Michael: Hello and welcome to HaBo Village podcast. I'm Michael Redman.
Kathryn: And I'm Kathryn Redman.
Michael: And today we have some guests with us, Rick and Linda Sbrocca. Welcome.
Linda: Thank you.
Kathryn: We're so excited you're here.
Linda: We are as well.
Michael: We're really excited and looking forward to this. For everybody who's listening, this is our second attempt at trying to get them in the studios.
Kathryn: Yes, first time they got trapped in traffic for three and a half hours due to an accident, and it would just never materialized. So we feel very excited. This is actually happening.
Michael: Absolutely. Let me give an introduction. The two of them have been busy in business for quite a long time. They have a couple of companies, different companies. One is 511 Enterprises, which is... I love the way you put this just add water sales team. It's a contact center that combines marketing and sales. And we're going to talk more about that and the heart behind that because I think it's really exciting. And a company called Spiritus, which is a growth consulting firm. You guys have been at business and life a long time. And we like to celebrate husband and wives in work together. How long have you guys been married?
Linda: 32 years in October?
Kathryn: Nice. Well, we'd like to say we're almost going to catch up, but I guess we can't ever catch ever.
Michael: We can't ever... Well,-
Kathryn: I guess not.
Linda: We hope not.
Michael: When they go see Jesus [crosstalk 00:01:14]
Kathryn: We are only 26. We are young.
Michael: And your son just graduate from college?
Michael: So congratulations on that.
Linda: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Michael: And your daughter works for Airbnb, which is really exciting. So you guys have your hands full?
Rick: Yes, thank you. And it's an honor to be here, first of all, so thank you, Michael. Thank you, Kathryn.
Michael: Yeah. You're welcome. Well, today we're going to talk about several things. I want to hear your story, we're going to talk about different parts of your story. We're going to talk about your business, some of the heart behind it. The folks that listen to the HaBO Village podcasts really are going... There like they want to have more Passion and Provision in their businesses. So we're constantly bringing in ideas from leadership, marketing, sales, management, different things like that. How do you build a place where there is going to be a profitable company, but at the same time, you're building a company that has purpose and meaning, and leaves a legacy that's worth leaving?
Kathryn: Yeah. And not just for yourself, but actually for your employees. Right? So you're creating a place where they have meaningful work. And they like crossing the threshold on Monday morning. It's not like oh, no, it's Monday, dread, dread.
Kathryn: But they're in a good fit for kind of how they're wired and being well utilized. And they know that they're valued, such as building a culture even of not only a place that satisfies you as an owner, and as the one who launched the thing, but also just creates meaningful work and purpose for your employees.
Michael: So why don't we start this? Why don't we start by, tell us a little bit about 511 and Spiritus. However, you want to start, and then let's kind of take the conversation?
Rick: Sure, sure. Thank you. So we invested the first part of our lives in fortune 500 companies and we lived in L.A. And invested a lot of time and energy rising to the top level of leadership in some of those companies. And it was a great experience. And we're extremely thankful that we shifted it up and moved up to Northern California to seek a different quality of life. And we thought we'd start a company and focus on culture, focus on passion, and proficiency and profitability. Those are the three concentric circles that we set forth in our vision. And the sweet spot in the center is where they meet, and that's the epicenter and that's fulfilling your potential.
Rick: So we set forth the vision statement of creating environments where talents flourish. And the focus was very simple. It was on putting the employee first and if they're excited, then the customer can't help but be served well. So of course, the customers are important, and everything to do with Our partners, but we really focus on creating the culture, not a banner on the wall, but a key culture around trust, empowerment, accountability and mentoring. Those are our values for team. And we went about that in a very radical manner.
Michael: How so?
Rick: We would state that if you're not growing in every area of your lives while you live here, then were not fulfilling that vision. Now, of course, the individuals had accountability. This wasn't a gimme, there was a lot of accountability there. But we invested a lot in Financial Peace University. And this was all volunteer base, the individual, the team members that wanted to go through that, a lot of people struggle there. So we put them through of-
Michael: So you're offering this kind of stuff for your employees.
Michael: All right.
Rick: So we had special professional personal development sessions around finance, relationships, career path. And that's really been a great journey.
Kathryn: That's awesome.
Michael: What motivated you to do that?
Kathryn: And what was lacking and what you were saying before that caused you to go, we got to do this differently?
Linda: The environments we had worked in were very performance driven. And you were as secure as your performance. And you could leave at the end of the day or for the weekend and be concerned, where am I going to go back into when I go in Monday morning. And we believe that you have to treat people how you want to be treated, but also if you can create an environment where they know that they are secure and that they are cared for, and that it goes beyond a work relationship, then we felt we could get better performance out of people in the long run. But to not be short sighted, how can we help them to have better lives? How can we help them to be able to give to their children what their children need, and to their spouse what their spouse needs, and into their community what is needed?
Michael: So coming from corporate America, that really is radical?
Linda: Very radical.
