Dr. Randy Ross is a compelling communicator, craftsman of culture, and bestselling author of multiple books, including his latest book entitled, Relationomics: Business Powered by Relationships.
Working with brands like GE Appliances, Cox Communications, Compass Group, Chick-fil-A, Keller Williams and the Intercontinental Hotel Group, he has inspired and enabled countless people to find new passion and purpose in their work, work better together in teams and have greater influence and impact.
When people like what they do, they do it better. When people like those they do it with, they work better together. When they like the impact they are having, they find meaning and fulfillment in what they do. Dr. Ross helps them find what they really like, while building healthier relationships and pursuing a passion beyond self.
As the CEO of Remarkable and a former Chief People Officer, Dr. Randy Ross utilizes his experience to engage audiences worldwide with his keen insight and contagious humor. He is a messenger of practical wisdom and needed hope, untangling the biggest challenges facing today’s business leader, tomorrow’s workforce and the future marketplace. He lives with his wife, LuAnne, and four children in Atlanta, Georgia.
Scott MacLellan is an inspirational leader who takes a vision and makes it reality. Throughout his career in healthcare, contract dining and support services, Scott has led organizations that challenge the status quo and drive material business advantage.
Scott serves as Chief Executive Officer of TouchPoint Support Services and Morrison Living, two Compass Group companies that provide dining, nutrition and environmental services to healthcare and senior living communities across the United States. Collectively, these companies provide a unified experience across healthcare and senior living, and both have been ranked among the best places to work in healthcare.
Scott’s companies have been known for their visionary strategies. TouchPoint filled a distinct need in the market for unified hospitality services. The resulting business model was unique and was the subject of a Harvard Business School case study. Earlier, he created Foodbuy, a procurement solutions provider, to add transparency to the supply chain and enable smaller companies to reduce costs. Today, Foodbuy is the largest food service buying organization in the country.
MacLellan received a B.S. in Commerce from the University of Virginia. He’s been a prolific non-profit fundraiser and has served on numerous boards, including Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Children’s National in Washington, DC, the National Children’s Cancer Society, and the World Trade Center Atlanta. Scott is also the author of eight books, including Amanda’s Gift, a book dedicated to serving the parents of seriously ill children.
Scott and his wife live in Bluffton, South Carolina. They are proud parents of two grown children and grandparents of two very busy grandsons.
Intro: [00:00:01] Broadcasting live from the Business Radio Studios in Atlanta, it’s time for Customer Experience Radio. Brought to you by Heineck & Company, real estate advisors specialized in corporate relocation. Now here’s your host, Jill Heineck.
Jill Heineck: [00:00:19] Good morning, everyone, and welcome to this very special edition of Customer Experience Radio. I’m your host, Jill Heineck. And I’m a business owner, a real estate advisor, and customer experience enthusiast. Today, we’re gonna pivot a bit and talk about the impact a company culture has on the customer experience. My guests today are two people committed to this, working with brands like GE Appliances, Cox Communications, Compass Group, Chick-fil-A, Keller Williams Realty, and the Intercontinental Hotel Group, Dr. Randy Ross has inspired and enabled countless people to find new passion and purpose in their work, work better together in teams, and have greater influence and impact. He is a crossman of culture and bestselling author of multiple books, including his latest, Relationomics: Business Powered by Relationships. Welcome, Randy.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:01:10] Good morning, Jill.
Jill Heineck: [00:01:11] And then, joining Randy and I is Scott MacLellan, who serves as CEO of TouchPoint Support Services & Morrison Living, two Compass group companies that provide dining nutrition and environmental services to health care and senior living communities across the United States. Scott’s companies have been known for their visionary strategies, providing a unified experience across health care and senior living, and has been ranked among the best places to work in health care. So, welcome too, Scott, and to both of y’all, thank you for joining us.
Scott MacLellan: [00:01:41] Glad to be here. Thank you.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:01:41] Absolutely.
Jill Heineck: [00:01:41] Well, I want to talk a little bit about how you both have got to this point in your career. So, Randy, why you just give us a little bit of background to your journey to this point?
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:01:54] Well, I started off in the not-for-profit rail. I worked with a lot of organizations that were based upon volunteer activity. And that was a great time of my career where I had the opportunity to really gain an understanding that the most powerful force that drives people is to have a passion and a vision for something beyond themselves. And so, then, in taking that knowledge into the for-profit world, I’m able to help organizations see that monetary regeneration, their paycheck is not the big driver of human performance. It’s really when they feel like they’ve engaged, their values are consistent with the values of the organization, and they’re able to make a contribution on a level to drive a purpose follower that’s bigger than themselves.
Jill Heineck: [00:02:43] Excellent. And then, so you began as incorporate leading a team, correct?
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:02:52] Well, yeah, I did. I helped found and grow some organizations in South Florida, non-profit organizations, who work specifically in the faith-based realm, a couple of churches. And then, made a transition over into the marketplace and was able to take a lot of that same purpose-driven life orientation into the marketplace to help people find more passion in their work. One of the things, I think, that helped me make that transition, Jill, as I stepped into boardrooms and started working with teams in the marketplace was the research that Gallup did showing that so few people had a passion around their work. Very few people engaged. Less than 30% of the workforce is highly engaged, meaning that they bring enthusiasm and creativity to the work experience.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:03:43] And I just through, “That’s got to change. That’s not the way it should be.” People should enjoy what they do and wake up in the morning excited about being a part of something that they feel like is bringing value to the world. And so, I fell in love with this area of study called Axiology, which is a strain of philosophy that talks about value creation and someone’s value construct, and then began to break that down and put that into easily consumable form that organizational leaders could understand and use those principles in order to drive higher levels of engagement, employee engagement and client engagement, helping them create environments that really inspired their people to bring their best to work every day.
Jill Heineck: [00:04:32] Excellent. I love it. And Scott, give us a little bit about your journey as well.
Scott MacLellan: [00:04:37] Yeah. So, I’ve been in the marketplace about 40 years. Almost all of that has been in either acute care hospitals and/or senior care. So, I’ve had the privilege of serving in a lot of different capacities with those organizations. I’ve gone on supply chain, technology, and on the distribution side, and on the sales side, led operations, some like manufacturing, and just been privileged over the last 20 years to be with a great organization that specifically runs food service, housekeeping in hospitals and retirement centers.
Scott MacLellan: [00:05:12] My greatest diversion was probably back in June of 1999 when I left to big corporate job to start a company out of my garage, employee number one, just sitting there with nothing, not a phone, not a dollar in the bank, not a customer, nothing. And today, that organization is actually $20 billion big and serves customers all around the world. So, that was a fun but trying time.
Jill Heineck: [00:05:39] