How to Improve Company Culture - Podcast David Friedman (#170)

David Friedman, How to Improve Your Company Culture (#170)

How to improve your company culture is on the minds’ of leaders, everyday. David Friedman is the founder and CEO of CultureWise, a turnkey operating system for culture, that helps you build and operationalize your culture in simple steps. David gets you to think about your company culture with 8 steps to being intentional about improving company culture. Your organization’s culture is the most important and powerful opportunity you have to create a competitive edge, hire the best talent, and achieve your company goals. With a world-class company culture, your company can make more money and improve team performance. What makes companies achieve the best culture, is they don’t leave their culture to chance. They are intentional and systematic about how they develop and grow the culture they want to have.

8 Steps: How to Improve Your Company Culture

  1. Define the behaviors that drive your success
  2. Ritualize the practice of your behaviors
  3. Select people who are the appropriate fit for your culture
  4. Integrate new employees into your culture
  5. Communicate your culture through the entire organization
  6. Coach all team members to reinforce your culture
  7. Lead your culture by example
  8. Drive your culture through accountability

David The subscription service gives you all the tools necessary to successful build and operationalize your culture. The CultureWise Team has helped more than 420 companies across 16 different countries improve their culture with a proven platform that works. Different pricing models are available.

1. Define the Behaviors that drive your success

Defining the behaviors on how to improve organizational culture starts with these 5 key ideas:

  1. It is the responsibility of leadership to write and champion the culture.
  2. Values can be hard to grasp, whereas behaviors can be demonstrated and observed.
  3. Choose behaviors that are top priority and importance to your company succeed.
  4. You need to name each behavior and explain with a couple sentences.
  5. The behavior descriptions need to answer “What do you want people to do?”

Here’s an example of the first behavior your company can model: Communicate to be Understood. Know your customers by writing in simple terms. Avoid using lingo, acronyms, and industry jargon. Keep explanations as simple as possible.

2. Ritualize the practice of your behaviors

  1. Rituals will help you create consistency.
  2. Rituals help you sustain your behaviors during new initiatives.
  3. Bring Focus to your behaviors on a daily or weekly basis.
  4. Interactive rituals keeps them alive and with meaning.
  5. Take advantage of existing rituals that model ideal behaviors
  6. Start small and be consistent.

Here’s an example of the first ritual your leadership team can adopt: New Ritual: I will add behaviors discussion as the first agenda item in all meetings that take place.

3. Select people who are the appropriate fit for your culture

  1. People usually have their value system in place when you hire them.
  2. Don’t try to take people and change their values to fit your culture.
  3. Never hire anyone who doesn’t fit your culture.
  4. Create an interview process to identify if there is a culture fit.
  5. Ask questions focused on the important culture behaviors from your list.

Here’s an example of a question about cultural fit: Behavior: Deliver World-Class Customer Service. Give me an example of time that you provided world-class customer service, what happened and what made it world-class?

4. Integrating new employees into your culture

  1. The most important days in an employee’s career is the first and second day.
  2. Focus on a long-term perspective.
  3. Integrating new employees starts with you treat them before they are even hired.
  4. Include culture, context, and logistics.
  5. Keep a short, impactful integration every single time. Don’t be intermittent over a long period.
  6. Improve one thing in each new on-boarding.

Here’s a context example to help new employees understand their role and the impact: Add a new session to your program where the employee learns about each job function and how they contribute to the overall success of the company – taught by our VP of Sales.

5. Communicate your culture through the entire organization

  1. Surround yourself with the behaviors important to your organization.
  2. Have visual reminders of behaviors to keep them on your mind.
  3. Use the language of the behaviors in your daily conversations and coaching.
  4. More reminders about your culture will cause it to become part of their daily routines.

Here’s a communication example you can add: Create new posters for our behaviors and display them in the reception area and cafeteria. This will help customers and our employees have conversations about our behaviors.

6. Coach all team members to reinforce your culture

  1. Use the exact language of your behaviors when coaching employees. This makes the culture behaviors real for them.
  2. Help people demonstrate the desired behaviors with greater consistency and coach for improvement. Setbacks will happen.
  3. Case studies are effective to demonstrate how to use the culture behaviors in real-world situations.

Here’s an exercise you can do with employees to help coach on culture behaviors: Remind employees how important it is to create a feeling of friendliness and warmth in every client interaction. Show several ways to “warm-up” client communications to help employees achieve this writing style in letters, emails and phone calls.

7. Lead your culture by example

  1. What we do as leaders tells more about our organizational culture than anything else we say or do.
  2. People look to leaders, consciously and unconsciously, for cue’s about the organization’s culture.
  3. Identify the place where behavior is not the best example, and make a plan to improve.

Here’s an example to help you get started on identifying areas where you fall short, the primary causes, and action steps to improve your performance. Honoring commitments is a critical behavior for our organization, and yet, there have been many times when I have not fulfilled promises I’ve made to others – especially around completion dates. I realize this is largely due to my tendency to overcommit because I forget to leave room for the unexpected. I’m going to develop a system with my executive assistant to help me track and monitor all my commitments and I’m going to plan a buffer for contingencies into my future commitments.

8. Drive your culture through accountability

  1. Creating accountability shows people you “mean it.”
  2. The best way to know your culture is to look at the behavior you tolerate.
  3. Accountability elevates the level of seriousness of your conversations around culture.
  4. At a minimum, there should be a culture component to all performance evaluations.
  5. Including culture in performance evaluations forces you to do a better job describing and teach the behaviors you want to see.
  6. Consider conducting annual surveys to measure consistency between stated behaviors and observed behaviors.

Here’s an example to help you identify new initiatives for accountability and key action steps: I intend to add our behaviors to our performance evaluation system. Working with my HR leader, I’ll need to ensure that, for each behavior, we’ve clearly described the behavior we consider to be exemplary, and that we’ve assigned an appropriate scoring matrix for it. We’ll also need to communicate this program to our manager and to our staff company wide.

The 6 best books on how to improve company culture

David recommends 5 books on how to improve company culture. Changing company culture is not simple, but there are books that can help make it easier. Employees and leaders should read these books to adopt a mindset of company culture. The books can help you implement hands-on exercises that are intentional and systematic. Two of the books are written by David and you purchase them on amazon.

  1. Culture by Design: How to Build a High-Performing Culture, Even in the New Remote Work Environment. Written by David J. Friedman (our podcast guest)
  2. Fundamentally Different. Stories and Examples from 27 years of Business Leadership. Written by David J. Friedman (our podcast guest)
  3. Winning Behavior: What the smartest, Most Successful Companies Do Differently. Written by Terry Bacon and David Pugh
  4. The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business. Written by Patrick M. Lencioni
  5. How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything in Business and Life. Written by Dov Seidman
  6. Passages: Mapping Your Life Across Time. Written by Gail Sheehy

Book Previews to help you improve company culture

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Full Transcript

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

people, culture, company, book, fundamentals, built, CEO, thought, write, secrets, retired, career, teach, created, clients, hear, sold, document, week, world, Vistage, Ray Dalio, Amazon, Audible, Vistage, Employee benefits, Philadelphia

SPEAKERS

David Friedman, Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta  00:11

Hey David, welcome to the show.

David Friedman  00:30

Well thank you Mike.

Mike Malatesta  00:31

Great. Well, I’ve got a confession to make here. Before we get started, and it’s a little embarrassing, but David and I were put together by Cynthia Cleveland, a mutual I guess acquaintance of ours, and, and I got on, got on a zoom with him interrupted his dinner. I think or rushed it a few weeks ago, maybe a month ago and we started talking and, and I was just so amazed, and you will be to buy what he talks about. Now I was thinking my hope, my, my, the entire time I was like, David, you should be you should be talking to Vistage groups, and you should be going all over, all over the country and he’s like oh yeah, I do that I’ve been to, I’ve done. How many David has a lot on employees on like I can’t believe it? I don’t think I’ve ever had you come to our group. And he’s like, what, what’s your group. So I told him, and turns out he did present to our group, in May of 2018, and I had forgotten that he had, but

the good, so that was the embarrassing part The good part is, I did go back re familiarize with my notes, and I was like, Oh yeah, I actually got, I took three pages ago. Please proof here during the, during it. And I tell you what that even though I forgot about it. A lot of the stuff that you talked about, particularly like the 30 day thing and like that Ritz Carlton thing. I never forgot that in fact our VMP our values mission and purpose are built on that so I may not have remembered being in the session with you, but I remembered what came out of it and I’m still using it today. So, um, so that’s by Mea culpa for today’s episode, but this isn’t about me, this is about David.

And here’s a guy that you’re going to be so impressed with not just because the work he’s doing now but, but the work that sort of led to where he is now in this guy ran a phenomenal company led it for over 20 years, seven times named to one of the best places to work, four times named one of the fastest growing privately held companies, winner of New Jersey’s highest award for quality the Governor’s Award for Performance Excellence in 2006 sold the business in 2008 and probably didn’t need to do a damn thing with his life after that. And yet, like a lot of us, right, a lot of high performers, you can have a great thing happen in your life like you build a great company and then you sell it, and you think, oh, options, right, but what it’s what you do with those options. That is telling me that’s what’s telling about you and David has done some phenomenal things with his, with his options. So, David, I start every show, with the same simple question How did it happen for you.

David Friedman  03:36

Right, well, good, good to share with you, Mike. So as you had described in that little background. I certainly I spent 27 years building, it was an employee benefits consulting company in the Philadelphia area. And as you had described we won a lot of awards we were very successful we grew the company from a couple of people to over 100 people, and, and all of the success that we had and I mean it’s very honestly, all the success that we had was based on the culture that we had built. It’s why people came to work for us. That’s why people stayed with us. I will tell you it was probably half the reason that customers bought from us, obviously, of course we have to have the services they were looking for that’s a given, but their comfort with our people is what caused them to say, I’d rather work with you guys, but people they have a straight, so it was everything for us.

And as the CEO of that company. I did a lot of things in a very intentional way to make that culture happen. Well, as you described, I eventually ended up selling our company, and I’m always honest about this as well but I was never actually that interested in insurance like, who grows up thinking man, if I could get into insurance that’d be my dream someday. It wasn’t mine but where I found myself. Yeah, there was always a lot more interested in leadership in organizational data how do you get a group of people to come together and perform in extraordinary ways, that’s just always been a fascination of mine. And so I spent a lot of my time thinking about that than I did about insurance, so we built a great company. Oh by the way, coincidentally the, the, the service happened to be employed in assets or insurance, but it was almost irrelevant. It was about building a great company.

So anyway, after I sold the company and retired. I was too young to really be retired. I knew I wasn’t I had no intention of sitting around and doing nothing for the rest of my life, but I honestly had no idea what I would do next. I really did. And yet, interestingly, I was totally at ease with that, that I realized that I’ve got a lot of years left I need to be intellectually engaged, but I’m not in a rush, I’ll take my time.

And I’ll just let the world unfold and show me where I should be next. And I wasn’t worried that I was going to like to become a slob, or something that’s not who I am. And so I wasn’t what I was going to be doing. So, when that happened is I ended up writing my first book, and I wrote that book, largely as a closure step as a way of wrapping up my old career in a nice bow so that I could put it behind me and do something different. And, and I always knew that I would write a book about the things we had done in our company. and I tend to be pretty forward thinking, and I knew that if I figure out a new career. I’ll probably never look back. I’ll never write that book because that’s my old stuff forget that the new world. And so I figured you know what I better sit down and write this book now because if I don’t write it, it’s probably never going to get written so I wrote my first book which was called fundamentally different. And it was really good.

People got a lot of the value from it. And what ended up happening is I had a former client of my old benefits company, who was in southern New Jersey where I live, and he happened to read my book and he was in a Vistage group, and he called me one day and he said, it was really interesting what you wrote about you should come and speak to our Vistage group for any of your listeners who may not know what this is, this is a CEO peer group that exists all over the country and there are these groups that are in every city, and they usually are made up of 10 to 20, entrepreneurial CEO’s get together every month. So anyway, this, this client of mine former client of mine was in a distance group and he, he suggested that I might want to talk to that group I didn’t even know what it was, but he hooked me up with the chairperson of his group who screamed at me to make sure I wasn’t some kind of a crackpot that was gonna waste this time right.

Thankfully that the guy was so impressed that he invited me to speak to their group. I was just going to do that one part that was their only one talk and, but what happens in the distance world is if you do good talks, you start getting requests from the headquarters saying well you go to Wisconsin and Chicago and Boston and LA. I said I’m not doing anything else, why not. So the next month actually went to Chicago. When a guy came up to me and didn’t talk and a guy came up to me afterwards and he said no, that was really interesting what you wrote, when you told us about. Can I hire you to help me do what you just talked about and my company, and I thought well, Shoot, I’m retired or what I would do, but I’ll figure something out, I did seven or eight years later and yesterday was my 546 that’s there’s talking in that period of time. Nice to have worked with more than 350 Different organizations in every industry from steel welding and fabricating the heavy construction to it and law firms and CPA firms and everything in between.

I’ve written two other books, so I’ve rounded three I’ve built another company called high performing culture that brings this methodology to people all over the world. My kids tell me I really failed at the retirement game, you’re listening one, how to retire, don’t ask me because I’m not good at it, but it you know it’s been an interesting path, and it’s been really transformative and, and it’s, it looks like in some respects, one might look at where I’ve been and think this looks like a perfectly laid out plan, because I couldn’t have. I couldn’t have gotten to the second career if I hadn’t been successful in the first. If I hadn’t been a CEO, for all those years I wouldn’t have the credibility that I had as a speaker on the speaking it wouldn’t have led to people hiring me and all these things just one thing fell into place one after another as if it was a coordinating lab. And yet, to some extent, it was kind of accidental or wasn’t what I was intending. I just figured out, let life unfold the way it should.

