Hello and thank you for joining us today. This is the Brand Secrets and Strategies Podcast #196

Welcome to the Brand Secrets and Strategies podcast where the focus is on empowering brands and raising the bar.

I’m your host Dan Lohman. This weekly show is dedicated to getting your brand on the shelf and keeping it there.

Get ready to learn actionable insights and strategic solutions to grow your brand and save you valuable time and money.


Dan: Welcome today's podcast is really unique. Today. I have the privilege of sharing with you. The insights from the most sought after advisors in our industry, this is not what I expected it to be. It's even better. And the reason for that is this is what you need to have in place. If you want to have a high performing team, let me explain a lot of brands that are worked with, talk about how they have a high performing team, but they're not working in unison. They're not all on the same page that requires something special. And what Brad helps companies do today. My guest, he helps those brands leverage those strategies to become far more than just a single individual or a group of individuals on the playing field. He uses a lot of metaphors. And so you're going to want to pay attention to what he says and how he says it, because this impacts everything about your brand.

Dan: Every brand wants to be great, but not every brand can be the difference between a brand that's good. And a brand that's exceptional is the team that supports them, that team working in unison. It's not always that you have the very best players on your team. He makes a lot of sports analogies, but that you know how to leverage the best that every single person on your team has to be able to succeed. In other words, this is how you win the game. These are some of the best strategies that I've ever heard about how you leverage the people around you, the resources around you to grow and scale your brand. How an effective advisor can help use a leader, focus on the things that really matter, and overlook the things that aren't going to help you in the long run, how they can help you in difficult times, help you work through things.

Dan: This is why everyone needs an advisor. One of my favorite quotes is an old African proverb. If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. It's exactly what we're talking about today. How do you leverage the strengths of the people around you have the resources around you to grow and scale your brand as always. I appreciate you for being here. And as you know, at the end of every podcast episode, I always share one easy, quick to download strategy that you can instantly DOP to make your own today's strategy is actually going to be a tool, a really cool tool. That's going to help differentiate your brand from other brands. We talked a little bit about it during the podcast. So what is it? It's a trade promotion, ROI calculator. You heard me correct a tool. That's going to allow you to determine how effective your promotions are.

Dan: This is the best way to grow and scale your brand. If you want to learn more about it, there's a great article on my website that I recently posted about how to maximize your trade marketing ROI. More importantly, there's a button on my website to actually access a tool. So you definitely want to check it out and there are great instructions that you can simply follow, so you can get the most out of it. Now here's Brad Barnhart. So everyone thank you for being here. I really appreciate it. I want to first start by saying thank you to Brad being here. Honor, do some in a minute, but Brad is deemed one of the most sought after advisors in the industry, and I'm absolutely thrilled to have him available today. So thank you. So let's get started. So leveraging wisdom to unlock the full potential of your leadership and your brand.

Dan: And we'll talk a little bit, a lot more about what that is and what that means and why that matters. But first I want to thank all the companies that have leaned in and are helping me support this. This weekly webinar series is a free weekly webinar series. So we've got plant-based solutions. ECRM, RangeMe, Promomash, Whole Foods Magazine, Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru, The Produce Moms, Food, Business, Success, Bricktown Group, Big Orange Production, C-suite Radio C-suite Network Force Brands and Social Nature. And thank these people, reach out to them, support them. And, and again, what's great about them is that they're helping me provide content. And in addition to that, they're helping make this available to a larger audience because, you know, we rise together. So with that said, my mission is to make our healthy way of life more accessible by helping you get your products into more store shelves and into the hands of more shoppers, including online and Brad's mission is to unlock the full leadership and brand potential to drive current and future success and make it fulfilling and enjoyable journey along the way, which I think is really cool because it fits so nicely with what we're doing.

Dan: So wanted to say, please help me raise the bar by sharing these resources, the retailers and brands wanting to grow and scale we're here for you. You're not alone and with COVID and everything, people are concerned about. I leaned into that and started doing this free weekly webinar series. And so with that said, what keeps you up at night? What are the things, the bottlenecks, the pain points that you want me to address that you want me to reach out and find experts like Brad, to come in and talk about? In addition to that, make sure you're listening to brand secrets and strategies podcast, and the YouTube channel where I may solve some of your most pressing bottlenecks as well. There's a wealth of information out there, and please take advantage of it because that's why we do this. So as far as the weekly webinar, you can go to the calendar by going to the events page of my website, it's also the speaking page and the next one's going to be how to maximize the real value of your brand.

Dan: Another great guest X K, who's a master brand builder. So you're going to definitely want to attend that one. And then one after that is a social nature. How, how are natural CBG leaders adapting to the new retail environment? So you definitely want to attend to that one. And they're going to be sharing a study about how retail BR, how brands are, are looking at what's going on with COVID and connecting with consumers, et cetera. Then the week after that, I'm actually going to be sharing the presentation that I did, that I created for the Canadian organic trade association breakfast. I was actually supposed to be the speaker there, but because of expo West, that was canceled. So one more quick slide. This is something Brad and I were talking about. If you came, when you came on, there is a free promotion, trade promotion, ROI calculator on my website.

Dan: I'm just pointing this out because this is something that's going to help you level the playing field. This is something that's going to give you a significant competitive advantage across all different channels. And so check it out. You can see the arrow, there's a radio button on my website at the top of my rep website, or you can go to And there's a video short video there to show you how to use it. And so with that said, I'm going to end the screen share and we can get started. So, anyhow, as I mentioned today, I am absolutely thrilled to have one of the most sought after advisors in the industry available to talk to you today and to share some of his thoughts and his wisdom. So Brad, can you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and your journey to where you're at today? And again, thank you so much for being here.

Brad: No, thanks a lot, Dan and I, it was funny that one side about, uh, succeeding and enjoying the journey along the way someone asked me five, six years ago, cause I worked in an individual. I don't accompany it's me and I was on a business card, which I don't think I have anymore, but, uh, and I was thinking what to put on it. And I had something about building awesome brands and awesome companies. And then I just said, you know, that's part of it. The other part is having people at an awesome experience of being awesome. There's, there's nothing that's more frustrating to see as an entrepreneur or a team winning in the market and internally not having fun, not enjoying the work together, not enjoying each other, just surviving internally, even they're thriving externally. So, you know, my goal is really to create real healthy, sustainable companies and brands that are stainable internally as well.

Brad: So thanks for highlighting that, that element to it. So, you know, I came into food space, like actually I'll try to be quick, but it's interesting given your title. So I grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio on a street, which was a Proctor and gamble. International rotation street just happened. My neighbor, a couple of houses down with the CEO of Proctor and gamble. So from very early in my life, I was hearing about Proctor and gamble and obviously it's cause their Uproxx company, uh, in food also at that point, they were in Pringles and Dunkin Heinz and, and Jeff and Chris go and always seen her about Proctor and gamble. And he used to joke comedian saying someday you'll leave Procter gamble. So, uh, when I was at UVA back in, uh, the late eighties, uh, he called me up and asked me, I didn't wanna go back to Cincinnati.

