worse, rather than energized.

And look, for some of those, those are close family relationships. What they’re not saying is “Oh, I’m never gonna talk to this person again” or “I’m gonna blow it up”, but like “You know what, it’s time for me to maybe move my hand away from the candle a little bit and put it elsewhere.”

Joe Fairless: When someone is going through this process and they’re reading Elevate, your book, or they’ve read through it, what is — you know what, you answered earlier; there is a specific linear process, so spiritual would be first then.

Robert Glazer: Yeah, I can give you [unintelligible [00:18:35].24] what happens when you’re really weak in one, or otherwise… But there’s a lot of people out there, or probably a lot of listeners, where if they don’t have clarity on the spiritual capacity, they actually may be really good on intellectual, physical and emotional. They are achieving at a high level, doing all this stuff, running a million miles an hour, doing really well at something that fundamentally doesn’t make them happy. They’re living someone else’s definition of success really well, they sort of achieve, but aren’t happy… The whole notion of the alignment in this framework is that if you’re getting what you want most, it should provide a deep sense of achievement. I know a lot of people who are doing really well in things that don’t make them happy at all.

Joe Fairless: When you have this conversation with groups and people, what are some objections or challenges that they come across when trying to really deep-dive and embrace this and act on it?

Robert Glazer: I don’t think there are any holistic ones. I talk a lot about morning routine, a lot of time there’s parents in there, and we modeled this [unintelligible [00:19:36].26] the last two days… Because there were a lot of these parents with little kids and they’d say “I get it. I get what you’re saying. Get up in the morning, don’t be reactive, don’t turn my phone on the news… But I’ve got kids that are in my room, they’re screaming, all this stuff…” And we tried this, because [unintelligible [00:19:50].16] They got up in the morning, they got out of bed, they did not turn on their phone, they read for ten minutes, they wrote for ten minutes, and they just sat quietly for ten minutes. Then we all did a workout for half an hour.

Then we all came back, got breakfast and started the day, and everyone’s like “I feel so much better today. I woke up, it wasn’t crazy, I was focused on offense…”

And to people with kids, I said “Look, it’d be lovely to have an hour and do this and get up earlier”, but if your kids are waking you at [5:45], obviously you’re not psyched to get up at [4:45]. What I’ve challenged everyone in this group and in previous groups is get up 15 minutes earlier — if your kids are your alarm, get up 15 minutes, earlier, make your coffee, write something in the journal… Have that 15 minutes, see how you feel. They have all told me it is a massive difference. And again, waking up to someone coming and yelling at you – it’s just not a great way to start your day.

Joe Fairless: And if it’s 15 minutes in, how do you divide up the 15-minute chunk of time?

Robert Glazer: You could even break those same things up…

Joe Fairless: Okay, five, five and five?

Robert Glazer: Yeah, five, five and five. This notion of habit stacking… So if you have coffee every day and you’ve never written in a journal, and you just say “Look, I’m actually gonna buy something like the five-minute journal, which takes five minutes, and I’m gonna do that journal while my coffee is brewing. I’m gonna go down, turn on the coffee, I’m gonna take minutes to just write, check in for the day, and then my coffee is done.” You’ve actually combined something that you’re already doing.

Joe Fairless: Anything that we haven’t talked about as it relates to capacity-building that you think we should, in this conversation?

Robert Glazer: Just only that I think we all get out of balance in these areas. They’re really interconnected, and it’s important to sort of be aware of that. So take physical as an example. If I am really stressed, I’m not getting a lot of sleep, I’m exhausted – that affects my ability to learn, the intellectual capacity, it affects my discipline, I’m less patient with people, so it affects my relationships because I’m sort of cranky… So I think it’s just a little bit of an awareness of sometimes where we’re off. These things always go out of balance… But you meet someone at the party and they can tell you their core value and their core purpose; they have long-term goals, short-term goals, a morning routine, an accountability group, they’re exercising, they’re getting a good amount of sleep, and they’re eating well, and they have really great relationships in their life, that are positive, and they’ve eliminated a lot of bad people in their life. Most of those people are gonna be crushing it.

You’re not gonna meet a lot of people that are doing all those things and floundering throughout life… Versus — I joke in the book about this archetype Steve. You meet Steve, and Steve doesn’t know what he wants, the thinks he can’t learn anything, he’s drinking too much, eating too much, exhausted, he’s pissing everyone off… How many of those people are really doing well. So I think you can see when you look at the two extreme examples… I just think that these are not new concepts. I would just bucket them away to make them accessible to people, because I think these four things cover virtually almost all aspects of self-improvement.

Joe Fairless: How can the Best Ever listeners learn more about what you’re doing? And I’ll put a link to Elevate, to purchase that on Amazon, as well.

Robert Glazer: Yeah. If you’re interested on the business side, Or you can google that. Friday Forward, my podcast, and my book are all

Joe Fairless: Thank you so much for talking to us about capacity building, spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional… You got into details within each of those. I enjoyed a lot of it, in particular the emotional part, where you’re creating that list of three types of relationships – I think it’s something that we should all do and check in with ourselves on. How often do you think we should do it? Six months?

Robert Glazer: Look, if you keep it, for a lot of people — there’s a tool I have on the site called “The Whole Life Dashboard” that lets you build this for your morning routine… But I think you keep that in your peripheral vision. So as you’re going through each week, you see your lists. To me, the three of each is just a starter, but ideally you’d have it longer… And as you’re scheduling your priorities in that stuff and you’re looking across it, suddenly you start scheduling these people into your priorities. That’s why I try to create this one-page document that keeps all these important things in my periphery, so when I’m doing that morning routine I’m kind of reprioritizing every day.

Joe Fairless: Thanks for being on the show. I hope you have a best ever weekend, and we’ll talk to you again soon.

Robert Glazer: Thanks again.

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