And it did one other elements of the story. It’s kind of interesting, when I did retire the first time, I, and I didn’t know what I was going to do it, as I said, I sat down, and I wrote a document for myself. And once a while I go back and I read that document, it was a document that I just wanted to collect my thoughts about why I retired what I did and what my thoughts were about the future. And in that document, I, I knew that I described, that I wasn’t going to stay retired I was gonna do something and I describe the attributes of the type of work situations and that would be interesting rewarding meaningful for me. Whenever we would think just that it would have these kinds of attributes to them. And I looked at that document I do go back and read that, once in a while, and when I look at it, you know, almost all the boxes, without knowing it. When I look back at what I’m doing today, it pretty much matches what I thought I would you be looking for.

Mike Malatesta  10:34

So that there’s a ton of stuff there that that. So this document. Was this before or after the book David, your first book?

David Friedman  10:42

It was before the books of this so before I wrote this document, probably a month after I retired, and I wrote the book about 11 months after.

Mike Malatesta  10:53

Okay, so when you sold the business, was there a, you know transition period or was it just over?

David Friedman  11:01

I had a three year agreement to stay with the successor company. And within about a year, I knew I mean I knew from the beginning, the chances that I would want to stay much longer than that, because the acquirer is a company that actually wants and expects those who they acquire to stick around forever, so it wasn’t like their goal to have me leave. But I realized pretty quickly.

As I said earlier, I wasn’t that interested in that industry was what was interested in me to accomplish there and so I knew I would move on so I went to the successor company after about a year and I said you know what, I’m going to leave at the end of three years I will fulfill my agreement. But you know what, I got a better plan. How about if I leave sooner, and you can stop paying me so you save money, we can name my successor, who’s my number two guy right now, I’ll coach and mentor him so that it’s a smooth transition. And it’s a win all the way around. So once I got past being upset that I was leaving, they agreed to that plan so from that we sold the company in 2008, and July 1 of 2010 is when I retired. About a month later.

Mike Malatesta  12:16

Okay. Okay, so after the transition period, whatever that was you sat down and wrote that. And, you know, I use the term options when I was talking about you at the beginning but that sounds like what that kind of document was like, what, you know what would have to be true in order for me to be interested in another opportunity I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but that’s kind of how I heard it.

David Friedman  12:40

I think that’s largely, that was a piece of it. Okay, so a part of that document was just my thoughts organizing my thoughts about why I left when I did, at the age that I did. Secondly, what were my thoughts about trigger point, what would have to be true, what would be the attributes that would be existing in a situation that might fit for me. And then some other thoughts about how I might go about doing that. And so just to touch on that briefly. I realized that, that there’s, I find there are many things in life that are almost contradictory, where you have to hold two thoughts that seem contradictory at the same time. So as an example, sometimes we have to have both patience, and a sense of urgency. We have to be patient enough to know that things take time, but if you wait around nothing’s gonna happen, you’re gonna have some urgency, let’s go, let’s make something happen. Sure, sometimes you have to do both. And it’s a little about that as it related to where I was at that stage of my life.

And I realized that I was going to be patient enough to allow the world to unfold and to show me where I should be next, without rushing into something, but at the same time I also realized, if you sell your blood at home, the world’s not going to show you a whole lot. And so you got to get out there and talk to people and be in the would be in circulation so that you can hope into something that might be appropriate, right, so I’ve written a little bit about that as well but and what I did over those months is I got together with friends, relatives and people I knew and just have lunch and dinner and just connected with people, with no agenda, not connecting so that it could lead to something, but just being in circulation, trusting the world again that if I’m in circulation and I’m thinking and I’m processing. Just things will unfold for me, and I’m not worried I did well enough financially that I was under no pressure, which was unfortunate. Yes, I couldn’t be in a situation where they have economic pressure Hey, I gotta get a job on this you gotta, we gotta get going here. I had no economic pressure so I can allow the time to just unfold naturally and trust that I’ll figure out what’s next.

Mike Malatesta  14:59

Yeah. And how old, how old were you in 2008 If you don’t mind,

David Friedman  15:03

in 2008 I was 47

Mike Malatesta  15:06

Okay, so 47 So, you mentioned the word retirement, a bunch of times, and even though you said, I really, that’s not me I was, you know, I, but it’s weird. It’s just interesting to me at least, and hopefully to you, that a lot of entrepreneurs, kind of, it’s either like what I’m doing now, or I’m retired. There’s no other in their mind there’s no other thought about what is, what comes after, you know, a sale for example because it’s not, it’s not just a binary like okay you’re sold so you have to be retired that’s just a word, you know, it’s kind of a word that everybody uses. I feel like it’s a placeholder first meaning something else, but you don’t there’s not another word that comes to mind kind of interesting.

David Friedman  15:56

Yeah, I think you’re right like and what’s interesting about that. One of the books that I read. At that time doing a lot of reading and I read the book gender read is a very old book from back in like the 70s Gail she’s both passages that read that book. No, it’s a really interesting book I’d heard about it for years, and she wrote an updated version of the book like maybe in the 90s or something or 2000. And it was a very famous book about the stages of life that people go through. And the gist of the book is that, that we go through all humans go through very distinct phases, they’re very predictable, and in each phase of life, there is a particular challenge to be dealt with. So for example, when you are a teenager. Part of what you’re about, in that stage is establishing your independence that you are not your parents and previous to that you’re part of a family, and at some point, you reach the stage where you’re establishing, who am I, as a separate individual not part of my family.

Then the next stage, you’re, you’re focused on career development and where you’re trying to achieve. So there’s these very predictable stages that people go through in the same order in which they hit them they bury but they go through them in the same order. And what she, she wrote about and the reason I’m bringing up this topic is that, that there was an additional, there was a new stage that didn’t used to exist, and that new stage generally ran runs from, let’s call it 60 or 65 to in your 80s. And remember people used to die when they’re 65 or 70.

Mike Malatesta  17:38

Sure, that’s why retirement age was set then.

David Friedman  17:42

Right, their retirement program and then they died at 72 or whatever. And now people have this whole other like, let’s say what’s called a 20 year period from 65 to 85, where they’re typically active and they’re healthy and they’re vibrant, and they’re not old people, and I’m not really ready to do that thing that we call retirement. And so they’re doing all kinds of interesting things. Sure. Stage didn’t used to exist and went from anything. We went from finishing our work career to old age, and now there’s this finish our work career, maybe we’re maybe do a whole other thing or maybe get into something else that’s very active, and then get old. Yeah, much later.

Mike Malatesta  18:24

So that’s interesting in the second edition of her book she had to add that is that what you’re saying.

David Friedman  18:29

Yes. Before, people died a lot younger, and now there’s this whole stage that again literally didn’t exist. Yeah, very healthy. I mean, think of when you and I think of what it looks like to be 75. There’s a whole, there’s a lot of business owners that are still active.

Mike Malatesta  18:46

Right, right, right, yeah. And right now, she’s gonna need another chapter as this generation as the as the Gen z’s. Grow up because they’re going to live to be over 100. Most of them I would say, unusual, I mean, yeah, but the point is that you’re right.

David Friedman  19:00

It isn’t this binary thing that okay, I work, and then I stopped that there’s a lot more to do and a lot, a lot more different ways to do it there certainly are plenty of stories of people who, who achieved their major career objectives or their career accomplishments, and much later ages sometimes in a second or third career. And so I feel like when I look at where I am forgetting, outside of the whole age discussion. I feel like I had the good fortune that I feel like I am doing what I’m supposed to be doing. So if we’re, if I think of what we’re supposed to be doing.

Because telling us what we’re supposed to do, but if I think of it from that perspective, I would say that it’s best we are typically most fulfilled, satisfied rewarded and go and accomplish the most when we’re working in an area that matches our unique gifts and talents, and each of us has different things that we’re really good at and when if you can, if you’re fortunate enough to be able to, in your work life, do the thing that you’re most suited to do not only is that rewarding but you’re going to do really well with it for some people, that, that they one may never discover that, or it’s just not an option and so they do that on the side, they go to work and maybe they’re an incredible musician and on the side, they you know, they’re in their church choir or they play music or they’re in a band or whatever because that’s what they, that’s where they get that.

Those coincide, where your gifts and talents can be used best in the work that you do doesn’t happen that often. And I feel fortunate that it kind of happened to me. You know what, I’m not very religious, but if someone were they might say there was a grander design to all of that. But whether there was or wasn’t unfortunate that I do feel like what I’m doing today is a wonderful use of the things that I’m most skilled and gifted to do,

Mike Malatesta  21:08

And it’s a two part thing right because it’s one something you’re good at, and to something that gives you know there’s a lot of people who are good at stuff but it doesn’t give them energy, you know, so they can be a good great, you can be a great tennis player but you know it really, it’s not a passion of yours, it’s not something you would be doing if you had a choice to do something else insane seems like you’ve sort of been fortunate to connect those like unique, unique talent with a unique ability that gives you energy all the time you keep doing and doing.

David Friedman  21:44

I work a lot, because I want to. I’m creating all kinds of great stuff but it’s fun and it’s meaningful we’re doing these amazing things and so that’s what I actually want to do right so when I’m working a lot, you know I work pretty much every night. My kids are grown so it’s just my wife and I and if she goes in is watching television or some, I just so do some work and, on the weekend, if it’s especially if it’s the winter and I can’t play golf. You know what, I spend a lot of Saturday and Sunday doing work things. And I say that because I want to, not because I’m looking good this Saturday, I got a lot of time I can really get a lot of things done. Yeah. I’m looking forward to that versus oh my god I got to spend a whole weekend working. No, that’s what I’d actually like to do.

Mike Malatesta  22:35

It’s a special place. It’s a place where a lot of more people should be if they can be there, including people who can be there if they want to and just choose not to or can’t get it figured out. I want to explore a little bit more about this letter, or document you call it that because, as I was listening to talk about that in your book, so this is in the timeframe. So you write this document about really about what’s going to define my future. And then later you write this book that you said was something you needed, you wanted to write for closure. So that in I mean that’s, and you didn’t close before you opened you opened before you closed, and again I’m putting words in your mouth, that may not be exactly right but so you explain why you did the document that I’m calling the opening thing but what about the closure. What made you think or believe or want or need to do the closure at the book?

David Friedman  23:42

Yeah, that’s a good question. I would say like that was a combination of two things. So first, the creation of what we call our fundamentals which is the system that I teach the creation of that methodology and the concepts behind that, I would say was the signature of my leadership career for all of those years if I look back and say, you know what, what was the mark that I left. And what was notable about what I did, yes, we built the company we sold it, fine, but what was there something meaningful there, the signature of my career was the creation of this set of fundamentals that we practice that was the cornerstone of our culture. That was the signature.

And so because it was something that was so meaningful to me. I always knew that someday I would write a book about that. So there was always an intention that someday I will write a book about what we created in these fundamentals. So, so part of that thought for a moment. The second piece of this is that I as I noted earlier, I tend to be very forward thinking, and I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the past. So, when I graduated high school, I thought you know high school was great, I’m ready to move on to the next thing and when I was in college, I thought this was great, but I’m ready to move on to the next thing I don’t spend a lot of time being this stellar chick about the past. So, I believed that. As I stepped there, 11 months after, or next I guess it started with March, so I retired officially was finished with that company July 1, 2010, and around March of 2011 So some. Nine months later, I sat down to write the book.

As I sat down to write that the reason, I chose to do that then was I feared that if I figure out the new career which I don’t know what it’s gonna be, but when I stumble upon the new career, I will probably get really absorbed and excited about it, and I’ll never look back. and that’s never get written yeah so if that talks ever gonna get written, I’ve got to get that done now, or it’s just not gonna happen. So let me sit down, write the book. As I sat down to write it. I don’t mean this in an egotistical way but as I sat down to write I thought this is a pretty good book I’m writing. Good stuff. No, it’d be a shame if I just like wrote him this put it away and we should like maybe market this a little bit, and one thing led to another, from there.

Mike Malatesta  26:17

And so you started. Before we get to there, you mentioned that when you did your first, your friend or whomever suggested you do this vintage. And you had never heard of this before as you were, you know, developing as a CEO, what, what were you doing for your personal education. You know, as a leader and, you know, maybe that’s were part of this, you know what you teach now in this, and the fundamentals actually came from other, you know, parts of it came from different places, I’m just curious how you were doing your education.

David Friedman  26:51

Yeah, that’s a good question. I would say there were two parts to that. So one was, I was involved in a pure group, organization, it wasn’t systems, there was a particular consultant. His name is Carter shelling and Carter, he lives in Delaware, just spoke to him last night, so still stay in touch. But he had put together his own peer group kind of organization that I was a part of that I joined when I first really became a CEO, and I was, I was making the transition and in a very meaningful way I was transitioning from being an insurance guy to being a CEO, which I saw as a completely different job, which was good for me because I had figured out the insurance thing pretty well it was no longer all that interesting. The job of Seattle.

