This week we’re sitting down with Dr. Randy Ross, founder of the company Remarkable! – a consulting and advisory firm specializing in team development and organizational health. Randy has traveled throughout the United States and internationally as a speaker, consultant and coach, building teams and developing leaders. A compelling communicator, Randy has the keen sensitivity to speak to the heart of leaders and inspires elevated performance among teams.

The views, information, or opinions expressed during this show are solely those of the participants involved and do not necessarily represent those of SouthState Bank and its employees. 

SouthState Bank, N.A. – Member FDIC

Intro: Helping community bankers grow themselves, their team and their profits. This is the Community Bank podcast.

Caleb Stevens: Well, Hey everybody. And welcome back to the community bank podcast. My name’s Caleb and I hope our time together today helps you grow yourself, your team and your profits. We appreciate everyone who’s listened. January was actually a record month for the show. That’s all made possible by you guys. We appreciate all of the bankers who listen to this show. I talked to many of you via LinkedIn and different places and what’s really encouraging is it’s everybody from CEOs all the way down to folks who are new to banking in their careers. So, this show is for all of you guys, and we love helping leaders of all types grow themselves as well as their teams and their banks. Today’s conversation is a pretty wide-ranging discussion with Dr. Randy Ross. He’s the founder of a company called Remarkable. In fact, if you heard our discussion about a year and a half ago with David Sawers, who’s the former VP of marketing for Chick-fil-A. David and Randy, actually co-wrote the book called Remarkable and Randy’s company is also of the same name called Remarkable. It’s really a consulting and advisory firm that specializes in team development, organizational health. Randy’s written a number of books in addition to Remarkable, including his most recent book called Hope Rises. This is a really helpful discussion, covering all things, leadership and culture. I’m excited for you guys to hear today before we get to that, though, I want to tell you about our most recent bond accounting portfolio trends analysis. We do bond accounting for about 130 banks. Every quarter we take a look at those bond portfolios. We aggregate ’em together, and we look at what are some of the trends? What’s the breakdown in terms of products that community banks are invested in? We have a lot of folks who use this in their board packages to update their board on, you know, what’s a typical community bank looking at from the investment portfolios side of things. So, we would love for you to get that it’s free. If you go to our website slash bond report, SouthState report. Check it out. We hope you enjoy it. We hope it’s helpful. With that, here’s my discussion with Dr. Randy Ross. Well, Randy, thanks for joining us this morning on the Community Bank podcast. It’s great to be talking with you over our Zoom call here. How are you?

Dr. Randy Ross: I’m doing great Caleb, but it’s great to be with you as well.

Caleb Stevens: You’re known for a lot of different things. I first heard about you when you published the book Remarkable with David Sawyer, one of our board members here at SouthState. That book was really one of the first leadership books I ever read. It was really critical and really marked my sort of early thinking about business and my career. Talk about how you got to do what you’re doing today in terms of serving leaders, the speaking you do in all the ways that you equip leaders around the country.

Dr. Randy Ross: Well, first I’m honored that you found the book to be helpful, and that really is encouraging for me. Because what I’m really all about is helping people fulfill their potential. My background a little bit, Caleb, the first 20 years of my career, I worked in a nonprofit space. Helped organizations grow and thrive and understand what drives you know, an organization that really doesn’t have the capacity to remunerate people for their time and their energy, right. I loved it, just enjoyed it, saw some tremendous growth, and we saw communities transformed and people’s lives changed. That was a great and thrilling experience. As we ministered in the community more and more business leaders would come to me and say, Hey, Randy, would you come speak to our team about this? Or would you come speak at this conference? Would you come do this? Would you come do that? I just fell in love with the boardroom and I really began to see the impact that could be made in corporate America. So, I stepped out of the pulpit into the marketplace and have never looked back. I’ve had a great time of being able to move into organizations, impart to them transformational truths that inspire their teams and help people find a sense of purpose and path fashion that maybe they lacked before. Because I believe that if you don’t enjoy what you do, we spend the vast majority of our lives at work. If we don’t find that fulfilling and satisfying, then something’s wrong. So, I wanted to, you know, introduce a message into the marketplace that would give people an opportunity to embrace their guide given giftedness and be able to flourish.

