Mike Malatesta

Entrepreneur | Author | Coach

Mike Malatesta

Entrepreneur | Author | Coach

Dale Walls, From Mayberry to Manhattan – A Marine’s Journey to Entrepreneurial and Leadership Success (#242)

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Dale Walls

Dale Walls is the Founder and CEO of Lions Guide, a company that helps others in using high performance and leadership skills in their life so that they can reach their personal and professional goals more quickly. Dale grew up in a small town, and as a teenager, he felt somewhat limited by it. He struggled to find a direction or purpose, feeling lost in life, all without a father figure to help him navigate the struggles that a teenager often has to face. Dale was coping with all this by getting caught up in street fights until he agreed to attend a week-long boot camp hosted by the American Legion and run by U.S. Marines. The boot camp exposed Dale Walls to aspects of life he felt he had missed during his childhood, such as structure and discipline, and set him on a life-long path in leadership and high performance. Dale Walls decided to join the U.S. Marines with the intention of acquiring new skills while serving the country.

In his job in the Marine Corps, Dale was spending most of his time working on a large network out in Camp Pendleton, California, with 7,500 on it, which grew his technology skills. Following an honorable enlistment, Dale Walls returned to his small town home as a veteran Marine Sergeant, where he established Corsica Technologies, an IT service firm that he grew to become one of the top suppliers in the United States.

From the Technology Company

After two decades of growing Corsica to eight-figure revenues and making multiple acquisitions, Dale sold the company and founded Lions Guide, with the desire of helping others get to their next level of personal growth with greater confidence, clarity, and discipline. He was naturally pulled to this endeavor after Corsica Technologies experienced a rapid growth, and he shifted from running the operations of a small business to being an organizational leader. Dale felt that he could have made an even greater difference by helping other leaders maximize their potential, and it’s what ultimately made him decide to focus his efforts on Lions Guide, high performance training and coaching company.

Dale Walls is now focusing on helping growth-minded people on the following areas:

  • Grow Confidence: by improving self-discipline, knowledge of high-performance strategies, and proven frameworks.
  • Grow Together: by joining his exclusive community.
  • Level Up in Life: by improving performance and gaining accountability through his coaching.

Dale Walls is also the host of the Lions Guide Podcas, which you can listen on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or watch on YouTube.

And now here’s Dale Walls.

Show Notes

[03:30] How’d it happen for Dale?
[05:15] On his childhood
[10:06] Going to the boy’s state
[13:15] Life in the Marines
[21:20] The difference between Dale Walls before and after Marines
[23:15] Starting Corsica
[33:38] Getting traction and starting the business full-time
[37:38] Challenges to his leadership skills
[42:31] How much he has changed over the 20 years of his business
[45:51] Merging businesses
[50:18] Don’t touch the computers
[53:43] Lions Guide
[1:08:18] Where to find Dale
[1:09:18] Outro

Full transcript below

Video with Dale Walls. From Mayberry to Manhattan – A Marine’s Journey to Entrepreneurial and Leadership Success

Visit LionsGuide.com to Level Up your Personal Growth

Access the Free Lions Guide to Self-Discipline

Connect with Dale Walls on LinkedIn

Listen to the Lions Guide Podcast

Get Motivation, Inspiration, and Ideas to Level Up Your Life.

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Podcast with Dale Walls. From Mayberry to Manhattan – A Marine’s Journey to Entrepreneurial and Leadership Success.

How’d It Happen – Dale Walls, Guest

Mon, 12/20 4:50PM • 1:08:52

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

business, people, marines, marine corps, grow, talking, boot camp, book, job, leadership, dale, enjoyed, knew, leader, thought, entrepreneur, life, learn, mayberry, cfo

SPEAKERS

Dale Walls, Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta  00:05

Hey, everybody, welcome back to the show. I am so happy to have you here for this episode as I am for every episode. It’s fun, and I love delivering for you. And I do want to remind you, before we get started with today’s guests that my new book Owner Shift, How Getting Selfish Got Me Unstuck is available on Amazon. It’s gotten tremendous support and reviews so far. And if you have any interest in checking out more of it, pick it up on Amazon, write in a review, if you like it, send me an email if you don’t, and we can talk about, you know, your experience with the book. So I’m very grateful to everyone who supported me, and I’m looking forward to touching a lot more people with the messages in that book. So let’s move on to today’s episode. And today. I have a tremendous entrepreneur and a tremendous leader for you. And I’m fulfilling my promise to bring you amazing stories with Dale Aalls. Dale, welcome to the show. Hey, thanks.

Dale Walls  01:13

Thanks for having me. Happy to be here.

Mike Malatesta  01:15

Alright, so let me tell you why you need to be as excited as I am about Dale. At the age of 17. Dale was lost in life without purpose or direction, and only child of a broken home and living in his grandmother’s attic. While being stitched up following a bloody street fight. He agreed to attend a week long boot camp hosted by the American Legion run by the US Marines. This set Dale on a lifelong path in leadership and high performance. Following an honorable enlistment veteran Marine Sergeant was returned to his small town home, where he founded an IT service company called Corsica technologies, that he led to be one of the top providers in the United States. And after two decades of growing Corsica to an eight figure revenue company, congratulations and making multiple acquisitions, they all sold the company and founded Lyons guide. Now he spends his days fulfilling his passion to use his experience to help others learn high performance and leadership skills to apply in their own careers and lives. We have a lot of parallels there, Dale and your story. If you want to find out more about Dale, outside of this podcast, which you’ll find out a lot, you can go to his website at lions guide.com. You can also check out his amazing podcast and not just because I am a guest. But it’s called the lions guide podcast. And you can follow connect with dale like I did on LinkedIn, Dale da l he was WA, Ll. S. So Dale, I ask everyone the same question to get us started on this ride. And that is how did happen for you.

Dale Walls  03:06

Yeah, no, again, Mike, thanks for having me. And yeah, for me, it was you touched on a little bit, I just kind of got checked in, you know, I grew up in I jokingly say I grew up in Mayberry, right? Like, you know, the Andy Griffith Show, you know, everyone knows everyone, you know, almost live in black and white a little bit. And, you know, in, there’s a lot of, you know, same old, same old, I’ll say sometimes around here, and I was kind of falling in that path. And for me, I joined the Marine Corps, long story short, join the Marine Corps, because I didn’t, I knew I needed to do something different. I got really attracted by to the structure and the discipline, like say, growing up without my father in my life, you know, finding some sort of like, I’ll see a thority figure, even, you know, not that my grandmother and mother weren’t that in their own way. But, you know, just finding that, that, that masculinity, maybe even I don’t know it, but I was attracted to it. And it was new to me and I was one of the first in my family, like a lot of people joined the military, you know, who have had fathers, uncles, grandfathers, whatever, that inspired them. I didn’t have any of that I didn’t have any exposure to the military and, and but at home, you know, here in the late 90s this timeframe was I was you know, playing around my cousin with computers and dial it up to library systems and connecting playing video games and stuff. So I had a little passion for that, um, applied to get that job in the Marine Corps and the rest was history just took off from there.

