A Server's Journey

Website Branding and Marketing: Ed Ruff on Core Values in the Marketplace

September 05, 2018
A Server's Journey
Website Branding and Marketing: Ed Ruff on Core Values in the Marketplace
Chapters
A Server's Journey
Website Branding and Marketing: Ed Ruff on Core Values in the Marketplace
Sep 05, 2018
Rocky DeStefano
Ruff leads a dialogue about defaulting to the positive, staying calm in the midst of difficult decisions, and always coming back to your unwavering core values.
Show Notes Transcript

Long time friend Ed Ruff introduces us to the culture of ACS Creative after 20 years at the company. The Director of Creative Development shares his servant leadership experience through frank discussions about where you’re falling short and fostering business relationships that benefit both parties.  Listen to hear not only Ruff’s business expertise but to turn our regular “This One or That One” on its head.


Speaker 1:
0:01
Yes, welcome to this edition of a survivor's journey with rocky destefano. The premise of the show is it everybody's leading something or someone, whether you're a parent leading your family, a coach leading a team by team member leading a few for a CEO leading an organization. We're all on the path of being a leader. Thus the title of the program is a server's journey today. Rocky is on location and we're going to join that interview in progress.
Speaker 2:
0:42
All right. We are on location in the DC area and we are excited to be talking today about acs, creative and Ed. Rough. ACS has been in the business for over 30 years and over that time they have worked with over a thousand brands and everything from startups to multinational companies and all sizes. I want to introduce the director of Creator, director of Creative Development Ed rough and I'm going to go full disclosure here. I've known ed since he was Eddie going all the way back to high school for us. So Ed, welcome to the show. Thank you very much rocky. So good to see you here in my town. Yeah, we, we go back a lot of years, maybe, maybe more than just about anybody else. Uh, yeah, it would have sitting down opposite. You have very few people that have put up with me longer than Eddie is.
Speaker 2:
1:35
We're going to actively say maybe, maybe gosh, one or two maybe at most probably. So that's good. We're going to get past my personal issues and go right into the, a talk here with Eddie and Eddie. What I'm really curious about is can you talk to us about how you came to be with acs and maybe how long you've been with the company? Absolutely. I've been here for coming up on 20 years. Been really fortunate to have found acs. Really only my second job out of college I had, I'd worked for a, uh, an eight, a firm specific kind of government contractor here in the DC area for about six years and was fortunate to meet up with the owner of this company, Russell Anderson and he, um, he really became my best friend. He became my mentor. He, um, he's allowed me to do a lot of really good stuff here with the company and, and help develop it into what it is today.
Speaker 2:
2:29
We were marked marketing consulting firm and the throughout the late eighties and we turned into a really good design studio through the nineties and I came on board in late [inaudible] 98 and here for the last 15, 20 years we've really grown into a full blown web design, online marketing and branding company. It's awesome. We bring everything to the table from simple website designed to web applications. We, I'm really big emphasis on, on the overall brand that we really want to work with companies and figure out what their brand is and help them develop their brand and then moving forward into all of the marketing that has to go into helping a company survive.
Speaker 3:
3:11
And we've talked about the fact that the modern business is more complex and you have your hands in more things than you've ever had passed. And it sounds like you guys are kind of one of the few full service where you can help them with pretty much everything
Speaker 2:
3:26
it is. It's we don't just understand web and developing a good website, you know, we want to ask the questions when we sit down with our clients, where did you come from, how did you get to where you're at now, and then where are you going next and and really believe form follows function and form has to be really good, but we have to start with function. How do you win your business? Where do you find your business? Will you? What's really important when somebody reaches out to you, what kind of tool can we build that helps you win the business that you're looking
Speaker 3:
4:00
facilitate? Yeah. And in a very competitive market, very competitive market. So I'm going to put you a little bit on the spot, but so you tell the story to me about when you first came in for your interview with Russell and you had a good job before. It wasn't like you were unhappy with with what you were doing, but, but what were some of the things that attracted you to acs and particularly with Russell because it sounds like that relationship has flourished into, as you said, you know him and he knows you and that's a big part of it.
Speaker 2:
4:32
It really is. It really is. I'd come from. I'd come from a big corporation. I actually had a pretty big office. I had all of the tools that at the time I was an art director that all the, you know, it's everything that you would want. You acted in whistle drafting tables and light tables and fiery interfaces and color output and controlled whatever I want it and it was a good deal. I'd met Russell and I'd come for an interview and I walked into the office that we're in now and it was much more modest at the time. Walked in the door. As the story goes after the interview, I went home and was telling my wife as I walked in and there was a sink right when I walked in the door. It's really odd that the kitchen sink was right inside the door.