I don’t know how to do that. So it was sort of like an unlimited learning path ahead of me, so I belong to that organization. And that was very influential in my early thinking okay and he this consultant has over the years been influential in my early thinking about becoming a CDF, and how to do that, I would say the second piece of this is a little more intrinsic. And what I mean by that is that I think I was fortunate enough I am fortunate I was fortunate enough to have pretty good natural instincts about leadership, that most of what I did, actually worked pretty well, you know, I hear people talk about learning from their mistakes and you know you’ve got to be not afraid to make mistakes because you learn so much from that. And I’m okay with that but I think you can learn a lot from your successes too if you think about it, and most of what I did actually worked. I don’t look back at those years and say, oh that was so hard.

We struggled and we made so many mistakes. Now actually, most of what we did were pretty well how it was, but he’s successful and I think I was just lucky to have good instincts about what to do as a leader, but, and here’s the important part. I’ve always been very reflective and very introspective. And so I would do things, most of which actually worked pretty well the first time, and then I’d stop it, and wow, that was fascinating. I wonder why that works so well, what does that tell me about leadership about organizational behavior about companies, and entertainment and high performance teams because there must be, I would think to myself and as I do this today, there must be underlying principles of leadership that are at play here that I was doing and doing them totally unconsciously, I’m just being lazy and instinctive.

But there must be underlying principles here, if I could stop and reflect upon what I observed what why that works so well, and I can begin to discern what some of those underlying principles that were at play, were, and I could articulate those, then I can begin to teach those to the people around me, so that we can start doing that stuff on purpose, instead of just relying on my instincts. So over the course of my career both in that company and my subsequent career, I’ve built a lot of material, a lot of content, mostly just out of my own reflections just things I’ve seen and noticed. And I thought, you know, what’s interesting. Here’s a principle here, I could write that principle, and I can convey it goes back to, so what are my gifts. My gift is the ability to, to discern those things, and more importantly, to reduce them to simple ways of explaining them so that they’re warm it’s another thing to understand them, it’s another thing to understand them and be able to explain them to others in a way that other people would say, hey, Alexa, a lot of sense.

I never thought about it like that before. And that’s my biggest gift is the ability to do that and so I think I did that in my leadership career as a, as a CEO, and over time, developed a great body of wonderful content that I missed that I could make available to others, simply by my ability to reflect discern and articulate, and I think I’ve done that. I’ve done in this career, and so I’ve taken the topic of culture in this particular case and made it so it’s easy to understand and easy to operationalize and causes people to say when I teach and explain whether it’s in my books or workshops that causes people who listen to saying, wow, that’s pretty logical it makes a lot of sense. How come I never thought about it like that before. And it’s sort of just like unveiling things and making accessible for people.

Mike Malatesta  31:33

So, since Ray Dalio has already taken the name principles for a book. What about reflections for your next book reflections are kind of like, I kind of like, I love the way you explained it.

David Friedman  31:49

Sometimes, I wrote actually the introduction for another book a number of years ago, and I’m trying to remember what I called it, but the gist of it. I think I called the book. So here’s the title of that book. When I something get around to writing it. It’s called, there are no secrets. And the reason it’s called Ben I wrote the introduction once, and it relates to what I teach people today, sometimes in the workshops that I do, you wouldn’t remember because you don’t remember when I was in your TEC group.

Mike Malatesta  32:19

Come on!

David Friedman  32:24

In the talk, I’ll start by warning the audience, and I’ll say to the audience that one of my pet peeves, but I’ll start by telling them sometimes that everything that I’m about to share with you in this workshop we’re about to do. I’m just gonna warn you right now is so freakin obvious. Can I say freakin here, so ridiculously obvious that it’s almost stunning, and I go on to explain that one of my pet peeves is I hate the word secret.

When people talk about when you look in book titles and they say, the three secrets to success and the five secrets to negotiate and getting everything you want are the three secrets to hiring the best people, the whole isn’t the book secret the secret I hate, but the whole application that might the reason you’re not being as successful as you could be is because you don’t know the secrets, and if I shared the secrets with you all of a sudden life would magically become easy, and that’s why it’s just that you didn’t know the secrets and certain special people know the secrets. I hate that implication, because I think my experiences. And this is what’s in the introduction to that bucket, but my experience has been firstly, everything I’ve ever learned in my entire life, I can make an exception to this that I thought was really significant and meaningful and insightful.

After I learned that I thought, oh my God, how did I get to be this age and never noticed that before. It wasn’t so mysterious. It’s just that it’s all this, but what happens, I think, is sometimes you read a book, or you hear a speaker, and they have the ability to explain it to you in a way that you never thought of before, it wasn’t that the idea was mysterious after you hear it you say oh my god, that’s so awesome. Why didn’t I think of that? It’s just that it was reformed for you it was reshaped it made it more accessible for you. And so, that book that I will leave eventually. There are no secrets is about some of the reflections the things that I’ve learned over my life, that aren’t mysterious they’re not secrets at all. They’re just things that I’ve realized, and I have a pretty good way of explaining them so that people can say, oh, yeah, that makes sense, and I can actually use that to improve my life. Yeah, so that’s what that book is.

Mike Malatesta  34:42

Okay, well I’m looking forward to that. That’s.

34:45

And I like.

Mike Malatesta  34:46

So I’m, I’m, I’m in your camp with the secret thing I every time I hear someone say something like what you said about secrets. I feel like I need to hold on to my wallet, because they’re going to charge me to tell me something I already know, they’ve just packaged it as a secret, and it feels like it’s like real clickbait now you know like, every article on Medium or something it’s like the 10 secrets to making a million dollars before you’re 30.

David Friedman  35:19

Well, you find that actually insulting. Yeah, so I get turned off when I said I would rather that article and I’d be more likely to read it or buy it. If the article was called 10 key ideas that will help you make a million dollars right, I’m up for that, but uh you saw as you call it a secret, you’re turning me off because there’s no secret.

Mike Malatesta  35:39

Yeah, I’m with you.

35:42

So you

Mike Malatesta  35:45

want to talk about how you should have transitioned the major document. Real. So you started talking to Vistage groups, and you were, you know, basically, because someone your friend referred to referred you so you packaged up some of the stuff that you believed in and could tell and could teach people and then people started to ask you, hey, David, this is great. Can you come in and talk to my team or whatever and so then you had to build something around that. And then, where to go from there because it seems like it’s sort of exploded and when I was talking to you last time, I was getting so excited about, you know, making what you’re doing into, you know, an app and all these other things I was going all over the place because I was so excited about it.

So how did, how did you go from what uh yeah, I’ll do this talk. Sure, I’m not yeah, I’ll travel around because I’m not doing anything else at the moment. And then, really, really create, you know, just a great business and a great idea that hasn’t even seen. I don’t feel like it’s seen all the light, or nearly all the light that it deserves to see.