Mike Malatesta  04:44

Okay, so I’m gonna dig into that a little bit more if you don’t mind. So, tell me tell me about your, your experience with your father was he someone who was there and and then gone at some point at I just want to say that your description of your town being a little in your life being a little like Mayberry doesn’t jive with my memory of that show, like, broken home. Oh, bloody street fights. I don’t remember that. In that show. So. So what’s what’s going on there?

Dale Walls  05:18

Yeah, no, I would say like, when I say Mayberry, I mean, you know, everyone knows everyone, you know, especially at that time growing up, everyone knew who, who I was the son of, you know, the, the barber would catch you screwing around on the street and yell at you. And you know, what and call call your mom, you know, like, it was that, you know, I grew up in really small town, America. And that was a good thing. Yeah, my place in it, though, was not traditional, like you say, with with Mayberry, and the beavers and all that, yeah, they’re serious back in the day now. And my father was like, every other weekend, dad, there was a sense that he was out of my life for a number of years at a time, you know, and that was kind of just like a, you know, a factor in for me, left me trying to find, you know, where I wanted to go for myself, and so, like, say the Marine Corps kind of came in, and I, you know, literally thought, you know, at that time young and no exposure to any kind of US service. You know, thought everything was the army, right? I didn’t know anything about like the Navy, and the Marines Coast Guard, and all the different branches and all that stuff. But again, boy state put on by the American Legion, I’m following much of it today, but I believe it’s still still thing. But you get this letter between your junior and senior year, inviting you to come to Boise State and, and like say, it was about a week long boot camp ish, and it did other things, you know, other activities and stuff like that, like he had to boot and, you know, do a little mini campaigns and things like that I can’t remember. But all the while it was, you know, facilitated, you know, American Legion was their representatives, but also, you know, enlisted members of the US Marine Corps. That’s where I got the top some of those guys.

Mike Malatesta  07:08

And the, this bloody street fight that that you that I talked about in your bio, is that was that kind of like, the last straw of bloody street fights? Or were you like, what kind of? Were you a punk?

Dale Walls  07:27

Yeah, kinda Yes. And no, um, you know, I was just a lot of bark, you know, how was my mouth and heart and, you know, but at the same time, you know, I knew what consequences were. So even though we were a bit mischievous, around town or whatever, it wasn’t ever anything that was like criminal, like it was just like, teenage boy stuff to a degree. But I remember just one day at school, I was standing there with one of my best friends still through this day, and someone said something to him. And we just got after your, you know, the rest of history. But what it was, Yes, I’m here I was sitting in the hospital getting stitched up, and to get my lips stitched up. And I remember I had just gotten the Novocaine needle inside my lip, which no cane Have you ever had, it’s never the fun part of stitches. And in the, the nurse or whoever give it to me just walked out of the room. And here, I just went through that suck of a whole day of suck. And my mother kind of looks at me, and I kind of remember her having, you know, to her, I kind of go on, will you go to this boy state. And I guess that moment for me was like seeing right seeing what I was doing good because I wasn’t doing good in school. I didn’t care about school, I had the attitude that well, no one in my family went to college. Why? Why do I care about school? Because this is just for, you know, my college application, you know? So I really wasn’t putting forth any effort towards my potential. And this was kind of a moment where I was actually seeing that reflected back to me that probably hadn’t before, you know, and the hurt and my mother’s eyes at that time.

Mike Malatesta  09:14

And how long if you can remember how long was it? Between the time that you received this letter initially, and this conversation with your mom after the fight, was it? Alright, it

Dale Walls  09:25

was soon because I think I think the fight was there at the end of the school year, and we were getting those letters because that boy state thing happened over the summer. Is a summer program. Okay.

Mike Malatesta  09:36

And you would, I mean, it’s hard to say right, but having your mom say this to you. Would you do you think he would have checked it out if she hadn’t

Dale Walls  09:52

brought it up? Yeah. I have a snowball’s chance.

Mike Malatesta  09:55

Okay, so mom had the influence to get you to get you in there. What were you doing? So you said you weren’t thinking about going to college? What were you thinking about? Prior to that letter coming along?

Dale Walls  10:07

Honestly, I, I don’t think I had thought that far ahead, I think I would have just fell back in line with what I’m, you know, a lot of folks and maybe towns like this, where there’s not a lot of opportunity, I would have just grabbed whatever job I was doing at the time, I had a great job. As far as I’m concerned, the best jobs I ever had, which was I was working on as a maintenance crew guy on a golf course. So from six to three, every day, I’m out there just outside enjoying the outdoors, you know, just maintaining a golf course, it was a great job work, worked under some great superintendent and enjoyed that. In fact, that was my job, mostly through high school. And I remember it was kind of heartbreaking. When I went and told him, I was going to go join the Marine Corps. Because, you know, I knew I was leaving that behind. I really enjoyed that.

Mike Malatesta  10:57

Okay. And you. You go to this boy’s camp, so it was at the right name, boy, state boy, state, sorry. And what happens in there that impacts you, like we did, so I’m thinking, and I’m just gonna throw this out here, this is what my mind would have been thinking like at that, at that age, maybe yours is the same, maybe yours is totally different. But I’m not thinking about that at all. My mom sort of brings it up, I say, okay, Mom, I’ll try it. And I go in there with a, I wish I would have gone in there with an attitude like, this is gonna suck. I’m only doing this for for her and kind of kind of maybe, if not actively, at least passively, sort of reject everything that’s coming. What was your mindset? Like? I,

Dale Walls  11:50

I don’t think it would, I don’t think it was that I had done plenty of that in many other ways. Before that time, you know, I’m, I’ve been that been that guy. And I don’t know that I went into boy states, with that kind of rebellious attitude towards it. I don’t remember much else about boys. To me, Jesus was 1997. So was that 23 years ago. Um, so I don’t recall. But I don’t remember kind of going in that way. I think I went in a little bit open minded. And what I do remember is you get duty, you’re just like in the Marine Corps, you get duties, sometimes 24 hour shifts, that we got little duties assigned to us. And I remember I just sat one night with the corporal that was in charge of our platoon. And he just started talking to me, you know, as a as a mentor would. And that was that was the part I remember that got me interested in, in in the Marine Corps.

Mike Malatesta  12:46

And you mentioned before that you really didn’t have an awareness of the difference between Marine Corps the aren’t, you know, he said, army was sort of thing. And I bet there are people who are listening are like, oh, yeah, I kind of know the difference. But I maybe you don’t really know the difference. What is the difference?

Dale Walls  13:02

Well, you know, the night seat says multiple branches of service, you know, and they, you know, generally most of the branch service have all the jobs that you would find in a major city, right. And in my job in the Marine Corps, was it you know, but in a tactical environment, the majority of my time actually, I spent working on a large network out in Camp Pendleton, California, with 7500 users on it, right. So a lot of people if you don’t know much about the military might think, oh, you know, you enlist, you get shipped off overseas and you fight for four years with it. It’s not really even various careers. There’s there’s lawyers, there’s doctors, there’s nurses, there’s it, folks, right, so the military has all those jobs. Um, for me, I joined because I didn’t, I don’t think I joined because I wanted to be a career Marine. Be there for 20 years, I definitely joined with the intention of filling in the blanks, getting a job that were was going to give me some skills, and I knew I didn’t want to go to college. I knew I wasn’t going to have the discipline for that out of high school, even if I could, but again, I didn’t come from that kind of family that, you know, there was even savings for me to go to college. But I did get, you know, $50,000 of college fund as a part of my enlistment. So I was probably the first time I started thinking, you know, a couple of steps ahead beyond the Marine Corps. But again, back to your question. No, there’s the army. There’s the Navy, there’s the Marine Corps. Marine Corps is a guy, it’s treated as its own branch, but it’s actually a Department of the Navy, Coast Guard, you know, Air Force, all the others that you hear, again, with different roles in the US, military arm,

Mike Malatesta  14:52

okay. And the Marines generally have the couple things one, they have a reputation as being sort of the badass is Of the, the group. And they also get the tough, they get the toughest assignments when it comes to battle. Right. And so I’m wondering what your mom felt like after she kind of kind of led you this way. And then you, you you get in there was was it all good? I mean, was she was she worried?

Dale Walls  15:22

I believe so I mean, I believe to find and see some, I’m a big one of my core values today is all about establishing clarity. So I think bringing some clarity to where I might go, I think, you know, it certainly as I think it was approached as any concern a mother might have, but at the same time, I believe the there was an appreciation for the value and the direction and then ultimately, a sense of pride, you know, you know, are going to earn a title because that’s what we you know, we earned a title Marine, you know, we’re never ex Marines are always Marines. And in where the, you’ll hear Marines referred to often as a few, The Few The Proud because we’re actually the smallest branch of the armed forces, as well, where the, where the US is, police force were the first ones in and.

Mike Malatesta  16:11

And so you talked about this fella that I call a mentor. During that summer, and I’m wondering, like, I’m sure that continued throughout your career, in the Marines, where you had, you know, various people that you ran into whether they were your superiors or your colleagues, or whatever the proper term is, I know, it’s not colleagues, but brother, whatever. Who were some of the tell me about some of the other mentors that you but you came upon during your experience there and what they meant to you? Yeah, you

Dale Walls  16:55

know, um, again, it was great to and in for me, in where I was in life, and what I think I needed and was looking for, you know, that started at boot camp. I mean, when you’ve got your drill instructors kind of, you know, breaking you down, build me up, in leading you through, you know, 13 weeks of boot camp, you know, certainly started I think with with my, my core, my drill instructors, at that time, which I had four of them. So we had a large platoon, 90 recruits, I think we graduated with 60. And, you know, that’s, that’s 13 weeks of, you know, discipline, but but from a matter that’s, that’s building making Marines, right, you know, we’re there for transformation. Beyond that, you know, I think that the next part of that was, once I ultimately eat, certainly, again, we always have NCOs, and staff NCOs in charge of us when we’re Junior Marines on through so I always had some sort of direct leader that was holding me accountable, right. Um, so, so yes, there was many along the way of all shapes, forms and sizes. That that, you know, that one, it was their job, but to, again, I think, for me, starting probably with Boys State, um, you know, I was open to it, I was hungry for it, I was looking for it. And I think that’s the biggest lesson I got in the Marines from those folks. Was that, you know, really challenging me to start reaching my potential, you know, I was always intelligent. So I got in trouble. You know, I saw opportunities to get in trouble, you know, or do do fun stuff, quote, unquote, and, and kind of redirecting in here, here. I was then, you know, wasn’t really a great athlete in school, or anything like that. But then here I am in the Marine Corps, I’m running perfect. pF T’s I’m one of the fastest guys in my platoon. And I’m, uh, you know, it’s just they really opened my eyes to kind of start working on myself and seeing what what I could could become.

Mike Malatesta  19:05

And you did you know, going in that you would be working in it or working with IT networks.

Dale Walls  19:12

Yes. Yeah, I applied for that job. And so the Marines, they’re all the armed forces have the advantage test. So you go in, you take that test before you enlist, and you get a score and depending on your score, is what jobs you qualify on in that respective branch.

Mike Malatesta  19:29

Okay, I wasn’t sure about that. And as you said, 90 started in 60. Finished. Did you ever have thoughts of being one of the 30 that

Dale Walls  19:39

I really didn’t know I think my only concern through that process was getting injured and you didn’t just get out if you got injured. You got rolled back in to, you know, medical platoon or whatever. But yeah, no, I had no concerns of that. I enjoyed boot camp again. I think it’s Uh, I’ll say it again. I don’t mean to be repetitive, but I think I was just, I enjoyed it. You know, we all all marine. So battle bootcamp and say that was fun. But I think during it, I literally every day just I remember laying in my rack, and we were all in bunks, and I was on the bottom, and I’m looking up at the rack behind me, I’m like, another day, another day, and that I just focused on one day at a time, but I really enjoyed it again, I’m here I am out out of my Mayberry, I’m meeting new people, I’m learning new skills. You know, I’m outside and it was there to suck factor. It’s boot camp, and they’re Onya. But for me, I really was transitioning, and I was, I welcomed it, you know, learning drill doing everything that we were doing. I, I welcomed it, I was ready for it.

Mike Malatesta  20:48

And how long were you in the Marine Corps down? I did four years, four years. And if you had to describe like, maybe in a sentence or two sentences, the difference between Dale was the day you walked into the Marine Corps and the difference four years later, when you walked out? What What would you say?

Dale Walls  21:04

I would say the thing that I evolved to that I benefited from most was was leadership, you know, we get taught leadership skills in boot camp. And that was something that, you know, was odd to me, and it still stuck to me. And it’s still something I it’s kind of part of what I’m doing today is that I learned then that even as a private of Marines in Hey, sir, why are we getting taught leadership skills, we’re just privates. And it was like, no matter whether you’re in charge of someone else or not, you’re always in charge of yourself. And that, I mean, what is self discipline just that’s leading oneself basically holding yourself accountable, challenge yourself, etc. And I, you know, so I got taught leadership skills early on. And I got promoted really quick. So I made Sergeant in two years of my enlistment, through meritorious promotions and things like that. So here I was, you know, I was 20 years old, in charge of a platoon of Marines. And, you know, so that was, um, you know, I was in charge prettier in charge of other people, early young. And I think that gave me a comfort level there. So I wasn’t I’m not, you know, I was never, I was like, lean guys older than me. You’re right. I had guys that were lat moving they had been in for for eight years prior to me, but here, I was in charge of them. Right. And I just, um, I learned a lot about leadership and getting things done even still young. And I went on to learn a lot more after but I learned what it meant to take charge in get in, get mission accomplished.

Mike Malatesta  22:44

Got it. And you, you got out and you how far after you got out was it that you started Corsica, your company.

