Kyle Hamer: (00:04)
Hello. Welcome to the summit, the podcast. We bring you the knowledge and insights from industry leaders and professionals. No fluff, no double digit overnight growth schemes. I’m your host Kylie. I’m on a mission to find secrets to success in business and we’re having real conversations with real leaders in order to get you answers to help you. You elevate yourself on your career path, taking your business and yourself to the next level. Today’s guests joining us on the summit is my good friend, bill, extra bill, welcome to the show.
Bill Eckstrom: (00:32)
Well, you have no idea how fun it is to be visiting with you right now.
Kyle Hamer: (00:36)
It’s been many, many years. For those of you who do not know, bill bill is the president and founder of Excel Institute, no stranger to sales and leadership. Bill has led organizations for many, many years. He’s been district manager, sales manager, all the way up to EVP or senior vice president of sales for a publicly traded health care organization. Recently, bill gave a Ted talk to an audience over 1700 people in Nevada where he shared an eye life altering personal and professional development circumstance that led to a transformation. And really I think the birth of Excel Institute today that video has over 3 million views and is the foundation and launching point for Bill’s most recent adventure, which is a bestselling book. Bill helped coauthor the coaching effect, what great leaders do to increase sales, enhance performance and sustain growth in which recently became an Amazon bestseller. Bill, did I miss anything?
Bill Eckstrom: (01:38)
Yeah, it’s interesting to me when marketing people like yourself put together something that like, like what you just described cause it makes, makes me sound so good that you know, there’s nothing in there that, you know, bill Ekstrom, the former college dropout, bill Ekstrom who lost a job, bill Ekstrom who’s screwed up so many things in his life, they don’t bring those things up. So it’s really, which is ironic because it’s actually, those things will probably make you who you are more than the things you described. But anyway, I just always find that a little ironical.
Kyle Hamer: (02:15)
Yeah, I love, I love, I love the, first of all, I love the humility and second of all, I love the fact that you’re like, Hey, it’s actually more the, the things that maybe we didn’t succeed at or we didn’t get accolades for that probably make us more who we are then than the moments of success. And I think that’s a, that’s a, that’s a brilliant perspective to have.
Bill Eckstrom: (02:33)
And I think it’s real. There’s, you know, we see in our research the, if once one has to be challenged, one has to be there, their ability to overcome obstacles. Those are all the things that really make that person who they are of. Yeah. When I think back to all the things that, and I, and I don’t mean this tongue in cheek, but you know, everything from being kicked out of school in seventh grade, suspended from them, all public schools, I mean on and on to losing a job later in life. Those are all, those are the juicy things that really make you up and that it’s those experiences that have allowed me to get on the Ted stage that have allowed me to feel like I could author a book. So yeah, nobody just wants to put it this way. Nobody really wants to introduce you that way because how many people would get on your podcast, you know, former dropout of school and you know, on and off.
Kyle Hamer: (03:40)
Well, you know, in today’s clickbait society, seventh grade dropout suspended by principal. Now it changes the world. What’s going on here? I’m going to find out what’s going on. Oh, well, you know, that doesn’t, that’s a really good job of actually setting us up because there’s a lot of transition that happening around us. I mean, we’d be, we’d be remiss not to think about all of the transitions going on in the market today and today. I really wanted to spend some time talking to you about leadership leading through change and how organizations or leaders and leaders don’t have to be entitled of, Hey, I’m a manager or a CEO. It could be a leader within a community or a tribe of people where you lead in all different directions, but how they lead through this transition, like what, what is the world look like for, um, for people in this transition? And how can leaders impact change through adversity? So, you know, at a, at a really high level, you’ve got these growth rings. Let’s start there. Tell me what are the growth rings and where we’re currently at as a society and as, as businesses today?
Bill Eckstrom: (04:47)
Okay. Uh, it would take too long to describe the growth earnings in detail, but the TEDx talk does it in 12 and a half minutes. So I would encourage people to go there. It’s called white comfort will ruin your life. And it’s really on the premise that there are four primary environments that dictate our growth. And those environments are stagnation, order complexity and chaos growth. Acknowledging and recognizing only occurs in a state of discomfort and the a ring of the growth rings that displays that most in a most healthy ways. Complexity people want order. Order is predictable and puts predictable outcomes and it’s predictability that makes us comfort, comfortable. But it’s comfort that as I said in the Ted talk that can kill us. It comfort will ruin your life if you allow it to. And I’m not saying order is bad and I’ll give you example and I think we’re in a time right now where orders are important.