Brad: I wanted to get out of town and go somewhere else and end up in California where I am right now. Uh, but he asked me to do a summer internship with Procter and gamble, uh, and ended up being out of the Atlanta office and their food products group. So I spent a summer at 20 years old in Birmingham, Alabama selling Crisco, Pringles, Jeff and Doug, and Heinz. And you know, a lot of the selling tools, which even your ROI, your trade spending calculator, and trade spend teachings workaround. I remember doing one page, sell sheets on a piece of paper, writing it down on a display. Here's the cost for display? Here's your incremental lift? Here's your dollar return on it. And selling displays, especially around the Crisco race car, which they sponsor in Alabama, the Crisco race car, when it came down from Italia 500, was it quite a promotional vehicle to come to your store?

Brad: And they'd buy 500 cases of Chris' go-to do display on that. So start it in that space. And, um, did that internship, thinking back to the food space for 10 years, went on to life and strategy consulting backpacking, uh, ran upcoming hungry for a while for the government. I went back to business school at Stanford. And then when I came out, I was in San Francisco and was noticing that a wallet trucks running around San Francisco and it never thought about the fresh juice category was not aware of it. Um, and I was on a couple of projects with this consulting firm that involved one was with a company in this thing called the emerging natural channel. This was 1995, 96 when there were 40 whole foods, a lot of mom and pop independent natural food stores. And that was one project.

Brad: So it was focusing on the natural space and what that meant and what that channel was, what was in the channel at that point is a collection of stores. And then additionally, another project, uh, with a company called Eagle snacks, uh, actually Anheuser Busch, and they were looking at buying Eagle snacks or sell Eagle snacks, sorry, apologize and selling it. And as part of that project, we really had to understand the distribution system, the DSD model of Anheuser Busch, and how a new acquire could replace that. And on wall, his business was about natural products and building a great brand, but also the DSD system to enable it. And so I really started noticing that space decided to build a company in that space, move to Chicago. It was a regional play at that point 14-day shelf life. You had to build your own plant regional.

Brad: You drove your distribution system, went there, and built that. And, uh, we had a great, great run. And in 20, in 2000 we merged with naked juice and that combined company was then acquired by Pepsi in 2006. Um, fast forward a couple of years, uh, in 2009, 10, I started doing advisory work and I didn't plan to be a professional board member, which is what I've become. I just loved working with companies. I love building brands. I think I was still tired of building my own brand 10 years earlier. It's always, it's a pretty exhausting process. We went from zero to 20 million in two years, a million dollars in capital. So it was a, it was a quick run and it was all out. And, uh, and also my consulting career in the past working the portfolio comes as an onetime, which allows you to kind of recognize across companies and cross-fertilize ideas across companies.

Brad: And so I love the portfolio having a portfolio and I love building, and I just ended up falling into this role of really working with high-performance CEOs to help them build their companies in a very engaging way. So when I'm on a board, it's not because I invest capital. In fact, I think of what I do as an intellectual capital investor, not a financial capital investor, I'm doing the same thing, a private equity fund, or an angel investor stole looking at a company and trying to pattern recognize the variables that I think will drive success or where I can help them improve and strengthen those things. And I'm investing my intellectual capital being my time is part of it, but really is, you know, past knowledge build over time network insight, judgment to really be there alongside a CEO, to help them navigate building their company.

Brad: And yeah, so that's what I do. Go ahead, please. I'm sorry. Yeah. So, so, uh, that sort of really began in earnest and like I said, 2000, 10,011, and it was fortunate to have some, some great early successes in terms of Krave, which we sold to Hershey and Kavita, which was sold to Pepsi and have had a nice run in terms of just building great companies. Some can start, continue dependently and keep building and some take the exit route. Uh, there's no one right outcome for a company. Although once you have investors, you probably have to create liquidity at some point, but, but, uh, you know, different CEOs, different goals. And my job is to work with them on refining those and clarifying them, uh, both high level of what the wild the business, but also within the business and certain parts of the business, and then ultimately work with them to achieve those outcomes.

Dan: That's a lot. So thank you for sharing all that. That's a lot to unpack. Actually. I used to compete against equal snacks years ago and Odwalla was, I mean, I'm sorry. Yeah. Odd wallet, no naked. You, excuse me. That was one of my favorites until they got rid of my banana chocolate, a whole nother story. But, um, but yeah, that was amazing stuff. I wish someone else would come up with it, but I love the fact that you framed all of this with one of the things that let me go back a little bit is that we're doing, you know, a lot of people think that a lot of people are trying to change natural into a mainstream type mindset. That's not what this is about. It's taking the key learnings from mainstream and bringing them into natural and then changing them or modifying them so that they work for this industry.

Dan: And so we're not trying to take natural out of natural. What my point is, there are a lot of things that you can learn from your competitors, any competitor, even competitors in different spaces. Like you said, the cross-fertilization. I like the way you talked about that. So as you're working with these different brands and you've talked a little bit about your experience prep, what are the things that you do as an advisor that you would do that would be different than if you were inside as a CEO? So let's frame that part of the conversation first,

Brad: you know, as a board member, what I'm able to do is versus a CEO needs to be deep in the business and executing day in and day out. I can start, keep a little distance from that and hold space for questions that a CEO may not have time to ask themselves, or may not have time while they're executing and leading a team. So I'm always sort of what I will say is I'm holding space to question things in a way that includes different possibles and what the business currently doing. I mean, I think that Tufts thing about seeing being a CEO and why people say it's so lonely, it's a CEO needs to have 50% of their brain on the current business model and executing it. It's 50% saying what's wrong. What can I do better things that they can't even talk about with their team?

Brad: A lot of times, I mean, a lot of times it might be a decision on a senior, a senior leader in their effectiveness or how they're doing things, but if you aren't ready if so, I provide a place for the talk about things that aren't ready for prime time. So to speak in terms of, they're just not developed enough to sort of sit with the senior team may be at and talk about, or with an investor group to talk about. And so I'm helping them earlier find and get clarity for themselves on where they stand on things or, or, or the key questions that they want to bring forth to a team or set of investors. Um, you know, so a lot of it is really like I said, it's building clarity and there, and there's, and I always think there are two types of clarity for a leader.

Brad: And this is an interesting one, I think about a lot there's intellectual clarity, which comes from analysis and the left brain side of really thinking through things. And then there is a deeper, intuitive clarity. And, you know, when you see a great leader, you see that intuitive clarity, it's, it's for tempo. When COVID on COVID hit certain leaders, intuitively knew how they want truth organizations. They were like, no, here's the way we're going to treat people, respect people. Here's what we're going to do. Other leaders had to be more process-driven and go, okay, what are the processes? They weren't necessarily that intuitive sense of how they want to be or show up. So, you know, I also want to work for leaders to help them build their intuitive sense of clarity. So those decisions oftentimes are much easier when you really know your own value set, you really know, want to know how you want to show up.