Dale Walls  22:53

Um, the roots, of course, got really started while I was in the last, the last year that I was in, you know, just kind of through networking and in, you know, my wife’s employer and things like that, I just stumbled into some opportunities to you know, do some side hustle jobs out in town, get paid by the hour, do some projects, IT projects and whatever. Because, again, if you think about the timeliness and maybe you’ll appreciate this because you were running a company through it here we’re at 2001 broadbands become an accessible, there’s, with that comes Microsoft small business products that were traditionally reserved for the enterprise. And I was running an enterprise right, I was managing a help desk in a big IT system and things like that. So when the small business owners, I meet them, and I tell them what I did for the Marines, and they would hold their BlackBerry up and say, Well, can you get this thing to sync up with my what’s on my computer? And I go, Yeah, watch this, did boom, done, and I’m a hero. And then that would turn into Oh, hey, can you come in my office and fix everyone else’s? Are you can you you know, none of us can print we bought this printer and none of us in office can so so, you know back then, you know, you know we take for granted today our interconnectivity, you know, but back then, it was still kind of fresh, you know, I’m talking when everything stopped being dial up, and everyone started getting blackberries, email. And so so that was it. I had a half a dozen accounts out of town that was billing them by the hour. And you know, on the summer before I got out, my wife and I were out watching Tiger Woods again biggest time he was in his prime, he was big thing. I was on Torrey Pines, watching him play golf. I’m at an event and I told my wife is that we go back home I’m not going to keep at this I’m going to start a business. I’m going to make this official you know, I think I want to focus on this business. And then that that August I ended my active service and I came back to came back to my hometown.

Mike Malatesta  24:53

So interesting. You so you became an entrepreneur in in the Marines centrally right? Yes, you the seeds were planted. Then you started Germany then with a little bit of side hustle. And what was the what was the reason that you didn’t stay there? You’d already sort of, you know, started establishing a call it a customer base. It’s a great place. You know, you’re since you’re in the sun, you’re having fun. You’re young. Why go back to Mayberry?

Dale Walls  25:22

Yeah, good question. Um, well, my wife and I got married at 18 and 19 years old. We were highschool sweethearts. I’ll save it for the, the love podcast. But you know, we were love at first sight, you know, caught each other’s eyes to Friday night football game. And rest is history. You know, by when I was 19, she was still 18 We got married. And, and she came out with me to California at that time. So we got married, spent the night in a hotel locally next night, were loaded up driving across the country. And for me, um, I in my wife’s very family oriented in and talk to her parents every night on the phone while we were that we were gone. And for me, I was like, Hey, you came away with me? Let’s go back home. Definitely, there’s a part of me and she, she’s Trump’s. And I’m glad we did it. There’s a part of me that left kept Southern California kicking and screaming right every day. 70 and sunny. You know, we had that going on, as you mentioned with the business and stuff, but, um, but I wanted to go back home with her.

Mike Malatesta  26:31

Okay, well, fair enough. You know, right. You gotta, you gotta balance. How you want to live your life. Right? Yeah, you want to live? You want to live with a happy wife? Yeah. I’m curious. I meant to ask about God. I didn’t know. You know, exactly when you got married or anything. But how was her? So for a period of time, you’re not you’re not able to live off the base, I’m assuming, right? Or maybe the whole time you’re there. I’m not sure. But how did that work? And because that’s, it’s it’s like, get married at 19. And then right away, you’re, like, up, I’m headed into boot camp. So this is gonna be weird.

Dale Walls  27:10

Yeah. So I was so yeah, like, say, Jodie and I started dating when I was 17. She was 16. So we were in a relationship. Okay, I shipped off to boot camp at 18. And we got married a year later. Um, so I was already away for about 18 months. Then we got married. And then she came away with me. And I tell people who ever asked for my advice, and you know, because we’ve been married 22 years. In this area, I kind of go ate for us the best thing that ever happened to us as we we got up got out of here, you know, you know, at the at high school. And we were forced to here we are on the other side of the country. And all we had was each other. Obviously, I had, you know, the job in the Marine Corps. And I knew some people when she came out there, obviously she didn’t she had a fine job. But we had to grow together. Right? We had, there was no local influence. There was no running home to mom, you know, or whatever. We were there across the country on our own. And I always felt that, that played a big part in us growing really strong roots together.

Mike Malatesta  28:20

Oh, good point. Yeah, you had to find a life between yourselves. Without those. Right. Didn’t know relatives, friends. And interesting. And so you move back you decided to move back? How how’d you get the company off off the ground? And I’m interested because your journey could 20 year journey or so of course, because very similar to my timeframe journey with my, with my first startup and it’s like, Psych I wonder how so how did you get it off the off the ground? How did you make it happen?

Dale Walls  28:53

Yeah, that’s why I’m enjoying your book so much. Because it’s it’s fun, you know, like, say, just going through your story and kind of like, say, reminiscing a little bit to those times for myself. And yeah, you know, um, so came back, I had a cousin, who really was the one who got me into playing with the computers in the first place. He and I would play video games against each other over dial up, you know, so today’s kids, they got their Xbox, it’s all plugged in. It’s easy peasy. We were figuring out how to dial into each other’s houses tying up the phone line for hours, you know, whatever. And so I did kind of have an appreciation for what he did for me in that regard. And I saw like, it can be very chicken in the egg right? If you didn’t have a job in it, people won’t hire you because you don’t have experience. So how you’re going to experience if no one will hire you and, and he was like he was my first employee. Because here he was. He was doing HVAC system. HVAC systems at the time, very capable of doing it work. But again, no one would give him a job because you didn’t have any professional experience. So I said, Hey, this is what I’ve been doing, I’m gonna create ad and Yellow Pages when people call, here’s the phone number, you answer it schedule yourself out, I’ll pay if you know, minimum wage at time, something like, seven 750, or something like that I’ll pay you minimum wage, when you’re not billing, I’ll pay 15 bucks an hour when you’re billing. So he had an incentive to, you know, get get the calls done or whatever. And that was it. But at the Yellow Pages started showing up at networking events with a business card. You know, and you and my cousin who kind of got me interested in, in computers was was my first employee, I worked full time while I was doing that. So I came back and got a job with a government contractor, because I have clearances and so on. And so I was working full time in, you know, like, say, put any yellow pages and started working on the stuff on the side.

Mike Malatesta  30:51

Okay. And for those of you who don’t know what the yellow pages, I have to look that up. But it was very it was very real pages were very important back then, to you. You had to that was the only really the only way. Pre internet. That was the only way to get noticed. Right. And they’ve charged you a tremendous amount of money for even the smallest ad, it seemed like, and I just remember, I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with that anymore. Of course, digital marketing and all that is its own beast, but the Yellow Pages was one of those things that you kind of did, because you had to do and then you didn’t know what to do with it. At least me. I didn’t know what to do. And I hope somebody calls it but I never knew.

Dale Walls  31:32

In your story. You talked about picking what was it? It was a something? Was it advanced? Yeah.