Bill Eckstrom: (05:57)
So getting back to what you were saying earlier, stagnation is pretty self explanatory. Chaos cause I believe where we are at now as a country and more specifically our research focuses on team. So when, when, when we talk about leadership, when we talk about coaching, we’re talking about people that have teams of people that report to them. We usually use the term coach as opposed to leader because I believe great needers can be a follower that just have not, are not in a role. Coaches have calf teams of people that report to them. So that’s why we use that term. But I’ll use it interchangeably. So what we’ve been researching is really right now, and we’re doing it with, we have a coven 19 research project going on and what we’re finding is that yes, teams are in it, people in teams are in States of chaos.
Bill Eckstrom: (06:55)
And what defines that is really not having any control over inputs or outcomes. And that really puts us in a state of chaos and the behavioral impact as it creates one of the three F’s, fight, flight or freeze. And we’re seeing that in the workforce. Furloughs of the disease itself are the virus itself. There’s so many things that are creating this within our organizations. So what it tells us and what we’re learning is that leaders need to understand the organizational environment they’re in and then respond to it or accordingly. And when we’re in a chaotic state, which is Ren, which is what we’re in now, leaders need to help the people on their teams get back to a state of order, an environment of order, predictability, comfort. While by and large, that’s not where you want to be all the time. It’s where we need to be today.
Bill Eckstrom: (08:04)
We need to bring some predictability to our lives. We need to bring some of that that comfort back in because when we come out of this and we will come out of this, that is what creates the buy-in to an organization, to the leaders within that organization. Then I’m going to stick and throw with you as we, as we get into the future, when we come out of this, if right now, if you’re not acknowledging the fact that people are in a state of Cass, if you’re not helping them bring predictability and comfort, if you’re not, if you’re not bringing strength of relationship, you’re going to miss out on that opportunity because I will not be there with you when it’s time to really move forward. That was a long way around the barn, Kyle, and I apologize. You know, what I love about what you set up is one of the things that I’ve been, uh, I’ve been personally frustrated with in watching how companies are responding
Kyle Hamer: (08:57)
is there’s this, there’s this sense of disingenuousness where the leaders or the, the, the appointed head of an organization or head of a team says one thing and behaves in a totally different way and further perpetuates the chaos where, Hey, maybe the business did have to make difficult decisions or is having to do for Lowe’s in, in, in the way that the messages communicated, the way that the people are supported don’t align it with what type of leader, what type of message has been being propagated by that person for years. So as all of a sudden it’s like, Oh, all of a sudden the business required me to behave completely different from myself. How do I, how do I get those two to be congruent again? Right? So it’s like the, uh, the, the example somebody gave me yesterday was, um, they were flying an airplane and they flew into Cumulus clouds.
Kyle Hamer: (09:54)
They were flying for two to three minutes and then the flight instructor looked over and said, Hey, take, take a sense. Are you, are you right set up, are you upside down? When the person said, I think I’m right side up, I flew out of the closet and they were upside down and so I immediately was like, yeah, so you know you need to, you need to be able to instrument stuff and fly by data and insights. And they said, well, yes and no. If you’re in a dog fight, which is what many businesses and organizations are in right now, you have to be able to fly by instinct and make quick decisions and react accordingly. But that may not be the way that you’ve established the the brand or the message or the tone of the organization. How do leaders synthesize those? Like how do you, how do they get permission to get buy in that, Hey, we’re doing what’s best for the organization right now? What it’s counter to what maybe we’ve said over the last 90 120 days or even the last three to five years.
Bill Eckstrom: (10:50)
That’s wow. How long do we have Kyle?
Kyle Hamer: (10:56)
No. I think tactically
Bill Eckstrom: (10:59)
now was a time where leaders and coaches need to Mo more than ever if they haven’t, but turn to their teams, they need to become more collaborative. They need to get the team buy in. If you think any leader has the edge on all the knowledge on what’s going to happen to the future, you’re wrong. The cumulative, the cumulative wisdom, the collective wisdom and power of a team of people can certainly help you. So that’s in my mind, where leaders need to go is they need to focus first on relationships with the people on their teams. That brings the healthy order that I was talking about earlier. There’s certainly one of the steps, and I’ve got a white paper coming out next week that addresses this, but then turn and begin to engage your people like you never have before. Met them in on things.