Speaker 2:
5:21
You Wash your hands when you've walked them. Well, I guess that's the way it works. There were some old furniture, some old desks. It was really tight and cramped. Um, there's, it's the same salary. He's not offering me any more money from where I'm at. Usually you change jobs, you get a pay raise. I said the data data bonus program, but I'm not eligible for, for the first 12 months. And so, you know, there's that and I'm checking things off the list when you move into another job. Yes. It's a smaller office and even down to you said towards the end of the interview, you know the phone on the desk that you're going to sit at doesn't work, so you're going to have to use somebody else's phone. And my wife then fiance said, well, you're not going to take it or. Yeah. And I said, actually, no, I think I am like this Guy Russell's uh, you know, he's, he really connected.
Speaker 2:
6:18
I think I am going to take it. And it took us about six months of talking and ultimately came on board and well that was new love because you said fiance, I caught that. So she was like, okay, I got to put up with this. I love the guy. We'd been together for four or five years. She, she knew who I was by that point. So it was a big risk for me. Definitely. Definitely paid off. So the thing that intrigued me the most about acs and the thing I really want to talk to you about is you have a set of guiding principles. And I'm always attracted to because we talk a lot about our organization and how for us it's about making stories better. And it was because for us it resonated so much more than we're serving chicken sandwiches or were satisfying hungry guests.
Speaker 2:
7:03
Yes, we're doing those things. But we felt like we needed more. And I got, I got a chance to look at and read your guiding principles. And I'm just so intrigued. So what I'm really curious about is why did you write these? What was the atmosphere or the culture? Because you don't just write these because everything's going perfect. I'm sure there was some reasons that you use of driving forces there. Absolutely. You know, it's interesting, you know, I think I resonated so well with Russell because so much of what, 10 years in we ended up putting down on paper was just a part of who we actually are, was when, um, you know, being in the marketing business and working with clients on their brands, you know, there's always this talk of mission statements and vision statements in. And I'd always go back to Russell and say, Hey, do you think we should do this?
Speaker 2:
7:54
And he says, you don't, man. I don't know. I mean, it's hard. It's hard because I know I'm not sure what direction to go. And so finally we had some issues here in the office with designers and clients and trying to understand what we were really all about because to me I knew. I mean, I know why you get up in the morning. I know why I do what I do. Yeah. And so that not everybody had the benefit of growing up in an entrepreneurial household. My father was an entrepreneur and my brother was in Russell is and that's why I was really attracted to him. Yeah, you guys sinked up a lot on what you grew up with, who you were. Right. But it doesn't always mean that the rest of the team grew up the same wall. Exactly. So we have a weekly staff meeting and without saying anything to anybody, I sat down in the weekly staff meeting, I said, guys, we're going to do something different this today.
Speaker 2:
8:47
I want to hear all the bad stuff about acs. What do you really think? We're not doing the right way, right? Where are we failing? And it was hard and and it was even more difficult that first one because hey, the boss says, how do I suck? You know, nobody wants to say anything. And there were some bruised, bruised people at the time and here. And so it actually took us two or three weeks of weekly meetings well enough to really extract out all of the stuff that all of the real issues that people were having will
Speaker 3:
9:16
fill that. Because we talk a lot about the fact of being a servant leader, being a great leader, you have to be transparent and that means sometimes you're going to hear negative things about you and things you don't want to hear, and I liked the process because at first people we get defensive a little bit, but over a three week period you were able to say, okay, that's true.
Speaker 2:
9:39
Yeah, this is hard and it's going to be brutal, but it's not safe spaces. But it was, it was. Look, I'm open to it. We're doing this to make ourselves better. We really need to concentrate on this. And then the fourth week we did take the moment and say, what are we doing? Right? What do people like about what we're doing here?
Speaker 3:
9:59
Yeah, and that's important to celebrate because so often in, and I know even in my own business when I walk in, I only see the negatives and told by my team, hey, stop, stop, and this was a good day. In fact, at one point a young lady who worked for me said, I'm not going to let you rob me of this moment, and I took a step back and said, holy crap, I'm the thief of joy. You know, I wasn't. I was just, I'm in charge, and I was moving onto the next thing and I'm that Kinda guy who's like, okay, let's get to the next mountain. But you allow
Speaker 2:
10:35
your crew to say, hey, we're good here. We're good here to what we, what do we like about what we're doing? The Dave Ramsey has got a great line of something along the lines of, no, catch somebody doing something good. You always be on the lookout for the good and pointed out yet. So we had all of these, these good vent sessions and I went back in my office and I spent about six months writing, rewriting, talking with the owner, talking with internally referred to a lot of different books. I mean, I, you know, great leaders out there riding some great information and help put things into perspective. And when I finished this list of guiding principles and I took it back to Russell and he said, well, of course like, you know, what? Like why did you take six months to after like, this is what I do anyway, goes in. And um, but, but it was important to write it down and underneath, like too,
Speaker 3:
11:28
it's, you know, these guiding principles that do good guiding principle to do two things. They remind you of what you do. And they also plot the course for the people that maybe don't say of course, being Russell set, of course, because it's him do what he does. But for some of the team it might've been, oh, okay, let's, let's do this
Speaker 2:
11:49
and it. And it is hopefully to what we go back to, you know, just like any principal, you know, a lot of things can change, but your principal or principals should not. And so when in question, go back to what the principal is and align yourself with that. And then regardless of what you do, if you're in line with that principle, then you're going to be supported every step of the way that that was the right thing to do it. It may have been hard, it may have cost money, it may have, it may have cost a client, but if it was in line with our principal than right thing, that's what we want to be doing every single time. So. Okay. So talk about your first one, which of course it, this seems like okay. Yes, but I think it's important to state so absolutely.