Brad: Uh, and so it's sort of a left-brain, right? Brain integration. And that words, a big word for me, integration is something. I think about it a lot too. You talked about natural channel and mainstream the power of a company. If you can combine this, went back to my thesis. When I built the juice company 24 years ago, I wanted to combine the natural channel thinking about Walla and how you build a brand that is fun and playful and speaks to this new emerging, natural consumer. Then underneath that have a steely tough DSD business and DSD direct store delivery. It's tough when you're running, it just produces some weed 50 trucks over two years. So we running a distribution system, which is, which has all the analytics all about your size per drop. When you stop that truck, it's all about how many stops you can make on a route.

Brad: So the power in a business to me is being able to combine that front-facing consumer sort of touch feels emotive side that makes people really align with the brand and really want to support a brand with underneath it great execution. And whether it's in trade spam, whether it's in, you know, margin generation in terms of how you operate your supply chain, that integration of left-brain backs, right? Brain emotion. When those two come there to come together in a business, you know, like, like an Applegate farms, or you could go through other brands like a kind bar that's power that's when you see an incredible consumer ramp and a business able to scale with it because they're being operated very effectively. So that combination is what I, what I, what I, that's what I, that's what I think the strength and power is, what I focus on.

Dan: I love that. And actually, you know, I'd never thought of DSD is being that way. I mean, as a former DSD driver, I learned a lot, by the way, the backup a little bit, when you were talking earlier, I had the vision of, of Lucy sitting at the psychology stand 5 cents, you know, about, you know, the CEO psychologist, but, but that same idea about, uh, bringing out the intuitive, absolute love that. And the reason for that, and again, that gets back into why we're having this conversation. The processes that the big companies use are unbelievably robust, and they are so fantastic at being able to ensure that their people are well trained. And the, again, the amount of money, the amount of effort that's been training. The point is this, if you can leverage those kinds of insights and your natural brand, you can get a lot further.

Dan: That's why I wanted to talk to you. And so what we're talking about today is being able to tap into those awesome capabilities of experience that a larger brand would have, and then layer that on with the different experiences within natural. So back to the DSD thing, you know, I think about the successes that I had as a former grocery manager, high, more than doubled my route in a few months, et cetera, and, and what I was able to achieve. But yet I never really thought about all those other intricacies in terms of how that plays in the, and the execution point to your, you know, you're exactly right. And, and again, thank you for saying sharing this. I never thought about the logistics and the execution being such a critical part of what I was doing, but yet that helped me better understand those dynamics.

Dan: When I started carrying a bag for Unilever became a category captain that Kimberly-Clark et cetera, and it's helped me define this. So now that we're talking about, what's interesting in a board member and a CEO at the actual brand itself, how do you help guide a CEO? The fact that you said that 50% of their time is thought and solving problems, how do you support them? First of all, let me, let me, I'm trying to think of how I want to put this. How do you ascertain, how do you help them put the problem in or define the problem in solvable terms that you can help them with? How about that?

Brad: Yeah, no, no, it's great. It's a partnership. And by that, I mean, you know, you take any great tennis player, any great golfer, and they have a coach. I mean, they, they taught where they were tiger woods, where they Roger Federer, whether you are any great athlete, you are looking for someone who can be there not to teach you how to hit the shot or the basics, but someone to help you understand the flow of the game, you're playing and understand the bigger picture. So, you know, ultimate my work is more directed by the CEO than by me. I don't come into a company and say, here are the five things we need to focus on. I'm stepping into the game, that's already inflow. I'm stepping into a river. That's already moving. I don't work with early-stage startups necessarily. I come on the board of companies more when they're in the called five to $15 million range, five to $20 million range.

Brad: So they're already in the market. They already are showing some level of success. Um, whether it's a regional presence, whether it's a certain channel they've built, whether it's a first product line they've built, um, they may have some team built. Maybe they have a full team in place, but maybe they have a great sale, had a sales and a good ops person. And marketing is where they haven't developed the business. Everyone I worked with. It's different dynamics about what's in place. If you think about a perfect company, right? A perfect company has a, has a fast-growing business in a huge white space, a huge white space means there's a lot of growth for the category. And a lot of quilt for the brand. They have a fully developed team. They have a perfect supply chain. Um, they have great investors, want to give them endless amounts of capital.

Brad: That's the ideal. That's pretty rare that that that is a proverbial unicorn, uh, at least not in terms of size, but in terms of capabilities. So when I come on in a business, when I come on a board, normally there's a few of those variables in place, but they're good variables. And ultimately for me, it's about the CEO and ultimately feeling someone I can work with. That's my main point of contact in a business. It's the, it's the CEO in the world. They need to lead both internally organization, the board and the external environment. I got to help them navigate all those things together. Um, go back to the core question down. I know when I'm fully there, I got the core question to me one more time and let me let me cycle back in on it.

Dan: Well, and that's exactly, what's going to get back there again. So thank you for sharing that. So I'm a CEO, let's say you're working with me. I don't know what I don't know. And so how do you help me think too about where the puck is going so that I can avoid that problem in the down the road, or maybe frame it a different way. You see a bottleneck on the road on that, on, on the road ahead. How do you help me navigate around that? Even if I'm so focused. So laser blind, you know, focused, blinded by everything else that I don't have the ability

Brad: to see that, how do you help me navigate that? Yeah, I'd say first, a very simple concept, which every leader, I think values strategy, but it's just listening. I mean, I, like I said, I am not going in there to impose a uniform, single Brown barn horn model of building a company onto a company on down, understand that company's unique situation, unique people involved the new category, the unique moment in time, right. And the macroeconomic sense, how you build a company right now, it's Vernon. How do you build it two, three, four years ago. And it's where their first but later will change. So I'm there really to listen and really hear what's driving, CEO's thinking and what his specifically is facing. And within that with really a direction set by the CEO of, of the territory of where we're gonna be exploring them within that diving in and, and, and, you know, bringing, bringing, calibrate examples from other businesses I work with.

Brad: I mean, a lot of it is, um, not, I never breached confidentiality, but I'm sharing insights at any one point with I'm on eight boards right now at any one point in time across those eight companies, I'm inherently dealing with pretty much every issue of growing a growth stage food company or beverage company, whether it's one company's raising capital, the other companies like the higher senior team or companies building out a field sales team, next company is trying to get cost of goods right next to him, just trying to figure out trade spend. So at any one point in time, I have the benefit of really seeing the whole business across these different companies and diving deep in those areas for each of those comes individually in front of one company over time, all the zeros are going to be approached because once again, I'm basically helping the CEO deal with the issues that he used to deal with.