Bill Eckstrom: (12:00)
The president of our company, Sarah and I were talking today about how we’re going to disclose to the people on our team financial information they’ve never seen before. We want them to know the position we’re in. We want them to know that we’re going to be okay. We want them to to see what we need in renewals and new sales and those things so we can continue on as healthy business. They’re going to be more involved in what we’re doing as a company than they ever have as a result of this. So I think that’s the first step is is two steps. Number one, developing that relationship, a stronger bond with the people on your team. And then number two, becoming collaborative with them. Tap into that so you can gather the collective wisdom of the group.
Kyle Hamer: (12:46)
Is there a third step where those are those the two corner cornerstones?
Bill Eckstrom: (12:50)
I could probably come up with another five. I had enough time, but I would, if people did that, that would be huge. It would just be huge because you know, we’re seeing right now that, Oh, I don’t want to say here, over 50% of the people have, you know, are really, I think over 60% of the people are not sure how to perform their job effectively moving forward from our coven 19 research. That’s a problem is six, six out of 10 year people say, I don’t know how I’m going to be effective over the next 90 days.
Speaker 3: (13:36)
Bill Eckstrom: (13:37)
we’ve got some issues you’ve got to work out. So again, there’s that communication and tapping into those people.
Kyle Hamer: (13:44)
I’m going to circle back to that because I think that that’s, that’s really, uh, something really important that we need to explore. But before we go there, I wanna I want to ask a question as it relates to, um, the type of, of, of leader type of, um, perspective you need to have in order to be effective. You said that the two keys right here are focused on relationships and engaged like you never have before. The things that you’re doing Excel Institute and with your business is you’re creating a level of transparency and openness that you’ve never had to do before. What are some of the elements that you’re, you need to have as a leader? What are some of the things that maybe you’re going to grapple with? You’ve got to overcome in order to be able to be do one and two effectively because they may be things that are not like, Hey, I’m a leader. I’m not supposed to tell you all the information. Hey, I’m a leader. I’m not supposed to look like I don’t know what’s going on. Hey, I’m a leader. Like what are the elements that you’ve got to work through or, or things that you can lean into to help you be comfortable in those positions that may not be what your strong suit has been up to this point?
Bill Eckstrom: (14:47)
Well, I just experienced one of them this morning and I could share that with you. One of my challenges as a leader that is important. We, we see it in our research, that vulnerability as an example. And, and let me preface this by saying, as coaches and leaders of teams, we’re using this moment as an excuse for evolution, but we shouldn’t need it. The R this is going to force us into behaving differently. A lot of leaders behaving differently, but sadly as leaders what we need to see is more people really studying and understanding their effectiveness, using data to understand how effective we are. And that’s one of the things that we do is we really help people from a data perspective know what their strengths are as coaches, leaders knowing what their gaps are. So having said that, one of the gaps I know I have is a vulnerability.
Bill Eckstrom: (15:57)
And I was expressing, I behaved in a way recently, Kyle, for reasons you’re likely aware of and not afraid to share. I lost my father last Friday. And while to use your term, I’m kind of a stoic one when it comes to things like this, I don’t get overly emotional, obviously. I love my dad dearly and I’m sorry to see him gone and I miss him already. What I wasn’t aware of is how it was already impacting my behaviors. Now I am a guy who journals every morning and I do gratitudes every morning. I meditate five times a week. I am really into understanding how my behaviors impact others. Wow. Did I see this stress manifesting in a shorter temper with people on my team this last week and just this morning I was on the phone with our president where she was questioning my response to a couple items recently and I had to take a long breath and say to her say, listen, I’m sorry, but she knew my father had passed and I said, I think that is impacting more than more than I know I a year ago six, I’ll say a year ago, I would never would have admitted that maybe even six months ago or two months ago.