Speaker 2:
12:34
And you know, all of these principles, you know, we wrote for ourselves, but as I've reflected back over the last 10 years, I feel like this is what every company should be doing it. We're definitely aligns with just about everybody out there. That first principle is hands down. We take care of the customer. Right? And because, you know, the explanation is that as you know, our sole purpose as a company is to serve the client. And because without them, you know, I joke often, you know, acs doesn't have some big bucket of money sitting somewhere. We, we, we talked to a client and we tell them what we're going to do and they give us money and we turn around and give that to our employees and if we're smart, we put some of it in the bank and save it and we invest. But without our customer, we have nothing.
Speaker 2:
13:24
We have no money to give. So we take care of our customer. And as a, as a footnote to it, we do it, we do it with good pleasure. In other words, I liked this is a good pleasure to take care of them as your kind of your second. I, I love that. Of course it resonates because the, my pleasure. But talk about what that means to acn. You know, being an in design world, being in a service oriented business where things are pretty. People have an idea. They say, oh look, I like, I need a, I need a brand done, but it's going to be easy. I know exactly what I want. Oh Great. What is that? Well, I want it to say, wow. Yeah, okay. You know, it's gonna. Take us a little bit of time to get down to that. And so there's a lot of back and forth and there can be frustration there, right?
Speaker 2:
14:09
There can be that fifth phone call. There can be that, that show me one more design. There can be, you know, but I like blue and it can get frustrating, but we want to take a pause every time that we start going down these roads and remind ourselves that nobody wants to deal with somebody who's not happy. And, and if we always default to the positive bits are good pleasure. You want one more change will. Let's see how we can do that. You know, maybe it's not in the budget, but. Well, let's talk about it. Let's, you know, we're here, we're here to serve you and we're going to do it with a smile on our face because life is hard enough. Yeah. Life is enough. Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 3:
14:52
And, and, and, and I love that because you have to remind yourself, okay, yes, they customer wanting to change this. But again, they're the customer and we can either accept it and be angry or we can accept it and take pleasure in the fact that, okay, hey, you know, let's make this right. Exactly. And I, and I like that idea. All right, so take us through
Speaker 2:
15:14
next step. Yeah. So the next step of that is, you know, that's what we do. We take care of our customers and how do we do it? Well, we provide them with solutions to their problems. And this goes back to that good pleasure a little bit. You know,
Speaker 2:
15:30
our clients call on us because they have, they have an issue, they have a problem, they have a campaign, they have a, they have a project they have, they're not coming to us just because it's fun. You know, they don't wake up one day and say, let me get started. Let's spend thousands of dollars. Yeah, exactly. So they come to us with their problems, which means that our problems really aren't as important and we do a problem. You know, everybody's got problems. We a business, all kinds of things. But our problems are not their problems. I, you mentioned a, a rough as some that you use about proud, right? Rough Isms. So many cliches I've created over the years that the team hears. Somebody started to list a couple of years back of rough and one of my favorite is there are no good issues about issues. There's only issues and we'll deal with them accordingly.
Speaker 2:
16:18
And a lot of it depends on your attitude of how you look at that issue. And usually the bigger the issue, the more calm you have to go into it. And that's good and bad. You know, we, we have a major server issue. Okay. Let's calmly start to look at how to fix this. We just won a major contract. Okay. Look, let's calmly. So you know, we're not going to go out and buy all new computers for the company. Let's, let's make sure that we actually collect the money on the contract before we go nuts here too. So the bigger the issue, usually the more calm you need to be.