Mike Malatesta  31:38

Advanced wasters. Yeah. So

Dale Walls  31:41

I was not that smart. I know I was but I didn’t want to but in California, the first check we got for a project. Business owners like who do you want me to write check them like WD it right, because I didn’t want it written to my name, I wanted to kind of seen more established than that in so walls do information technology, because I didn’t like DW didn’t sound, you know, so WD it. So the company in the holding still through to this day is incorporated as WD it Inc and so when I’m first networking, and I’m going out and I would hand people my business card, and would say WD it, you know, a lot of these networking events, sometimes not always, but sometimes, you know, you’re you’re talking to, you know, insurance salesman, the finance advisor, or the real estate agent, you know, these folks that are there to find prospects, right. And so, I remember I would hand out my card and it happened to me a few times, I’d hand up my card and the guy look at and say WD it Oh, yeah, I listened to your radio station all the time. Yeah, I really like it. Like now we’re actually a IT services firm. And so I that’s how we ended up changing the name to Corsica technologies, because I was realizing everyone thought web, it was a radio station. So um, so yeah, change. It’s started doing business as Corsica technologies, Corsica, being a river that runs runs into mouth of a mouth of a river that’s here in town.

Mike Malatesta  33:08

Okay. And so your cousin’s out, and he’s really the one that’s doing all the work, you’ve got a full time job, you’re sort of, you’ve got the ad out there, he’s answering it, what what kind of traction did you get before you decided, oh, there’s, you know, there’s something here and and, you know, took the plunge, it’s a hard plunge, right, that my plunge was easy. I got let go, you’re fired up? Okay, well, I got to do something, yours, I think is a little different, maybe harder, right? Because you have this good job, you’ve got these government clearances, your cousin is doing, doing the work. And you’re, you know, you’ve got a distributed workforce right off the bat, so to speak, what, what happened to change all that,

Dale Walls  33:51

um, well, my second employee after my cousin was my wife. And that was because the calls did start coming in. And I realized pretty quick that, you know, my cousin couldn’t do the calls and take the calls. And so I needed help, scheduling and keeping him on track throughout the day, and all that stuff to make sure everything was attended to. So that was our first move. Um, she had a full time job as well. And we pulled her out of that full time job and she started working full time for what was then WD it, I would say, it was probably by the time we had six, seven employees, that, um, I had a reflection point said, Okay, I’m doing this not even part time, right? Um, you know, I’m full time working, getting this going on the back end, and I kind of had this reflection moment where I said to my partner at the time, he’s also served with me in the Marines. I said, you know, I’m looking at this and said, if we can get this much done, while I’m working full time, imagine what we can get done if I gave all my time to this and He, at this point was working full time as well, who. And what I did was I got him. And I guess rewind a little bit, I had contracted myself into the government by the stage. So I was getting paid a 1099 rate to fuel the business. So I was paying myself a salary in in using the the extra profits to fund the business. And so what I did was I went to my partner said, hey, look how far we’ve come like, both of us being, you know, doing it on the side. I said, How about you come over and take my spot on this contract? I’ll go back full time. Because, you know, another part that we haven’t mentioned this, I started this business, thinking I was going to get on the service disabled veteran owned business set aside, because back at that time, President Bush had pushed put for some bills that said in there that believe they’re still in effect, as law today that 3% of all government contract work was supposed to go to Services able veteran owned firms. That was us. And realize that, sure, although the government contract business was there, that set aside was there. At this time, early 2000s, the small and medium business side of our business was just beating our door down. So having to go write these big three ring binder proposals to win government work. While all this commercial, small, medium business, we were literally beating down our door for services. We pivoted real quick and then stayed focused on that. And so I pulled myself out, I put my business partner in. So now he’s full time employed by the business at this point, I pulled out of the billable role and went back and started growing the team. And then we grew it did the same thing, pulled him out actually employed someone to go into that spot, and kept growing the business from there.

Mike Malatesta  36:52

And when you so I’m curious about your leadership, growth here and track. So you mentioned what it was like in the Marines. How, you know, between the time you went in and the time you came out, I asked you, you know, what was the biggest difference? And you said, you talked about your leadership skills. And now I’m wondering, you’ve got six or seven people as an early startup? Well, first of all, as a startup hard six or seven people difficult what, especially while you’re employed somewhere else, somewhere else was what kind of a challenge was it to your, your own leadership skills and growth during that period? If you can remember, really curious about that?

Dale Walls  37:33

Well, I had to learn, you know, and again, I also got to put these things in perspective, right, I got to the Marine Corps at 22 years old. And I was a platoon sergeant at 22 years old in the Marine Corps, which is a high performing a big, you know, entity, right, like, we we go hard, and, um, and I think the first number of years I had to learn was that everyone wasn’t a Marine, you know, and couldn’t take, you know, that type of leadership. And, again, I don’t even say that to kind of stereotype all Marines is being hard ass hard asses or whatever. I know, like, my tax was not that great, you know, as far as getting stuff done. And in certainly, so I had to mature and leadership to learn, like emotional intelligence, and culture and all these things that as a young 2220, something I didn’t quite get yet. And I had to grow to learn that, um, and just understand what it meant. What, what, what I’ll say, senior leadership means, right, because you can be put in charge of things and go get things done. And I think that’s, that’s kind of my role in the Marine Corps, getting promoted early and, yeah, and so on. But to be in charge of people’s lives in the capacity of owning a business is, is another type of leadership that you have to understand, you know, you’re hiring people, you can fire me, I can fire people in the Marine Corps, I take my back and make them do push ups and whatever and, and do the things that Sergeant could but you know, hiring a firing was was something that I felt that I learned a lot about, you know, something that you couldn’t take lightly and just kind of hire anyone and, you know, because those are life changing events, right? You know, when you hire someone, you’re changing someone’s life, you know, and when you fire someone, you’re changing someone’s life. I think I had to grow into that type of leadership, understanding, you know, the influence I had, um, you know, that here I am starting this business and I’ve got employees that look up to me, so I might not be thinking about their feelings, but they are, you know, in my words, pack a punch, and I had to learn that you know, that running through the office like, you know, hard charging Sergeant walls isn’t going to work for these guys. You know, some of them some more vets, they got it and whatever, but but I had to understand that from a cultural perspective, as an example, influence sales, you know, all these sales, marketing presence, you know, networking, all these other things I had to learn.

Mike Malatesta  40:14

It’s, I’m glad you used, you mentioned words, because it seems like one leaders often misunderstand, or don’t fully comprehend how much meaning what they say has two other people. And you can say something just sort of flippin sort of off the cuff, that means nothing to you. And the person hearing it means a tremendous amount to them, you know. So it’s a, it’s a real skill, like a real self awareness skill to finally get that one day because you don’t want to say anything that’s going to be misinterpreted. You want everything to be intentional. And sometimes it really takes a mind matrix that works very quickly in order for you to protect that. And yeah, make sure that your messaging is always positive for your team, or is has the appropriate clarity, like to use your word. And is not just something where like, Oh, that’s not really what I meant. Don’t Don’t worry about that. Because people don’t, they don’t unremember some shirt. Yeah, they don’t even remember.

Dale Walls  41:21

Well, there’s that saying, right? That they don’t remember what you said, but they remember how you made them feel as an example, you know, and you got to learn No, as a leader, you’re swinging a heavy stick, you know, and even joking, you know, joking around like, I’m a I’m a clown, sometimes I like to joke around in Marine Corps, you know, we’re giving each other a hard time all the time. And I had to know, right, like, they employees take that differently from, you know, a boss out town.