Caleb Stevens: One thing I like about the approach you take is it’s very practical in terms of implementation and follow through. You know, a lot of times the criticism you hear of folks like yourself who speak and write and consult with companies is yeah, yeah, yeah. They give a great 45-minute keynote. It’s inspiring. You get so fired up for the first hour after you walk outta the room. Then the next day it’s same old hat and nothing really ever changes in the organization, the resources that you’ve created, I think take it a level deeper. You spend time with these leaders thinking through how does this practically work itself out and your specific company. Can you talk about why that’s important to really think through not just the inspiration, but the application?

Dr. Randy Ross: Yeah, absolutely. I appreciate you saying that because one of the things that I find great joy in is when I go and I speak somewhere and people go, wow, I thought this was a message about business transformation and it is. But they often come back and ago, but I applied those principles to my personal life and I found them to be just as impactful there. For me, that’s what it’s all about. I think that sometimes we make life a little bit more complicated than it needs to be. Albert Einstein once said, he said, any fool can take the simple and make it complex through convolution and misdirection. But it takes a stroke of genius to take the complex, synthesize it and articulate it simply. So, what I really enjoy doing is taking some complex ideas, some of the biggest challenges that face leaders today in the marketplace, and really being able to give them simple solutions to help them not simplistic. But simple to apply that can make a tremendous difference and impact people’s lives. The codification of their culture really inspiring them to create an environment that enables people to bring their best to work every day. So, that’s what we do. We like to impart helpful, very practical solutions to complex issues.

Caleb Stevens: So, if there was a common theme that runs throughout all of your books and all of the work you do, what’s sort of at the end of the day, the key message that you’re really trying to drive home for leaders. I know that’s kind of a tough question to answer, you mentioned there’s a lot of different issues. There’s a lot of different solutions to different issues. But at the end of the day, if someone said, you know, Randy, at the end of your life, what thing do you really want folks to get from a business and culture standpoint? What would that kind of common theme be?

Dr. Randy Ross: Well, we often say we want people to choose to be remarkable. My personal legacy statement or my life purpose statement is to in word and indeed inspire people to become remarkable. Now, remarkable is obviously the title of the book and the name of our company. But remarkable means that you conduct your daily activities. You go business, you provide a service or a product in such a way that you exceed all expectations. I mean, literally you blow people away. You present world class, wow experiences, you mark people’s lives for the good. To such a degree when they leave your presence, they have this irrepressible desire to talk about you. They want to tell other people about the positive way that you’ve impacted their lives. When other people are talking about you, when they’re remarking about you, then you indeed have become remarkable. We all know that in business, the best advertising is word of mouth when other people are telling your story for you. So, we want to inspire people to become remarkable. I would say that’s probably the biggest thing, but I want people to learn to love what they do. I want them to live a life beyond themselves because most people are just consumed with what’s in it for me. I mean, that’s a common phrase that you hear all the time what’s in it for me. Well, the sad reality is a life that’s wrapped up in itself makes a very small package. It’s not very fulfilling. What really is fulfilling is when you’re able to leave an indelible impression, mark people’s lives for good. Live beyond yourself and learn how to become a value creator. You know, essentially just bringing more to the table than you take away. Because there’s so many corners of our world where people rush to the table to get as much as they can for themselves. With a scarcity mentality, thinking there’s not enough to go around, but here’s the reality, Caleb. If we all bring more to the table than we take away, then at the end of the day, there’s a surplus on the table that can be shared by everyone who helped to create that value. It’s a different mindset, or it’s a mindset shift in how we view and see reality and how we conduct our daily affairs.

