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Jul 6, 2016

Brian Scudamore is the Founder and CEO of 1-800-Got-Junk? and has been running the company since 1989. Since then, he has started several companies like Shack Shine, You Move Me, and Wow 1 Day Painting. Today, Brian and I discuss the process of how he comes up with big vision ideas and how he's able to get his team to execute them.

After growing his company to a million dollars in 1997, Brian found himself depressed and comparing himself to other extremely successful people around him. He was a high school and university dropout and didn’t have a lot of money at the time. So he decided to stop the negative thinking and thought about what his company would’ve achieved without him. 

What could the future feel and act like? Right then and there, Brian took out a piece of paper and started to write down his visions and his dreams for the company he had built. Brian calls this process the 'painted picture', because a picture says a thousand words and he put a thousand words on paper to create the vision for his company.

The painted picture process is incredibly simple. It starts with the person being in an inspirational place. Then they just have to take out a piece of paper and write very specific and intentional language. Brian didn't write, 'I hope to be' or 'I want to be', he wrote, 'I will be'. He gave himself incredibly specific goals, in this particular case, a five year goal to achieve his big vision.

After writing out the big idea, he added color to the picture. What would we feel like as a company, what would the culture be like? How would the brand be presented to the world?


  • What is your top-line revenue?
  • How many people are on your team?
  • How would your people describe the culture of your company when talking to a family member?
  • What is the press saying about your business? Be as specific as possible: what would your local paper say about your company? What would your favorite magazine say?
  • What do your people love about your vision and where the company is headed?
  • How would a customer describe their experience with you? What would they say to their best friend?
  • What accomplishment are you most proud of? What accomplishment are your people most proud of?
  • What do you do better than anyone else on the planet?
  • Describe your office environment and culture in detail.
  • Describe your service area. Who are your customers and how do they feel?

When he was finished, he was surprised by the results. As he re-read what he wrote down, Brian realized what he wrote was absolutely possible, so he shared it with his team.

As the staff read his vision for the future, some became excited and 100% on board, but others decided it was best to leave as that did not match their ideal environment. When companies are often facing big shifts like this, they can experience huge turnovers by the team. While this is good in the long-run, it can be be difficult keeping up with demand on short staff and sometimes painful in the short-run.

Brian believes it's best to come up with a vision about where you're going and then recruit the who - the people that will help figure out how to get there. However, the one thing a painted picture will not do or even tries to do, is say how to get there.

The reason for this is that the CEO doesn't always know best. His team will sometimes have a better execution plan than he will. It also prevents the CEO or founder from getting cold feet when he realizes the 'real' work involved. It can be scary to plan accordingly, especially if you don't even have the current team in place for it.


Interview Links:
Painted Picture Visualization
1-800 Got Junk Website
Good to Great by Jim Collins

Brian on LinkedIn
Twitter - @brianscudamore
Facebook -
Instagram - brianscudamore


More Resources:  Learn about how growth coaching can help you and and your business see big results.

Scaling Up Business Growth Workshops: Take the first step to mastering the Rockefeller Habits by attending one of our workshops.

Bill on YouTube: Short videos to keep you Scaling Up.


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Scaling Up is the best-selling book, by Verne Harnish and the team at Gazelles, on how the fastest growing companies succeed where so many others fail. My name is Bill Gallagher and I'm a certified Gazelles business coach. 

We help leadership teams to get the 4 Decisions around People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash right so that they can Scale Up successfully and beat the odds of business growth success. Our 4 Decisions are all part of the Rockefeller Habits 2.0 (from the original best-selling business book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits).