10 Steps to Achieve Your Dreams

SAP CEO Bill McDermott reveals the keys to success in his new book "The Winner's Dream."
15:11 | 10/21/14

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Transcript for 10 Steps to Achieve Your Dreams
Hello and welcome to real as I'm Rebecca Jarvis here in New York City and here's what's on our radar today he is one of the most successful people on the planet and he started from the bottom now he's here on real bands. Growing up on Long Island working three jobs and now bill McDermott is the CEO of SAP the biggest software company in the world. Before he began running the multi billion dollar company bill worked in Xerox rising from a salesman to its youngest corporate officer in division president ever. From there he moved on becoming executive vice president of worldwide sales and operations at C able systems and president of Gartner Inc. In his new book winners dream a journey from corner store to corner office bill McDermott shares the rags to riches story of how he did it. And bill sat down with us here at real bids to share his secrets to success. And I want to welcome to real this bill McDermott he's author of winners dream. And the CEO of SEP it's so nice to have you with us now you Rebecca great to be with you so why this book why now. I think the world needs to dream I wrote this book for the underdog you know I wasn't born a CEO. I came up the hardware and I think lots of young jobs. Let me 23 part time jobs and I was fifteen. Which led me to buy my own delicatessen business when I was sixteen. And the story goes on from there so hard work grit determination. But always with a drink. What do you think along the way. Was the smartest decision that you may. Well obviously marrying my wife to a plaque and have into the greatest kids that any father could ever hope for a million lifetimes was my greatest decision. But on the career front. When I sold the delicatessen business it's when he won and then went to work the Xerox I went after my dream job. Among the Long Island railroad leaving Amityville. And I guarantee my dad that I would get the job at Xerox that day I walked into the hiring center. So many kids with real pedigree great degrees beautifully groomed and dressed ready for the interview I got my 99 dollar suit from the mall I figure I'm in trouble. But I asked them. What if they therefore what are you doing today. Well I'm playing the field I'm interviewing here there and everywhere I knew exactly when I was there I was there from my dream job. I read the annual report about that then CEO reinventing the company on total quality management they went to interview for a sales job I went to be the next CEO. It's it's such an important part of your story the way that you were always thinking. And I think it went when you read this book it's sort of a road map for anybody out there who has a dream. Who that dream is bake you like yours at the time yes. And who is uncertain about how to get there. And I think a lot of people. One of the issues as where to start what is that very first step what would you say is the first step people should take. As a young person. Take it take a step to work. You know I talk about newspaper routes and up selling our cookies and cards on the route. But get young people involved in the movement of work. Because it's like any other reflex. When you know how to work and you enjoy the work itself it becomes. Your destiny. The other pieces. Encourage kids to take chances on things that they really believe that I really believe that could run that delicatessen and make it successful. At sixteen years old sixteen or so what was it at sixteen that Beijing thank. I'm itself deli meats and it's going to be a good idea. I had three part time jobs one at finest supermarket I work for the town of Amityville Long Island and I worked as a busboy in a restaurant. I got the chance to consolidated into one job when the deli when the sale. I had a familiarity with the customers had a familiarity with the suppliers I was comfortable in work. In one I had a chance to buy it for 5500 note 7000 with the interest I pounced on but he was the key. I knew my base I had the blue collar workers got to give them credit they make a lot of money on Friday night. But by Sunday morning to kind of broke so I gave him credit I knew that lifestyle I grew up in. And then it with a senior citizens they would prefer to have things delivered vs leave their house we deliver and in high school kids this is the fun part. I couldn't get them to walk a block and hand 7-Eleven to my store. So one day I get on the line and so what do you guys do when all lined up some big store only Ford a time when there well they think we might take things. So I watched this and I see you can come down my store forty at a time. And to underscore knowing your customer one kid says to me when I want to get treated. With beautiful experience good food very kind service I come here. Things that high school student Annie said when I wanna steal stuff I go to 7-Eleven. So the I deer is you treat customers. He segment you markets and you treat everybody with dignity and respect and you can grow pretty good business. What do you think of the person though bell who says this guy is clearly Smart. He was for some reason. In the universe he was anointed to be honest pat and he made it he made it but a lot of people don't make it. Yeah I was the underdog I mean if you think about my story you know climbing up the latter going to a no name school. Interviewing for that initial job I want it more. And I think where the you're a kid that doesn't have a lot of financial. Analyst for years somebody that does. The common denominator here it's passion and wanting more. And I tell people all the time delightful what do I do with my kids because we are well off well we have needs. I teach them. That you have to forget that. Because you're resonate and the things you have are not nearly as important as you journey. And the fight that you had been you. And where you're poor kid or rich kid no matter where you come from you've got to act like the on the door always prepare. Always focus on the prize and focus on the dream. Winning get kids to figure out the dream. Your working life becomes your life's work. I never felt like a went to an office I always felt like I was working for the dream. And that's really important when you get hit with thunderbolts and setbacks which I did and everyone does it helps you get back up again. And so many people I mean that thunderbolt. Unemployment has been and as a very widespread thunder bolts nuts and and we're finally sort of climbing out of Apple's. But for so many I mean they're still about twelve million people in this country. Who don't have a job seven million people who are part time employed not because they want to be part time employed. But because it's the only work. Yes available to them and what's your advice to those people right am. Don't lose hope. Read that when ministering in this book there is a road map for getting involved in war and making the most out of the opportunities that are in front of you. It's actually fascinating. I mean how do you go from working in the delicatessen owner in the delicatessen. You constantly have to be adds dial on your feet looking for opportunity. Cooling and with passion and written determination to do great things people will notice you. They will find you. If you give everything you've got you will be noticed and hand up when there's something looking for that thing absolutely. And