Caleb Stevens: You know, a common theme I see is folks will get to the midpoint of their career. Then the light bulb clicks on. It’s man, I spent the first 20 years sort of looking out for myself, trying to advance my career, even if that meant, maybe stabbing somebody in the back or being dishonest. Sacrificing my integrity. Then it’s only the back half where they say, oh, I need to live a life of purpose. I realize, you know, all these years that I’ve sort of just looked inward. How do you help maybe younger leaders who are listening, not make that mistake of getting to the midpoint and saying, oh man, I’ve sort of lived life just for me. Now, let me think about how my work has greater meaning and purpose and how I can make an impact.

Dr. Randy Ross: Yeah, that’s a great question because I do think a lot of people get to the midpoint in their lives and they look back and they may have a lot of trinkets and they may have a lot of, you know, treasures. But they’ve maybe lost the most important thing. They’ve lost time. They’ve lost relationships. They’ve not invested in those things that make life for rich. So, I think to catch young people and help them understand that very simple principle that life’s not about acquiring things. It’s about doing good. I say the same thing applies for business. The purpose of business is not to make money. It’s not, the purpose of a car is not to consume gas. The purpose of a car is to go somewhere. The purpose of a business is to provide a service or a product that improves the human condition, that makes life better. That touches lives and changes lives for good. If you do that, you will have a thriving business, but it’s not about the pursuit of money. It’s about the pursuit of doing good, because here’s what I’ve discovered that people will gladly pay full price for those things that they deem bring true value to life. So, our focus as business leaders and as individuals is, how can we bring true value to life? What’s the biggest problem out there that we see that we can apply our energy and our efforts, our passion, and our purpose to solve. Because the biggest problems we solve, the more value we create for others, the more value we create, the more invaluable we become. So, we’ve have to kind of reverse our thinking in many ways, just kind of turn it upside down on its head and begin to think about business as doing good. Creating movements of good, you know, people feel good about doing good for others and people want to do good business with businesses that do good.
I mean, businesses that are out there that really their only focus is on making a lot of money people sooner or later discover that their only purpose for existence is making money and they will abandon that cause. But if people feel like you have a true concern for them. That you’re truly trying to, to help them, make them their story better improve their condition. Then that’s when you begin to build a base of raving fans and that’s when you begin to become remarkable. So, I think the sooner in a young person’s career, they begin to realize that the more impactful it will become, you know, it was once said by John Templeton, he said, the fastest way to success is to make those around you successful. You know, the best way to be happy is to make those around you happy. I think that really applies to what we’re talking about because the true path to success is investing others to help them become successful.

Caleb Stevens: Well, let’s drill down a little bit banking specifically, because I think some folks may be listening and they’re saying, well, Randy, it sounds nice, but I don’t work for a nonprofit. You know like you did. I’ve never really been a part of an organization that has an explicitly sort of charitable or missional sort of component. I work in a bank and maybe my role is I’m in I.T. and I’m trying to help our systems always become more efficient and improve. Or maybe I’m helping to process payments and key in wires or work in our deposit area. Or maybe I’m a lender and I’m giving loans to small businesses. Certainly there’s ways you can connect the dots and see the greater purpose to your work. But I think it’s hard for a lot of people. We sort of limit our job description to I’m at my computer for eight, nine hours a day and I’m doing a task. But we don’t necessarily make the task connection to the broader good that we’re doing in the community. Talk about specifically for folks who work in the finance industry or banking where it’s numbers driven, it’s technical, how can leaders make sure they’re connecting the dots to the folks in their organizations?

