iphone listening shutterstock_519216199

Listen to Podcasts

How to Build a Company Culture where People and Profits Thrive - With Guest, Bobby Albert [Podcast]

Episode 137: Michael and Kathryn interview Bobby Albert, author and leadership coach, about his secrets to building a company culture that fuels business growth. Get tips on how to lead your employees in a way that will simultaneously create buy-in and increase your profits. If you're wondering how to improve your leadership and inspire your team, then this episode is for you!

Bobby Albert and the Redmans


In This Episode You Will...

  • Discover how Bobby inherited a struggling family business and grew it to national and international success.
  • Find out why involving your employees in your decision making process is one of the best things you can do to increase profits.
  • Get tips on how to codify your core values and purpose so that you can better motivate your team.
“Whenever I'd get a big idea, I'd stop and ask myself 3 questions: 'Who can help me make a better decision; who will be impacted by it; and who's going to have to carry it out.' Then I'd get them involved in the decision making process."
-Bobby Albert

Resiliency Quiz

References:

Free Resource: 5 Questions Your Best Employees Are Afraid to Ask Before They Quit

 

itunes logo   New Call-to-action  Listen on Spotify

Ready to take a listen? Like what you hear? Make sure you become a subscriber to get the latest and greatest of our podcast episodes.

SHARE | | |


Michael:
              Hello, and welcome to the HaBO Village podcast. I'm Michael Redman.


Kathryn:
               I'm Kathryn Redman.


Michael:
              Today, we have a guest with us, Bobby Albert, leadership guy, businessman extraordinaire, father. We'll get into that in a second, and we're going to have a great interview talking about leadership. Surprise. We're going to talk about leadership today on the podcast.


Kathryn:
               Well, and we are super excited to have Bobby because Bobby is someone who shares kind of our heart. We use the same words. We may not mean all the same things, which will be fun to unpack, right, but we talk about passion, and we talk about leading out of values, and we talk about working in your business, and on your business. I mean, all these things that are in your book, they're things that we talk about in our book, so always fun to kind of have a conversation with someone who's like-minded, but then to learn from each other, so I'm super excited to learn from you, Bobby, today. Tell us a little bit more about why Bobby gets to have this conversation with us.


Michael:
              Why Bobby gets ...


Kathryn:
               Why is he qualified?


Michael:
              Here's a couple of things about Bobby. First of all, Bobby led The Albert Companies to unprecedented growth, especially through 2005 to 2011, which was some really good times, and some really horrible time, some tricky times. Bobby also has a values-driven approach, which I really like. You were talking about that a minute ago. That whole concept, and this whole book True North talks about that a lot. He's currently President of Values-Driven Leadership, he's pouring into this.


Michael:
              If you're trying to figure out what does this guy look like right now, because we're on a podcast ane we have no video, he's a wonderful, cheery guy with a big old smile, and these glasses on. I'm trying to give you a description.


Kathryn:
               He's Texan, and you'll hear that in his voice in a bit.


Michael:
              He's a southerner, that's for sure, from all us northerners up here. He's been on Fox News. He's written three books. He's got four ... Is it four kids, Bobby?


Bobby:
  We have three boys.


Michael:
              Three boys, married, and a bunch of grandchildren. A whole gaggle, don't you?


Bobby:
  We have a bunch. We have a bunch, and we have eight, and we have one in the oven right now.


Kathryn:
               Nice. Nice.


Michael:
              Bobby, welcome to HaBO Village Podcast. We are really glad you're here. Thanks for coming.


Bobby:
  Well, it's a pleasure to be on your show today.


Michael:
              Let's dive in. Let's talk about ... Give us a little background about who you are, so everybody can hear it from your words.


Kathryn:
               Yeah, your quick story. Three minutes. Go.


Bobby:
  All right. Well, perhaps I could maybe share it this way is when I was 20 years old, life was good, and I had just graduated from our local university. I became engaged to Mary, my wife, and so life was really good, but there's one evening I will never forget. I was playing Foosball with my college buddies when a friend came up to me, and said, "Bobby, your dad's in the emergency room. He's had a heart attack." We rushed to the hospital, and upon seeing me, my mom quickly got up as her family doctor was walking toward us.


Bobby:
  He drew in a deep breath and said, "I couldn't save him." My mom and I were absolutely stunned. In an instant, I became the leader of our small, five employee business, and soon I discovered that all our debt that we owed at the bank, which was all short-term, was about the same amount as our total gross revenue in that business.


Kathryn:
               That's uncomfortable.


Bobby:
  That's not good. That's not good. Financially, we were way upside down, and I was in a crisis mode every day, much like we're all experiencing today during these challenging health and economic times, along with the hurt and unrest that's going on in our country, however we survived, and thrived, and ultimately grew to over 150 employees, and through the tough times, I've learned that everyone can build a culture where people thrive and profits soar in their business.


Kathryn:
               That's cool. Just to give context, what kind of a business was it?


Bobby:
  Well, we were in a very glamorous business. It was a moving and storage business.


Kathryn:
               Nice. Nice.


Bobby:
  Yes.


Kathryn:
               Trucks and boxes.


Bobby:
  Yes, that's right. Yeah, and we grew from this little local business to a nationally moving people like from California, like where you all live, to Illinois, from Florida to Virginia, from the state of Washington to the state of Connecticut, and we even grew even internationally as well.


Kathryn:
               We should have been hiring Bobby when we moved. When we moved from Colorado to California, we should have been hiring this company as opposed to driving our own Ryder truck.


Michael:
              He wasn't turning the company around yet.


Kathryn:
               That was horrific.


Michael:
              That was before the glory days of Albert Enterprises. I'm not sure we wanted those five guys touching our stuff.


Kathryn:
               My goodness.


Michael:
              Bobby, talk to me about this whole process right now. You're 20 years old. This whole thing starts. Did you have a chance to finish college, or did ...


Kathryn:
               He had already graduated.


Michael:
              You had already graduated. That's right.


Bobby:
  I was fortunate to graduate in three years, and so ...


Michael:
              Ray must have been happy about that. [crosstalk 00:05:48].


Bobby:
  Yeah.


Michael:
              I was happy when my daughter got four years.


Bobby:
  I knew a lot about the business because going back to when I was a little boy, I was very fortunate to be able to hang out with my dad a lot, and I remember, I know you all like stories, and I remember when I was 12 years old, and my dad let me go out on the first moving job at 12 years old, but right before I went out, he said, "Bobby, when you go out there, I don't want you to act like the boss's son." Now, I don't know how to explain it, but somehow I knew exactly what he meant by that.


Bobby:
  When I went out there, I went out there to serve and not be served as the boss's son. I didn't realize how valuable that was going to be until that time when my dad died, and here I was faced with people that taught me, basically, everything about the business. When I went out on a job, I would run between the truck and the house, and the house and the truck. I would take one break to everybody's two breaks. I would do the kind of work on the job that nobody liked to do like folding the moving pads, or some people call them blankets.


Bobby:
  To be honest with you, they were always filthy dirty, and back then, I mean way back then, I mean we never cleaned them. You can imagine they were ... That's the reason why nobody wanted to fold them, but they needed to be done, and so those are the kind of things I did.


Kathryn:
               How long, because I'm trying to do that math here. Your bio talks about unprecedented growth between 2005 and 2011 before you sold the company, and it was publicly traded, which is amazing, but it was a bit of a journey between when you took over the company to 2005. I mean it wasn't like a year. It wasn't like two years.


Bobby:
  Yeah.


Kathryn:
               Tell us about that interim period.


Bobby:
  Well, it was a school of hard knocks, but I'll be honest with you, again like with a lot of people helping me, I told you where we were financially when my father died, but within one year, we had grown the revenue of our business by 252%.


Kathryn:
               Wow.


Bobby:
  We had the highest profit in the history of the company. From that point forward, our business just kept growing, kept growing, kept growing, kept growing, kept growing until, like you mentioned, in 2011 I sold it to a publicly traded company, and it was very successful, and we had tremendous growth during that time period from 2005 to 2011.


Michael:
              In today's world, a lot of people ... It's always cool when we hear success stories. I love success stories, but I always wonder what's the story behind the story in the success? You live the golden dream because we talk about it on the podcast. I mean the business failure rate's 90%. 74% of Americans are disengaged with their job.


Michael:
              They're not really liking it, loving it, at all. What were some of the struggles and the challenges that you had to figure out how to overcome, those places you had to come to yourself, and really see yourself in the mirror before you could achieve some of that really amazing growth and figure out that 2005 to 11 process so you could sell?


Bobby:
  Yes. I wish I could ... Everybody probably says, "It takes hard work." Well, it did take hard work. I mean because I felt, in those early days, I was just scraping, and scraping, scraping to make it work, like a lot of businesses which you all deal with a lot of clients, and I'm sure they've come from a point where they had to scrape and scrape for years. One thing that I begin to learn, and I think this is maybe the biggest takeaway is that in the early goings, because I was scraping so much just to survive, is I was so focused on driving for results.


Bobby:
  I finally begin to understand that if I focus on our people, our people would give me the results I was always looking for.


Michael:
              Yeah, so go into that more. I want to hear more about that.


Bobby:
  Well, again, since you all like stories, 1989 is probably a big pivot point that was, for me, in understanding this. Prior to 1989, in my business, I was the idea man. I could have been put on like a something that looked like a Superman suit on with a big I on it. I was Mr. Idea Man, and I know you all are in marketing. You all deal with a lot of ideas, but you could also say that's had to do with innovation. A lot to do with our growth is the we brought a lot of innovative ideas to the marketplace because we're talking about this glamorous business that is just ...


Bobby:
  It amazes how slow things change. It drives me nuts, but what happened and prior to 2009 when I had an idea on my own, I would go and come up with all of the ... I would do all of the research. I would come up with all of the questions, and then come up with all of the answers. Then, I would go to our leadership team and basically I said, "Look what I've done for you." It never did go over well.


Kathryn:
               What happened in 1989? I want to know.


Bobby:
  Well yeah. Well, a guy who end up from that point, started mentoring me for over 20 years after that, and I mean he had big clients like IBM, Xerox.


Kathryn:
               This is Jim Lindy, right? The manager [crosstalk 00:12:36].


Bobby:
  He had huge clients, and then he had this little guy by the name of Bobby Albert. I don't know why he took an interest in me, but he did. What he did, he did what we would call today a 360 evaluation on me. The leadership team fill out this confidential report, and of course back then, it was all hand-written, and I even had ... We were talking about earlier, even my wife filled it out, and my best friend filled this thing out too, and what came back from that is that what I learned from there is the people that responded to that said ... Basically what they said, "Bobby, when you get an idea, come to us first before you make up your mind because we want to help you."


Bobby:
  To be honest with you, when I left hearing about that, I walked away and I was mad. I had every excuse you could think of, like they don't understand me. They don't appreciate all that work I did for them, thinking about all the research and all this kind of stuff. Good thing I had a night to sleep on it because when I woke up the next morning, I was thinking, "You know, these people really want to help me."


Bobby:
  I don't know who said what because it was confidential, so I went to them, and said, "I'm sorry. I didn't understand that." From that point forward, I began to move in a direction of getting employees to participate in the decision-making process. In other words, in the beginning, when I got this idea, is at that point, I would get people involved in the decision-making process. What I learned, I actually, from them being involved, is that they helped me make a better decision was a big factor because what I was doing before, when I look back on it, I made some poor decisions.


Bobby:
  They could have been better if I had the kind of input that they had. I tell you what, this will give you a kind of a flavor is when I sold the company to the publicly traded company, if you walked around and talked to our employees, they would talk with you as though they own the company, and not Bobby Albert. You can't buy that stuff.