Mike Malatesta  41:48

Yeah, it’s Yeah. And it’s one thing to have conversations, certain joking conversations with your buddy somewhere, where that’s all there is there, then that’s, that’s everybody knows the environment. And then you know, slip and do something like that with other people. How many people? You so six or seven, you came on full time you built the business over 20 years? What did it look like, at the 20 year, Mark, when you decided to sell it Dell? And how much had you changed during that 20 year period?

Dale Walls  42:23

Yes, over the course. So like I say, started as a sole proprietorship in 2001. By 2010. I had done a few smaller acquisitions here in the area. But I came across some other partners that we ended up doing a bit of a merger of equals with the firm in New York City. And that was truly like a one plus one equals three kind of deal. And, um, you know, had had my own capacities. If you ever read Michael Gerber’s E Myth, you know, talks about the founders cap, you know, and, you know, you can only get so much done with these own two hands. And I was fortunate enough to come across some partners, through some some connections in the industry, that were kind of hitting the same thing. But I had a winning formula, you know, where I was, I was doing great things down here in Maryland, these guys were trying to break into that industry having a little bit of success. But we got connected up, talked about it and said, Okay, well, if I can do what I’m doing here, in Mayberry, what can I do with this formula and in Manhattan, and so so we got together, we all split hats. So where was myself and my partner from Recor. Now we picked up two other partners, the president of that company, became the CFO, the other partner up there became our, you know, customer service, customer relations guy and lead sales guy in that market and stuff like that. And it was really a great, you know, again, sharing of hats and a lot of respect between each other for our responsibilities. I always appreciated those guys. Like, like, we were all kind of like alpha leaders to a, to an extent, but like, I always felt like, these guys gave me respect and said, Dale, hey, if, you know, this is how I feel about it, but you’re the CEO, if that’s what you think we should do, I’m on board, right. And I always appreciated that of those guys. And it’s always tried to maintain that, you know, back to, you know, when you’re the CEO, your word you can use that you can be, you know, weaponized to your position and stuff like that to get what you want. And I felt like I Yeah, out of respect for their respect for me. And again, the impacts of decisions, I will make a CEO and these guys, right, these were their companies that they have built to, I always, it was always important to me to keep that respect of them to keep, you know, earn that title to be their be their CEO. And so, over that course of time, by the time we sold the business to a private equity group, you know, we were 60 employees 6065 And then Over the course of the following 18 months, I stayed on as CEO in through larger acquisitions, we grew it to 200 people. Right prior to COVID. And we were staff staff staffed for growth. But when COVID hit, you know, we did we did downsize by about 30 positions at that time. Okay.

Mike Malatesta  45:19

And how, I don’t know if difficult is the right word, how extensive was the were the conversations with these, these two fellas whose company you merged with, that, you know, about you being the CEO, because you mentioned, you know, sort of four Alpha people, they, they had started their own business, you started your own business, you come together, in your mind, you know, you see, oh, okay, this is one plus one equals three, it’s like, that makes sense. Well, that’s one thing. And then actually deciding, say, who’s gonna make the ultimate call on what the what’s going to happen with the businesses is sometimes kind of kind of another. So how did you work through that process,

Dale Walls  46:03

um, honestly, that I think kind of fell in line, I think we all were pieces that fit in their respective holes. And in the president of that company, Larry Fryman um, I’m still close with today as an example. I’m kind of recognized that we that I had the formula right I had the formula I was bringing my formula into the city and he was really good at managing the things I needed help with because you know, the other thing even though about school the only the only education I had I actually did primarily accounting in school for another funny story for why I wasn’t allowed to touch computers in high school but the I my curriculum through high school was accounting so I knew the books so being able to offset that on someone else who really was passionate about it, Larry was his cash flow King you know, he knew how to manage our books well and he came in and cleaned up all our debt and we just really had a well oiled machine efficiently financially but but I think even our initial conversations I I think it was always I never I don’t recall it all there even being a conversation as if I wasn’t going to be the CEO of the combined entity.

Mike Malatesta  47:24

And for 10 years you all you all stayed together until the sale which is I think amazing and unusual enough from what I’ve seen to to indicate that there was something special between the four of you a it was either you know that you all had your lanes and you were happy in your lanes which is there’s a lot of times whenever when people have their lanes but they’re not happy yeah in their particular lanes. So you manage and and significant growth to after after it so you managed to sounds like each respectively pick some good partners to I would

Dale Walls  48:05

agree to that yeah, it the funny thing was that in those you guys out there in business listen to this you know, I’m probably laugh at this too. I know we laugh about it especially Larry and I um we we it was like a shotgun wedding I we met in I believe January Larry, Larry called me he got my contact info called me we had a call in January he kind of told me about the thought of you know, merging and things like that like how I could come help help those guys up there and what they were trying to do with what I was already doing by April we had fully integrated books and everything and then we settled on the merger in June right so once from so we totally shotgun wedding it like we integrated our business and this is you know, this is talks a little bit I think to the entrepreneurial we were all get stuff done guys. So even though there was like, stuff that needs to happen legally, documentation wise, administratively and all that stuff, like we met each other, we said yep, this is a good idea. We figured it out and we integrated before we even inked Inc the deal you know we were integrated operating and it was just kind of a joke we would be on the phone talking to our our lawyers and accountants and kind of well how we already took care of that the books already merged like you know, it’s it was weird to them, but to us, we just wanted to go we saw the opportunity and we wanted to get it done. We had it done. We just needed those guys to put their their seal of approval on it.

Mike Malatesta  49:35

Okay. That reminds me of like the ready fire aim. Like we we knew where we were going. We just yeah, that’s all that stuff. Just the formality.

Dale Walls  49:45

Yeah, exactly. Right. Exactly. Right. That’s the way we treated in any way right wrong or indifferent.

Mike Malatesta  49:49

So I can’t go past that not allowed to use a computer as a in high school. Thing reference you made there what what’s what happened?

Dale Walls  49:59

So my same cousin, that was my first employee, we figured out how to get into the system in school. Again, like I mentioned earlier, I knew what consequences were. So we weren’t getting there changing grades or doing anything like that. But we did kind of own the system, we knew how to get what we wanted out of it. And what all we wanted was to load our games, because we were playing over dial up, but we realized that we could install our gaming network on the school system, we could have all this, you know, computer power and high speed, their local network, you know, high speed and all that stuff. So, so we basically had, you know, first player shooter games loaded in the school’s network. Behind the scenes, no one knew what about it? Well, those of us who were playing knew about it, I even had teachers playing on it at one point here, they would stay after school and play with us.

Mike Malatesta  50:48

And that’s good to include some of the enemy, right?