Dr. Randy Ross: That’s right. Well here’s the key, it’s not really Caleb what you do. It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling cars or banking services or widgets. It’s not what you do. It’s really how you go about doing it. I mean, every day you interact with people. Every day, you have the opportunity to leave a positive wake in the world. I mean, it’s like a boat going through the water leaves a ripple impact. So, our lives do the same thing. Every encounter, every opportunity we have to engage with someone else, we have a chance to make a difference in their lives. It may not be anything more than just simply a smile and a greeting. It may be discovering a need in a conversation, a passing conversation. It may just be the way we serve and we collaborate with others. It may be the team dynamics that we help to create. Sometimes we have to look beyond the organization. We have to maybe get involved in community activities that give us a sense of fulfillment. But I’m a firm believer that anywhere people get together, you have the opportunity to create a movement of good. So, it doesn’t matter, you know, if you’re in the I.T. Department, there are people there that are passion driven. They have hopes and dreams and aspirations. They have worthy causes that they’re invested emotionally in. If they don’t, maybe it’s an opportunity for someone to expose them to some opportunities that maybe they’ve never had before. So, no matter where you are in the organization, no matter what you do, it’s about creating healthy relationships and building a strong culture. That’s values, creation driven. So, you know, it begins in our personal lives, in our home. It extends beyond that to our friends and in the community. Then it goes, you know, everywhere people gather whether it’s work or philanthropic organization of the gym where you work out or the community activity club that you’re involved in. There’s always an opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of others.

Caleb Stevens: Well, if there’s ever been a time in business to think more about extracting value for yourself than creating value. I would say the past two years have been sort of prime with all of the uncertainty, with hardship for many folks. Yeah. How have you seen the pandemic specifically take a toll on leaders? I mean, I read an article just recently about the number of CEOs that have resigned over the past couple years. We talk about the great resignation that applies to CEOs as well. It seems so how have you sort of seen the pandemic take a toll on leaders?

Dr. Randy Ross: Well, you’re right. It’s been emotionally draining. We’ve had this, you know, cascading series of events that have transpired over the last two years that have left many people emotionally devastated. You know, there was a there was a term that was created by the army war college back at the end of the cold war. It was a term called VUCA. It was an acronym V U C A, which stood for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. To describe world conditions after the cold war. It’s interesting because I think what we’ve experienced over the last two years could be described as VUCA. Volatility and certainty, complexity, ambiguity, but here’s what I find interesting. This is a great statement that tough times reveal what good times conceal. In other words, when things are great, you know, and the economy’s thriving and there are no challenges and life is good and everything’s flourishing. It’s easy for a lot of things to get kind of covered up and fly into the radar. But when tough times come along and all the veneer stripped aback, then we actually begin to see cracks in our character, in our corporations, in our culture, you know. They begin to become exposed and what’s happened is we’ve seen a lot of toxic behavior and poor relational interactivity that good times really concealed began to bubble up to the surface.

Caleb Stevens: Because revenue is great, and things are smooth sailing and look how look how great we’re doing. It sort of covers up all of the cracks hidden under the surface.

Dr. Randy Ross: That’s exactly right. A lot of those have been exposed over the last, you know, couple of years and what you’re seeing in the great resignation right now. It’s not that people are quitting and just staying home. It’s really the great transition people are saying, Hey, this was a toxic culture, you know? Yes, I made money, but I didn’t enjoy being there. Now I’m looking for someplace else to go, because I’m looking for more purpose. I’m looking for more life balance. I’m looking for healthier relationships. I’m looking for a better culture. I mean, that’s essentially what we’re seeing take place in the marketplace right now. I think it’s something that leaders better wake up and pay attention to and it’s sort of counterintuitive. You know, one of the things that I’m experiencing right now is that a lot of organizations are pulling back on training and investing in their people. That’s exactly the opposite of what should be happening. When margins are thin and your people are weary not to invest in them, to help them weather the storm and get through these times emotionally is the exact opposite of what you should be doing. A lot of people say, well, it doesn’t make sense. We don’t have the money. Well, it makes the most sense because it’s counterintuitive. Your best organizations right now are investing heavily in the development of their people because they know that’s an anchor that will help them stabilize and slow that churn of the revolving door. Because it’s all about, does the organization care about me? Does my manager really know what I’m going through? You know, managers right now are stressed out and you’re beginning to see that. So, you’re seeing more command and control. You’re seeing, you know, mandated Zoom calls daily, because we want to make sure you’re doing your work. You’re seeing micromanagement, you’re seeing all this toxic behavior and this intensity, because they’re driving for results rather than focusing on building healthy relationships. Now healthy relationships and results go hand in hand. If you want one, you’ve have to build the other. If you neglect one, you’re going to falter with the other. Because both have to be blend and joined together. I think that’s one of the biggest misnomers when it comes to culture, you know, culture people, aren’t quitting jobs, they’re quitting cultures. Culture is driven by your direct supervisor. So, it’s the frontline manager. It’s the team leader in the bank branch. Those are the people that are critical in creating an atmosphere because culture is really nothing more Caleb than how we play in the sandbox together. Culture is about healthy relationships and it’s a no brainer that people thrive in real relationally, rich environments. So, we have to focus on creating and crafting relationally rich environments. If we extract training and development from that, we’re not giving our people, the let’s just call it the mental and the emotional vitamins they need to thrive in the midst of chaos. So, I think a lot of organizations are misstepping right now and they’re not going to close the back door because they’re refusing to invest in the greatest potential they’ve got, which is their people.

Caleb Stevens: I don’t think anybody listening to this at all would say, I think relationships are unimportant. But I would say certainly everybody listening is going to say results. That’s what I want. I want to see results. I think sometimes where people maybe get a little nervous is they say, well, if we’re all about relationships and we’re all kind to each other and we all know each other and we all hear each other out and we’re all respected. Does that lead to a sort of contentment or a sort of complacency where maybe we’re not focused and working as hard and tenacious as we could be. Do you ever see folks get a little nervous and push back on that? If so, what’s sort of your response to that. How can you hold relationships and results together?

Dr. Randy Ross: Well, I think you’ve touched on probably, I think one of the biggest misconceptions of this blend of relationship and result. Relationships does not mean that you allow people to do whatever they want to do. I mean, think about it in terms of parenting, you know, I’ve reared four children. You don’t say to your kids, Hey, we want to have a happy home. So, do whatever you want to do. Right? Well, that would lead to complete calamity and chaos and utter destruction. You know, if you let teenagers run rampant. No, they’re always principles. There are always rules or always guardrails, but you never want to lose their heart. So, there’s this blended relationship of not only transparency, openness, humility, but there’s also accountability. That accountability, it comes in the form of good coaching conversations. You know, when you create open loops of continuous feedback within the life of the organization, you can grow healthy relationships. I think the misnomer is that if people say, if we focus on relationships, we’ll go soft. Then they don’t understand relationships. They don’t understand healthy relationships because healthy relationships, if I believe in you, if I, you know believe the best in you and I want the best for you. Then I’m going to expect the best from you. If I don’t expect the best from you, I really don’t care the most for you. It’s like a coach settling for less than your best performance. I mean, I can’t imagine, you know, Nick Saban or Kirby Smart ever going, oh, you messed up. Oh, that’s okay. You know, that’s okay. No, you see them on the sideline going, give me your best. Step up. You know, you’re better than that. So, there’s this accountability that comes when you understand good coaching conversations. That’s what relationships are about. It’s about extracting the best from everyone and having a culture that says we’re going to sell in all that we do. I’m going to give you all the tools necessary to fulfill your potential. But as I provide for you, everything you need to be successful. I’m also going to call the very best out of you. I’m not going to let you settle for second best. I’m going to make you bring your A game.

Caleb Stevens: If you’re not doing that, you’re actually hurting the relationship and being unkind to them. Ultimately.

Dr. Randy Ross: Absolutely. So, healthy relationships is not about enabling bad behavior or not holding people accountable. Healthy relationships is about holding people accountable and they do bring their best. So, again, there is no dichotomy between healthy results and healthy relationships. If you want great results, you’ve have to build great relationships.