Michael:
              No, you can't. Not at all. Okay, so unpack this a little bit. You talk a lot more about this in the book, right? This seems ... You're going to have two groups of people, I think, listening today. One is absolutely I agree with it. I get it. We buy into that, and we're listening, and they're enjoying this conversation because they're hearing somebody else from their perspective do the same thing.


Michael:
              Then, there's somebody else who's listening going, "Yeah, I get what you're saying, but that seems like you're waving a magic wand, and it can't be that simple."


Kathryn:
               My team doesn't have time to help me do that creative stuff. They need to be working.


Michael:
              Yeah, or if I just ask them, they won't give me ... All they do is stare at me because I say, "I want your help," and they just look back and they go, "Uh, we don't have anything." Then, I get frustrated. You make it sound really simple. We all know it's not simple. How long did it take to gain their trust, and to build their trust that you actually did care about them, and you wanted to? What was that process like?


Bobby:
  Well, when I would get this idea, I would go to them, and we would have ... It started with the leadership team, just starting to have discussion. Then, I started involving all the employees in our company. Over time, because this is where this flavor, this culture, where people really were thriving, and they helped me achieve these profits that, in my industry, if the industry heard the kind of profits we had, they were like unbelievable kind of.


Michael:
              Oh wow.


Bobby:
  It's due to we had a whole team of people. It's been so long I've used it, I hope I even say this quote, this saying I used to have is, "Do you want individuals on a team, or a team of individuals?" You see a lot, what I mean by that, you see a lot of sports team, particularly you see it in professional where you've got some extremely talented players on the field, but they're all interested in themselves.


Michael:
              Yeah.


Bobby:
  They're not playing as a team. I tell you what, there's such a strength when you've got every employee that is working together as a team, even though they're individuals, but it's like playing ... People really playing for the benefit of the whole team, it makes a big difference.


Kathryn:
               I'm curious, and just to see if you can articulate this, what was the fear that you had to overcome within yourself to take that step?


Bobby:
  Well, I thought I was the smartest guy in the company, and I knew all the answers. All I needed to do is just step outside the door of my office, and just start barking orders. "Do this, do that, and do that, and don't ask me questions, just do it as I told you." Now, I do a lot of coaching with leaders, business leaders, and a lot of them are doing, or have been doing that same thing.


Kathryn:
               Yeah, I mean it seems like a lot of ... I think if you are the idea person, and you're used to being the smartest person in the room, there's definitely some internal work that has to happen to be able to let go of that, and to allow other people to have ideas without feeling like somehow your reason for being there is threatened. If you're the idea guy, that's a hard transition.


Bobby:
  Yeah, it's a humbling experience to understand that you're ... You may have a good idea, but how you do it, you might not be the smartest guy in the room.


Michael:
              Okay, so I've got a question for you. This is one of those places, I love this, this is one of my biggest challenges in this place. I'm the idea guy, right? In this company, I'm the idea guy, and constantly trying to make sure that I'm being a good leader, and not just a good teller. How did you deal with, because this is one of the challenges I faced, that I'm always working on, is if I ask everybody what their idea is, there's informed ideas and conversation, and uninformed ideas and conversations that come out of the group.


Michael:
              Some of those are good ideas. Some of them are horrible ideas. How would you manage that as those things happen, as you started to open up, and I would imagine in the beginning, was that hard for you to figure out how to suss that out when people came up with ideas when you're going, "That's a dumb ..." You're thinking inside your head, "That's a dumb idea. That'll never work."


Bobby:
  Yeah, no I'm with you because I mean it took me a little while to get into this, to understand it, but if I may tell another story.


Michael:
              Yeah, cool. Please.


Bobby:
  Actually, it was a couple years that I saw it with my own eyes. We needed to replace several moving trucks, and see, when you get into the size of the capital expenditure, typically the guy at the top is the one making those decisions, and doing all the research and coming up with all the answers. Fortunately, one of our managers said, "Bobby, why don't we ask the drivers to help us come up with what are the right trucks we need?" See, I'm still hanging in there with my old ways still. I don't know, maybe I had a weak moment or something. I said, "Okay, let's do that."