Bill Eckstrom: (17:21)
I would never have admitted admitted that. But that’s an example of I think where we as leaders have to just really share what’s in our hearts. And that is not a soft side of leadership. That is the stuff that helps people grow, that helps teams grow. So I don’t know if that’s answering your question, but vulnerability would certainly be one of those items that people need to fall back on. We talked about relationships. You know, we’ve been telling people since this kit, you’ve got to communicate with their people more than you ever have. You need to get out there, you need to be texting them. You need to be calling them. You need to understand how they want to communicate and quit talking about business all the time. Talk about their life at home, talk about their office, get their kids on the next zoom call, let them say hi to their kids. We’re on a call. Those are the other things that they need to be doing is letting people, they know they care about them beyond just an employee.
Speaker 3: (18:16)
Kyle Hamer: (18:23)
Taking that position, taking that position of vulnerability. And uh, what’s the old saying? People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. What kind of impact do you see that happening having on the six out of 10 people understanding how to be effective at their job. If, if, if an organization or a leader can begin being vulnerable and begin talking through and being honest, transparent with themselves, leaning into other people’s lives at the, at the person level, how does that help solve the challenge that you’re seeing around people don’t know how to be effective around 610 well
Bill Eckstrom: (19:03)
that’s a really good question and I’m, and I’m thinking about my response to that Kyle. First and foremost, I think when, cause let’s face it, not everybody has the answer. I think consciously, not that we’re doing everything right, but we’re really working hard to help our everybody. And we have a smaller team but it doesn’t matter cause everybody has a team of people that rolls up to them. Third, if they’re in a coaching role, whether it’s athletes or whether it’s a sales team or whether it’s an executive team, the
Bill Eckstrom: (19:40)
letting people know how much you care, buys you time. In other words, Hey, I don’t know exactly what I’m supposed to be doing for the next 90 days, but here’s what I do know my boss cares about me and so I am willing to live in this state or be in this state a while longer because I know you have my best interest at heart. That’s what I believe it does more than anything and, and then it also provides psychological safety for me to come forward and say, Hey, here’s something that I could be doing. If I don’t have that environment with my manager, with my leader, with my coach, with my boss, you’re not going to hear that from me.
Kyle Hamer: (20:38)
It sounds to me like what you’re saying is, you know, in being more collaborative and focusing on relationships and then being transparent that you’re teams out of a state of chaos as it relates to business and work and into a state of order as it relates to relationships. What’s gives them the foundation that they need to be more productive?
Bill Eckstrom: (20:59)
Yeah, the first of all, we, when we, when we study high performing teams, the base of the pyramid, what’s endemic to them all are trust-based relationships. And this goes from athletic teams, high-performing, athletic, athletic teams, all the way up to high performing business teams. The foundation is trust-based relationships. So yes, that that has to be created. Now I can’t remember your entire question. I think I only answered part of it. No, just I guess I was just trying to summarize it as we start where we started
Kyle Hamer: (21:37)
and kind of what we were talking about the front is, is we’re all in a state of chaos right now. Like everywhere is chaotic. And one of the things that you called out early on was, is that we need to move to a state of order and the quicker we can get to order, the better our people will be.
Bill Eckstrom: (21:52)
Yeah. So, so the best, the most healthy order anybody could ever have and to keep in mind orders what? Understanding inputs and having predictable outcomes the most, the best order you could ever provide me is order around. Uh, my trust in you and your trust in me. Don’t ever, ever make me guess as to whether or not you care about me as a person. Kyle, if you’re my boss, if I can just check the box and know that Hey, no matter what happens, Kyle cares about me as a person. I don’t want to have to guess that. The second I’m questioning your faith in me, your trust in me, you get your care about me is that’s, that’s when I begin to shelter that. So I begin to not perform. That’s when I began to go on a state of chaos.
Kyle Hamer: (22:43)
So what do you think, I mean you, I mean you’ve, you’ve, you’ve hit on, you’ve hit on notes of it, but if you, if we look back six months from now at the teams, the companies, the leaders, the performers that performed the best through this state of chaos, what do you think the three to five attributes are of that particular team?
Bill Eckstrom: (23:05)
Wow, let’s have another podcast and I’ll be able to tell you based on our research exactly what they are, but I’m going to come back to number one, relationships still trust-based relationships. I think those organizations that are creating this with the people that keep mine, so many people are having to Mae off people. There’s furloughs. And I am not saying those shouldn’t be happening. My goodness. So it should happen. I understand it. Those, you know, people are trying to survive, but what you don’t know, what organizations are don’t understand is while they’re probably looking at their people that haven’t been furloughed, that are still on board and they’re thinking to themselves, Hey, they’re lucky they still have their job. And perhaps those people feel that way. But how did the fact that they have a colleague and a friend and older has a job, how does that making them feel?