Caleb Stevens: Well, if folks want to take a deeper dive into that, you wrote a great book a few years ago called Relationomics. I would recommend everyone go check that book out. In that book you lay out five principles for conflict resolution. I think that’s critical and you make the case in that book, that conflict, unresolved conflict to be more specific is one of the greatest threats to culture. A, why do you think unresolved conflict is such a big deal? And two I’d love to kind of maybe at a high level, let’s hit sort of the five components of resolving conflict. Because I think our listeners would really benefit from that.

Dr. Randy Ross: Sure. Well conflict is a part of the human experience. I mean, everywhere people gather you’re going to have conflict and it can come in a number of different forms. It can come because of simple miscommunication. Sometimes we might say it’s a personality conflict, but it’s most of the time, it’s not. Most of the time actually scalable what it is. It’s a conflict in values and that doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. Let’s just say in an organization, you’ve got two values that the organization holds highly. Let’s say, you know, timeliness, meeting our deadlines and objectives and safety. They’re both great values. One’s not right. One’s not wrong. You have to have both, but those oftentimes, you know, come into conflict. So, when they do, we have conversations that can get rather lively, right? Discussions that may go on to say, which of these two are going to prioritize, because we can’t put an equal emphasis on both. That’s a healthy conversation. So, conflict happens for a number of different reasons, but here’s the challenge. If conflict is allowed to go subterranean, then you begin to get subversive activity and people go underground and that’s not good. That’s the opposite of healthy coaching conversations. So, we want to, you know, dispel the gossip. We want to eliminate water cooler conversation. That’s not constructive and you know where I’m going with that. You know, it’s that emotional red Rover red Rover I want you to come over to my side and see things my way.

Caleb Stevens: Subterranean, I’ve never heard subterranean, but I think that’s a perfect way to describe it. Because it’s under the surface and everyone sort of knows it’s there and hears about it through the grapevine. But it’s never sort of out in the open. I think we had John on the show about a year ago and he said, you never want one thing to be said in the boardroom, but something else to be said in the break room when there’s two different discussions going on. That’s subterranean conflict.

Dr. Randy Ross: John is exactly right. So, as leaders, we have to make sure that we help people engage in conflict resolution. You know, the term that I don’t care for is conflict management. Nobody wants to manage conflict. You need to eliminate conflict and resolve conflict. So, here are the five quick steps to help leaders do that. You can unpack it more, you know, by reading the book, but the first commitment that we have to all make. We approach this from the standpoint of we’re seeking unity in all that we do as a team we’re seeking unity. So, when there is conflict, when there is, you know, extraordinary attention, then the first thing is I make a commitment that I will speak to you before I ever speak about you. That’s the first thing, because oftentimes what happens is if I have an issue with you, what do I do?
I don’t come to you. I talk to somebody else, Hey, did you hear what Caleb did to me? Or can you believe Caleb said this? Or I can’t believe they’re moving in that direction. That poisons the water. So, my commitment is if I have an issue with you, I’m coming to you. I’m not going to talk to anybody else about it. I’m coming to you to resolve it. If we could teach people that one simple principle, just to step up to the plate mature and go directly to the individual with who they have the conflict. That would eliminate probably 80 or 90% of all of our challenges. The first thing is I’ll talk to you before I ever talk about you. The second thing is when I come to you, I’ll come with a spirit of humility knowing that I too have room to grow. Which means that as I bring my issue to you, I’m going to be open to the fact that you may have issues regarding me that we need to talk about.
I’m open to that. So, I come with a spirit of humility. The third thing is if we come to an impasse, if we can’t get beyond, you know, this challenge or this struggle. Then we make a mutual commitment that we will seek objective third party input. That might be another business leader. It might be another colleague. It could be somebody from HR. It could be someone well versed in conflict resolution. It could be a counselor, a coach, any anybody, but we’re going to commit that if we can’t resolve this ourselves, we’re going to bring in somebody to help us work through it. Because that leads us to the fourth principle. The fourth principle is because we’re committed to unity. We will seek to hear and understand each other. So, I’m going to seek to hear and understand you. I want to expect the same from you. We’ll seek to understand each other. We will resolve the conflict because we want to move forward in unity. Now here’s the catch. It does not mean uniformity. I don’t have to agree with you. I don’t have to adopt your position, but we have to understand each other. We are saying we’re going to move together in a collaborative effort as colleagues, even if we disagree to sharpen each other and bring out the best in each other. We’re not going to undermine each other. We’re not going to gossip about each other. We’re going to openly deal with whatever there is that we disagree on. But we’re going to move together in a spirit of unity. Then the last one is if there’s ever an offense, I’d commit to forgive quickly and move on because oftentimes what happens is people hold grudges or, you know, bitterness creeps into the picture. That continues to contaminate our personal interaction. So, we want to move on beyond that. Don’t want to leave the ring until it’s resolved that’s number four. But once we do get outta the ring or we exit the tunnel of chaos, then we move together in unity. If those five principles we could apply those, we would see a whole different tone and timber, you know, among our teams when it comes to how they relate to one another.