that might affect that talk about one story in the book. I was passed over for promotion many of the people watching this program know this feeling it to break your heart. But instead of breaking my heart. I would not got in my car I met with the leaders of the company and I asked them why do you pass me a for the promotion the person that got the promotion. Did not perform at my level I just want to register my ambition I don't want you to change a decision but explain to me why I didn't get the job. I registered the ambition I put him on notice the senior vice president the company that time said bill. Nine times out of ten they'll go your way and I'm sure of so therefore a one use I want to thank you for coming here and I'll be watching over you now. So by registering that they know you're serious player and you not going to be taken for patsy that's a good thing. Hit it I like that they know we're serious player you have just published on linked in your story is much more important that your rats and yes. So for anybody out there who's looking at that resonates saying it's now this just it's not it's not what I want it today right. What you say. Do something about it. Really think about what your hopes and your dreams are with you life in the winner's string I write down my goals. And it's amazing people have really gotten away from writing down what thinking about goals to write them down rights and cools down. Don't want to wait for somebody else to be impressed with your goals to it for you. That inner voice inside of view is telling you to do something with your life. I wrote them down because they were mine I believed in them because they won't mind. You also there is some vulnerability and that yet as an individual even if you show them to know but it's actually because that hit you have set in stone. A standard that you are hoping to live up to yes and objective. Exactly right and you know what the beauty of life is when you really believe it and you really wanted enough you will achieve. And that's the hardest part to get people past their first home where they think hat can I do it. Is it in me. Of course it is. But you've got to have the courage. To commit to would in the first place and then once you do. Then the grit the determination and the passion to pull it off I hit a simple drink. Which was to be a leader of consequence. Enron a company someday. That was simple the hard part is the day to day execution. But because the simple dream was so imbedded in my DNA in my heart and my soul. I never felt like I was giving up too much actually each passing day got me one step closer to the train. And anybody who says there's one path. They look out they see superstars. Macy's CEOs thaci sports stars and think. They followed the one path they figured it out they cracked that not what do you say. I say there's so many paths that a person can take and my own life for example. As I talk about moving in the corporate value chain work towards your goal I talk about accepting. Opportunity. There's a certain reputation you get when you the person that accepts opportunity you accept challenges. And is another reputation when you the person that waits for the perfect set of circumstances. Because you like things just a certain way. So this world is about what you take from the true measure of a person is what you give to some my encouragement is always go for opportunity. Don't be afraid to take chances be courageous and go for the journey that's less traveled by I left New York. I love New York I went to Puerto Rico. We had the worst performing operation in the United States commonwealth of the United States was ranked 64 it's 64. I go into Puerto Rico with the dream that we can become number one. And you're thinking if you make it number one that you really are something to come really something but it's really for the people because I spent my time listening and learning like why are you guys let us. What's going on here. And explain to me they just won a clear plan they want to be inspired when they come to work work shouldn't be a prison cell and a. They want to holiday party back. So I basically made a commitment. Day one with Hilbert Tito Santa Rosa who was the number one salsa singer. And act in Puerto Rico at that time that you will play at the L San Juan hotel for the Puerto Rico district and we will be number one in the country. Well we were like sea biscuit turning the corner as we went into the final quarter of the year and we became number one the country. Why because enough people care and I'll. It's not a fit of accurately what was amazing are back as world dancing into the parking lot at 3 o'clock in the morning I asked Hilferty toys that Hilbert Tito. All right your personal check can you please placing more. He's a nominal no monsignor this is it truck that was him out. We if you could go back and change one thing. What would it be you know I actually wouldn't change a thing and I'll tell you why because even the most painful things that I've been through. Have led me to someplace better so for example has every job move I've ever made been the perfect one absolutely not. We're some of them on the surface by mistake or lack of cultural DNA or lack of match absolutely. But by going through the pain. And into warring and learning from it it made me so much better for example. When I led Xerox if the seventeen years I was president of the division corporal officer it was my dream job and I was on my way to my dream. But I decided I need to learn I need to change if I'm going to be a broader executive I need another experience so I took a chance and I went to another company at that time to be present a company. I get hit by lightning bolt my wife was stricken with cancer I've two little kids I mean on the surface you'd say that's a disaster. But I became so much more because they knew. After that my wife's health got restored. I took the body blow I learn from it I grew from it and I became so much more of an executive so much more of a husband father and a man. So I think all of these setbacks these painful things we have to learn from them and let them give us the strength they were intended to give us in the first place. What a deal a little game of getting to know your studio we also linked called the real his rapid fire horse. What time you wake up to five how much do you sleep at night for five I was tops what's on your nights I table right now right now when history. OK so if you want it winners stream well be your night I. I'd like to have some thing worth reading sometimes it could be somebody else's book what's in this like ice basically yeah exactly so whatever whatever is happening at the moment. That might be of interest in me could be something in technology could be something in sports something you know cool me out at the end of a long day best piece of advice Africa. You my mother tell me the best part of you is being you. And always be authentic in your own skin and don't worry about what other people think about you your character and what you think about you was far more important in their opinion. It's great aunt and on film the camp is saying you so much for joining us on an honor to be with you Rebecca thank you. And thank you so much for joining us for real this will hear from you. Like us tweet us at Rebecca Jarvis and comment right below from ABC news world headquarters in New York City at Rebecca Jarvis hat the Greek debt.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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