Brad: So, and I could see almost every issue in a company ultimately. So, um, it is it's it's pattern recognition think about programs and process and strategy that, that maybe they haven't thought about or sort of help amplify and think about their execution of a strategy they are thinking about. So it really, really is filling in, you know, the, the white spaces in their own thinking or their own approach, not a weakness. It's not a weakness. I work with their high-performance CEOs, just there, there is for anyone of us or so much else out there that we can't see. So I'm just one more person for them and hopefully double their effectiveness. So go ahead. I'm sorry. No, no, it really is. It's interesting going from being a CEO to being a board member, you'd go from being a decision-maker to being an influencer.

Brad: And that's a tough turn just for a lot of people. I mean, it, there are times when their assistant to CEO might make where my sense is, even after we've discussed it, I might do different cycles or color that decision or how I execute. It might look differently. My job is not to hold onto that. My job is to say, okay, the ball's moved from here to here now, how do I optimize the ball word is for the CEO there. And so I really need to retain a real good, um, emotional sort of separation from the business. That's not different than passion, not different than being there 24 seven just means I can't hold a decision that was made by SIA. That might've been a little more flavor than I would have done it. And it keeps coming back to like, why, you know, you should have done that.

Brad: Never say that never it's about, okay, we make a decision now, how do we optimize that? Not point on next decision, how to optimize the business from that point on. And so that, that's a once again, maintaining that, that neutrality and once neutrality, not in terms of not carrying neutrality in terms of staying in the middle is an important role because the CEO, you emotionally, it's natural, it's natural. This is your life when you're a CEO. And, uh, and there are people involved and they're in there and there are, there are moments of conflict and moments of deep challenge and moments of doubt. Those are all there. So what I'm there is to maintain a baseline through it all and, and really just listen and, and never say right or wrong. I never say that's wrong. That's right. I say I can know.

Brad: I can always understand why. See I made a decision once I understand the, how they work and how they think, you know if you're a CEO and this is going to sound a little dent, a little deep, but you know, if you deep down your life have a fear about whether you're good enough for the role. Yeah. It's not surprised that sometimes she might take the credit for something when it would have been better, share it with the team, cause you're yourself trying to feed yourself. And I did a lot of work in something called neural linguistic programming now to get a tutor to a psychology-based. But this is all about sort of how our beliefs and how our identity shaped the way I view the world, which makes total sense. If you think the world's a certain way, you will tend to sort the world and say, Oh, there's proof that people can't be trusted or there's proof that, that, uh, no one that gives me a sufficient credit for the work I do.

Brad: So I oftentimes work with CEOs of very deep levels to uncover those core structural beliefs that are then creating behaviors, incisions strategies, which aren't working for them. And it's just looking at business, right? You know, the business and your, and the basic price value of your product, doesn't work. You can demo. You want, you can all these strategies to work around that problem demo. You can trade, spend, you pay lots of slotting. You're just going to burning a lot of capital and probably not winning. So I'm a believer that once you get the structural thinking, right, in a company, in the structure or in a person once, once their structural beliefs work well, then decisions and behaviors sort of flow out of them very naturally. And, uh, so I, I do some pretty deep work, um, that crosses the personal and professional line because as CEO, the two are really indistinguishable how you are as a person will show up and how you are as a CEO or as a leader.

Brad: And, uh, so I that's, that's territory. That's really important to me, especially if you want to enjoy the work, right. Going back to the poor premise, such about building great companies, but having someone to enjoy that process, having them grow, having me grow, you know, we're all evolving. We're all teachers, we're all students for all givers, we're all receivers. And, uh, so that, so the power of that and knowing that you're on both sides, I don't think a lot of CEOs feel they need to have all the answers. They need to do all the teaching. They need to do all the directing. And so, you know, my model for an has been a servant leader model, you know, as a leader, you're at the bottom of that organizational pyramid, you're there to support those, you know, work for you, not the other way around. So that's how it's been for me, a core philosophy.

Brad: And the way you do that as leaders is by, by really clear defining who you are cleared to find your vision for the business colored building, great process that the team can work with across all parts of the business. I find the process is rather sexy. I mean, when you put in a good process and you put in a good trade spending tool, are you putting in a good rule on how to think of entering a new account and the cost enter and what the payback period is on that investment and slotting fees, et cetera, and your team starts using that and builds a common language about how to think about decisions. All of a sudden, it's amazing how much the organization starts to move more efficiently and more clicking the right directions. And I used to love as a, as you know when I let companies if I could build a tool which allowed someone to be more efficient in their part of the business.

Brad: And some of they come back to me and argue for a result, like for example, we had little anecdote we had in the D in the jerk storage tuition business, we had routes and drivers, and we had rules on how much volume an account need to have for us to stop the truck there, basically to put it in very simple terms. And typically when I, when I first started the very experienced route, Jarvis would come to me and say, Hey, Brad, I'm driving right by that little store. I just pop in there and I could drop off some product. And that's how I did it. In my previous DSD job, I had a model which is more based on profitability in saying, Hey, it's not just a marginal cost to stop there. We've got to include all the costs, that truck to be on the street.

Brad: In the first place, we got a fair burden that accounts with the true cost to have that, to have that truck out there sooner or later, get a lot of, a lot of extra marginal stop, start that good. You have too many stops, got a new truck. And, uh, and it was great to see a drug come back to me and go, Brad, we shouldn't, you know, six months later, Brad, there's this account. You know what? We shouldn't stop there. And they'd basically take in the thinking that I had to do access, think about the overall PNL and what percent of costs revenue my distribution cost could be that there was a big picture, had to drill it down to process about how to think about a single count, where they've stopped. They're not born the team adopted that thinking all of a sudden there wasn't, it wasn't an emotional decision.

Brad: You mean it wasn't like, but Brad it's a really no, it was like, here are the numbers, here's the analysis. It doesn't meet the hurdle. I might even then ask, Hey, is there a recent, we should stop there. If it's the museum of modern art is our brand to get fit for art and one of our brand and looking in those settings, I'm a little known, all those. And all of a sudden, the ones start to argue to break the rule. So a process to me is a beautiful way to build a common language within a company. And as much as CEOs want to figure out how to run their business, the bigger challenge in scaling a business, how you, everyone else think consistently within a business like the CEO. And that's, that's a great gift for the CEO's hike. When you can take your knowledge and put it, put it into the process and really teach and build a single organism of the company versus, you know, I used to, I used to talk to product refunds about doing diligence on companies.