Bobby:
  What was surprising that was an outcome of this, let me say this because Michael, this may be an issue that you've observed. See, I'm thinking that if I'm the guy that comes up with all the answers, figure everything out and come up with the answers of this idea, we can move faster. What I learned, which I'm a very impatient person. I mean I wanted it done two days ago, not just yesterday, but two days ago. I mean now I understand why my mom and dad started me in Kindergarten a year earlier than they should have because even today, I'm like an adult ADDDDDDD.


Bobby:
  I'm in a big hurry always. I'm trying to think, "You know what? We need to accelerate here, and it's going to take longer if we get people involved." I learned that by the process of them being more involved, when we got through with a decision, they were already educated on why we arrived at the decision. I didn't have to spend a lot of time persuading them and telling them this is a good idea, and we need to go this way. I didn't need to do that anymore.


Bobby:
  Because of their involvement, they took such an ownership, they took care of things. We moved faster after the decision was made.


Michael:
              Oh yeah.


Kathryn:
               That's good.


Michael:
              That's really good.


Bobby:
  Actually, the process went longer to arrive at the final decision, but the implementation accelerated, accelerated. Let me share this about buying the trucks. When they were doing their research to come up with the specs of the truck, they were totally shocked how expensive these trucks were. They had no idea. This is back in the days before iPhones, and iPads, and iPods, and all those kind of things. Music back then, just like it is today, especially with younger people, it's very important to them.


Bobby:
  Guess what they decided to do? They decided on their own before I even knew that they made a decision to take the radios out of the trucks. This is the only way they had music when they were setting in the cab of the truck. They made a decision to take the radios out to save some money.


Kathryn:
               Wow.


Michael:
              I would imagine if you decided that, there would be a bit of a revolt, if you just announced that that was going to happen.


Kathryn:
               I would imagine.


Bobby:
  Yeah, you get the point. If I made that decision to say, "Hey, we've got to do this to save money," it would be like a revolt, just like you said. Now, I knew how important them listening to music while they sit in a cab, because sometimes they're in it for ...


Kathryn:
               Hours.


Bobby:
  ... a long time, and so I said, "No, we're not going to do that." It was actually a small cost compared to the whole truck, but let me tell you the outcome is that all of a sudden, I didn't have to tell the drivers and the helpers to be sure and sweep out the truck, the back where people's household go. I didn't have to tell them to fold the pads anymore. I didn't have to tell them anymore to tie off their equipment against the wall so it didn't fall over and hit somebody's furniture.


Bobby:
  I didn't even have to tell them to make sure and keep the cab of the truck clean of all the hamburger wrappers and Coke cans. I didn't have to tell them to keep it clean anymore. In fact, if a helper tried to put their feet up on the ...


Kathryn:
               The dash?


Bobby:
  ... the dashboard, the driver's going to say, "No, you're not going to do that on my truck." You see where this all went?


Kathryn:
               Yeah, that's cool.


Bobby:
  Yeah, so when all that happened, it's like man my eyes got as big as Texas. It's like, "Okay, I get it." We came up with, and Michael, maybe this is what you're referring to, there's three questions that whenever I get this Bobby Albert idea that I was always bringing up, I would ask myself these three questions. Who can help me make a better decision? Who will be impacted by it, and who's going to have to carry it out, and I would get them involved in the decision-making process.


Michael:
              Okay, say those questions again for us.


Bobby:
  Who can help me make a better decision?


Michael:
              Okay.


Bobby:
  Who will be impacted by it, and who's going to have to carry it out?


Michael:
              Right, so you've got at least three people, if not three groups of people?


Bobby:
  Yes.


Michael:
              Then, you're going out and you're saying, "Okay, I'm going to start with just involving them and having the discussion," and the win on the other end is ownership, is a better understanding ...


Kathryn:
               [crosstalk 00:27:19].


Michael:
              It was a better productivity for you, but it changed the culture of the company too, right, just by having those conversations?