Rick: It was radical and we served high tech companies and many of our workers are in sales, marketing, tech support. And the real techies woke up and we're excited about the technology. But the reality check is most of the people didn't wake up and say, well, I get to sell this security, cyber security solution today.
Kathryn: Thy can't wait.
Rick: They did get excited about, you know what, I'm going to get out of debt. And you know what, I'm going to marry Kathryn. And you know what? I see a future. I see where I'm going, somebody believes in me. And I want to be part of this community. And Google did a survey actually, a research project couple of years ago named Aristotle, and it was all about how to optimize your culture. And the bottom line out of that was really creating a trusting culture, and more than ever, that's what new generations are looking for. Work has invaded life, life's invaded work, you can't work-life balance is a myth that doesn't really work. So you have to... You don't have to, but we chose to focus on that integration. In fact, we had a client once that was struggling under this statement that the shear velocity and ambiguity of business today is breaking down their people.
Kathryn: So shear velocity and ambiguity in business is breaking down on people?
Michael: Talk about that a minute.
Rick: Just the digital revolution, the fourth industrial revolution and everything that is hitting us so fast that the overwhelming avalanche of data. Another quote we received from that same project was small medium businesses were dying in the perfect storm of cloud, data and devices. So what do we do with that? And so the key is focusing on the culture, addressing it, and building in the new processes that allow people to flourish while you're also winning. This wasn't a soft environment, we have very demanding Silicon Valley clients, and you need to perform, so-
Kathryn: Yeah. You actually have to make a profit as it turns out.
Rick: Exactly. There's a way to do both.
Linda: One of the things that we saw though, is that when you take out the threats people feel in many work environments, the atmosphere changes, because there's not a threat of somebody else jockeying for my position. Or if I make a mistake, there's no forgiveness. There are very few mistakes that are made that can't be fixed, that can't be taken care of, or they can't be forgiven. So we just wanted a culture where people could come to work and feel like they could do their job and not have to think about all the other things that might happen in their day that could take up their head space and their time.
Michael: Okay, so somebody's listening right now. And they're thinking, Okay, I like what I'm hearing you say, but how do I do that? What are a couple of things that you guys actually did to help take away some of those threats while still keeping the organization productive, even a highly productive?
Rick: The first key for us in leadership is the word lead. How are we lead? What are we living for? What are we all about? Do we know our identities? Are we mature enough to build an environment that really gives back and helps other people? So that's the first reality Check based on how you're lead, and who you are. And then from there, it's really about being a professional and understanding the value you bring to the marketplace and make sure you have a valid business. Like we could have all the passion in the world, if you and I had a great passion for software coding now, and we are gung how to build a culture, but we're not proficient, then we're going to die. So we-
Kathryn: You have to actually be good at what you do?
Rick: Yeah. We-
Kathryn: Stop it. Competence? What are you talking about, Rick? Thought I just had to be passionate.
Rick: We made sure we had a business plan that was competent, and that we could create a replicable model that would be profitable, and create a meritocracy for people to grow. And so that empowered us to then go and invest more time in people. It's like when Linda and I speak in different environments, and we're talking about our relationship, we built up a business element of the relationship. And that's very structured and it's around this thought of being the CEOs of your life.
Rick: It's the family, family Inc, and you have roles and responsibilities and projects. And when we were presenting recently, somebody said, "Well, that's not romantic." And I said, "Hold on. And that's the most romantic thing we do," because it protects the romance because we know the business side of things are in order. So we can focus on the other important parts of life. So that's how we did it. We have a friend of mine talks about having heart, then head, then hands, and that leads to the harvest. So our heart posture was right then we had the right head around it, to have a business plan that would actually work. We knew there was a demand and a supply. We had access to talent. And we put that together and the hands we did the hard work and then enjoyed the harvest.
Michael: I like it.
Kathryn: Nice. That's great.
Michael: So do you ever get the question? We get it all the time. I'm just curious if you do of, "You're married and you do business together."
Kathryn: How's that for you?
Michael: How do you even do that? And do you hear that?
Linda: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Kathryn: Like I would kill my spouse, that's what we hear all the time.
Michael: Yeah. Just last week, we were at a conference in New York City, and then like, multiple times, like, no.
Kathryn: What? No, I can't even [inaudible 00:12:22].
Michael: How do you answer that question? How do you do it? I mean, you've described part of it. But Linda, talk to me.
Linda: It's not always easy. I'm sure you agree with that. It's not. But it's also very rewarding because we have a vision of things we want to do. We're very like-minded. We're like-minded on how we want to treat other people. We're like-minded on the type of people that we like to be around. And we're like-minded on the outcomes we want to have from the projects we work on. We also complement each other very well in projects. Rick thinks, he comes up with incredible ideas and he could think all day long and come up with new things all day long. I'm the more pragmatic, how do we put it together? How do we-
Michael: Stop working in me.
Kathryn: Mind do you have anyone?
Linda: How do we get that from the idea to the paper? And-
Kathryn: It's like looking in the mirror.
Linda: how do we ensure excellence and consistency on the projects we're working on? And it's complimentary. But Rick is also very strong in what he does, but he's also very appreciative. And he never behaves like he is better than somebody else, or he's in a higher position than somebody else. He treats everybody including me as a team.