Bill Eckstrom: (24:03)
How do we know how it’s impacting their ability to perform at work? Because we see it, like I said, fight, flight and freeze are results of chaos. Productivity will drop and is dropping obviously. So what will come out of this? What are the two or three things? I don’t know. I’m going to, I’m going to based on the science of our growth rings. So like I said, relationship number one and number two, they’d better find that state of order to give people some predictable outcomes, get them in a state of comfort. So when we come out of the scene, we can get back into complexity and growth mode in a hurry.
Kyle Hamer: (24:38)
Well, and I think, I think the thing that, um, at least for me personally as I listened to you talk through the growth rings and talk through the, the elements here, the part that that really propels the, um, the state of order or the productivity, right? I mean if you furloughed, if you had a, you know, an organization I know laid off well over our furloughed, excuse me, well over 150 people and just yesterday, a lot of them people that I know very closely, and I mean you introduced a state of chaos where 20% of the workforce is gone. You’ve lost all of that capacity and production gone. Then you have the emotional impact of the people that are left, right? There’s the, well, if we don’t pull through this, am I the next one that’s on the furlough and what it would, it seems like to me or what I hear you saying, my takeaways here would be as is the quicker you can focus on their relationship and and not giving people platitudes of, Hey, everything’s going to be okay, but helping them focus on their safe with you, no matter what the business outcome is, that they’re safe with you as a leader or as a coach or as a teammate, creating that safety, the transparency of, Hey, I don’t know either like getting them into that state of order.
Kyle Hamer: (25:56)
Where are, there’s some some balance and some, some comfort if you will, in the relationship. And Hey, I can trust what’s coming that will move the order to where you can then actually begin working on the business problem, which is we’ve got to fix production and we’ve got to fix whatever our output is. And you’ll have the double whammy. Like it’s fixed one cause you can and then the other you can work on together,
Bill Eckstrom: (26:19)
right? Yes. So to put that in in a realistic sense like you were just describing, which is what we were talking about this morning within our own organization. So we have those relationships, those trust-based relationships. We work hard at those. We do things like every Friday we have a, uh, kind of a, uh, covert gathering on, on zoom. So we all get on board, kids come in and out. People might have a cocktail and we’d do anything except talk business. Everybody’s kind of checking in with each other with random texts. Some phone calls, very sinks too, just to see how everybody’s doing. So we’re checking that box on relationship. But now, where else? What other order can we give them? Well, financial order. Okay guys, to your point earlier, here’s the reality of our situation is most cash we have in the bank, here’s renewals coming in.
Bill Eckstrom: (27:14)
If we may know more new sales, here’s the number of months we can last and exists where we don’t have to worry. Okay? With new sales, with a, you know, 20% of hitting our target, here’s how long we last 30 40 50 so now there’s no guessing games people can see. It’s predictable. I get it, I see it. So we’re removing that fear of, well, bill says we’re okay, but what does that mean? Well, let’s define what okay is because what’s okay to me may be different than what is okay to you. So I’m just going to give you the information and, and that’s one of the things, Hey man, I’ve been seeing that on LinkedIn lately. A lot of people, you know, kind of that old football coach just trying to get people back selling again. Everybody used to suck it up and get going. Yeah, it’s been hard, but we really need it. That is so gone. That is so ridiculous that as leaders to assume that everybody is going to behave like you would just suck it up and go sell. I’m not saying that we don’t need to, but if that’s your approach to getting people out there and you need to find a different role, that’s ridiculous.