Speaker 3:
16:49
Well and, and, and I know with this principle you talk a lot about earning their business and what that means. What does that mean to you guys or how do you earn a company's best,
Speaker 2:
16:58
you know, earning business, earning respect, earning repeat business. A big element is, you know, hey, you know, I don't think that they respect our take on this and it's not so much a matter of that, you know, we earned their respect by, by solving their problems and, and that repeat business because again, we're only going to come and eat in a restaurant if the food was good and quick and if not, they're not going to come back. The same thing that happens in every business. Hey, if this isn't, if this isn't worth my energy, then I'm going to go to someplace
Speaker 3:
17:34
else. Yeah, and then as the element, I know you guys talked a lot about the respect. You earn their trust by respecting them and I know that with, with, with a lot of companies, the internal thing is we know we let
Speaker 2:
17:50
us do the design. You're just got, you know, but you know, you have to treat them with that respect to. Yeah, okay. They might not understand that they, they, they might not understand exactly about the creative process, but they do know what they like, what they like and what they want. We talk here today in our little world, you know, really our biggest challenge, our biggest, um, the biggest thing that we do is, is to work incredibly hard to not put the client in a position where they feel they need to be the art director. I don't know if the client feels like I have to tell you, make the logo bigger. That's kind of an industry inside joke. It's not make the logo bigger. It's what they're really saying is I don't think my brand is standing out enough and so we need to come back with, well, you know, what you're saying is that you feel the brain needs to be stronger.
Speaker 2:
18:38
Okay, let us find the right solution for making that brand stand out better because one of those solutions might be make the logo bigger or it may be positioning it in a different place. You're saying something different and so ready to show the respect. You have to be open to hearing what they're saying, but you have to be discerning enough to understand what they're really saying, what they're really. Exactly. And, and that's a lot of we're solving their problems and that's what they pay us to do. That's what they pay us to do some. Right. So then the next one, and this again, this is the common sense, you know, and love this line. Next, did we quote unquote do good work. Okay. So now talk about where that comes from. So that's, that's a gus grissom line. Um, and, and it was made, it was bouncing around back when he said it, but in the right stuff, they had a great scene with it, you know, apparently gus was not one for a lot of words and he was asked to speak at a factory that was building some of the components for the Apollo rocket that he was going to strap himself onto the nose cone and, and there, and allow somebody to blow it up underneath them.
Speaker 2:
19:44
Yep. And he was asked to speak to the crowd and, and share all of his good thoughts and warm wishes and whatnot. And when he got up to the microphone, all he said was do good work. And in those three little words, it was, look, I'm trusting my life, I'm strapping myself to this explosion is explosive device. Please, please, for the love of all goodness, do good work. Concentrate on what you're doing, let's do this as best as possible because it really is that important. Well, and it's funny because, you know, when a client comes to you, they're not strapping themselves to an explosive device, but they kind of are because this is their livelihood, this is how they're going to take care of their team and how they're going to feed their family and college and weddings and all that. So it is important and it's not as important as a life or death, right? Like you kind of have to have that approach. It, it still is. It still is pretty important stuff. They're trusting us with a lot and we have pretty big responsibilities to help them with that. So in some that almost becomes
Speaker 3:
20:48
like a rally cry for your team on Hey, do good work, good work. Exactly that. Now do you you feel like that is motivating or aspirational?
Speaker 2:
20:59
You know, I'm really, I'm really lucky. I mean I have an incredible group here that I've cultivated the. We have three offices and really believe that everybody wakes up every day walking in the door, really motivated to do their very best, you know, in this world, in an artistic endeavor. You're always striving for, you know, there's a drive there and I'm really fortunate to have a team that, that is baked into them. It is a part of who they are.
Speaker 3:
21:28
Fleet is guiding principles, become part of the DNA,
Speaker 2:
21:32
you know, living, breathing part of acs and it's a constant tweaking and reminding and, and a lot of it's hard. I mean all these first batches of principals are all kinds of client based, you know, and it is because it really is about the client, but there's that balance that, you know, it's also about us. Yeah. And so here's the segway, you kind of set it up for me. Perfect. Because the next guiding principle, it's still,
Speaker 3:
21:55
it's about the client, but it also brings in another element and that's kind of what I was hoping like to pull it up.
Speaker 2:
22:03
Yeah. And that is we choose to work in relationships that benefit both the client and the company then. And so when I first read that,
Speaker 3:
22:10
first of all, I loved it because I, I do, and this is not a popular thing to say, but it is the reality. I have found myself in more more. It's a rarity, but it does happen. I have a responsibility to the customer and I have a responsibility to my internal customer, which is my team. And so I have found that there has been occasions where I've had to fire a customer because they weren't good for the team. That. Right? Right.
Speaker 2:
22:42
And, and that's a little bit of this as well, that, you know, it's, you know, if we're, if we're in a position where we're working with a customer and it's really not benefiting the company, the footnote to this principle I'll read quickly is you know, the work we do cannot show benefit to both the client and ourselves than it is incumbent upon us to change the nature of that relationship. And that takes on a lot of forms at times. It's just restructuring it to make it beneficial for the company or the client. Right now our goal is never to fire a client, you know, that's kind of an industry thing also is that we fired the client. That's a bad way of looking at business. That is, that is the last, last, last, last, last year. Absolutely. And it's something you do,
Speaker 3:
23:25
like it's never pleasurable when I have to let a customer go.