David Friedman  36:57

I agree with everything you’ve just said and so I’ll explain kind of how that happened. And I think of it as happening in three phases, so I described in my own mind, these last 789 years as being as having three phases. The first phase I described as my hobby phase. And so that was the phase in which I was just, yeah okay somebody wants me to stay, that’s kind of cool, I’ll go somewhere, and it’s sort of good for the ego that people think I’m smart, they want to fly me somewhere to go talk to them, okay. And I was helping, and people were starting to hire me, and I was helping them. And when I would get together with friends or relatives and they’d asked me, so what are you doing these days.

And I would tell them what I was doing, and they would almost always ask the question, so where are you going with this like what’s the plan with this. And my answer was always I would tell them there is not, I’m having fun, life’s good if I get bored, I’ll do something else, maybe I’ll bump maybe somebody that I’m meeting one of these workshops will have an idea or a business that maybe will catch, catch fire with that business and I’ll go down that path, but I got no plan, I’m having fun I’m letting life do it. That lasted about three or four years. What changed to go to face to face to I described as my business face. And the thing that precipitated the business face was really just the reaction of the CEOs that I spoke to over and over again that I would do all these mostly listed stocks, and I be with a group of CEOs, and every single time without fail and this continues today. When the CEOs hear me speak. Afterwards they always say the same thing they say oh my god this is amazing. This is like, this is the first time somebody has ever made the topic of culture, clear, actionable, understandable practical something I can do something with. Where have you been all these years, and I’ve heard this enough times, but I began to feel like you know what, I guess this content, recruits pretty good stuff and people really get a lot of value from this, and I began to think you know it would be a shame if the world’s exposure to the cereal was limited to me playing with it as a hobby. Too good. I’ve been told by others, that the material is too good and too unique that for it to just be left alone as Friedman’s hobby.

This deserves more, so I began to think, okay, what would that look like. And so, I, in 2015. I created the company called high performing culture. I began to shift the brand, away from David Friedman, as a speaker and consultant to this company called high performing culture, who I happen to be the CEO and the founder of but I began to hire staff, and I began to build tools and products around the methodology that I was teaching, because I realized that the first thing I had to do to build a business around this is I have to be able to demonstrate to myself as much of anything that you don’t have to be David Friedman to do this because if the only one who can do this work is David Friedman,

Mike Malatesta  40:13

Yeah, I don’t have a business you’re a consultant forever, right?

David Friedman  40:17

There’s a guy that I worked with once a number of years ago, who, who’s he’s in the business of helping thought leaders monetize their intellectual property, and he said something once to me that really struck me. He talked about the difference between what he called a business, and when he called it practice. And he said, its practice is when you and your content, always have to be in the room at the same time. And so, I needed to prove that this wasn’t just a practice, but this was a business that I could teach other people to, to not only speak about the things that I’ve created, but also can help clients, implement the methodology that I have been doing myself. And so I began to hire people and teach them how to do this, and I did that very successfully. Some of that again goes back to.

I’m pretty good at being able to articulate what is it that I was doing and reduce it down to a set of steps and processes so that other people could follow my process, and it doesn’t have to be made. So I began to build the company. And so, from 2015 I would say for 2019. I call that my, my business face. My third phase which I’m in right now, I refer to as my scaling face. And so, and the, the, the sort of transition to the scaling phase follows the same reasoning as the transition from the hobby phase to the business phase, which is that we’ve been doing this work now we’ve helped hundreds of companies to implement this hundreds of others have heard me speak or read my books and implement it at some level on their own, and time after time companies that implement what I teach will say that it’s sometimes they’ll say that the single most if not one of the most impactful things they’ve done in the history of their company.

So the work that we do is really transforms companies and transforms people, and I hear it over and over and over again as simple as it all it is and I continue to be astounded because to me it’s so darn simple and obvious, but it’s transformative for companies so I’ve heard this so many times that in a similar way to what I said four or five years ago, it would be a shame if I roll this picture forward five or eight or 10 years, and I look back and say God you know we had some fun we made some money, we helped some companies and we didn’t do much more than that. That’s like this idea is too good, and it’s too needed to be left to just like a nice small little company and had some fun and that was all it deserves a much bigger international audience that that people all of us to be practicing what I teach. And so my job is to figure out how to do that. How to take what we’re doing from hundreds of companies and have 10s of 1000s of companies do what we teach.

Mike Malatesta  43:08

Okay, before I get into your brain a little bit about how you’re thinking about doing that, these. I’m going to, I’m going to use the, the S word. Why is what you teach, that’s transformational as it is, why is it seen by, I think, why is it seen by so many of your clients as some type of secret that they don’t know, like culture.

Everybody talks about it, almost everybody talks about it. I haven’t met haven’t found a CEO yet that doesn’t talk about culture. Most of them talk about it with a little at least some trepidation and frustration. But there’s not one of them that doesn’t know, like hey treat people right, you know, do what you say, you know, finish what you start what are all the things that. So why is it, why is it in your experience David that, what’s your what’s you’re teaching and is so is a secret to so many to so many firms.

David Friedman  44:23

I wonder that sometimes myself, but I’ll share what I think about that. Yeah, I truly wonder that because it is so simple, and it is so obvious that it’s astounding to me, that everybody else. But when they hear it, it goes back to the discussion we had before about secrets and that they’re not secrets there just sometimes somebody is able to package an idea in a way that is so obvious, but you never thought about it. Yeah, okay, that’s what happens is every time people hear me read my stuff or, or work with our company.

They always walk away, they always say after it’s explained, that makes sense. It doesn’t take a leap of faith because it’s so technical. And so obvious that it just makes sense to people, and all I’ve done is created a toolkit to make it easy to do what makes sense. So I’ve created that, then the system to implement something that’s very logical, so I’ll say it this way and certainly a couple of things I’d say first of all, there are many things that we all know are logical and we should do. We know that we should exercise regularly do most people do it. Now, we know we should eat healthier, do people do it now.

So, knowing something is different than the ability to do it. So I’ve put together both the way of explaining it so that it makes sense to people, and as importantly, or perhaps more importantly, I’ve put together the toolkit the system to implement that makes it really easy for them to do it. Okay, it’s one thing if you walk away from this talk and you hear me that I was quoting this, but if you don’t go back and do anything about it, then it was interesting but useful, and I’ve what I’ve done is put together over the years, just such a turnkey system to make it really easy for people to implement it. Okay,

Mike Malatesta  46:28

so no different really than what resonates with most CEOs like I need production metrics right, so I need, I need a process for how we produce materials right and they everybody has that like this, this, this, this and this. And then you’ve essentially taken that and put it into a process framework for building a great culture.

David Friedman  46:53

Very much so. The thing that I do sometimes CEO groups Vistage groups. I don’t always do this I used to do this more frequently, but I do this thing where I’ll say to the CEOs, I’ll ask the CEOs, I’ll say so. Let me ask you this, on a one to five scale, how, where would you rate culture, in terms of its impact on the bottom line of your company, with one meaning it’s not that big a deal.

Five is that it’s a significant impact on the bottom line, most CEOs, give it a five, but they used to be a couple of fours, and sometimes I get a six or seven on a five point scale so they, they all know that this is really important. And then I asked them, okay, and this just goes right in line with what you were just saying, I’ll ask them, how many of you have some kind of a witness strategic plan that identifies this year’s targets quotas goals or initiatives for the year, what do you need to do. Might I ask them how many of you have some kind of a written documented sales plan for how you’re gonna hit your sales numbers this year, I got that. I say, I’m assuming that you all have some kind of a financial plan a budget forecast, you’re not running your company without that, no of course not. And then I asked him, how many of you have written documents culture plan for how you’re driving the culture for your company. Almost nobody, and I say this, let me see if I just understand this right. You just told me that this was a five, in terms of its impact on your bottom line we’re talking money here, and you have no plan for, you’re just kind of like, hoping it works out. That’s when it would be like running your company with no financial plan.

Now, if you had no budget, that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t try to bring in a lot of money or you wouldn’t try to manage your expenses, but your chances of hitting your targets would get a lot less if you had no plan that add one.

Sure. Well the same is true of our culture, the fact that we don’t have a plan doesn’t mean we don’t do anything or we don’t care about it, but our chances of having the highest performing culture we could, would be a heck of a lot better if we were systematic about it, and most CEOs that makes sense, but most of us have never thought of culture that way, they think of culture as this fluffy have pizza every Friday have a ping pong table the reception area, we have really nice people and cultures just the squishy thing for that, and I help them to see that now if culture is as important to our bottom line as we’re all saying, Should we should be as systematic about our culture as we are about all those other parts of our business that are important, and they’ve never thought about that, and the few that may have I don’t know how to do it. Yeah, I put together the program that makes it easy for them to do it.

Mike Malatesta  49:28

So one of the things you said early on about your company, your first company was that clients would choose to work with you because of your culture. Now, that kind of struck me is something that I don’t hear said very often, but then as you were explaining this and fine, you know, the bottom line impact for companies of culture, being a five are off the chart is identified as important. From your own experience how did your culture drive clients to want to work with you, because most people think about culture as an insular thing right it’s inside of our organization, it’s not really outside of our organization.

David Friedman  50:20

Here’s how I would describe that. And here’s another thing I do sometimes in workshops is, I’ll ask the CEO as it did this yesterday, I asked the CEOs to tell me, what’s your primary competitive advantage in other words, if I was a prospect that I was thinking about buying from you as a company, instead of whoever else sells whatever you do, why would I choose you, and I go around the room and people tell me, a lot of them are mostly fluff like they’ll tell me things like, we really care about our customers. Now ask them so you think your competitors don’t care about their customers. Well we customize a solution for each unique customer, I think so. You think your competitors to shove the same thing down everybody’s throat. So most of us don’t have much of a real competitive advantage.

And I point out to them that most of us are in pretty commoditized industries, whatever we say makes us so wonderful, our competitors say pretty much the same thing. And even if, ours is different, the prospects can’t tell the difference because everybody’s making the same claims. And if I’m right about that that most of us are in pretty commoditized industry is the only way customers can choose in a commoditized industries is on price, and none of us want to be in that kind of a market. So, I talk about that when you look at the companies that managed to win over an extended period of time in commoditized industries, they don’t win because of what they’re offering. It’s not the product or service, it’s how their people go about offering it. It’s how their people work with customers, how they work with each other, how they work with vendors, it’s the behavior of their people, that ultimately is the biggest difference, because we’re all selling the same product will sell the same service.

Even if you have some unique service or product that nobody else has. That’s a short term window of opportunity for a little while but you got the only game in town, but your competitors aren’t all stupid, and sooner or later, they’re gonna copy you and then you’re all back home again and we all have the same product and same service, but if you could somehow get your people to be better than all of your customers people, your competitors people, not only would that be the biggest competitive advantage you could create in this commoditized world, but I would argue it’s the most sustainable competitive advantage, because when your competitors realize that’s how you’re winning, they’re not likely to be able to do it, let’s do ours. And that’s why working on culture is a I say all the time, it’s a strategic and financial topic, not an HR topic, yeah this is about creating competitive advantage. It’s what separates people.

Mike Malatesta  52:55

I appreciate you going through that because that makes a ton of sense. Even just the, you know, our culture is we’re friendly, because a lot of times you hear oh, they’re not friendly, or we return phone calls, just like simple stuff.

David Friedman  53:10

Right there very simple things. And you know one of the things I say about when a company is practicing a set of fundamentals, often and this goes back to what we’re talking about how is all this stuff is that we’ll be rolling out a set of fundamentals for a company, Bill, the employees will look at some of the fundamentals. Frequently, one of the reactions to them is they’ll say, you know this isn’t so new, or this isn’t so unique or this isn’t so different. And I say, you’re right, because of what it takes to be successful, isn’t all that different.

That we should honor our commitments we should be friendly, we should return phone, we should do all these things, but most people don’t do them very well. And I sometimes phrase it this way I’ll say that when you look at the companies that are really successful over a long period of time. I say they don’t do anything so unusual. They do what I call ordinary things with extraordinary consistency. They do the blocking and tackling more consistently than everybody else. Right, right. It’s not some big secret again, that you should actually return people’s phone calls, except most companies think at it, if we were just waiting 90% that everybody else in offering all our commitments and returning our calls and all those kinds of simple things would be that much more successful, but everybody.

And so the only way you get to be consistent about that, is by articulating it and having a structured way to teach it over, practice, and why it’s the only way you get looked at a football team. The only way they get better at the basics, or it’s why I call them fundamentals are fundamental to success is they practice that a lot over and over and over and over again and when you practice that a lot you get good at it. Same thing as here, if we articulate the basic simple things that lead to success, and we create a structured method to practice those things over and over and over and over again. We’re going to be a lot better than everybody else. And all I’ve done is create a system to do that. That’s why it’s so obvious.

Mike Malatesta  55:13

Alright let’s, let’s talk about phase three of your business. So, this the scaling up phase. So, I noticed that culture wise behind you. So culture wise is not the name of your company, high performing culture is the name of your company so that seems to me to be, like, maybe part of the scaling up thing. Tell me, what’s, what’s your what’s your plan how you going to do this.

David Friedman  55:42

So first of all in the culture wise thing culture wise is the name of the product. So it’s culture wise a product of high performing culture. We’re starting to transition in US culture wise more often and our website is culture wise, calm because it’s just easier for people to remember culture wise, but technically the company is high performing culture, and the product of this culture was. Well, one of the things I realized is that previously people would come to our website, and it’s all these wonderful, amazing things that we can do, but sometimes they didn’t know exactly what we sell as much as it was all great information. And I’m such a big believer in simplicity, and I realized we need to simplify, simplify, simplify what we offer. And so we use the word culture wise as our product and I reduced it all to what we sell is culture wise, that’s the name of the name of the system that I teach, called culture wise, basically comes in two flavors. It comes in what we call a custom flavor, and it comes in standard flavor, and then basically very similar but they deal with different price points in different packages, but basically, it’s culture wise, and it comes into packages.