Bill Eckstrom: (28:30)
I’ll just give you an amen for that cause that’s pervasive. It just shocks me. I see these messages. I’m LinkedIn and I just want to shake the person by the shoulders and say wake up and really get to know your people. Anyway. Enough on that. I don’t know if there’s anything we could see more eye to eye than on that one bill. Cause there’s a lot of knuckleheads out there that are, that are the old propaganda of suck it up buttercup. You know, smile and dial and if you’re not, if you’re not closing, there’s something wrong with you, not the market and right. It’s come on. Times have changed, they are changing. Nobody knows what it’s going to look like. But here’s what I know is that people are affected today. So they better figure out how they’re affected and cater to that. And my ability as a coach, I can’t treat all 15 players the same way on a basketball team. I got a coach 15 different ways. That means I have to know 15 different individuals and I can’t just say suck it up and go, well then I think you know, it’s man, right on, right on the back heels of that you’ve got, you’ve got different markets that
Kyle Hamer: (29:41)
are affected differently, right? So you have some markets that are in survival mode. Hey, if I’m calling into New York city right now, and that’s my territory as an example, as a salesperson, they’re in survival mode. I can’t suck it up. I’m not doing much commerce. And if you don’t have the, um, emotional intelligence where they, you know, the perceptibility to be like, well, you just got to call more had, who hasn’t seen the picture of time square completely empty, right? They’re there. They’re in survival mode. There are other businesses that are in adapt right there. They’re saying, okay, well I’m trying to figure out how to navigate and move through this. And then there are other businesses and other places where there’s high growth
Speaker 3: (30:19)[inaudible]
Kyle Hamer: (30:22)
organizations or sales leaders I think probably need to take a giant breath and look at their team and talking to salespeople specifically. But I think this is more broad brush, brush stroke for all leaders. Take a breath and look at what your team is facing, not only in the business world, but at home.
Bill Eckstrom: (30:40)
Yeah, Kyle, that’s, that’s well said. And again, I’m not bragging about what we’ve done, we’ve just, but I’ll share with you another story because it fits in well with what you said. For us to move forward as prospecting as usual, as servicing as usual. Just felt wrong. It didn’t feel right. Are we taking care of our customers? Of course we are. But we have the capacity to do a lot of things that we couldn’t do anything with. So what we did is we took our research department, we know we’re great at understanding the impact organizations, leaders, environments have on people. So we thought, okay, let’s put this into some COBIT research. And that’s what we did that I’ve referred to a couple of times and we gathered together a, we created a 12 question survey where organizations can send it out to as many people as they want in their teams.
Bill Eckstrom: (31:46)
And it’s a two minute survey and we will give them a report, the organization within 24 hours to understand how this pandemic is affecting their individuals, how it’s affecting their perception of their future with the organization, how it’s impacting their ability to perform. And it’s actionable information. And here’s the best part. We’re doing it for free. Any organization that wants to take part of this to really help their people understand that they have a voice and help them understand how it’s impacting and which will then make you a better coach and a better leader. They can do it for free. So that’s some of the things you can do is say, Hey, go out and sell. Go out and do this. Now let’s look at some different things we can do.
Speaker 3: (32:31)[inaudible]
Kyle Hamer: (32:33)
what are you, I mean you’ve, you’ve, you’ve had this out there for a while. What are you seeing? I mean I think that’s where the out of 10 came from, right? They don’t know it’d be effective in the next 90 days. What else are you seeing? Like what are the things, are we seeing that organizations like the people in the visitors saying, Hey, I need help here. Hey, this is something that’s not clear to me. What else? What else are you seeing in your, in your study?
Bill Eckstrom: (32:55)
What’s, what’s interesting are a few things. Number one is the number of people that aren’t worried about Covitz impact on them personally. It’s only 50% of the people or 51% of the people are really worried about the impact of coven on the personally, which has to be some surprised that baby people are just blindly going to work without understanding it or, I don’t know that one I don’t grasp. What’s really good to see is the number of managers, coaches, leaders that are reaching out to the people on their teams more frequently. And we’re seeing that a lot more now than we did even a week ago. And our research, there’s been a lot more communication, a lot more proactive reaching out to people. We’re seeing that of all the mediums people right now, they want a phone call more. It’s more than the video, more than uh, uh, texts.
Bill Eckstrom: (34:03)
They want a phone call, they want, they want to hear a voice, which I thought was really cool to see. So those, and there’s some others that I can’t think about the top of my head, but those are some of the things we’re seeing with within organizations right now. Oh. And the last being that they’re still looking for their meters to communicate plans. They still need that plan. They have to know what their future is going to be. That that’s what, that’s what they’re wanting most from their leaders is that communication of what’s our future going to look like.