Speaker 2:
23:32
Okay. Yeah. I heard a story about something like that a couple of years back with you and and you handled it well, but it is hard to do that
Speaker 2:
23:42
better, I believe that we look at then, you know, why is this relationship not working out and it's not the custody, you know, I can't control the customer. I can't even control my team. I can control myself and if I see something is not balanced the right way, well then it's up to me to figure out how to get that imbalance. Worst case scenario is you were going to choose not to work with somebody anymore and again, but that's because you're even asking that question it, that makes it even less frequent than you would have to end that relationship because most times what you're doing is you're either strike. What I find is I'm either striving to understand what the customer wants that we're not meeting and many times I'm like, oh, okay, I get it. Now we can meet that. And then in the rarest of occasions it's, we can't meet that and yet we can't get there from here.
Speaker 2:
24:35
I mean, the customer united I want a meal for a dollar, you know, man, I can take care of you a lot, but there's your third time and I can't do that or I want the rainbows, but it's not going to happen. Yeah, exactly. I always say I want a 32 inch waist, but, you know, we all want. I had that once I was in middle school. Pretty much. Yeah. Um, but, but it is, it is a matter of, you know, we find the solution. I need this done by Friday. Well you asked for a very large project that usually we spend, you know, eight to 12 weeks on. Let's take a look at what you have going on on Friday and what's another solution there or the designer saying, you know, they're asking for this and I don't believe it's right. You know, leds, you know, okay, well let's, let's figure out how to get this message to them in the right way.
Speaker 2:
25:21
Because the big part of this is also, you know, I don't want my team to feel like they're not a part of this process. It is about the customer and taking care of them, but it's also about us. I mean, I spend more time under this roof here at acs. Then I do practically my own roof, at least my waking hours. I mean this is important stuff and this is my family, my work family and hey, we need to have. We need to have a good environment. Yeah. Well, and there's so many things bought into that too. When you think about it, you know, and I tell even my crew, hey, you know me better than my own sisters or my eyes, you have more time with you than I spend with my mother at this. You're like, yeah, and I take that seriously because I, you know, I do.
Speaker 2:
26:06
And my job sometimes is to say, Hey, I know you want to do it this way, but the customer needs this and that. It's tough love it is. And then sometimes it's like, you know, I don't want you to be abused that way. So we'll change the nature of this relationship. Exactly. Know, because it is the importance. And again, I think that works in every business. I mean, that's, that's really what it's always about right there. So now all of this you do, why is all of this comes down to then we do this because our success lies in the strength of the relationships that we build with the client, with a vendor or with a team member, right? That it is, um, you know, our longterm success is only obtained through strong relationships and our goal is to continually strengthen those from the very beginning, from the earliest of savvy.
Speaker 2:
27:02
We have a Monday morning staff meeting for 20 years. It's the, I've been in this office at 8:30 on Monday morning at a staff meeting for. And when Russell ran it, it, it, the very first one was you've got to have the relationship with the client and that doesn't mean you go out to lunch with them and, and your buddy buddy. But you have to cultivate a healthy business relationship with them. You have to understand what their needs are. You have to be able to read them as well as our vendors as well as our teammates on how we deal with a lot of printers and every designer that comes onboard here, they all say the same thing. Oh, you know what? I got a great printer that I use. I have no doubt that you do because of all good printers are great printers. Are they willing to build a relationship with us? Because the printers that we've dealt with for the better part of 20 years and I dealt with them prior to coming here. I have printers that I've worked with for 26 years. You know, they're the ones that play the long game.
Speaker 3:
28:00
That's right. Yeah. Well, and the thing is too, like I often think, and I, and I heard this analogy somewhere, but you know, the first time that we talked on the phone, you know, we probably got a couple of sentences in and I may have had to say, I'm sorry, who is this? Right? But after years of friendship, after years of this relationship, when you call, I know, hey man, Eddie. And I'm excited to hear that voice and I think that's kind of like relationship isn't a dirty word with a vendor or were or with a team, you need results, but you have to value the relationships and I love that because you're, you're taking it. This is with the client, with our vendors and with our team members and I think what you're getting down to is when you're in a relationship with somebody, you treat them with honor and dignity and respect. So hey, it's stressful and man, you screwed up. That print job is not right. But because we're in this relationship, let's talk through it. We're gonna work through it and it changes things.
Speaker 2:
28:57
Big Stephen Covey, seven habits and whatnot. That emotional bank account, if you build that relationship, then the bumps in the road or just that. A good strong marriage as you know, bumps in the road and you benefit from I'm starting, my marriage is perfect and I want that wall. And that is all because of your wife. We know long suffering, long suffering. Trisha, God bless her, my wife as well. But yeah, that, that goes without saying with the hand handed down, we tricked them early and got in under the wire and we talked about that many times if only they knew the men that we were going to become married. Absolutely.