So the first thing that I needed to do to scale this is to create that simplification, and to create a product that was more scalable. So, previously for most of our career most of my career in this business. Our work was what I today call the custom work where we would work with each company individually and figure out what their behaviors are fundamentals, as I call them are, and we would customize, just the way they wanted them, and roll it out and get them practicing, but it’s very hard to scale something that’s so customized. And I realized that if we were going to scale this, we needed to make this simpler and more standardized.

And the analogy I might think of is I might think of it a little bit like how in the homebuilding industry. If you are a custom home builder building really high priced Custom Homes, that’s great but it’s really hard to scale that, look at all of these home builders that are national home builders that build five models, and they can crank them out, you know, with, with it and they offer them a great value so I don’t say that in a derogatory way, they, they, they have made affordable for millions and millions of Americans at home that would otherwise be unaffordable, but it’s become affordable, because they’ve created standardization, they’ve got four or five models, and they can order the supplies in a certain way and systems and they know how to build it and they can print these things out and make it available for people so that more people can buy it myself.

I think it’s a fairly analogous thing we still do it, we’re still custom home builders for those clients that want that, but I’ve built the model home, which is the standard product that is now much easier to scale and much easier for people to buy and more affordable and easier to implement. And so the first step in scaling, was to build a product that was more scalable, and I think of it in many respects, as they transition of our company from being what I would call previously, a consultant company that had some products to now becoming a product company that does some consultant. Got it, a product is culture wise, that’s a scalable product. So we now have a product that can be done for 10s of 1000s of companies. The second step in scaling is okay, we have to tell the whole world with the by the way, hey we’re here we got this thing.

And it’s an interesting challenge because, in a weird kind of way we have very little competition, and under certainly there are people that talk about culture, but I’ve never seen a system for doing culture like ours when we talk to a prospect. Never do they say, oh yeah, I’m gonna get proposals with three other people who do what you do. There isn’t anybody that does what we do. And that’s good and bad. The good part is almost no competition, but that part is, people don’t know what this is, you know, if you were I were going to go buy a refrigerator. We know what our refrigerator looks like we know where to buy it, we know what features we might want, we know about what it should cost, it’s not that complicated event. Here, you don’t know what this is, and you’ve never seen this before, so you’re not going out shopping for culture was so there’s an education shop that has to take place when we have to educate the marketplace.

About that the solution exists for them. So we have four major initiatives going on this year, as part of our scaling. Probably the most, they’re all important but the most important of them is we have a significant investment we’re making in digital marketing, in order to create an inbound marketing engine that we will never reach enough prospects and customers by picking up the phone and calling a bunch of people that the only way we’ll ever reach enough people is for them to find us because we’ve done such good marketing and have that inbound flow of activity.

Mike Malatesta  1:00:52

Okay

David Friedman  1:00:53

so we’re doing a lot, build this year of major digital marketing effort to get the world to know about us so there’s a lot being done there. Second major initiative is, in addition to my own team. We’re also building a network of independent consultants who can bring this to their clients Vistage chairs and others who are working with these small and mid-sized companies, and they talk about culture, but they have no toolkit, and we’re licensing and training them to bring our toolkit to their clients.

We already have 51 of those and in the next few years we have several 100 Of those, so there’s just more people who are spreading the word sharing our product, third major initiative is working on building a number of relationships, partnerships with others who work with the same customers so for example and do related things.

So for example, payroll companies, HR outsourcing companies, employing leasing companies, who already have the same kind of customers and are doing fairly related things. They should be offering our product to their customers. And so we’re working on where the front end of building partnerships and relationships like that, so that we can leverage their customer base instead of selling one customer at a time, we can have lots of limited time,

Mike Malatesta  1:02:14

so I’m thinking something like Workday or something along those lines, those kinds of. Yeah, okay. Yeah, that’s interesting.

David Friedman  1:02:23

Yeah. And then the fourth major initiative is my latest book and doing much more beginning to do it just came out but doing much more publicity around my latest book because when people read the book, it drives activity to our website.

Mike Malatesta  1:02:39

Okay, and your latest book is?

David Friedman  1:02:47

My last book is the second edition of Culture by Design. Okay. And I wrote a new edition this year, and the sub, actually I’m looking at right here is what it looks like. The subtitle of it. So it says culture by design, Second Edition, how to build a high performing culture, even in the new remote work environment. The added content from the original book, so it has all the same as the original book and then I added a number of chapters and new ideas and new content for how you applied these concepts when many of your employees are now working remotely. Okay,

Mike Malatesta  1:03:25

So you’ve done a Gail Sheehy. Yeah, okay. Nice so down the road, am I going to see, with you know with all these initiatives, am I going to see, you know, I’m obviously going to see a web based, or an app, sort of component to what you’re doing right, so that you can already there. Yeah, okay. I love it, man. I really do.

David Friedman  1:03:52

We made a turnkey system. So, our clients are small to mid-sized companies, and they need things to be simple, easy, affordable turnkey, and that’s what we’ve done for culture, is they know that culture is important, but for everybody. It’s so fluffy and amorphous and touchy feely and there’s no system around it, and I’ve just reduced the concepts, so that it’s easy to implement, and then created the toolkit to be a turnkey system. So in 30 days running practicing our stuff and starting to see a big difference. It’s simple, it’s fast, it’s affordable, it’s just a simple turnkey system.

Mike Malatesta  1:04:33

Well David, thank you so much for joining me today and taking us through your, your history and your thought process and, and the future, too, that was really neat if you to go through those four things I really do appreciate that how you mentioned culture wise, calm, how else can people get ahold of you What do you want people to do.

David Friedman  1:04:52

Yes. So my email address and I actually respond to emails is David@culturewise.com and the website of course is www.culturewise.com when you go there, you’ll see lots of videos simple explanations, there’s a lot of content, but all done because everything that I do is so simple, simple, simple, so every explanation on our website is designed to be easy to understand, easy to get. So http://www.culturewise.com is the best place. My book is available on Amazon, the best place to get my book, that the new book is in, softcover eBook. And in about two weeks it’ll be up on Audible, the audio version, my old books are both available on Audible, but the new books will be up in about two weeks or so.

Mike Malatesta  1:05:41

Did you read them for Audible?

David Friedman  1:05:42

yes, yes. How is that for me to have somebody else do my material, yeah. So it shouldn’t need to be me doing it so yes, I’m the narrator on all of them. Okay,

Mike Malatesta  1:05:55

nice. Well, Dave, it’s been a pleasure, thank you so much for joining me today.

David Friedman  1:05:59

My pleasure enjoyed it.

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