Kathryn: That's beautiful.
Linda: And that makes a big impact.
Michael: Well, what you're describing is a great way for married couples to be working together, but any partnership. Right, a real healthy partnership of respect and honor and that whole place where... Now, would you say that over the years, you've become more creative and you Rick have become a little bit more-
Michael: structured or pragmatic?
Kathryn: I mean, if you guys grown a little bit [inaudible 00:14:04].
Michael: Have you taught each other one role here and there?
Linda: I think so.
Rick: Absolutely. Linda's taught me how to be a much better communicator. Because I get in my own head and I think she's with me on step five. And I haven't explained step one.
Kathryn: I so feel that pain.
Linda: It's crazy.
Kathryn: That's awesome. You've got much better at that.
Rick: Yeah. That's a big part of it, but absolutely, come together and complemented and the growth and the constant change is a large part of that. And that's what's so fun about business and it spills over into your life and your life into your business.
Linda: I think another thing that has helped us is being parents, and as our children have gotten older and to the ages of many of the people we work with, and the people that work for us. It's far easier to understand them and our children in turned because this is what we're exposed to. And it's very rewarding when we see the people that have worked for us, get married, have children, buy houses, contribute to these new lives that are coming along, so-
Kathryn: Right, that awesome.
Michael: That's very best.
Kathryn: That's fun.
Michael: Okay, so let's talk about that a little bit. We were talking earlier before the podcast that you have over 400 folks that have come through the company?
Michael: 511 specifically?
Rick: Spiritus and then 511-
Michael: Spiritus and 511.
Rick: It's actually led by a new CEO named Chad McCulley, out of Redding. He runs 511 and we're doing the consulting through Spiritus.
Michael: Nice. So one of the things I loved and I want to talk about this more is, when you started this company, you really had a heart to not only, I mean, have a business but to provide a business that did more than just provide services to customers that really was a place that brought up and trained and mentored folks earlier in their career, right?
Michael: So what were what was the impetus of that vision? And how did you to finally take the courage or decide to go, okay, let's do it?
Rick: A couple of drivers there. First of all, we had been through a lot of corporate right sizing, where you top ranked people and then you just go wipe out large groups of people with little to no compassion. So I think that has an effect on you over time, that hey, man, if I'm fully in control, then I'm going to do this different, and not get to that point. So I think that was a key driver. And then, as far as the business, my dad was battling cancer, so I took off about 18 months and just spend time with him. We were up in Redding, and then came... True story came back and Linda and I sat down and said, hey, man, we need to go back to work and be good to make some money.
Kathryn: One [inaudible 00:17:15] take so much time off the stage-
Rick: We said a prayer that night and then next morning a friend of mine called and he had a consulting project. We form Spiritus solutions on the fly because I had been working with Veritas and Oracle on these companies were thinking okay, well, what's a Latin name? That's going to be cool, kind of techie. So we came up with Spiritus, and launched it like that, launched the company, got the first client and helped grow that client from a start up to 15 million in three years. And those were the first 56 people that we put through this complete program then it built from there.
Linda: We live in Redding, and we have a Christian university there.
Linda: Simpson. And we have Bethel BSSM and we have a community college. There were a lot of young adults who were just getting started. And just to backtrack, the company Rick's referring to, we got a call, Friday morning that we had this project, Rick said, I'll do it if I can do it in Redding. And so we called a friend and we said, we need office space, and he said, "Oh, we're moving to a new building this weekend. We have room for 15 people." This was a mile from home.
Kathryn: Nice. Much better community than L.A., I'm sure.
Linda: There are cubicle set up, there're phone lines. There's internet. There's everything you need. So then we call the friends so we needed admin. And she said, "Well, I was just getting ready to call you and let you know I'm ready to go back to work." So Monday morning, we had the first salesperson, we had Rick, we had the admin, we had the office space. This was in a period of a weekend, but all this came together.
Kathryn: It's amazing.
Linda: Bright. So then we needed to hire people and we would ask this one person who do you know who do you know and put this incredible young team together. Nobody was married yet. Nobody had children. Nobody had home. They had college debt.
Michael: Right. Which is all too common these days?
Linda: Yeah. But it was a really wonderful group of people who wanted to have somebody believe in them.
Kathryn: Yeah. That's awesome.
Linda: And that's one of Rick's greatest strength is believing in the people that work for him and they in turn become very loyal.
Michael: What a great compliment.
Kathryn: [inaudible 00:19:28] That's excellent.
Michael: Way to go, dude.
Rick: Yeah, man.
Michael: [inaudible 00:19:31]
Rick: We know to a large degree, we're living in a time where there's a fatherless generation that's coming up. A segment, it's not all inclusive. So it's very important to be aware of that, and to listen and this has been one of our secrets of youth is just hanging out with these great... Will be in meetings now and there's two or three generations and a while back, you could go in and just lay down the vision. And now that doesn't work, it starts with what's most important to you? How do you see this happening? We really learned to listen and then integrate what wisdom we have into their phenomenal creativity and ideas and then pull that together to move forward.