Bobby:
  Yes it did, and that's where the implementation of the ideas, it rewarded the kind of results that were unbelievable in our company. The basics of running a business is increase revenue, decrease expenses, and increase productivity. It's pretty basic. Did I, as the owner of the business and the leader, did I always want it, and I was trying to do that on my own, but when you start having all your employees, I'm talking about all of them, now they're worried and concerned about increasing revenue, decrease expenses, and increasing productivity.


Bobby:
  I didn't have to go out there and fuss with people anymore about it. See, if I went out there, it was all like, "All Bobby's worried about is money."


Kathryn:
               Right. Right.


Michael:
              You wrote True North Business really to kind of talk about this, and share those thoughts and ideas about what that looks like, and going to that in a whole lot more depth and detail than we have time today, but if you were talking to that person who is still saying, "I want to be a better leader. I want to understand this more," and can relate to that idea that, "Yeah, I'm the idea person. I'm the director," and there's five reasons why they shouldn't stop going on in their head. That person right now, what are they going to get if they take the time to read True North?


Bobby:
  The True North Business Book?


Michael:
              Yes.


Bobby:
  Well, I think it really helps reset people's mindset because we're talking about, which we had in our company, we had actually a physical button called Enjoy Change, so everything begins with a thought. It really challenges how we think about things. Enjoy Change is change what you think, you change what you do, and then you change who you are.


Michael:
              Change what you think.


Kathryn:
               Change what you do.


Bobby:
  Change what you do.


Michael:
              Change what you do.


Bobby:
  And you change who you are. It really comes down to starting with how you think, and many of us leaders, like I did for a long time, my thinking wasn't right.


Michael:
              Yeah. Yeah.


Bobby:
  I finally ... I mean with a lot of people, like I said, a lot of people helping me, it got better, and better, and better over time.


Kathryn:
               What's interesting about your story, Bobby, is that you can articulate now that my thinking wasn't right, but it isn't like you weren't being successful. I mean you continued at that, even when you were the idea man, you were growing that company over, and over, and consistently. It's just that your people weren't particularly happy, so even that is an interesting thing because most folks, it's that, "It ain't broke, don't fix it. I'm growing the company. Back it off man, I'm doing a great job.


Kathryn:
               It's kind of fun to talk to somebody who, like you didn't have one of those moments where it's like, "If I don't fix this company, we're going under." It wasn't that. It was more about sort of living a different way, or enjoying the company differently and having people invested in the company differently. Would you say that's true?


Bobby:
  Yes, and I know like core values, purpose, and vision, and mission is important to you all. It's so important also in the communication to the employees and them having a strong feeling of what does this company stand for?


Michael:
              Yeah.


Bobby:
  For many years, actually going back to the early '90s, as our people clearly understood what our company's purpose, which was why we exist, and our vision where we were going. Closer to the year 2000, I came up with what we call Super Objectives. To some organizations it's called mission, but what it is is what do we want to accomplish every day? In other words, we got sophisticated enough that by the time I was selling the company, we had real-time forecast with the internal system we had where people could see the two super objectives we had.


Bobby:
  These are going to be something I think you're interested in because of the kind of business that you have, it was to delight the customer, and to increase operating profits. Pretty basic. In other words, when our people go out the door every day, what we were hoping they would ask themselves, "Did I delight a customer, or delight the customers today, and did I increase operating profits?"


Bobby:
  They understood those, but what happened in 2005, which it actually is when I introduced our core values, but to be honest with you, it took me about five years to get to that point because it was based on who I was as the leader. I couldn't figure it out at the time, but I spent heavily for about three and a half years, asking myself, I mean deep inside of me kind of questions. I mean they're hard to answer like, "Bobby, what do you even stand for? What are you all about?"


Bobby:
  That's the reason why it took me a long time. In fact, I would kid with our leadership team. I would tell them, "Just tell me who I am so I can get this thing over with. This is driving me nuts." I do a lot of bicycling. I mean I've been doing it for a long time, and it's kind of my thinking chair. While I'm out there on a long ride on the road or something, I'm just going through, it's just going in my head over, and over, and over. "What do I stand for? What am I all about? Why did I say what I said? Why did I even do what I did?" I mean these are hard questions.


