Ervin “Earl” Cobb believes that, while technology may have disrupted the foundation of family life, creating a realistic perspective on the advent of technology can actually make us even more content and happy. Host Adam Markel interviews Earl Cobb, an accomplished corporate executive, entrepreneur, and author. Earl gives us a glimpse of his rags-to-riches story, from being born in the heart of segregation to having a successful and rewarding corporate career. As we’re living in an interesting time where numerous technologies are changing the face of our society, learn why Earl has never felt poor or disadvantaged and has been happy with life.
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Finding Happiness In The Advent Of Technology with Ervin “Earl” Cobb
I never thought of myself as an optimist. If I look back far enough into my attitudes, I’ve always looked for what was right in the world and what was right in situations before I would look anywhere else. That does make me an optimist but I’m not a blind optimist. With everything that’s been going on in our country and elsewhere in the world, it’s been a call to action for me to be looking more critically at things and not running the risk of burying my head in the sand with that optimism. It is a beautiful day and I say that not because everything in the world is perfect or because everything in my own life is perfect at this moment or ever but because we’re alive and breathing. I am alive and breathing and that is a profound blessing. One that I don’t want to take lightly. I am feeling incredibly lucky and blessed not only to be with you but to also have a great guest. His name is Earl Cobb and he has an incredible rags-to-riches success story. He is a serial pivotor and he’s a publisher. He’s an author of ten books on his own and with his bride of 37 years. We’ve got a lot in common. Earl Cobb, welcome to the show. It’s great to have you with us, Earl.
Thanks for the invitation. I’m glad to be here.
You’ve done a lot of things. I would love it if you’d give us a little survey of your history, of your bio in a condensed format. I’d love for people to know a little bit about how it is that you have come to be where you are.
My history fits very well in the complete unabridged American history. I don’t say that unabridged occasionally because that’s the case. Most students who’ve gone to school in this country say in the last 40 years haven’t gotten all of America’s history, which to me, there’s a lot of richness that a lot of people don’t have and which might be some of the issues that we’re going through this next 100 years of existence here. I was born in a little town. When I say little, it was about 2,000 people in middle Georgia, right in the heart of segregation. My mom and dad never went to school. My dad was a painter, a carpenter and a barber on the weekends. My mom had eight kids and I’m one of eight. During all of the time, growing up, two things never ever entered when I was young into my thoughts. I never thought that I was poor or disadvantaged and I never felt that within my family and my community and the constraints that we were in that we could have been any happier.People wake up, enjoy their family, and don't think about other stuff. Click To Tweet
Coming out of that loving family environment and small-town southern environment 47 years later, life’s been good. I would never have imagined that I would have had the opportunities, the income and the associated wealth that has come with that. When I was a little kid in Georgia during the summers, making go-karts because I was known as the maker. Every summer I’d make something. That’s probably why I went into engineering. Within those 47 years, there are a couple of engineering degrees. There’s an excellent training program with Honeywell and Motorola. There’s a wife of 37 years and three grandkids, Jordan, Jayton and a granddaughter.
I’m fortunate enough to have enough opportunities and worked for enough companies earlier on where there were things called fixed pensions and a lot of bonuses and also ran a venture company with some luck. I’m semi-retired. You never retire but I got out of corporate life back in 2008 with my last stint at Wells Fargo where I ran all of their critical data centers before they bought and integrated all of their data centers with Wachovia. At that point, I wrote my first book on leadership called Focused Leadership. If you get that book and you read the first intro, the first part, I’ll tell you what that was all about. It was my pivot. It was my realizing that I don’t have that Blackberry connected to me anymore. That I’ve got some options because my wife was still actively involved in her third career, believe it or not. I’ve always wanted to communicate in writing and people always say, “Earl, what are you going to do when you stop getting off airplanes and flying around the world and building things and leading people?” I said, “I’m going to get this out and I’m going to write.” They say, “Engineers don’t write.”
I was an engineer for the first few years of my career and the last several years of my career I was a communicator as a senior executive. That’s what it was all about. Even in some of my seminars and presentations, particular to the project managers, I let them know that if you’re a senior manager, you don’t produce anything. People who work for you produce things. In that is where I had the gift of the message and back in the earlier days, we didn’t have the Zooms and all of this. You wrote memos, letters and get communication meetings where you had to go to every location to sit up and talk to your people and meet people. That’s how I marked into enjoying this publishing business. I say that with a small p because the nice thing about what I’ve been able to do with RICHER Press, which is a part of our company, is that when I get up in the morning, I’ve got over 40 authors that I’ve published in a market that I promote. Unlike when I was in Corporate America, everybody that calls my number are in my life because I want them in my life.
I want to circle back to a couple of things you said at the beginning. First of all, thank you for sharing a little bit more in depth about how it is that you’ve navigated in the last several years, your career and otherwise. The math isn’t adding up. Before I get into these other things, I want to talk to you about something. You said 47 years.
I want to get back to something you said earlier, which was that you grew up in a small town and didn’t have a lot but there were two things that were true for you. At least this is the outset and the track I want to follow. One, that you never felt poor or disadvantaged and two, that you couldn’t imagine yourself being any happier. This is growing up in a family of eight in a small-town place with not a whole lot financially. That is very telling to me of what is possibly missing in our world. We’re living in a very interesting time.
I look at things in a way that says, “Everything’s always happening for good.” We may not see what that good is. There’s that old expression, “Everything happens for a reason.” I always found that to be an expression that didn’t bring me a lot of comfort. It didn’t until I realized it wasn’t necessarily a complete statement. Everything happens for a reason and then instead of a period, you can put a comma there and complete that by saying, “That reason is there to serve.” What’s the service that comes out of that thing? It could be a child that passes away. It could be anything that’s on the outer edge of what you think that would be inconceivable or irreconcilable or something you could never get past, even the worst of those types of things or even tragedies. You say, “What could come out of this?”
If we look at it through the lens of that it will serve someone, it might serve me, it might serve my community and it might serve people that I can’t even imagine at the moment. It changes things in a great way. I don’t look at what’s happening in our world, even the divisiveness in and of itself as being a bad thing but there’s no question that it is causing disruption and pain for a lot of folks. What seems to be not present in the world we’re in is what you described. I’m curious whether you think social media, whether technology, because you were in the tech space, you’re an engineer and you’re in the information. You were involved directly in the information side of technology. That technology and that information has only made communication more possible. It’s made it cheaper and it’s made it to the point where the work that people do is possible from anywhere all over the world. Remote working has created a revolution. The possibility of what remote working is only expected to increase. More people are going to work virtually tomorrow than it did now and many years now, it could be 80% or 90% of our workforce is working remotely. Communication advances have been very positive.Take the time to get clarity, and respond. Click To Tweet
I look and say, “Growing up and not knowing that you are poor or not ever thinking of yourself as poor, not ever thinking of yourself as disadvantaged and that being coupled with this feeling that you are happy.” Do you think technology has disrupted that foundation of family life to the point where people look at others and the kids know they’re poor? All you’ve got to do is get on Facebook and at least, there’s this idea that other people have a lot more going on for them than maybe you do. What are your thoughts on that, Earl?
My answer to your question would be a conditional yes. For me, it gets back to one of my favorite fables and it goes back to some Socrates writings. He presents this fable about this man that was living in the cave time. There was no Facebook or anything back then but they had a routine. The men would go out hunting and bring back the food and give it to the woman. The woman will cook the food and before they would go and have dinner, remember they worked all day. They come back and the sun had set. They had lit a fire. They’d all sit on these rocks and face this cliff with the fire behind them. They would see the shadows on the cliffs in which they believed were the strengths that allowed them to return safely from hunting. That allowed them to be able to bring back food to feed their families over and over and generations to generations. One day, one of those men accidentally fell off the rock during that ceremony and looked around and saw that what they have been valuing for generations as their strength and telling them at the end of the day, “You did a good job,” was the shadow from the fire. When the guy saw that, he got back on the route and he tried to explain to them, “No way,” and he was never the same.
In my lectures, I call that a cognitive perspective and perspective is so important. We go back to when I was growing up. Why did I not feel poor? My mother and dad worked enough. We worked enough. I worked in the cotton fields in the summer. I enjoyed it and it was with the family. We always had something to eat and we always kept in mind what was important for us in the family. On top of that, my mom and dad, even though they didn’t have a high school education, they had a 72-year-old marriage before mom died first. Out of the eight kids, seven of them have at least Bachelor’s degrees. Six of them have Master’s degrees and two have PhDs because we were immersed in reading and in education.
In getting a realistic perspective of the world that we had to understand that we were a small part of. This is not our world, we are part of it and for me, that’s the difference. You got technology but the country has tens of millions of young people and students that have the same Facebook issues, communications but why do they still not go to jail and not get shot in the back and ended up going to Harvard, UCLA and Arizona State or wherever and become the attorneys and get on the Supreme Court. It’s because they have a perspective and a support system that allows that to be. That conditional yes is yes but if you go back to the root cause is that it is so hard when you have generations of family. I’m not just talking about black families in the south, I’m talking about families in Kentucky or in Ohio where I lived. What’s been baked into their perspective and baked in their ability to do more and baked in the opportunities to get more education has been a perspective that has been set or established by the rules, regulations and institutions in which we all are part of or at least we live in.
Your perspective there is enlightening. It makes sense to me. The baking in process, sometimes you could call that programming. It’s the values that get passed down from one generation to another, whether a family is valuing education or perhaps it’s not. There’s a bit of that nature-nurture debate that goes on as well. I was thinking more along the lines of the fact that we’re living in less simple times. There’s no question that our times that we’re living in, there’s more access to information, more access to what other people are up to and that’s a good thing. There are tremendous benefits in that. I’m just questioning for myself as I was listening to you that at a simpler time when it wasn’t as easy for people to see into other people’s yards. There is that old expression that the grass is always greener.
With the advent of technology and in particular, certain social media that is so prevalent with people of all ages, it’s very easy to see other people’s yards. It’s very easy to see what other people are up to and when you’re a young person growing up to maybe not have had a lot, I grew up in a small little apartment and shared a room the size of a closet with my brother. My upbringing was very similar in the respect that we didn’t know we didn’t have a lot. It was difficult for us to know that because pretty much everybody, where we lived, had about the same. We could walk a mile or so and see that there were people that were living in single-family homes and that was certainly different than living in an apartment.
I had a sense that there was some economic difference there. Because it was less easy for me to know what people were doing elsewhere in the world and all that kind of thing, I feel like I didn’t know I was growing up without anything. I didn’t feel disadvantaged and I couldn’t have imagined myself being happier. It’s mostly an observation. I didn’t know if where you’re sitting now you think technology has created any challenges that we can’t reconcile. Are there things that you would say have to pivot in the tech space even to make it possible for people to return to some simpler understandings and whether that helps you, especially if you’re a grandfather, you must be thinking about those grandkids quite a lot.
My view is the opposite because the horse is out of the barn. We’re not going to stand in line at the bank on Saturdays anymore. That’s done and if you go back through time, automobiles when they first came out was as innovative or productive in terms of now we can have wheels and we can do things. That didn’t stop Henry Ford from understanding that, “I’ve got to make cars affordable so people can buy them and that people will buy them. They can have money to buy my cars.” I don’t think it’s a matter of technology or anything slowing down. It’s a matter of the mindset. There’s a reason why very few societies since the Incas have ever survived. There’s a reason why the British don’t have the empires and the Spaniards and it comes down to the human aspects of people in society and what people wish to do.Reading is the only way you can learn. Click To Tweet
We could be just as effective in terms of communications and all the tools that we have and be doing 180-degree the other way. We could have kids getting PhDs because they have access to the internet at age twelve. It could be going the other way, not adding to the distraction. It could be adding to the access, the growth and the development. It could be adding to bringing people together and it could be added to tearing down walls and not build them. It could be doing the opposite. It’s not the technology in my sense. It’s what we choose to do with that technology and to be even narrow, that we have always been an issue with me because that we are a very small percent of the population who have the wealth and the knowledge and who understands the power of divisiveness, that has something to gain. It’s not the majority of the people. The majority of people wake up like you and I and enjoy their family and don’t think about all this other stuff. The history has shown it’s always a few and even in a democracy that somehow, we’ll taint the opportunities for the vast majority because controlling the vast majority has always been a societal issue.