Dale Walls  50:52

Yeah, exactly. They didn’t know but they’re, they’re kind of like, How’d you do that. And, um, anyways, so there was a way to get into the back end of the system, there’s a way to get out of it. So you wouldn’t get caught. And I think one of us, we’re not going to be there one day and taught a novice how to how to get in, but he didn’t get out properly and cause the issue and, and I remember coming into school, I was kind of, um, got a call down to the principal’s office, we were decent size school, we’re like for a school. So there was a principal and like four vice principals. And I remember getting called down to the principal’s office. And I go in this conference room attached to the principal’s office. And there’s the principal, the four vice principals, the three librarians, the two IT guys from the Board of Education. There I am, you know, have a seat, you know, and just kind of had to own it, you know, say what was going on what we had done. And so I didn’t get any trouble. But I wasn’t allowed to have classes that had a computer in it. And again, this is 97 ish. And I wasn’t allowed to have classes with computers in it. So I had to take my typing class on a typewriter. And then I changed all my classes that could that had to be on a computer. I changed into accounting, and accounting at that time. This is like pre QuickBooks at least that’s not what they’re teaching us to school, I learned accounting on the green ledger style stuff, you know, so I knew what debits and credits were, because you had to know what they were because you had to put it on the right side of the register and all that stuff. I don’t know if you’ve dealt with any of that.

Mike Malatesta  52:26

I did. Yeah. Yeah. That’s just brought back brought back a memory I had forgotten. Yes.

Dale Walls  52:31

Yeah. Yeah. So that’s how I learned accounting. So I took, you know, three semesters of accounting in high school. Um, so I knew that side of business, I knew the accounting side. You know, which I think I was fortunate to know that stuff getting, you know, when I started the business.

Mike Malatesta  52:50

Okay, and that was handled at the local level that no one else got involved. The school did told you, this is what we’re gonna do. And that was that.

Dale Walls  53:00

It talked about that when I got called. Yeah, yeah, no, I don’t think any of us got in any real trouble, because we didn’t do anything malicious or damaging, you know?

Mike Malatesta  53:07

Yeah. You were just using some power. Yeah, yeah. Exactly. So Dale, when you use, you sold the business, you congratulations, you stayed on for for a while, and then you something took over. And you you know, where you decided, I’ve got a different mission in life than IT services, you know, are running these kinds of businesses, even though you’ve been super successful doing it, which is the kind of shift that again, a lot of people don’t make, you know, you get you started something you do well with it, you sell it, you do well with it. And then you’re like, Well, how can I do more of that, you know, and you decided instead to to go a different direction with Lionsgate? Where, what? How did that come about?

Dale Walls  53:53

I would say like, especially in the last 18 months, when the company really accelerated as far as it being an organization, right? So when we sold and we’re like, 60 employees, that’s whatever, imagine a small team. But when the company grew the way it did, and we bought multiple other companies of the same size and integrated them, and we’re regional. Now we’re spreading across the country. You know, true organizational leadership was the new requirement, right? I wasn’t managing a small team in two markets anymore. With my partners. Now I had seven direct reports as the CEO, right. So now I’ve got a real CFO. No, no, no, no offense to Larry. But Larry was the president of small business just like me, he had no he wasn’t a real CFO who’s doing modeling and all that stuff that now we were required. So, so he gracefully bowed out early after acquisition, just because, you know, he knew that he wasn’t this a CFO that they needed. You know, a great control at that level, right, he would be a great controller. But the CFO is like another echelon of financial management, right? And analysis, um, panics in Excel work, right? Or Yeah. So. So here I was, it went from running this, this small business operation to managing leaders who are running their divisions. And so I really enjoyed that, you know, and I think like, for me, even even the service of it, I’ve never been that the stereotypical like it nerd, right? Like, I’m not like, salivating over the next technology coming out. I’ve never really been that guy. What I got out of it, my sense of fulfillment was learning this stuff, and in helping small businesses with it, right? Like, I knew how to solve their problems, I knew how to make their business go faster, I knew how to help them scale their business with technology. That’s why I did the business, right? That was my fulfillment, not the tech, it was the result of the tech, okay, that shifted at this point, from leadership. Now, it wasn’t in tech anymore. I was in leadership, I was helping them manage their teams better, I was helping them sustain, right and persevere. And I after exiting the company, and kind of getting challenged on what I was going to do next by someone who thought I was I was aiming too small for what my story was and what my capabilities were, I realized that, just like what I enjoyed out of it, which was delivering a result, by way of it, I realized that for those last 18 months of running Corsica at a larger organizational level with those 200 people, I really enjoyed serving my direct reports and helping them sustain it because being a leader is hard work. You know, being an organizational leader, being an entrepreneur, being a business owner, it’s, you got to be a high performer, like it takes a lot out of you, you’ve got to be able to sustain, you’ve got to learn. There’s no one thing you know, everyone’s got the one thing book or the three habits book, and no, it’s it’s, it’s everything, everything you do matters. And if that’s your energy levels, it’s your time management that you’re in, people always came to me, kind of asking me inquiring, like do I don’t get it? You know, you’re growing this business. Your wife still with you? You got three young kids at home, you’re still running marathons. You’re doing Jiu Jitsu, you’re coaching youth football team. Oh, now you’re a president of the local youth association. I don’t get how you do that. And I would just kind of start talking to him about that. And like, say, not always on a personal development level, but also on a professional development level with my direct reports. But that was kind of like what people would come to me about. And I realized, like, I enjoyed those conversations, um, you know, talking about the books I read, I read, you know, about 40 to 60 books a year, because I have a dedicated hour a day I read, and a fellow podcaster called me a book pharmacist at one point, kind of we were talking about just drop in wisdom that from all my reading, and that’s kind of what I would do, like, with my direct boards, they would come to me with a problem, I would go, Hey, go grab this book, it’ll tell you everything you need to know, here’s a quick, you know, too long, didn’t read version. But you know, I was I was like this book pharmacist. So I really enjoy helping people with my experience and knowledge. And in today, I want to help other people that are on the same path that I took, you know, as an entrepreneur to a business owner to organizational leader, all of which require you to be a high performer. And because we see it, we see the burnout, we see the poor leadership out there, we don’t understand why our troops or people don’t respect us or you know, and there’s no employee engagement. Just there’s so much there. And today, just like with the IT side, I enjoy taking what I’ve learned what I’ve read, in helping impart that and help others thrive in really enjoy doing what they’re doing, you know, because that’s where the burnout comes. They’re just not, you know, enjoying it because of the requirement to be a high performer as a leader. Yeah.

Mike Malatesta  59:28

Well, they say you know, you go in, like in in my book, I talk about the dream stage and then the grind stage and then the broke stage, right. So you get into it for these great reasons. And then the business can just take over, they can take over and then it can challenge you in all kinds of ways you never ever anticipated. And without some help, like the kind of help that it sounds like you’re providing without that help without that continue. continuous learning and without constant confidence, rebuilding It’s a real challenge. It’s a real challenge to keep going and and to keep going in a meaningful way, like anyone can keep going, like keeps showing up. Yeah, like, you have to show up, right? But it’s what you do, or what you’re able to do when you show up. That’s what makes the big difference. And I love how you talk about energy. Because if you if you don’t have the right energy, and you don’t, if you’re not right, like, I won’t even limit it to energy, if you’re not right, things aren’t going to be right. Yep, just just the way it is.