Speaker 3:
29:43
But, but it is a matter of, of um, yeah, definitely knowing that when the bump in the road that you're going to be there for the long haul and, and, or, you know, big Henry cloud fans while necessary endings, you know, sometimes things do run their course and that's. And that's okay. Also somewhat, it's painful, but if you, if we hold to the principles that we hold to when that change comes, at least we can feel confident that, that we tried to do the right thing every step of the West, right? Yeah. And it's ended and we're going to move on to the next endeavor and we're going to hold to the same principles again because senator just that important. Sometimes those endings are the kindness thing you can do for both. Absolutely. Man, for and for the person that you don't have to go.
Speaker 3:
30:26
We had a situation last week where as a leadership team, and we weren't gossiping, but we were reviewing all the latest people we had brought on and we look a lot. We talked last night a lot about culture and chemistry. You've got to have that within them and we knew. We knew that we had just missed it with one of our team members and we were trying to figure out, okay, we're not ready to end this, but we need to sit down and we need to talk with this person and say, hey, here's the things that we hold as very valuable to protect our culture and the next day we came in and she had given us her notice and it was so fulfilling to me because I think in a way we had built enough, strong enough guiding principle and we hadn't shared with them enough. This is what's important.
Speaker 3:
31:13
That she was smart enough to self select herself out. She realized she wasn't going to be a fit and so it was like the best necessary ending because we don't have to make it kind of made it to get. I mean, you served her well, I mean it's, it is, um, it, it is important, you know, if somebody is not the best fit, you know, once again a Dave Ramsey quote, you know, let, let, let me help you find a better place to be. But that is, that is absolutely the right way to look at it. The business is hard. One of the rough Isms as if it were easy. Everybody would be doing that and everybody would be running a web agency. Everybody would own a restaurant. If it were easy, everybody would be doing this well and the greatest, like when I walk in here and I've been amazed at the quietness of the office where everybody's just plugging the Gulen along.
Speaker 3:
32:02
Work's getting done. And I'm like, this sucks. So easy. The good leaders make things look easy, but they're not. You're not here for the crying and the gnashing of teeth. But I'm hoping we could film some of that. Maybe. So. All right, so let, let's recap. Because what I've got here, so some of the guiding principles were all of them are we take care of the client. We provide our clients with solutions to their problems. We do good work, which that's one of my favorites. It's just simple and is full of common sense, but my dad used to say it's uncommon to find common sense. Yeah, absolutely. We choose to work with in relationships that benefits both the client and the company and our success lies in the strength of the relationships that we build. Be it with the client, the client, the vendor or the team member. Exactly. So talk about are those static like do they change with time?
Speaker 2:
32:55
The, these are, these are carved in stone if you will, typed in stone. That's when we reviewed all of these and before I actually revealed them to the team after six months of, of really considering at all. This was Ed and again it was Russell saying, well, of course to all of it and ended and you know, he's, he's owned enough businesses and worked with enough to know that not everybody does know this is common sense, but you know, it definitely is not common to the world, you know. So this is what we leverage on, you know, the idea of mission statements and vision statements. Although we've written them for many clients and have gone down, you know, and, and brand promises and in all of that, do we, we, we hold onto this as what it is we're bringing to the table. We do have our own small vision statements and our and our visions that we cast, you know, what are the next 12 months going to look like five years going to look like or even with a client, it might be as a particular vision for that.
Speaker 2:
34:05
This client for the and for that project over the next 18 months is what we're going to roll out for you. But the reality of it is things do change a lot. And, and so again, we have our principles and that that's what we've tried to hold onto. And when things get difficult, this is what we want to go back to it. This is, this is our, our, our, our life preserver, if you will. This is a hard decision to make. Well we're gonna take care of the client. This is a hard decision to make, but we're going to choose to do it this way because it's incumbent upon us to, to make this decision.
Speaker 3:
34:39
Right? And, and this becomes a filter through with, through which, you know, okay, we, we've done good work and serve our clients. We've served our team. I often reflect on, and I, I was not with the company at this point, but in 1980 prior to that, everything chick filet open, it was a pot of gold. I mean they opened an anymore on. Otis was killing it and so they became honestly a little bit arrogant, a little bit too sure of themselves. And so in 81, and I think it was 80 and 81, they actually went from a chain of like 40 restaurants to 140, which is ridiculous percent for a small company and they weren't prepared for it. They didn't have the infrastructure. And what they did was get themselves in a world of hurt. They had overextended themselves financially and they opened stores and suddenly some of the stores were not doing well at all.
Speaker 3:
35:36
In fact we, you this kind of like the 20 year curse because it took us like 20 years to get out of some of those leases where we were stuck in them for 20 years. But, but in all of that struggle, they had this emergency conference with all the execs because they were afraid of running out of business. Right? And instead, what true it said is, I think what we did is we tried to get bigger before we got better. That's getting better. And they literally wrote to glorify God by being a faithful steward of what we're entrusted with and have a positive influence on those that we interact with. They, they wrote their mission, their guiding principles, um, and that was what got them through the next, a difficult time and it was a difficult time for several years.