I didn’t expect that our conversation would take this turn, which is terrific. I’m always thrilled when we could follow the threads of things and hopefully, close some loops. I don’t know that we’re going to close this loop because it’s an open conversation about something deeply important. I’d love to know a little bit about your pivot story and you could share one of the more profound moments in your life where you did pivot. You said that you’d not only written ten books, you’ve been a part of writing ten books but you’d also read the book, PIVOT. Not every guest I have on the show has read the book or read the book entirely.
It took me about 30 minutes to read the first 50 pages.
Earl, how would you phrase what that is the beginning of the book, the first 50 pages?
Remember, I’m a publisher and I tell authors, “People don’t read nowadays.” If you take all the books that have sold in the world, it would probably be less than a tenth of 1% of the people in the world are buying and reading. There are far more people that don’t read and won’t read for whatever reason. Getting anybody to read your material is extremely good.
What’s interesting too is that people will buy a book but not finish it. That’s what we’re calling people out on some level in that first couple of chapters is the idea that in so many ways, 50 paging something, writing or reading 50 pages and stopping. There are a lot of people who started books that haven’t finished the book they started to write. There are plenty of people who’ve started to read a book and didn’t finish it. This idea of 50 paging is a habit that we 50-page different aspects of our lives. You start something and then don’t complete what you start. It’s a bit of calling people to the carpet, so to speak. I’ve heard that from a lot of people. They said, “Once I read that, how could I not finish the book? You’re telling me if I stop right here, this is very much what I do.” It was done intentionally, let’s put it that way.
It’s very well-written. Of course, the message isn’t new, there is nothing new under the sun. What’s always important is how that message is conveyed. I think your analogy of the pivot and basketball and all of that adds to the readability and it gets the message across. I’ve got people that I know would get that message before to get the same message that’s provided in a different book. It’s an excellent point and you brought up the idea here of maybe picking one pivot in my life or something and kick it around and see how it followed the process that you put forth with the roadmap and the inspiration, the realization and the tools. I would say probably one of the major pivots and I talk about it in our book, Living A Richer Life. In fact, here we got four of our pivots that we exposed to the public is the one that talks about staying in my daughter’s life. If whoever wants to get the book and read, that’s one of the most touching things. What we did in the book, we followed the thing that we created, The Life Enrichment Continuum, where we have a thing called Exploration Mode where you discover, deliberate, select and engage.
If that’s the story you feel called to share about staying in your daughter’s life, let’s dig into that.No message is new. What is always important is how that message is conveyed. Click To Tweet
My daughter who will turn 41 is from my first marriage. My first marriage lasted a full two years. When she was three years old, I was a single father and having to deal with that and in terms of getting a sense about what is this thing about relationships, family and kids and stuff like that. I had to go through this process over the years of getting a grasp of where my daughter would fit in my life as she grew up. I won’t go through all of that but there were things that I’m sure every single parent, divorced parents and married again, both families on both sides. Something about daughters and particularly when you’re an executive flying around the world, my wife, Charlotte, her stepmother, spent the time with her in her need to yearn back to her mother and her side of the family.
We went back and forth for years but the pivot for me was to get a grasp of what that was all about in her mind and how to make sure that we stayed in her life and that we allowed her life to be the best of both sides and not one-sided. With that, my wife and I had to go and we got a roadmap in terms of how we’re going to do this. First of all, we needed clarity and we spent the time over these years always saying, “We’re going to think about what she wants, what she’s asking for and where she’s going to live.” We didn’t decide on things based on emotion which is my thing about react. Don’t react, just respond. Take the time to get clarity and respond.