Kathryn: So collaborative and buy-in and... Yeah. Those thing are really important terms [inaudible 00:20:29].
Michael: Do you find that when you take the time to do that, you actually for you guys, that it starts to switch back to they actually listen and run faster with you. Do you find that? Does that make sense?
Linda: I think it does make sense. And I think the younger adults we work with now, many of them want proof. They want validation of what you know. They want to say okay, Rick, you've been doing this for a very long time, show me something. Show me that you truly know all these things you say. Prove it to me. And he does. He's very gifted at that, very gifted at communicating, and creating and they buy-in.
Michael: It's relevant to them. Well, trust. Want to post trust era, right. So to just blindly say, oh, because you're older [crosstalk 00:21:26]
Kathryn: Or just because I say so?
Michael: Yeah, it doesn't for a lot of people. I confess doesn't work for me.
Rick: Right. And it's vital for success. It's a critical success factor, because we all have bias going in. And it's the collaboration and the true synergy that comes out of three or four different perspectives that produce the best result. You have to be very aware of that going in, an excellent listener. And that's what's exciting because things are changing so fast. And you can either get crushed by that or flip the script and say how am I going to serve this wave and make it work for me? I can't do it alone. I need to be with people that really understand social media and different parts of culture now to make sure we're incorporating that element into some of the business planning, experiences that we're aware of, and then we pull those together and go on.
Kathryn: Well, it takes a great deal of humility as a leader to be able to go, yeah, I don't actually have all the answers. I actually do need a team around me right. I mean, one of the things that you are describing that I just so resonate with is the requirement for good leadership is ongoing growth, right? The will and humility, the willingness to say, you know what, there are always going to be more things to learn. And I don't have to be the best at everything right. My worth is not wrapped up, and being the expert at everything, and I really do need other people. And there's such a value in that and I think so many especially young leaders are really under the illusion that if they need help, they're doing something wrong. And we're just like no, if you need help that means hey, you are just human, and be you're getting smarter because you know you need help.
Linda: Well, we've learned so much from our children as well, to not believe everything you hear-
Kathryn: Everything you read on Inc. Magazine.
Linda: In fact check everything. And there's such an abundance of information out there that's bombarding not only those that are just starting their careers, but us as well. And it's very important to check the facts. And it's also very important to as you saying, you be open to learning. Don't stop learning. There's a lot out there to learn.
Kathryn: There's a lot of there to learn.
Michael: There's so much. When you guys were starting out, what was the toughest times you had? Talk to me about some of the challenges you had when you first started out?
Kathryn: Because it was probably all roses and cream but maybe not.
Linda: At this phase of our lives in this business or... Okay? Or as we started out in careers long ago?
Michael: Where do you want to start? Because you guys have greats. I mean, we've talked before you guys have great stories.
Linda: I think when we look back to where we started long, long ago, we were two kids from very small towns. I was from Redding. Rick grew up in the Mojave Desert and we decided we're moving to Southern California because there were opportunities there that there were not in other areas. We met here at Chico State. Yes, we did [crosstalk 00:24:41]
Kathryn: Go Chico State. Go out [inaudible 00:24:43]
Linda: Our last semester of college we met, which was-
Kathryn: All four of us are graduates of Chico State.
Linda: Isn't that funny?
Kathryn: Chico state. I'm telling you, if you're out there and you wonder where to send your kids or you're wondering your college education Chico's good.
Michael: Well, there's good people here. All right. [crosstalk 00:24:54] now that we have peached Chico State.
Linda: Okay, but we both moved to Southern California. And we were these two small town kids. And we got our first jobs and worked with a lot of people who came from very different backgrounds than we did. And we really felt like we succeeded, but we stayed very true to our roots. We did-
Michael: What do you mean by that?
Linda: We had a lot of friends who went out and bought the most exciting new car and incurred the debt that went along with that. We had friends that every few years they would buy up house-wises. And when we got married, and we bought our first little house in Huntington Beach 1300 square feet. We stayed there for 15 years.
Michael: Oh, wow.
Linda: Yeah. And friends saying oh, you need the bigger, you need the nicer you need the better. We liked what we had. We were really happy with what we had.
Michael: Then you were in Huntington Beach, which is not so bad.
Linda: I know. I know.
Rick: We were a mile from the beach.
Kathryn: So there was that added value
Linda: Yeah, and the value on relationships. We placed a huge amount of value on our relationship and the commitment that we made to one another the day we got married, that that wasn't negotiable that we would stick together, no matter what. And we didn't see that with a lot of our friends. So we just tried to do things with the root values that we were raised with, not with what society and media and others told us, we should be wanting at those points in our life. So they may have looked at us as a little faddy-daddy or not cool, but we stuck with what we believed.
Michael: Yeah, I Like it.
Linda: Yeah. But the toll it took also though, and Rick worked really hard. After we had children, I stayed home. Rick worked very hard. And there was a lot of I think what we learned over the years were things he went through, the environments where you were not encouraged, where there was a lot of cutthroat, who's going to get ahead. Not a lot of value on a person as an individual. And I think that really influenced what we decided we wanted to do when we started our own company.