Brad: And I said, you want to do good diligence, go out, talk to the CEO about his strategy for how they're building a market or how they're treating a retail customer, think about it, and then go out to a field salesperson or go out to three or four and see if you get the same answers to those questions. If you get different answers to that question from each of the field salespeople, how they think about slotting dollars or trade spend, then you're really operating, you know, four or five different businesses. Or if you have a hundred percent sales to 100 different businesses, and that's not going to be really efficient, you want to build a single business with a single way of thinking. And, and that's, uh, that's what great process does

Dan: love that. So the process equals common language that is so critical. I could not agree with you more. That is so critically important. I love the fact that you're able to get into this. And, and from my perspective, breath, this is what makes natural natural. The big brands are so focused on what they would call process, but they're very siloed in their objectives and their thoughts, et cetera, to your point, I believe, by the way, I'm a disciple of Anthony Robbins too. So I get that completely. So, um, but the idea that this should be fun. I mean, this should be something that we all look forward to something that we enjoy doing. And, and back to what you were talking about earlier, if you can have a CEO that is so empowered in the sense that they can, can disseminate that or, or help trickle that down to the lower ranks of the company.

Dan: That's where success comes from. That's where my greatest wins come from. So I know that from experience, my point is that this is what every brand should aspire to get everyone in lockstep. And so the turnkey sales story strategies course it's free. The reason I developed it was for that exact reason, because one of the challenges, one of the things that big brands they're there to kill biggest Achilles heel, actually most brands is that they're not working in lockstep. They don't have the same passion enthusiasm as the when they're talking about their product. So what you're talking about is developing strategies that the CEO can empower might not necessarily be the right word, but make sure that, that, that is part of that contagion goes through the entire system. That's when things that, as I said, the thing that makes natural, natural. So

Brad: Yeah, I was going to say there, there's a great saying that actually I'm going to attribute to Greg Staunton poll who many people know is this current CEO of Califia Farms. So it's back in the mid-nineties. And, uh, and I forget where it was, but Greg made grace Haven. He could 70. He said, he said he was talking about language. In this case, he said, language is like a virus. And I know the word virus has whole new meaning today than it did for 24 years ago. But it's something that culture company culture. And I would, I was such with also the process is a virus in a good way. Good process. You know what process is? And this is slide talk, redo CEO's Dan it's reframing what certain things mean. Some CEOs might go process. I hate it. Put in place. My team complains.

Brad: They feel constricted, but a good process creates a focus through which to channel energy. They're metaphysical. It creates, it creates, it takes away a lot of noise and says, here's where to focus your energy and how to think. And when you create that channel energy can flow efficiently and quickly. Now too much process constricts, right? Too much process stops energy flow. So it's, how do you find the right mental process that allows you to focus? Their thinking creates a single way of approaching a business that then evolves and builds over time. Because once you process you're growing short going, Oh, there's a rule that sort of violates that process. Should we amend the process to incorporate that thinking or is, or is the process they don't so not to get too metaphysical here, but, but, but the process, once again, bring structure in which energy can flow or business can flow with no structure. You have chaos with too much structure, you have inertia. So, um, yeah, so it's the right set of tools and understands your business. And what are the key things you need your team to focus on. If you give them 10 things to focus on too many, give them nothing to focus on. You've got a real issue. So it's normally this two or three, four key things with you when they end up calling the KPIs or rules of engagement, the things which bind the organization together and allow that, you know, that consistency,

Dan: which by the way everyone is here, you are, you just get your education, I'm sorry, your, your church for the week. So you can check that off the box. No, I agree with you completely. That's again, that's what I say. Then, when I'm talking about what makes natural natural, this is it it's that belief. It's that understanding? It's that process? It's the, and I never thought of the process as being sexy, but you're absolutely right. It's, you know, what are the guard rails that we all operate in? And if everyone is operating in the same, uh, with the same constraints in other we're marching toward a similar goal, then that's really going to differentiate the brand. When I worked for Unilever, we used to joke about the only way to move up in the company was to literally knock off the guy ahead of you or the gal or whatever at Kimberly Clark.

Dan: We're one big happy family. Well, in the natural brands that have worked with, uh, there it's, it's that same comradery to like in what you were talking about a minute ago, a DSD being able to disseminate, or excuse me, being able to differentiate whether or not a stop at a particular location makes sense. Not only from a profit standpoint but is it the right thing to do because it's the right thing to do. And, and what we're talking about, what I'm getting at here is sometimes it may not be profitable, but it may help you in the long run in other areas. But we'll talk about that more in a minute, but being able to leverage it. So when you're working with a CEO, CEOs in big companies tend to have a lot of ego and smaller companies. And I find that this is one of the challenges, one of the biggest problems that I run into when I work with a small brand, if the CEO has that level of ego where they can't listen and they can't, you know, it's about them more than other people, then that creates challenges. How do you help? Or how would you recommend our listeners today help that CEO help guide that CEO to make the right decision? Because obviously, this creates bottlenecks. If it's not dealt with properly, and if it is dealt with properly, if it's handled properly as you said, this can add rocket fuel to the brand.

Brad: Yep. And first thing I'll say that contextually is I recognize that I have a unique opportunity to influence CEO as a board member. That's tough for someone who works for that CEO. So I do not want to minimize the unique fish I get to have, you know, when I come on a board, it is almost always, there is always through the CEO. It's not through an investor saying putting me on a board. I don't even entertain those discussions. Quite honestly, occasionally I will. But because my trust with the CEO and my, my, my approach, which requires a CEO to truly allow me into his inner world, if he thinks I'm there overseeing him for someone else's capital or some other reason, that's a very tough place to start with. So I, I sort of an unwritten rule, which is I, I come, you know, whether it's meeting a Caitlin with simple mills, it's a trade show over two or three years.

Brad: And all of a sudden we're talking about a board involvement or whether it's, you know, Jon Sebastiani, whatever it is, it's, it's coming from them. And, and they I'm always looking for something which they may, they may not see themselves, which is some deeper part of them, which knows there's a bigger game they want to play. And I always think Coby, Brian, I'm gonna think about this. And I think about, you know, Michael Jordan, I think about players who are incredibly high-performance athletes who wanted a, someone like a Phil Jackson who could help them not be better shooters, not pay better dribblers, but understand how to win championships and understand the team psychology involved in their stand, their own role and changing their own mind frame of mindset about what makes them most valuable to the team and winning. So I'm always looking for a CEO, even if two external observers, they may not.

Brad: I've worked some pretty controversial CEOs in the sense of they're polarizing at times people go, Oh my God, he must be tough to work with, but I start once again with the presupposition that everyone is doing the best they can with that they have access to in themselves. It sounds a little West coast. I realized, but I look at it as a golfer. If you see a golfer, send me out on a golf course with just a driver. And I'm on the putting green. I pull out my driver because the only club I have in my bag, you might go that guy's fricking crazy. Well, guess what if that's the only club in my bag, it's a pretty rational choice. So if I made a CEO is used to getting control of a situation through anger and that's the tool they've used their whole life.