The second thing is momentum. That is where my wife, Charlotte and I are getting on the same page about how we were going to go and how we’re going to work through that. We are different in terms of all the career pivots and all the business pivots, which is traditional. I didn’t find myself in a situation where I had to in any of my 34 years in the corporate world to make a decision other than am I going to stay here or am I going to go there? The pivots that are more important when I say pivot, in terms of things that need clarity, things that need momentum and things that need a plan. To see that plan executed to the objective that you are looking for or more of those soft pivots like the one of keeping my daughter in my life. That involved other people and emotions, those types of things.
That’s a great way you put that as well. The idea that there are soft pivots, something less extreme than quitting a job, being fired, let go from a job or changing a career. Those are pretty extreme moments in time but they’re also daily pivots. There are soft pivots of whether you hold on to a feeling or let it go, whether you’re willing to release your anger or forgive yourself or forgive someone else. Those are also important pivots.
Our common friend, Teresa, has written a whole thing about the power of forgiveness.
It’s a magical thing, forgiveness, it is. I remember there’s a student of ours from years ago that was a part of one of our programs who wrote a book and her name is Juliana Ericson. I recommend this book. I haven’t mentioned this in a while. The Other F Word is the name of the book and that F word is forgiveness, which is pretty telling that sometimes it feels like a dirty word for a lot of people. That to forgive is on some level condoning of whatever it is that you’re forgiving. I don’t say I don’t need reminders of this learning. I do definitely need to be reminded of this time but I did learn some years ago that forgiveness isn’t about the other person, it’s about ourselves.
There are lots of studies that have been done about what it feels chemically and what’s produced in our bodies when we feel anger, resentment and guilt and when we’re unable to forgive. It’s literally producing poison inside of us. Sometimes feeling that way is a bit like wanting to see someone else pay or suffer or on some level be held accountable but that poison isn’t harming them. The poison of that feeling is only harming ourselves. Forgiveness is the only antidote I’m aware of. The only thing I’ve ever learned that deals with that is forgiveness. It is a very powerful tool and a pivot tool for sure.
One of the things I got out of your book, maybe I’m unique in seeing it and it wasn’t said directly but inherently it is. Some of us take for granted that we are all born with the same amount of frontal lobe in terms of our ability to have vision, plan and see things and how to connect the dots. The same amount of frontal lobe, the part of our brain that allows us to have a vision and to plan. That’s a gift. Everybody isn’t born with that. If you look at someone and they’ve got two arms and two legs and they look normal, it’s not necessarily that those attributes that allow you to do what you do, even to pivot, even in basketball we learn how to pivot, isn’t something that everyone can do easily. Not that they can’t do it, it takes a more of a something to give them a guide or a dose at a time or movement at a time to be able to do that.Some of us take for granted that we're all born with the same amount of ability to have a vision, plan, and see things and connect the dots. Click To Tweet
How I’ve come about understanding how people pivot or change or do those things necessary for them to change is by them first understanding their human configuration. That is how the brain works. The vision thing and the thinking thing. There are things that you don’t even think about that you are doing that your brain is doing that’s controlling you and it’s not going to stop. You’ve got to know how to control those motions and those types of things. That’s why a lot of the coaching and counseling and things that help people get through pivots or realize that they have to pivot has less to do with someone’s motivation of wanting to do it physically and energy and that type of thing. They can’t get this together. They can’t get that ringing out of their ear to be calm and to go through that.
This is a great conversation, which we won’t get into at the moment about the difference between genetics and epigenetics. On the one hand, genetics being what you said and I’m not saying this is true but it might be easier for you to play the piano than it would be for me. Let’s say you understand on an intuitive level something about music or about notes or it could be a language that you’re able to learn a different language more quickly. I was never good with languages. I’m not great with math. There are some people that have a natural aptitude for some of these things, whether it’s language acquisition or it’s mathematics or it’s a musical ability or any of those things.
Then there’s the epigenetics conversation around what we can learn and how it is that we can almost reprogram our DNA on some levels through practice, through skill acquisition and practice of something that we want to be great at. Using that basketball analogy, I love basketball but I couldn’t follow up the hoop the way my dad could and I wasn’t 6’2” like he was. I couldn’t jump as high or do other things on the court but when I want it to be good at it, I still found my place where I could contribute and I could enjoy the game and enjoy the process of playing the game.
It’s a wonderful conversation, which leads to the last question I have for you because it dovetails nicely with the concept of how it is that we practice things. For me, the most significant practice of my adult life or this phase of my adult life, the last several years has been the practice of prayer. The practice of me finding the presence of the spirit on a moment to moment basis and that’s a personal thing. It’s changed many things in my life. That practice of something that’s acquiring a skill and then practicing like writing. My dad who’s a professional creative writer and fiction writer for so many years. He said, “Adam, writing is rewriting. That’s what writing is.” That means you’re constantly editing until you get to that thing that you feel you can let go of. It’s as good as it can be and I’ve got to move on to the next thing. That’s a practice. We use a word in the book, PIVOT, for that conscious practicing of things. We call it rituals. Earl, what is something that you do on a ritualistic basis to help you to be better as a person, better as a businessperson and better as a father, as a husband and as a grandfather? Do you have a ritual or a set of rituals that you could share with us?
I certainly do and I’m fortunate that my wife and I are pretty much on the same page. I was born on the 1st of February. She was born on the 31st of January. The first thing is that I wake up every morning thanking the Lord for allowing me to have another day. There are a lot of people that didn’t wake up this morning. There are a lot of numbers I can’t call at my age anymore. They aren’t there to answer their phones. This idea of being thankful and being grateful for the opportunity.
The second practice is I never began a day without visioning how that day is going to go with a schedule. I don’t get up and say, “I’ll see what I feel like at 10:00.” I am not that type of person. I always have a schedule even if it’s on vacation or whatever. How is it that I’m going to get everything that I can get out of this day? The other ritual that I have and usually it’s in the morning on the treadmill or on the bicycle at my home gym, I always find something to read that’s new to me. That new terminology, new finding or new something such that I can make sure that I learned something. This is what I tell my grandkids, “If you can’t read, you’re lost,” because that’s the only way you can learn, you can create and go and do things by reading. The other thing that I do is that I have set times that I give each of my brothers and sisters a call during the week. My brother in Denver, we talk every night. My sister in Atlanta, we talk on Saturdays. My sister, who’s now down in Florida, we talk on Wednesdays. Those are rituals that allow me to every day get a sense that this is what I’m about. I’m not about the talking heads on CNN and Fox or whatever, this is what I am about.
I want to thank you for being on the program. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. I’m sure a lot of other people feel the same. As I bust through this imaginary fourth wall, I say this for everybody, please leave a review on iTunes and on YouTube. You can leave your comment or your review at AdamMarkel.com/podcasts as well. We can respond right there but the feedback is terrific and we appreciate having it. We’ve got an incredible kickstart guide for those of you that have read PIVOT or have not read PIVOT, there are some powerful questions. I truly believe that we are benefited by the quality of the questions we ask ourselves. Earl was kind enough to express in his way some of the questions that he had been asking himself. You can get access to these six powerful kickstart questions. Find out where you are and get a lay of the land. “Are you pivoting? Is a pivot on the horizon for you?” If you’re curious about that or you want even to dig deeper, you can get that for free. There’s no obligation in this and no strings attached. You can go to StartMyPIVOT.com and get access to that kickstart guide, download it and then let us know how that’s working for you. We can support you and we’re happy to do it as well.
Lastly, as an incredible resource we have on Facebook, if you’re the person that enjoys being on Facebook and being in a community of like-minded and like-hearted people, then you can go to PivotFB.com or direct on Facebook to the Start My PIVOT Community there. We’d love to have you. It’s a sacred space and someplace that you can participate or you can simply observe. There are a lot of amazing things going on there. We welcome you to that space as well.
I want to close the session by reminding us as Earl did. It’s a perfect segue into how we conclude these shows, which is with a reminder and even with a prayer that we all get to wake up tomorrow. As Earl reminded us, it is very much something to be grateful for. My hope is that we all get to do it again tomorrow. That’s my intention. We get to wake up and have the opportunity also to acknowledge and be grateful for whatever you feel like being grateful for at that moment. That you realize, you are in fact awake. If you’re also inspired to declare out loud, to say something at the start of your day and to plant some seeds in the soil of your mind that may be different than the seeds that you might typically be planting.