Michael: Based on your story that profoundly affected you, right?
Michael: You guys went through a trial, a time that was just kind of hard dealing with some of the repercussions of living a life on the grind, right?
Michael: Do you mind talking a little bit about that?
Rick: Sure. Well, no, I don't mind talking about that at all. It's what are you chasing and cover used to do this great thing about the big rocks I don't know if you recall that. Better put the big rocks in first so there's not going to be room. So I was getting caught up in title and money and chasing that and Linda was awesome. She ran the house and kept my head on. But that takes a toll after a while and you realize this isn't working. I mean, externally everything looks super cool. And you have access to all the stuff in your sphere of influence. But internally, for me, it was a train wreck, because it didn't create what we were really seeking, which is what we call complete life victory. And that was a passion in the new startup, to really incorporate that into the culture that we can hire somebody and they can do well here and maybe they sold a lot and kind of bonus. But how are they overall? And there's a big difference there.
Rick: Before the show, we were discussing one of our friends that we hired and have had a great run with who was single when we hired him. He was earning about $600 a month and highly talented, but just not having the right mentoring and doors open, and now he's married three children earning six digits living on the East Coast, crushing it, and all that occurred within a couple years. And I'm not saying that's easy. There's a lot of ups and downs there. However, that's complete life victory. Part of complete live victory is the struggle. It's embracing the struggle, but it's overcoming it. And seeing that he's whole. He's becoming a whole person. And so that's the impetus of the pain that led to change our lives and the impetus to the values that we incorporated into our own business.
Kathryn: So since you've started the new venture, say 14 years, any-
Rick: That's 14 years.
Kathryn: 14 years. So it's not 12?
Linda: No it's not.
Rick: It's 14.
Linda: Since we established that's 14.
Kathryn: So have you guys hit roadblocks along the way? Challenges and struggles, so anything that stands out?
Linda: Sure, we've gone through a few phases. We worked for... How many years, Rick? It's five years, six years with one client. And it did great. It grew phenomenally. We decided to step back from it for a while. And then we decided, Okay, we're ready to go again. And we started what we call two point O. Refresh. And we brought in clients and we help them grow their businesses. And I always looked at it as we're an incubator. They're going to grow. They're going to leave this nest. And we had a little bit of a difference in vision. And Rick thought, oh, these guys are going to love us and stay with us for years and years and years, just like those other people did. But the reality of it was we never developed the business to be like that. We're going to grow these and we're going to help them to launch their businesses and go on their way. So when some of these companies said, hey, we're ready. It was really hard for Rick because he thought, Wait a minute, these are ours-
Rick: I thought they will stay here.
Linda: forever, and ever. So that was probably one of the challenges because when that happens when you lose an account like that, you think what am I going to do with these people? And for us, that was probably harder than the relationship with the customers. How do we continue to provide for these people?
Kathryn: How do we find placement yet for them?
Linda: Right. So that's why I said that was a challenge.
Rick: That was a challenge. Linda was head of HR, head of finance, working out of a bedroom in our home with payroll of 250,000 a month.
Michael: A month?
Rick: Yeah. A month, and she was cutting the checks, and I'm the account manager for all of the accounts plus we had like 56 people, but many where IC's and part-time. So I think there was a certain number of employees but-
Kathryn: Independent Consultants, IC's? Yeah.
Rick: Yeah, that gets crazy, and-
Kathryn: The big nut.
Rick: Yeah, it's a big nut, and you have a lot of people there and always finding the honor to the culture while you're finding the edge to make sure you're profitable and growing. So we were always blessed and grace always covered us. But there's an any entrepreneur, any small, medium business listening knows this, that there's great volatility and to achieve anything great, there's a great sacrifice. And you have to be willing to embrace that and flip the script and keep growing or it gets overwhelming.
Kathryn: Yeah. It's amazing how critical the story you tell yourself about your circumstances, at any given time is right, just your mindset. I love that flip the script concept. Because you can just look at what you can see in front of you and go, we are going to die. Or we're going to have to fire 15 people and they are going to hate us. It's going to be counterculture. Or you start looking for the ways to solve that and looking and embracing the opportunity and pressing forward and yeah, super cool.
Rick: Yeah, but that pulls a lot out of you. That's where you really grow and learn how to manage your own EQ, and to learn the order of your spirit, soul and body. And that's always been the real beauty of this process and experience for me it's learning more and more about myself and how to have order and peace if I can use that word and it's the storms there-
Kathryn: Peace is a really important word. It's one of my favorite word.
Rick: Yeah, they are. They are storms.
Kathryn: They are [inaudible 00:33:43]
Rick: And the massive uncertainty even now. I mean, we don't know there's so many variables hitting all at once in the fourth industrial revolution, in our digital innovative age that nobody really knows how it's all going to play out.
Michael: And that's the true.
Rick: So uncertainty is our friend. You have to make friends with that, and-
Michael: Well, there's a lot of opportunities that happened in uncertainty.