Bobby:
  I finally, one day, I finally set down. It was like, "I'm ready. I'm ready to figure out who I am." The thing is, those care values were always in our company. I just didn't know it.


Kathryn:
               You hadn't codified it yet.


Bobby:
  Yeah. Fortunately, I tell you what, I'm amazed that our HR Department, our Human Resource Department, they were already hiring people of the same core values for years, but they didn't even know. Like you said, it wasn't in a list, but I had to ask ... finally, when I set down, I'm still, "Okay now, I'm ready. What am I going to do?" I pulled out a yellow tablet, and I said, "Well, what are things I have a passion for, things I get excited, things that give me energy?" I did a little T-chart, and I wrote down on one side of the paper a list of words that describe that.


Bobby:
  Then, I'm thinking, "Well, on the other side of the coin, what are things that when they're not done, are not done well, I get angry, I get upset, I get foaming at the mouth because they weren't done?" Well, I wrote down some words to describe that. I was looking at this T-chart on both sides, and I'm shocked that on both sides, there's six words that are the same, so I circle them.


Bobby:
  The more I looked at them, the more I kept looking. I was thinking, "You know what? That is who I am." That was the starting point of me finally discovering who I was, and because as the leader of the business, everybody in the company was already living out those core values. When we introduced those core values, Michael, this comes back part of this getting people involved. In fact, I mean we did this for almost 20 years before I sold the company. We would shut down the company for a whole half a day, and we would introduce, you know I mentioned a button earlier.


Bobby:
  We had several other buttons, or a theme, or whatever it was, but this one year in 2005, we shut down the company for a whole half a day for me to share about the core values. I wanted our people to go through a discovery process, so what we did, we created ... You know the game show on TV called the Wheel of Fortune?


Michael:
              Yeah.


Bobby:
  Well, we played a game called the Wheel of Values, and so there were six core values, so we take the first value, and each table, they were like six, some tables there might have been as many as eight people per table, they played this game of discovering the first phrase, which was pursue personal growth. They played the game of what that phrase was. They got really into it. In fact, they were standing up to play the game.


Bobby:
  Now, let me tell you, there was a big prize because the keywords in my core values, it happened to spell out the word givers, and the day before, we passed out T-shirts with the word, just the letters G-I-V-E-R-S. You can imagine, in my company, everybody was talking, "What in the world is Bobby going to do this time?" The interest was really high, and not only that, when you create such a high intensity interest like that, everybody shows up on time the next morning to be at this one day, half a day event.


Michael:
              Right.


Bobby:
  What the big thing was, is behind me was a big spinning wheel that whoever yelled out, whoever guessed that phrase correctly, pursue personal growth, like on the first one, they're supposed to yell out the word givers. The first table that yelled it out, they'd select somebody to go spin this wheel with prizes. They wasn't like a 60 inch color television on there, but they were some nice prizes. You can imagine how there was lots of interest in playing that game.


Kathryn:
               That's fun.


Bobby:
  After we go over the first core values, then I would share where it came from. I mean I was telling stories about when I was a little boy. Things that a lot of people that had been there for years had never even heard. Then, afterwards, because we had a flip chart for each table, and after we played the game, I shared where it came from, then they went to the flip chart to discuss at their table, how we were going to live that out, that particular core values, in our company.


Michael:
              This went over well? This was a really good thing for the staff, right?


Bobby:
  Oh, for the whole company. You've got to realize, we had, at that time, we had close to 150 employees, and so I always, after one of those kind of meetings, I always walk around the whole company and just talk to people about the day. What did they learn? What were their takeaway, and it was consistently over, and over, and over people would say, "Bobby, this is who we are. This is who we are."


Kathryn:
               Okay, so question for you, and we have to bring this in for a landing, but I'm curious, if your company was already living into those values, and you were able to articulate these are our values, why do you think it impacted growth?