Caleb Stevens: I mean, I think just number one, I will talk to you before I talk about you. I mean, I think that’s huge. It’s getting over the fear. It’s much easier to talk about someone than to them. Of course. I think a lot of times it’s easy to couch it as well. I’ve just got a friend at work who I can confide in and they trust me and they’re not going to, but that’s sort of the kernel of where it starts and then it can easily sort of grow, you know, and sprout from there and kind of get you and to a place you don’t want to be. So, I think just that alone, that principle of getting over that fear and kind of going back to what you said earlier about accountability being clear with folks and realizing that it’s not unkind to be straightforward and to be clear.

Dr. Randy Ross: That’s exactly right.

Caleb Stevens: Well, tell us about your new book that just came out Hope Rises when did it launch and what sort of the impetus for writing this next one?

Dr. Randy Ross: Well thanks for asking about Hope Rises. We’re thrilled that the message has been so widely received. I was challenged by a friend to write a book on hope. Right as COVID broke out because he came to me and he said, you know, we don’t know how long this is going to last and how deep it’s going to run. I think people need some insights, some encouragement, some hope during this period of time. So, I thought that’s interesting. Every book I had ever read on hope was very much faith based and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m a person of deep faith, but I wanted to write something for the business community. I thought, you know, is it possible to take this concept of hope and take it from a scientific perspective, a research based perspective and determine, you know, what’s the impact and the efficacy of hope.
I gleaned through over 200 scientifically validated peer reviewed studies on the impact of hope. I was amazed. It was fun. It was insightful. I took all that and I synthesized it and again, wrote it in a very simple language that anyone can understand on what’s the power and the impact of hope and why is it necessary for any person or any organization if they want to be successful. It’s provided a great amount of hope and encouragement to the masses and we’re glad to have the message out into the marketplace.

Caleb Stevens: But Randy, you’ve heard the age old saying hope is not a strategy. You’re talking to bankers who love balance sheets and numbers and hard data. What in the world is hope and how does that actually play itself out in the business context?

Dr. Randy Ross: Well, it’s interesting because I almost titled the book Hope is Not a Strategy. Then mark out the word ‘is not’ and put hope is your best strategy. I know that that phrase is thrown around quite a bit and it really encapsulates the misunderstanding about what hope actually is. Because think about it this way, you know, hope is your best strategy. Here’s why, because there’s no endeavor, no worthy cause, no worthwhile pursuit that will ever be successful without hope. Or let me just ask this question. If you’re involved in an endeavor and you’re hopeless about it, how successful do you think it’s going to be?

Caleb Stevens: Probably zero.