Michael: Because when things get... I mean, we've seen it, if you're old enough, [inaudible 00:34:13] listening, you see that where the consistency and everything stays the same, people stay in the same leadership places there's not as much opportunity or holes in the market, you can't find those blue ocean spots. This change allows for a lot of things to disrupt. And in that if you can keep your mind and wits about you, and keep your eyes open, you can see opportunities or at least start to look and find opportunities that I remember when I was younger, and we started this company when I was 34. But I was like, okay, there's all these people in control of all these different things, and all these leadership positions, and all this stuff out there. And it's kind of been the same thing for 30 years. Where's the opportunities? Where's it going to roll? And then all of a sudden things started shifting. I mean we were... The internet was building up in [inaudible 00:35:04] because we started this in 2002 was-
Kathryn: And actually be a real thing. That's internet.
Michael: I mean, when we moved back into Chico, we were living in Colorado when we moved back here in 97. We grew up here, or at least, Kathryn moved here when she was 12. I grew up here. And the idea that there was this thing called the internet. I mean, this sounds silly talking. Today, it sounds like we're talking about the Neanderthal years, but that was only 20 years ago, 22 years ago. And this whole thing has happened to our world in 22 years, the 23 years. I built my first website 1995. And it was like a blinking image. And it took 10 minutes to load when it came up on the website because the picture was too big and it wasn't that big.
Kathryn: And then there was flash and that just made everything so exciting and neon.
Michael: So, I mean, it really is an interesting thing when you get this whole idea of change and shift and who knows what's going to happen, but it does present a lot of opportunities and a need for that emotional intelligence. And a need for that place of knowing, like you were saying right in the beginning of who you are. If you don't have your identity figured out, you get lost in the current really quick in all of this.
Kathryn: Well, and you end up panic, right? So amidst all of the uncertainty, if you're not sort of centered, and who you are, and you're able to kind of navigate. You start making really dumb decisions, because you panic, right? And so just having the emotional control, to not panic, and to kind of look back over history and go, you know what? Things have changed before, it's okay.
Rick: Right. Exactly.
Kathryn: And they will change again, and we're not going to die. We don't know what it's going to look like, but it's going to be okay. We don't know how but it's going to be okay.
Linda: And I think another important thing is not to doubt your decisions, and when you think through what you're going to do. And you're deliberate about it. And you talk to people you trust, then you can mitigate your risks of making poor decisions.
Kathryn: Yeah, absolutely.
Michael: Well, okay, so let's turn the corner and head towards the end here. But is there anything else that you're burning to ask right now?
Kathryn: I'm just trying to think I mean, I love to hearing about kind of you guy's journey, just being married in business. And obviously, you took a bunch of time off. And in your early days, you didn't work together. Michael and I went through a season of working together. And then I went into corporate America, and we didn't work together for seven, eight, nine years. And then we started having a blowout and he was like, I really need you to be working with me. And I was like, I don't want to do this job. So I grew into it. But one of the greatest compliments we ever got working together is it doesn't feel that... One of our employees said it just doesn't feel like we're working for a married couple. And they'd come from having worked for some unhealthy married couples, because there are married couples out there that don't do it well. So it's that kind of your experience where your employees just feel like there's an equality and that... I mean it's like mom and dad aren't fighting. We're okay.
Linda: I think that we've always known our roles. And we try to give each other the autonomy in their role, and not to question and if there are things that we need to discuss, it's again, Mom and Dad talking in private, and not bringing any discontent or disorder into the work environment. And that's really important. And also to model for them, what healthy relationships are like, and whether they're a marriage or work relationship, a partnership, whatever, to model that. Again, a lot of the people that have worked for us over the years haven't had backgrounds where there have been good role models, whether it's in the home or the work or a variety of other things. So we've just tried to model healthy, respectful relationships. And in addition respecting the people that work for us.
Michael: Yeah. Okay, so I do know... There's a couple of things I'd like to ask about. Now, the company 511 and Spiritus 14 years. So basically what you've had is you've had almost 400 millennials working for you.
Michael: So let's talk about millennials for a moment. Have you found that they were a bunch of lazy useless snowflakes?
Linda: Of course not. No, no. And you know what? What we found is the expectations of how they work dictated how they worked that-
Michael: Elaborate on that.
Linda: Well, when we had expectations and clear, defined rules, and roles of what was expected of them, they would work up to it. They would work up to whatever challenge was given them. I don't think we really ever had anybody who I would consider a snowflake or who wanted to be treated differently, or who had too much of an entitlement attitude. Of course, there was some of that, but we had standards, and we had rules and roles. And we also had great respect for the people that work for us. And we treated them kindly. And we treated them as family to a degree-
Rick: Yeah, absolutely.
Linda: And tried to make the environment where they worked safe. And where they were cared for, and respected and valued.
Michael: And do you feel like you got good performance out of them?
Michael: Yeah. There's this talk about millennials and who they are and generalizing 80 million people, it just drives... It's one of my pet peeves. I hate it, because a lot of our staff are millennials and I love them. And I think that if you lead well that helps help tremendously.