Dale Walls  1:00:34

The only way I could sum that up to people I talked to today, it’s like your business, your team will only grow as much as you’re willing to grow. Right? When you say this is this is my this as far as I’m going, that’s as far as your business is going to go. That’s as far as your team is gonna go as far as your results are going to go. So there’s, there’s this constant growth requirement, I think, I tell people, hey, like, you know, sometimes we look for that. This is advice I give to new parents, right? They, they’ll say they just had the baby in there, they kind of like, well, as soon as y’all the diapers, as soon as he’s eating solid food, as soon as he’s going to school, like they see these little milestones that there’s, there’s, there’s these markers where things are going to get easier, it never gets easier. And you got to know that and you just got to be willing to grow and be ready to grow through that next stage, everybody in business is the same way. You’ll get a lot of fulfillment out of it, hopefully you can make money out of it. But if you’re doing it right, it’s never going to get easier to the capacity that you can’t keep growing, that you don’t need to keep growing. as the business grows and demands Ronnie, and look, this isn’t grow, to be able to do at all. But you have to I see I work business owners today as an example, you’ve grown to a point that now you need to grow to learn how to delegate the business management piece, right? Like, as entrepreneurs and startups, we are that hero leadership, we’re doing everything we can spend all the plates, we can, you know, you know that the success of the day is no balls got drops, right. But a business can only go so far with that. And that’s where that’s why like I call them out separately, I work with entrepreneurs who are working to get to that point, then I work with business owners who are hitting that point, these are both trans. Transformational times, when you’re starting, you got to change because it’s a grind, it’s a hustle, you’re gonna have to put in more work than you put in your W two job, I promise you, right. And then when that business grows, now, you have to grow and learn how to delegate, how to how to firm up your processes, how to do the right things by the business. Um, and as as an organizational leader, same thing, you know, when you’re running large teams, so it’s it, they all require a growth, high performance mindset.

Mike Malatesta  1:02:54

Yeah. And I like how you said that, you know, you’re always going to work more than you did for your W two. And I think people really, if you’re going to get into this game, whether it’s, and I do want to ask you what you did your definition differences between entrepreneur and business owner, just so I’m clear on that. But let me finish this. If you’re going to get into this. And you’re going to believe some of the stuff you you read and see where people are going up. This is you’re going to work 10 hours a week, and you’re going to crush it and you’re going to Bob and you’re going to do all this stuff. And I think to myself, it must one. Maybe that happens I so I’m not one to say it never happens. It probably happens. But it probably happens. Like, you know, like someone like Kim Kardashian becomes famous, it doesn’t happen very often. What it does, what does is it’s very sexy, right? And so if I can, if I can sell you the fact that you can do this even though i You probably can’t. It’s a sexy sell, like who wouldn’t want to buy that? Right? Nobody wants to buy Oh, you mean I’m gonna have to work 10 times three times four times as hard as I did on my w two job. I’m not sure. But it’s going to be that way no matter what. So no matter what somebody’s selling you that’s what what is going to be. Yeah. What is the difference in your mind between business owner and entrepreneur?

Dale Walls  1:04:17

Yeah, I in my mindset, when I say entrepreneur, I’m talking about folks who have earned their first two years of business. I think once you get past that, that two year mark that and you have a business it’s operating it’s it’s a thing, you know, it’s not Yeah, it’s producing I feel now you’re a business owner, you own an asset that’s producing revenue. And then separate aside, you know, an organizational leader maybe doesn’t own a business or is an entrepreneur but they I would, I would never leave those folks out that you know, being some sort of manager in an organization is not, does not have the same high performance requirements.

Mike Malatesta  1:04:53

Oh, it does for sure. Right. Yeah, that’s what you’re saying. And what the date the name lions guide, where did that come from?

Dale Walls  1:05:00

Um, you know, I feel like one of my philosophies is around courage. And I feel like, you know, a lot of my success in life has come from the times that I was courageous, you know, starting a business joining the Marines, you know, going into, you know, going from Mayberry to Manhattan, you know, like, I’ve had successes, when I’ve demonstrated courage, I’ve had failures, when I’ve let when I’m not when I’ve, when I’ve let my fears get the best of me my doubts. And so the lions guide piece of it, the lion, I wanted to embody that spirit, in the brand of courage. And the lion also symbolizes leadership as well, and other things, but which are important to me. And then the guide piece of it is that I know what I know, I know my story. I know what I went through as an experience. And people will ask me certain specifics, and I go, Look, I know what I do, how I do these things, and I can help you, but I have a formula that works for me, in that may have worked for me and a time and place. So I don’t want to pass any, like, you know, presumptions that what has worked for me will work for anyone else, I want to guide people to the, to my experience, my knowledge and my the wisdom I picked up along the way. I want to serve as a guide, because that’s what I would find out in the streets before I would start doing this. Like, again, I would say hey, go grab this book, what’s not my book, I didn’t come up with it. But I learned something from it. So I’m just guiding people to, to that information. I’m trying to guide them to the best version of themselves for what they want to accomplish.

Mike Malatesta  1:06:36

Okay. I thought, you know, when I look at you with your moustache and your beard and everything, it’s similar to seems lyonie to me a little bit like Lion’s Mane kind of thing. So I thought

Dale Walls  1:06:46

it doesn’t it doesn’t hurt, though. Sure.

Mike Malatesta  1:06:50

From may vary demand had a lot of that really do. Well, Dale, this has been so much fun. I’ve enjoyed talking to you again, after you had me on your podcast, which was very generous of you, thank you. And thank you for volunteering to go into the Marines. And I know you did it for you first sounds like but I know that you’ve but by doing that you’ve had a tremendous impact on so many others, including me, and everybody listening, and then making that, that that transition to becoming an entrepreneur and building that company over 20 years. And now shifting again and taking that 20 years of experience. Plus the four years in, in the Marines, and offering that to other people who are just getting started or not as far down the road on their journey is just, it’s just a phenomenal contribution to be making to, to, to entrepreneurs into the world. And I thank you for for doing it. Appreciate the sport. Thank you, Mike. I mentioned your websites and stuff at the beginning. Is there anything else you want to share with people in terms of getting a hold of you or connecting with you or yeah, you

Dale Walls  1:07:57

can find me on LinkedIn. Um, as mentioned, you can go lions guide.com, I do a free members area where, you know, I put out three videos and content that I put together that again, usually questions like I’m working with clients. If I hear a theme, I’ll record a training video and put that out there. So next time it comes up I go hey, go up to the members area and check that out. So I got stuff like that out there for free. And, and that’s it. I’m doing one on one coaching, you know engagements, I’m doing high performance leader workshops, where it’s another group of high performance leaders of those like say entrepreneurs, business owners and organizational leaders, that we each week, circle up and go through different highperformance tactics, operations, mindsets, things like that. I’m in all grow together.

Mike Malatesta  1:08:44

Nice. Alright, well, Dale, congratulations. Thanks so much for being on the show. Mike. Thank you

Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta

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