Dr. Randy Ross: So, hope is absolutely part and parcel. It’s core. It’s critical to every endeavor. If you don’t have hope for it and it’s hopeless, it’s a hopeless cause what does that say? Hope is your best strategy. So, hope has to be a part of a leader strategy. If he wants to lead a team successfully hope has to be a major part of organizational thought. If you want to move forward in a productive sort of way. So, let me define hope for you. Hope is a dynamic motivational system tied to inspirational goal setting. So, we unpack that we break it down, we deconstruct hope and we reverse engineer it and put it all back together again. But hope is powerful. It’s more than Pollyanna thinking. It’s not pitching pennies in a pond or blowing out birthday candles. Hope is a dynamic motivational system tied to inspirational goal setting.
A lot of organizations unfortunately have never really taught their people how to set healthy, dynamic, inspirational goals. I mean, if you think about it in most organization, their goals are let’s produce more to make more. Then that’s their goal. I mean, it’s going to be flowering, going to be, you know, objectives and strategies to get there. But it’s about making more money. We already said before that doesn’t inspire anybody. People aren’t inspired by working their butts off to make more money for somebody else. Okay. So, we have to rethink, we have to help people connect their personal passion to organizational objectives. That’s where managers and leaders, quite frankly often miss it. You know, they have this big grand goal, we want to become the best in the industry. Okay. Who cares? We want to become the biggest, can I ask you? You think anybody really cares? They don’t, they don’t care about that. What they care about is are you making a positive wake in the world? Are you doing good? People do good business with organizations that do good. So, what does it mean to do good, not only for your client base, what does it mean to do good for your team? Because your client or your customer will ultimately be treated the exact same way you treat your team.

Caleb Stevens: They’re a lid on how excited the customers are ever going to be about your business.

Dr. Randy Ross: Exactly. They’re only going to be as excited as your frontline people take care of them and express an interest in them. Because they don’t care about your highfalutin corporate goals. I mean, honestly, unless they’re a stakeholder, shareholder, they don’t care about your quarterly returns, they don’t, they want to know how does your service impact me today? So, again, I think the biggest challenge for leaders is to attach personal passion of their team members, to corporate objectives. A lot of that revolves around healthy relationships and team dynamics. What kind of a difference are we truly making in the world? And why would I give the vast majority of my waking hours to an endeavor that isn’t doing any good?

Caleb Stevens: Yeah. Good question. I heard the founder of Lululemon say he asked his team members to write out a 10 year plan, like a five year plan and a two year plan centered around their personal goals. He helped them connect those goals to the organization’s goals. But what he also said is he said, if there comes a time that Lululemon no longer helps you reach those goals, we want your time here to help you be more successful in life because you were involved with our company. He said, I got pushback because people would say, well, isn’t that just asking for turnover? And he said, well, if the folks leave and they reach those goals, they are only ever going to talk glowingly about their time here. That’s the best marketing and the best recruiting for our organization. I think Nick Saban sort of said the same thing when his assistant coaches leave and it kind of sounds like that’s what you’re saying.

Dr. Randy Ross: That’s exactly right. That’s a powerful principle, you know, that you invest so heavily in your people that they’ll be prepared to go anywhere else and be successful. But you also build such healthy relationships that they never want to leave.

Caleb Stevens: Maybe you don’t want to leave. Yeah. That’s really good. Well, if folks want to buy the book, if they want to engage with you and all the resources you have put out for leaders how can they get in touch with you?

Dr. Randy Ross: Well, the books are available wherever fine books are sold. Well obviously one of the easiest is on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Those are places where you can find our books, but if you want information about what I do, what we do as an organization, just go to Dr. Randy, no spaces, no periods, just Dr. Randy You’ll be able to see more about our offerings and some of the companies that we’ve had the privilege of working with, and that’s probably the easiest way to reach out to us.

Caleb Stevens: Well, you’ve been really helpful and generous with your time. This is an episode I’ll probably have on repeat for the next couple weeks. Just soaking in everything that you shared with us. So, thanks again for joining us.

Dr. Randy Ross: Well, Caleb it’s an honor and great to be with you and appreciate all that SouthState Bank is doing and hope this has been a good time for your leaders.


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