Brad: And it's helped them get to where they are. I shouldn't be surprised when their response to a situation is anger. Even though I'm sitting there saying, wow, that's really crazy. You just yell at us head of sales in front of the whole team. So I start with a dish, which says, once again, I want some of the best they can with all back backstage too. And my job is to put more clubs, more, more aspects of who they are and more, more elements into their bags. So if I can teach them how to tap into their curiosity, how can tap, how to tap into their patients, how to tap into their humility, and put all those clubs in their bags. They pick the right club for the right shot. I, the right decision, the right way to deal with a certain individual person, you know, situation.

Brad: I'm giving them more choices versus less. So my job is not to take away from a leader, things that have worked for them to get them where they are. It's to say, Hey, that's all available to you. If you need to be angry times, and that's the right club for that shot. Great. I want you to have that in your bag, but also want to put in the other parts of how a leader can be. She can then master those and apply those at the right time at the right place, get the optimal outcome. And one that makes you succeed and also feels good about your decision, because I will tell you, people who have to pull the, you know, have to pull that driver out on the green. Aren't you happy about this decision? They're like, that's all in the club. I got my bag.

Brad: So that's the fun thing I get to do. I get to, I get, I get to expand their sense of possibility about how they can show up. I'm not, I'm not making anything wrong and how they are. I'm giving them some more choices that can make better decisions. And that's a much different approach than coming in and saying, that's right. That's wrong. You were bad. There you were good. There. That's not my I'm not, that's not my game, my game, helping them see how as they evolve and grow as leaders, their menu of choice expands greatly. And with that current menu choice, you'll make the correct decision. I'll help you make the right decision at that point, but let's first get them. Let's get some beef on that menu next to the chicken. And then we can choose whether it be a chicken for dinner, but there's only chicken on the menu.

Brad: You want your chicken every time. So it's, um, it's, it's, it's, it's a real process for me. And as someone, if I was back in the role of working with a CEO, once again, when you get in conflict, you're probably not getting anywhere. Listen, say, okay, I see that vantage point. You'll always, always just take a second and go, Hey, I appreciate that perspective. I see why you're seeing that from the COC. Let me tell you what I'm seeing in that Kroger meeting. I was in, let me give you a little more flavor here. So my take, you, you know, depending on where you are in an organization, you know, just a little empathy goes a long way, a little less defensiveness goes a long way and just sort of saying, Hey, I see that. And then add your viewpoint in. So there's a tone, the whole tone element to me, which is so important and how you approach people. And it really starts from a position of starting point of non-judgment and, and curiosity about yourself, about others. Why they're, why they're doing what they're doing or saying what they're saying. And they don't open up the opportunity for a conversation.

Dan: Sounds like we're both also disciples of Stephen Covey, which I love that. So listen to be understood. I love the analogy. Yeah, no, I think it's great. And I love the analogy that you made because this makes so much sense. And this is why this is important. So then an effective leader, hopefully, this is what makes natural natural. Hopefully what you share with the leader is contagious enough where that leader then wants to share that with his team, empower his team. And that's, in my opinion, let me know your thoughts. This is how you get an optimized team. This is how, when you've got people working for you, even at the lowest levels of the company, doing this type of work in this kind of thought leadership, this is how you set your brand apart from other companies, your thoughts.

Brad: No, totally. I mean, I mean, I know I tend to do metaphors here and there because I find them for me, very valuable in our staff. Um, I think movie inception, if anyone's out there. So, you know, maybe many of you have, um, Leonardo DiCaprio, a great movie where the whole idea is there's an idea and you want to plant that idea in someone's mind, but to plant in their mind, you need to get through their sentinels and down to the fourth level and planting their mind. And then it becomes their idea. And why that's important to me is if a CEO is taking my idea that he hasn't really bought into and then trying to spread it across the organization, it's not going to work. It's going to be the channel. And just the idea there's going to be bumps in the road. If he's not committed to that idea, he or she will

Brad: resort back to where they were. So my job is, is to, if I have an idea or something I want, I want to share, that's the goal. The ground's not fertile Ford. Initially. It's like, Oh bro, we can't do that. Or, you know, nobody will think like that. Or you know, all the things the sentinels say to keep the idea from getting planted. I got to work through this. I'm like, what's the belief there. What's going on underneath that? Why is that? Why is that threatening to give your team more autonomy, make a key decision? What is it? What's the fear what's underneath it all. And I worked through those things very patiently. Um, it's not about, I mean, I want things to change quickly, but I want them to change in a way that they're going to stick. And sometimes that takes a sea of going through a process of stepping into a new idea or a new approach and respecting their pace of change.

Brad: But once that idea is a planet and a way that really they understand and they align with, then they do their thing. I mean, leaders are great creators. Th they're there for a reason. They are creators. They're willing to go through walls. They're willing to fight the fight that is anybody starting a food company is borderline insane. I mean, think about it to build a $10 million food company with a product that retails at five bucks, which means you're wholesaling two bucks roughly, let's say you gotta get 5 million times a year. People who don't even know who you are when you start your company to pick up your product now might be, you know, not, not be familiar with unique customers obviously, but the point is you are going out there and trying to get people to totally change behavior on a huge scale to build a huge scale company.

Brad: That's, that's a real challenge, like a hundred Mandar food company. That's 40 million times for that product. I gave you an example of a product at two bucks, wholesale, 40 million times a year. Someone grabs that off the shelf, orders it online, wherever that is a massive transformation you're trying to create. And that's why so SoFi, so few food companies succeed at that level. You are really changing their behavior at the same time. There are 10 other competitors trying to change it to in their direction and 10 other competitors trying to retain and defend their position. It's really hard. So, um, yeah, so law that it really is about having a CEO and working with them to really get once again, their internal clarity, you know, the LAUSD idea to really stick and be sustainable. Hence, they'll go through the hard work to build that process because the hard work of tape that called eight o'clock from a key salesperson, patiently walks you through why they're doing what they're doing, because they understand it. It's me. It's my idea. Then I can understand I'm going to go well, I'm not sure why we're doing this. You know, you're right. We should change back. So I think, I think it really is building that, that internal clarity.

Dan: And thank you for sharing that. This is why, again, this is what informs my position. This is what makes natural natural. We have these unique opportunities where we don't have all that layer, all those layers of complexity to deal with, to trip over it, et cetera. So one of the greatest compliments I've had kind of reinforcing what you're saying is when someone came to me and said that my greatest strength as a leader is I was able to take my idea and make it their own. And that's magic and the reason, and I'm not trying to brag or whatever. But my, my point is, this is how you get a high powered sales team. This is how you add rocket fuel to your brand. So think about it this way, that if I am a brand, the traditional brand traditional way of thinking, the notion is that this is my ship.