Kyle Hamer: (34:37)
It’s, um, I find it ironic that the elements that you just hit on, um, in many ways are the elements that whether it’s Excel Institute or some of the other organizations you’ve seen, but there’s a, there’s a small company that got a lot of accolades for some very outrageous things they did years ago. Gravity payments. Are you familiar with gravity, Dan? Price on gravity payments. I am not so Googling when you’re, when you’re done. But Dan is a CEO that basically he raised everybody’s wage in the company to what do you call the living wage, which was $70,000 or more. Thank you. With your minimum you would make working for gravity payments was 70. And he did this five years ago and people were like, you’re crazy. You’re going to go out of business. There’s a lot of reasons why he did that. But covert 19 hit and the majority of the folks that gravity was working with are small businesses.
Kyle Hamer: (35:33)
So your uh, you know, your, your restaurants, your hair salon, stylists, service based industries that were immediately impacted because of the, because of the virus and the stakeholders. He sat down with his company, he laid out and he said basically we’ve got, I remember it was four or five months where their cash, we’re going to have to make changes. We can either choose to lose certain people or you guys can do a voluntary pay cut. First round of voluntary pay cut meant the business, I think it was, it lasted another 18 months based on what people were willing to voluntarily give up their income for being a part of the organization. He was honest, he was transparent, he laid out the plan and what they saw was is that the people responded well to exactly what you’re talking about, transparency, having a plan and then ultimately know how they fit and could contribute to that to ensure their own sense of order.
Bill Eckstrom: (36:32)
Yeah. And that’s in what you just described as a wonderful story of how that can be done. And then, and that’s how busy, that’s how great businesses will respond. There’s one thing to say. Our people come first and there’s the other thing to live the fact that our people come first. So that was a good story.
Kyle Hamer: (36:52)
Well thanks. Um, well look, we can, we could sit here and we could chat forever and ever if you’re open to it. What I would love to hear is maybe your favorite or most poignant moment as the seventh grade dropout slash high school, college challenged kid, but that biggest impact your dad had on your life or, or one of the best memories that you have you to share that that would be, that would be awesome for us.
Bill Eckstrom: (37:19)
Wow. Uh, first of all, Kyle, thank you for that opportunity. Let’s see if I can do that without crying right now. The biggest impact that my dad had on my life. It’s not a moment. It’s a way of life. The, um, my dad lived a life of integrity. Yeah. He, he worked, I said collect a lot of the people in the greatest generation. You got up every day he went to work. He had nothing as a kid, nothing. I remember one of the stories when he’s talking about how he had come back as a sophomore in high school and he made the track team and his dad said, are you starting? Are you number one? And my dad said, no. But I think if I keep working hard coaches, I got a lot of talent. He said, I think I can be by later in the year and my grandfather’s responsible, he got to quit because I need you working more than the track team needs you.
Bill Eckstrom: (38:30)
So the dad had to go back to school and tilt the track team. He couldn’t participate anymore. So it’s those things that when I look back, the way I treat people, I learned from him the trust and belief. My dad is huge. He was a great coach, he was huge. And he had what what we now refer to as the developmental bias. He would see things in people, wonderful things in people. And as a kid, I used to watch him, the way he looked at people and the way he treated people, I think, wow, what does he see that I don’t see? And then those things. So I would say the, the way he treated people and the way he always tried to get the most out of others was, was one of those things. The work ethic was another in his honesty and integrity was another. Those are all things that have really impacted in fact of my life in a wonderful way. So thank you for that opportunity. Thank you for sharing. Yeah, thank you.
Kyle Hamer: (39:32)
Sure. And thank you for being generous today. I mean, we’ve, we’ve appreciated having your time, your insight and years of, of research and experience. It’s been a fantastic conversation, understanding how leaders can really impact change and navigating, you know, world, the world of turmoil that’s out there. So thank you for being here today, bill.
Bill Eckstrom: (39:52)
Kyle, thank you so much. Best of luck to you and thanks for asking wonderfully poignant questions.
Kyle Hamer: (40:00)
My pleasure. For those of you listening, this has been some, my podcast with bill Ekstrom and Kyle hammer. We appreciate you taking time. We want you to know that there is positivity in the world, even though it seems like it’s chaos outside until next week. This is Karen.