Bobby:
  Well, of course we had a lot of things going for ourselves because of the leadership style, and those kind of things, but there's something that happens inside of us because see, these people, it turned out, these were their same core values for them. It was like, "This is who I am." You see what I'm talking about? It's like we go through life that's meaningless. We're frustrated. We have emptiness in our lives because we don't know who we are. It's like we don't even have a purpose, a lot of purpose. We don't even know where I'm going. You know what I'm talking about, on a personal level.


Kathryn:
               Sure.


Bobby:
  When people began to see who we were, it was like igniting a fire inside.


Kathryn:
               It's interesting because we talk about the power of codifying right, and how even though this may be who you are, being able to articulate it definitely shifts something. I think what I hear you saying is that even though your company was living in those values, and your people were like, "Yeah," being able to codify it and give them something to rally around allowed them to go, "Okay," and that just shifted things.


Bobby:
  Yes, if I can add, and I know you said we've got to land this jumbo jet here, but see when I'm talking about culture, culture is the fruit and not the goal.


Kathryn:
               Yeah.


Bobby:
  So many leaders make culture a goal. In other words, because they have it in their mind, "If I make my people happy, they'll be productive and they'll make me more money." See, that's what I'm going to get out of it. The thing that I learned about working with our people, it's like I couldn't give them enough. It wasn't like material things. See, like so many leaders, because it's a goal, it's like, "If I bring in ping pong tables, and provide them with all the food and drink, that they'll be happy and they're going to make me more money."


Bobby:
  What I learned is that if I do the right things, like what I call the essentials on the core values, purpose, vision, and the super objectives, and like I mentioned earlier, like mission, people know what those are, and we apply leadership principles, if you can think of a fruit tree is that it produces this beautiful fruit, which is the will of the people. It's the will of the people.


Bobby:
  It's this thing inside of us that it's hard for me to understand and figure it out, but when you tap into that will, that desire that's in you, it's a powerful motivation, and that's the reason why from 2005 to 2011, before I sold to a publicly traded company, and you know what the economy was doing then. You all might have been impacted by it. I mean it was in the tank.


Michael:
              Yeah.


Kathryn:
               Yep.


Bobby:
  A lot of businesses failed. People struggled and things, but even at that, we grew our revenue about 500% and our profits by 500% during that time period.


Kathryn:
               That's crazy. Good. Good.


Michael:
              Bobby, this has been great. This has been fun to talk. It's been great to hear the stories. It's always great to hear wisdom from folks who have been down the path before, and discovered their own journey, and done things in business. I love it. Thank you for sharing with us today.


Bobby:
  It's a pleasure to ... Hey, you can tell, I get fired up to tell about these stories. Anyway, thanks for giving me this opportunity.


Michael:
              You bet. You have a free gift for our listeners today too? You want to describe that real quick for us?


Bobby:
  Yes. The link is simply bobbyalbert.com/5, the number five, and then the letter q, and what it is, it's five questions your best employees are afraid to ask before they quit.


Kathryn:
               All the way back to your 360.


Michael:
              Okay. When you first told me what this was about, I was like I heard a lot of titles. I like this title. I think this is great. Questions before they quit. I think this is great for people to download, think about. Here's a great resource. We'll also have the link in the show notes on our website at halfabubbleout.com, and habovillage.com. You'll be able to get that link and download that.


Michael:
              I think those questions would be interesting, and probably drive a bit of thought process for you of what are the things they should be asking, and what is that because you want to keep the good employees. You don't want to lose good employees. What does that look like? That's a great place to say what does culture look like? Again, thank you, Bobby. Thank you to our listeners today for checking in listening. I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as we did. This was fun, and if you want to find anymore about Bobby Albert, just go to bobbyalbert.com.


Kathryn:
               Couldn't be simpler, bobbyalbert.com.


Michael:
              It's as simple as it gets.


Kathryn:
               It's great.


Michael:
              It's not even hard to spell.


Kathryn:
               It's not.


Michael:
              Bobby, we wish you the best. Thank you very much for joining us again. You take care, and everybody else, have a great day. Thanks for joining us on the HaBO Village Podcast. Bye-bye.


Kathryn:
               Bye.