We wake up, oftentimes put our feet on the floor and the first thoughts we’ve got is about our schedule or about work, about our commuting or about chores, that we’re running behind time. It’s lots of things and sometimes thinking about money or even a grievance. Oftentimes, that can be the beginning thoughts of the day and you could choose to change that by tomorrow morning, waking up, feeling grateful and declaring out loud these words, “I love my life. I love my life. I love my life.” It’s been a blessing to be with you. Earl, thanks for your participation. We’ll see you soon. Ciao for now.
- Earl Cobb
- Focused Leadership
- RICHER Press
- Living A Richer Life
- The Other F Word
- iTunes – The Conscious PIVOT
- YouTube – Adam Markel
- PivotFB.com – Facebook
- Start My PIVOT Community – Facebook
About Earl Cobb
Earl Cobb is an American “rags-to-riches” success story.
Through his hard work, dedication and faith, Earl has forged an accomplished career as a systems engineer, program manager, corporate executive and a gifted entrepreneur. As an engaging seminar/workshop leader and motivational speaker, Earl passionately contributes his knowledge and expertise to management Meetings, training events, conferences and small groups.
Earl has been widely recognized for possessing the charisma, energy and passion required to effectively convey valuable lessons learned and keen insights to all levels of an organization ‐‐‐ from new managers to experienced C‐level executive.
Anchoring his insightful message and coaching techniques is a distinctive 34‐year career which has included Executive, General Management, Operations Management, Project/Program Management and Technology Development roles. Earl’s practical, real‐world experience comes from having succeeded in difficult leadership positions within a number of unique business environments. His experience base ranges from Fortune 50 multi-national enterprises and mid‐market to high‐tech start‐up ventures.
Earl is known as an imaginative and visionary leader. His professional resume is packed with “real‐life” challenges and successes. Earl’s former leadership roles include Director of Engineering for the ELDEC Corporation, Senior Program Manager and Vice President of Radio Systems Operations for Motorola, Inc., Vice President of Operations and Corporate Vice President of Enterprise Development for the Reynolds and Reynolds Company, Head of Data Center Management for Wells Fargo Bank and President and CEO of MedContrax, Inc.
Earl earned a Bachelor of Science degree, with honors, in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee State University and graduated from Arizona State University with the degree of Master of Science in Engineering. He is a former Adjunct Professor of Leadership & Organizational Behavior and Small Business Management for Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University. He holds both a Bachelors and Master’s Degree in Engineering and has completed graduate management studies at the Sloan School of Management at MIT, Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and the Center for Creative Leadership.
Earl has been honored with numerous national awards for professional achievement including the 1995 Black Engineer of the Year Award.
Since 2009, Earl has been the CEO and Managing Partner of Richer Life, LLC — a Media, Trade Book Publishing and Professional Services company, headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona.
Earl’s has published four books on leadership development: Focused Leadership: Focused Leadership: What You Can Do Today to Become a More Effective Leader, The Leadership Advantage: Do More. Lead More. Earn More and The Official Leadership Checklist and Diary for Project Management Professionals His newest book, Driving Ultimate Project Performance: Transforming from Project Manager to Project Leader was released in March 2018.
Earl and his wife, Dr. Charlotte Grant-Cobb, have authored four books together, Living a Richer Life: Getting the Most out of Life’s Gifts and Circumstances, Navigating the Life Enrichment Model™, Pillow Talk Consciousness: Intimate Reflections on America’s 100 Most Interesting Thoughts and Suspicions and God’s Goodness and Our Mindfulness.
Along with his wife of 35 years, Dr. Charlotte D. Grant‐Cobb, Earl is the co‐host and co‐producer of LIVING A RICHER LIFE ~ Life Changing Talk Radio. The 45 minute, weekly, nationally broadcasted Talk Show interviews published authors and public personalities. The show is airs “live” at www.blogtalkradio.com/richerlife.