Dan: I'm driving it. Everyone else has to, you know, fall in line a theory X, Y, Z, if you've ever read the book theory Z, this is the point behind that. So theory X essentially says that you're an idiot. You're going to do the job. You're going to do it wrong. I'm going to have to come back in and fix it for you because you're an idiot theory. Y says, well, you're probably going to do it right, but I'm still going to keep an irony, his theories. He says I'm going to empower you to make decisions for you that are right for the company on behalf of the company. And I'm going to trust you because you believe because I believe that you believe in no we're in that same wavelength, your thoughts.

Brad: Yeah. And, and the real cherry on top of that hot fudge sundae is when they do that use leader, don't say, I told you, so you go, that's a great idea. I mean, that you want to win points. I remember I remember I will. I'm going to pass that star. It's going to basically say, it's nothing more beautiful than to see your team adopt an idea their own. Yes. But then if you see, I'll come in and say, look, I told you, so you've taken all the benefit out of it. Your response then is that's a great approach. I love that. That's all I got to say. And they feel empowered. You created what, you know, what you want to create and you don't need to reclaim credit for it at that point. So that, that restrained, that final step is the critical point to having it be, you know, a future value. So, um,

Dan: well, and that's your writing in a lot of people that I've known in the mainstream world, they have a tough time not retaining credit for it. And that's such a hard thing for them to let go of, but yet this is why this is exactly why when we were talking initially, why put it in that quote, that African proverb if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go further, go together. The point is, imagine if you're a brand and you've got, you're very siloed, very focused on your achieving, an objective, getting on the shelf or whatever. And you've got a team that works like we're talking about on your behalf to help you find blind spots and help you identify opportunities. This is how you accelerate any of the opportunities that you have in front of you. So thank you for sharing that.

Brad: Yeah. And I'll add to that too. I mean, part of the journey for leaders is, is from being a doer and an executor to being a, and see, you know, when they talk about their service, CEO's for certain stages, it's sorta is a much, a lot about that. It's if a CEO keeps trying to execute, or once he builds a senior team, who's been brought on to do what they do really well, but doesn't let them do what they're trained to do. Cause he keeps trying to execute for them, never going to build a senior team. And it's going to ultimately hurt the company's growth with the CEO's goals are they may not see it like that, but that's something that needs to surface. And, uh, you know, if you think about, take a step back whenever a CEO or, and it's not just CEO, whenever an organization, you have people reporting to you and you ultimately say something like, look, I'll just take care of it.

Brad: Or you make some statement this like, let's get it done. Right. I got to do it. You're playing the hero. So do you think you're a hero? We think we're heroes and we do that, but always realize when you make yourself the hero, cause you're telling everybody else around you, you're telling them they're incompetent. Right? And I, and when a CEO tries to be a hero or anyone within a company if the cost everyone else around you feels they are being told they're not good enough. They're not competent. Why in the blank would they run through walls for you two weeks later when you did the work and extra three hours at night to get a presentation to why would they do that? You're totally demotivating them. You're totally sending a message to them underneath the surface about who they are and how effective they are.

Brad: So once again, as a, as a leader and all of us are leaders, organizations, whether you are, whether you are a field salesperson, you know, helping a retailer, think about something or making a decision at that level, whether you're a, you know, a VP of sales or your CEO or your board member, we're all leading and we're all learning concurrently. So, so as a leader, just be so aware that sometimes when you're winning battles, you're losing Wars. And the war is to create a cohesive, aligned organization where everyone's optimizing their potential effectiveness. And if you're doing things which win battles by saying, Oh, you know, I'm just going to do that. You know, I'll take care of this. You think you sorta think you're being whatever it is. Uh, you know, as I said, the hero, but really what you're being as you're really just disempowering people. And that works all right, when you're a two-person company or one-person company, when you're managing a hundred person company, those nine other people than you are, the people are going to make it win or lose your job as a leader is to guide them, channel their energy, give them the right tools. But ultimately if you're doing the hero nine, nine, even they're incompetent, you're not going to be very focused, exciting organization work.

Dan: Thank you for sharing that. In fact, it kind of reminds me, I'm also a disciple of Kevin Peters. And one of the things that he said, one of them, that I keep thinking back to is that a leader for a particular company was talking to a line worker. And in the grand scheme of things, you would think this person would be at the very lowest, you know, the bottom part of the, the, uh, the, the end of the food chain and asked her what she wanted to be and Arnar what you wanted to say on her business card. And she said she wanted to be the Supreme Leader. So they did that little simple thing, but it empowered her. And the point is, this is how you develop high-performance teams. So thank you for sharing that. I want to leave a couple of minutes for questions. Do you have, what are your thoughts? What are the thoughts that you have for everyone in terms of how do you suggest, or how would you recommend that they build a high-performance team? And what are the things that you would recommend them to start thinking about as they're beginning to grow and scale and develop those teams and, and go forward?

Brad: Yeah, no, it's interesting. I'm going to go to some core characteristics. Every company is different in terms of what you need to build the Sonic stinking and your category dynamics, given the space, you're in. Um, so I mean the first superpowers are listening and empathy. I mean, if you're not getting the most out of everybody on your team, and they're not feeling engaged and excited to contribute, you're, you're losing a lot of effectiveness and probably increasing turnover, et cetera. The second thing we talked about a bit was, you know, really think about what's the right level of process for snotty non-process. Once again, a non-sexy term to some people, but geez, what's the right amount. It's, it's, it's, it's a little, the analogy is you can have, it's like a song, you know, all the notes are flying around. There's no song, a song needs, some structure needs a baseline and needs it.

Brad: It needs the drum Neff, some rhythm to it. So how do you create that rhythm in the business, which process helps with the dental dials people to do the big guitar solo and really enjoy that? But you need that mixture of, uh, of good, well thought out process. Um, the only thing I think about is everyone organization is the key job in many ways is really to be ROI managers. You never turn on investment by that. I mean, every company has a limited amount of time, capital people energy. So the more people think about decisions in terms of what creates a gross return on investment for the company and not just financial right and accompany you're prone to build brand value. You're trying to build value as a company. And there are times when a decision what's, once again, it's the right short term decision.

Brad: Uh, it could be the wrong long-term decision. We had mentioned that in terms of that DSD driver who wants to stop that one account, but longterm, it's not really a good account that can really fund itself theoretically. So I think it's always thinking about sort of limited resources. How do I get the most out of them? You know, there's, there's a, there's a saying in our business, you're a thousand times over, which is Cassius King. I don't agree with that one, actually, no company in our space ever got successful by sitting on a bunch of cash what's King is, is deploying cash intelligently. That's how you build a great company, not by having cash it's by deploying it with the greatest impact. When you do that, you are, you are things that investors and acquirers love your capital efficient. We say, you know, and capital is the gas for business and efficiencies like miles per gallon.