Speaker 2:
36:23
Lot of changes had to be made. I mean, I kind of know the story for a lot of good reasons, but yeah, it's doing right is never, is never easy, but it's usually mostly.
Speaker 3:
36:34
Well, I, I, I love what you guys have done here and I think it does show at the very least there's a desire to be the servant leader, not only with your team but with your clients, which is, it's a beautiful thing when, when you have that focus on, okay, I'm not just serving my customers, I'm also serving my team and I love these principles and I really appreciate you sharing them. Absolutely. Thank you. So now I do have to ask, when, when does Ed. No, like, like when do you walk in and feel like, okay, we, we won here. Like is there a moment with a client or with a team member where you're like, okay, we, this was a high, high five moment,
Speaker 2:
37:17
you know, we've been really fortunate in any of the presentations once we've been given the okay to move forward on a project, be it a branding project or a web design and we have a very specific process of discovery and, and you know, for a lot of folks if you know, there's a lot of design comps that are done and back and forth, we don't do that. Especially with web design. We do design because we sit and listen to the client of what they actually need and we, we've had about a five year run where every design that we've done has been accepted. Would you know, hey that's great. I love it. And that moment is a whole lot of fun. That, that moment of knowing that what, what my creative directors put together, what a senior designers brought to the table is, is resonating with what the client was asking for.
Speaker 2:
38:08
You know, we did good work and we serve. This is exactly where we're exceeding what their expectation was. I thought that it was going to be good. I didn't know it was going to be this good. Yeah, hygiene I shared with you earlier. One particular client that sells a particular product and you know, horrible website and, and he, he wrung his hands a small business over the dollar that he was going to spend with us when we showed them the website. I just had no idea. I had no idea that I could look like that. Yeah. And Win business the way that I'm going to win business. And that's awesome. That's awesome. Well, Eddie and I want to add, I want to thank you for being on the show today and just for really sharing a lot about how you guys came about to being such a great corporation.
Speaker 2:
38:49
Appreciate it. So now we're gonna. Move on to our next section and this is one of my favorites. I don't know why, but it is and we called this, this or that and I'm going to put you in some situations. I'm going to tell you people were or things and I'm going to ask for which one you prefer and maybe why. Okay. So. So I'll tell you what though. I'm going to hijack this. Okay, go ahead. I'm going to hijack this. I've listened to your podcast and I've got your answers, so. No, but I've got a list for you. All right, let's go. So your answers. Elan Musk or Richard Branson. Richard Branson
Speaker 2:
39:20
just won't go too deep on that. Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. Steve Jobs. Okay. Hey died. I like Bill Gates. Jobs did really did have a massive impact. I'm staring at it. Yeah. Everything. Mag Disney or Spielberg. Disney, but not for the reasons that you would think. Spielberg did not do a great job on ready player one. And I'm heartbroken. Heartbroken. Yes. So you know, that book did not come through in the movie. Star Wars, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and definitely rock and roll. Okay. So now do you have a favorite group or no band? No, I got a lot of favorite group job there. So there's not one youtube because in my world. Yeah, no, it's uh, you know, did a lot of electric, blues and all of that, but, but I got questions for you. All right, let's go marvel or DC?
Speaker 2:
40:09
I would have to say marble. Yeah, very good. Yeah, I think they tell a better story. No two ways about it. No. Two ways about it personally. I like DC comic yet. Well, I actually liked to characters veteran, etc. I just think that they keep messing him up. The movIes are good though. The marvel movies are pretty impressive. Barbara universes is really good. Mac or pc? I'll matt. So I'm a long time pc guy. I've now switched over to mac and I've wondered why I took so long. I'm glad to hear that. Yeah, I've never worked on anything but a mac ever. My first. Less than a maximum. So, you know, star wars episode five or star wars rogue one. Okay. So my kids would say rug wine. Yeah, they really enjoyed, enjoyed it. But I, I would have to always go back to struggling to find a good one. Although I did enjoy road one better than any of the new release. Two ways about it. Think the character development to me was pretty awesome. he asked. yeah, you live in orlando, dc or universal? I'm going to go universal. Yeah, I'm going to go universal. Yeah, I could see that as well. Yeah.
Speaker 2:
41:25
king james or niv. Okay. So I actually am a n a s, b guy now. Really have evolved that change. You have. The
Speaker 3:
41:34
nib was kind of when I first became a christian that was kind of like what I cut my teeth on. Mostly out of ignorance. I didn't understand anything that king james was saying and the towels and I was like, what can we get english please, you know? And so, but no, nasb is my current favorite, but I like an ivy to very good, very good petro rez band. so we're really dating ourselves. So for anybody who's under the age of, I don't know, 45, you may have to search and I will say this is a worth. It's a good search. Listened to their music. These are two seminal bands and the christian rock movement. I would have to say raz band, although I got petrus. PreTty incredible. Yeah, there's some good music. There are two ways about it. I'll get to these next two are probably the hardest and if you don't need to, if you can't answer, I understand.