Rick: Exactly. They reflect the leadership. We have a friend named Amanda Hamad, who has a business entitled the millennial translator. And so corporations hire her to help them manage millennials. I don't think it's-
Kathryn: Help me understand my people.
Rick: I don't think it's that complicated. It's exactly what you said, Michael, they reflect the leadership.
Michael: Yeah. Well, and you also talked earlier about going into groups and meetings and having to learn to listen more, you had to learn to shift a little bit. I mean, we live in this post trust era. It just is part of this world that you can't just make all these assumptions. And everybody's going to assume this or that, or take your word for it or whatever. And I'm not sure if we're teaching them to think well, if we're teaching anybody to think well, we should expect them just to accept everything at face value. I don't know where the balance is in it anymore. It's kind of confusing at times. I know I'm more skeptical, but with the internet, everybody's saying something, and everybody's got a voice so much louder. And they can say, Well, this is the way it is. And you kind of go well, why should I believe that? How should I believe that? So I appreciate the way you're speaking to millennials and about that, and that whole process.
Linda: We have a millennial.
Michael: Yeah. Right.
Linda: And what we found is our daughter and her friends, they're fascinating. And I love being around them, because I'm learning new things all the time.
Kathryn: And I think millennials find couples that have been married a really long time, who seemed to really still like each other fascinating. I just [inaudible 00:42:34]. They just look at you like, wow, that's wow.
Michael: We had told that at a conference about six weeks ago, this girl we've known and we've been building a relationship with for a long time. And we're in an organization together, and they live in Chicago area. And we try and connect and build relationships over the last two or three years and she looks at us and she just goes I'm just-
Kathryn: Yeah, I just find you two fascinating.
Michael: I'm like, what? Really? But part of it is she's on her second marriage. Great girl. First one didn't work out, chose poorly, some things didn't happen, ended up in a second marriage where she loves her husband. She's working with him now and their company. They've got the mixed marriage with kids from different marriages and stuff like that. So they get all those challenges and she's looking at us like you've been married this long and you are successful in business. And you don't believe about certain things that I do, but I like you anyway. And it's interesting to watch those dynamics and sometimes you don't even realize you're an anomaly.
Kathryn: You're being studied from a distance.
Rick: An artifact.
Kathryn: And artifact and the [inaudible 00:43:46]
Michael: Exactly. Okay. Let's shift a little bit just to some fun stuff as we wrap up this thing. We've got this list of questions. I've modified them a little bit. I warned you a little bit about this. At least I think I did with you, Rick. There is a show called Inside the Actors Studio. I don't know if you've ever seen it or not, okay? Been around for a long time. And at the end of it, he asked these questions that I found fascinating by a French journalist. And Pierrot was his name.
Michael: And the only picture I've ever seen of him is on his Wikipedia page. And he's in his, like, late 70s, grey hair and a tie, but evidently a very successful journalist. And he always asked these questions. So I modified him just a hair because I don't like some of them. But a lot of them I do, and they're just for fun, because it's like, one of the things we want to do with our podcast is continue to go, okay. This is who we are. This is what these people are as we're interviewing, folks, but this gives you an insight into questions that people wouldn't normally ask. So they're not all too crazy. What is your favorite word?
Rick: My favorite word would be Jesus.
Michael: All right. I like that. What is your least favorite word?
Linda: You go first. I'll think about It.
Michael: Oh, good. All right.
Linda: I'll say failure.
Michael: Failure. Okay, I want to ask why?
Linda: Because this sounds so cliche. I think that we look at things as failure when we haven't even tried. When we haven't even attempted to do something. I've failed at it when I haven't even given it a shot. And I really think that there's not that many failures in life.
Michael: I like it.
Rick: And she's true to that because on the way here, I was whining about something that I thought I failed about-
Linda: That could be another one whine.
Rick: And she said, that's not a failure, man. You learned a lot from that and the next step was solid. So-
Linda: There you go.
Rick: There you go.
Linda: There you go.
Michael: I like it. What excites you?
Rick: Being alive. [inaudible 00:45:49]
Kathryn: So exciting.
Michael: Okay, why is being alive exciting? That sounds almost a cliché [crosstalk 00:45:54]
Kathryn: Yeah. That's a cliché.
Rick: It's a cliché, but I think it's a mindset and being alive is super cool. It's a gift. It's an adventure. We can manage our thoughts and it's great.
Michael: Okay. Cool.
Kathryn: All right. Linda what's yours?
Linda: I think for me it's seeing my family, my circle happy, and achieving their goals, and achieving what makes them tick. Makes their heart happy.
Rick: That's a good one.
Michael: All right, what turns you... No, we talked about that. Did we say what turns you off?
Kathryn: No, we didn't.
Michael: What turns you off?
Rick: People that are inconsiderate.
Kathryn: That's a good one.
Michael: I like that.
Linda: I think people that are not genuine.
Michael: You like that honesty and realness?
Linda: I do.
Kathryn: You do.
Michael: Yeah, that's a good thing.
Kathryn: All about it.
Linda: Yeah. Putting yourself out there.
Michael: Yeah, the first night we had dinner together, I mean it was... I loved it because it was like okay, hey, these people are very real and genuine, and I like that, I mean we crave that. We run away from like oh that was a horrible dinner because those people are so like they just the front is there. I love it when people are willing to put their guard down because then you get to see real people.
Rick: There's a great Netflix show out now with Brene Brown titled The Call to Courage. Have you seen it?
Kathryn: I love Brene Brown.
Rick: It's all about [crosstalk 00:47:27]-
Linda: The shows is incredible.
Rick: It's all about that. It's good regarding courage and what that means uncertainty, taking a risk, venerability.
Kathryn: Nice. Call the Courage?
Rick: Yeah. Call the Courage.
Linda: What was nice about is anybody could watch this and get something from it.
Michael: The last episode we recorded was on vulnerability. So we just [crosstalk 00:47:47]
Rick: Check it out.
Michael: Good. Okay. What sound do love?
Linda: Sounds of silence. Rick's favorite song [inaudible 00:48:05].
Michael: What sound do you hate?
Linda: Whining ness.
Michael: Just great song you like fingernails on a chalkboard?
Linda: Yes, yes.
Rick: I'd have to agree with that. I think myself a little bit here.
Michael: All right, I heard that earlier whining on the way down.
Linda: Oh yeah.
Michael: What is your favorite saying, for big quote people?
Linda: Oh my goodness. I think I like, "Peace be with you."
Kathryn: And that's a good one. And also with you.
Linda: That's me.
Rick: Yes. I like, "Let's go."
Linda: Yes, you do.
Kathryn: Let's go.
Linda: That's an exclamation point.
Kathryn: [inaudible 00:48:48]
Linda: All caps
Michael: Does not going drive you crazy?
Rick: Yes, but there's also a design to it that's important to go strong, you also have to know how to... Going strong includes not going at all sometimes. So to slow down to speed up so it's part of an ecosystem.
Michael: I like that.
Kathryn: To you it's just like it when we get to the let's go part-
Rick: That's right.
Kathryn: Like it's solid. Let's go.
Michael: All right.
Kathryn: What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Linda: Be the chef.
Rick: You are a chef. Come on.
Michael: Okay before you answer would you really ever want to do that for a living?
Linda: In a very controlled setting.
Michael: Yeah. I love to cook I do all the cooking at home. And I have thought for years, or I thought I wanted to be a chef, and then I like I don't want to work in a restaurant.
Linda: I'm thinking like a pop up where you have like 10 people a night.
Michael: Oh yeah.
Linda: And you just cook a really nice-
Michael: That would be cool.
Linda: meal for them.
Michael: That would be me.
Linda: Yeah. Just something like that. But not like a restaurant where people walk in and yeah
Michael: Yeah. All right.
Michael: What about Michelangelo?
Rick: Artist, creator-
Michael: You would like to be Angelo?
Rick: [inaudible 00:50:08] I mean next to see just the whole artistic thing.
Michael: Okay, good. I like that.
Kathryn: Okay, so what profession would you absolutely not want to do?
Linda: Probably a nurse. Yeah, [inaudible 00:50:28]. Professional wrestler
Kathryn: WWE smack down. It's not on the list.
Rick: Anything that my heart was not into.
Linda: Hmm. Okay, so let's talk about that a little bit because that sounds like some people. This is what it makes me think about some people say that their hearts not into it and they flitter flutter all over the place because I don't know how else to say it other than flitter flutter but that's not what you mean elaborate a little bit more on what you mean?
Rick: Well, it's based on your giftedness and your desire and your work ethic so you may be an excellent CPA, you may be an excellent software coder, you may be an excellent artists, you may be an excellent creative marketing team. Doesn't matter that's going where your heart sings, as Linda would say, and finding the fulfillment of your creation. So anything outside that is not a place that I would want to be.
Michael: Yeah, I like it.
Kathryn: Good. All right, final question. Are you ready? If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
Linda: I think I want to hear him say, well done.
Rick: Amen to that.
Kathryn: You did good kids.
Michael: I love the fact that he had that question in because it speaks... And especially well, I hope this doesn't sound too bad, but I'm surprised that a French journalist was asking that question at the end of his list of all these people he was interviewing.
Kathryn: And it's such a great legacy question too, right?
Michael: Thank you so much.
Rick: Thank you. This is [crosstalk 00:52:21]
Kathryn: Such a great time.
Michael: And I'm looking forward to the next time we all get chance to talk together and pick a maybe a slightly different angle and come at it. I think it'll be great. But blessings on you guys.
Linda: Thank you.
Michael: Thank you.
Linda: Thank you so much.
Rick: God bless you and all of your great listeners and clients.
Michael: Thank you. All right. Well, thank you, everybody for joining us today. This has been a really, really enjoyable session. I am Michael Redman.
Kathryn: And I'm Kathryn Redman
Michael: And this is the HaBO Village podcast. Have a great week.