Brad: How'd you get the most miles per gallon out of your gas, being your capital or being your people's time or being your opportunities that present themselves. Um, so really thinking about decisions through an ROI lens and what creates the greatest impact for the business, um, and recognize that decisions made at every level. It's not just a CEO decision. Everyone on this call every day has a decision about how to allocate their time and their energy. And the more company thinks in that form and builds tools to do that. Once again, whether it's a trait, whether it's your tool, Dan, around trade spending as an investment, whether it's a tool around the cost, enter a new account in terms of slotting, how do you think about that? Whether it's an investment in a new piece of equipment for a manufacturing plant, they're all ROI. So I want, I want to develop companies where there's a great ROI approach, uh, you know, to it.

Brad: And then, like I said, this process piece, and I've said, I liked that I haven't used in a while, which is called nail it, then scale it, you know, a lot of times in the first five minutes, $5 million terminology revenue for a company, it is about putting in place a foundation that can be leveraged. And part of that is the process piece, but you're trying to build a foundation whereby you can hire 10 new people in and they come in and you have something for them to step into. You have a playbook that they're stepping into. Um, you know, just like when you draft people on a football team, there's a playbook they're stepping into, they don't redefine the way the football team operates. They step into a playbook. And so when you nail that model and you understand how you go to market, you understand where you're most effective in your merchandise, and you understand, you know, what the best suppliers are for you get that nailed in that first couple years, then you can scale really efficiently and knowing what you're good at and what you're not good at, and therefore apply your time, resources to those things you can be effective at in terms of the competitive environment, in terms of the category.

Brad: And, uh, so now, now then scale it.

Dan: I love that. That makes so much sense. And thank you for saying cash is not King. I mean, I agree with you completely. I hate that. I hate it because it overlooks or overshadows. What matters most to your point. You know, if you're a Baron and you've got deep pockets, you can buy volume, you can buy a velocity, you can buy customers, you can buy sales. However, if you're a small brand, you need to be efficient, you need to be scrappy. And this is exactly what we're getting at here. I know we're coming up close to the top of the hour. Sorry, we haven't answered any questions. If you've got questions, please reach out to me. My email address is on there and I'll make sure that Brad and I get them and get back to you. Um, so thank you much for coming on. Do you have any parting thoughts?

Brad: You know, um, I know we cover some details, substance philosophical stuff. Um, I just think, uh, you know, seeing as a leader or as a company that you are in constant learning mode and really dialing up curiosity about how people around you are deciding things and who they are going a long way. I keep coming back to that because once again, for me, in my role as a board member, that is where I start with me in board meetings, where you have a lot of really smart people with different ideas, and that can either devolve into conflict in inertia or, or you start weaving through and finding out why does that person think that way? Cause, cause it's amazing. Everyone has, I go back to this point. Everyone has good reasons for why they think the way they do now. They might not be expressed the right way.

Brad: They might because they have a limited way, a limited set of options of how they want to think or care they need, are there some things, their knowledge that would help them evolve the way they think. Um, but ultimately everyone wants to win. All of us want to be connected to our organizations. All of us want to succeed in our jobs. We all want that. So when you see that not happening, don't go to the assumption that they're just, you know, not a good person or they just don't want to change. You got to find out what's preventing that change and how you can help, help them to evolve. And if you use a leader or always taking that approach, you know, you'll get more out of your organization, but then, when it does come time to let someone go, it won't be because you's leader, didn't make the effort to understand how you could help them get better.

Brad: And I think the CEO's I know who have the biggest challenge when it comes to hiring firing decisions. Not to end on us on that. No, but I will be though, are those who haven't gone through that process of really ask themselves, what, what can I do to help this person succeed? And sort of for a moment, stepping into their shoes, that empathy, that listening. And I always, I, I, once there was some hard decisions I made where let someone go, but I always felt that time. I got there that, Hey, I, I, I tried my best to create, you know, a place for they succeed. And if that happened, it didn't happen. And somebody has been for both people that want a different direction, but it really came from that first part, which is a CEO's job as a servant. And it's to be a servant leader organization and always asks, how can I help another person unlock their full potential? Because you know, what is a leader and a founder, you get the benefit of that when anybody else does. You're the one who, you're the one who owns half the equity. I mean, you, the rules of the game, you win by them winning. Uh, so put yourself in the background a little bit and empower them or seven looking for them to empower you

Dan: love it. I used to when I was in that position years ago, uh, thankfully I'm not there anymore. You used to always try to be in a position where the person that was on the ropes knew why and understood why long before we had to have that conversation. The point being is that if you do it, my opinion, if you do an effective job of coaching and nurturing in working with that person, then they know better than anyone else they know ahead of time that they're not cutting it. And if they're savvy and hopefully you've, you've made this available to them, they know that they can come to you for those additional insights. So, uh, so thank you. You're welcome your thoughts.

Brad: I was going to say, and they know it's not personal at that point. That's why it's so tough in the situations when it feels personal. And you know, if they know that you fought about it with them, they know you've gone out of your way to give them the tools to succeed. And they haven't. Um, as I said, at that point, both sides probably look at each other and go, I mean, maybe buy below emotion around it, but go, Hey, it's better. Let's put you in a place where you can win. And if it's not in our company, Hey, let's figure out a way you can go on your next thing and win. And, uh, but that comes just really hard to have when it feels like it's personal and yet they've never felt listened to. And they always felt you were the hero and they were the incompetent one. Yeah. I guess you're going to get a really, really angry employee when you tell them you're letting them go. Cause they cause them, so, you know, just treating people well on the way, just creates so much more ease and how the business can evolve. And if they're addition or subtraction and people, right.

Dan: And it goes back to how you show up and how authentic and everything else. So thank you so much for Shannon. Thank you so much for coming on today. Again, if you've got any questions, please send me an email. I'll make sure we get them answered. And just to recap, buddy, also thank you so much for everyone being here and I look forward to next week, check out the schedule on the events page and um, I really appreciate you.

Brad: Thank you, Dan. Thanks for having me on. Thanks.

Dan: I want to thank Brad for coming on today and for sharing his wisdom and his insights. If you want to learn more about Brad and one of the best ways to do that is on his LinkedIn profile. I'll be certain to put a link to it on the show notes and on the podcast webpage don't forget today's free. A downloadable guide is actually a cool tool. Go to my website and click on the bar that says free promotion analysis tool. That's going to give you insights that other brands don't have access to and check out the article that covers all the key things that you need to be thinking about. As you're thinking about your trademarking strategy. If you want to learn more about this for the podcast show notes and to learn more about this, go to Thank you for listening. And I look forward to seeing you in the next episode,

Thanks again for joining us today. Make sure to stop over at for the show notes along with more great brand building articles and resources. Check out my free course Turnkey Sales Story Strategies, your roadmap to success. You can find that on my website or at Please subscribe to the podcast, leave a review, and recommend it to your friends and colleagues.

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