Speaker 3:
42:31
Barbecue sauce or chick fil a sauce. Okay. Kimmy, miriam to get no. So know everybody know the chick flight sauces. What? I know. I also probably know too much about the chick flay sauce, like how many calories and how much fat is packed up so I can fool myself by eating barbecue sauce and thinking it's better for me. So I'm going to go barbecue sauce and I do like, I like either a barbecue sauce with a little bit of caribbean heat or I like a little bit of a spicy kind of a Texas style. Gotcha. Got out. And how about you? Because I know. Yeah, I, yeah, I'm a carolina sauce guy. I mean I like the vinegar based one. Really. One of The best, one of the best is pickled juice, hot hot sauce like tabasco. And I'm a little bit of red pepper flake.
Speaker 3:
43:20
Like that's a, that's a killer. Simple vinegar based barbecue sauce. Yeah. So ed and I have spent too much time talking about different barbecue sauces and different restaurants. So a little scary. Yeah, it's an then the last one. Wicked or hamilton yet. So. Okay. So wicked is broadway one on one. So if, if I'm trying it wicked is the gateway drug it. If I'm trying to get you into broadway, you know I'm going to bring you to wicked because everybody likes wicked is the great story. You basically have to have the zero soul to not like wicked. So like larry, I don't know if Florida has been to a lot of broadway, I'd probably bring them to wicked just to get good and warmed up. But hamilton, first of all, I'm a history nerd, like, like no other. I don't even know how to describe how excited I get. my wife will not take me to a museum because it's like a day and a half of you better pack a lunch. Yeah. Hamilton. There are four distinct parts of that show where I have to turn my head so people don't see me crying. Hamilton hands down. Understood. Right. Happened to how you, do you have you,
Speaker 2:
44:32
uh, you know, I, I do like me some theater. Don't get me wrong here. I'm a rock and roll fan and I. Eddie has three sons, so I'm sure they don't know him as much today as my daughters do it. And um, yeah, we, we, we don't go to a lot of shows. We do like the theater. Um, But it's been a long time since I've been to a show. The last show I saw was the ford's theater, inherit the wind and it. And it was impressive. Yeah, it was a, it was a good, it was a good production and it was a great venue. If you get a chance to ever go to theater, if you come to orlando, I will try to get you in the hamilton because you're coming here and playing in. That's okay man. No, I'm good. I would love it.
Speaker 2:
45:12
Okay. So now last spinal thing, do you have a, a fan of famous quote that you love or maybe a bible scripture that kind of like you try to live with liz by. That is a real difficult one and I put you on the spot, but yeah, exactly. So there you go. You know, um, one, one that I always come back to. So many good ones out there from, from all of the writers that I read and, and obviously scrub shirt, you know, the flooding, don't worry. It is, is really a big part of my life, my family's life and has helped me over the years to kind of let go of some stuff. You know, we, you know, that. Do you know, don't worry about the repair and perdition and train. Yeah, worry about the things you worry about. You have control over which is nothing and you know, the and, and concentrate on what is good and right in jost, I Mean those two elements right there when you don't know what else to do that if you trust in god is going to protect you.
Speaker 2:
46:17
And so don't worry. And really, I mean it, don't worry. Yeah. And concentrate on what is right and justin. Good. Then chances are tomorrow morning you're going to do the same thing you did this morning, which is wake up, take a shower, put on your clothes and do something. Okay. Awesome. Well that's a great quote and I've enjoyed getting to know you in a way. Maybe I even didn't get to know you and I hope that our listeners did too. And so. And I want to thank you so much for being here today and for. Actually I want to thank us for coming up here because I loved being in dc area. I know. Thank you for making the journey and it was a great excuse to come see ed. So thanks. You're welcome.
Speaker 4:
46:59
Thank you. You for
Speaker 1:
47:00
joining us here on a survivor's journey. Remember to subscribe to the podcast and you'll hear what all a rocky wants to share with you to be good leaders. Learning to lead by serving. And if you subscribe, you'll be getting a survivor's journey moment. A quick pick me up to start your day on tuesday if you like what you hear, tell a friend like us and share a service journey on facebook. Also, we can't announce it yet, but our website's going to go into overdrive. We're gonna. Be announcing more about that in the near future, a server's journey website. It's going to be fantastic. You'll be able to share a lot of things on it. So rocky. Until next time, thanks for coming back to the studio. I'm. You're ever faithful companion, larry. That's right, larry. We are spongebob and square pants. I'm not sure if I want to be animated or not. Well, you know. Hey guys, we're all on a journey and it's all about how you serve in that role and that's why every week, every wednesday, and we're going to be sharing a server's journey. Once again, I'm rocky testify. No, I want to thank you for joining us as together we learned to be better leaders.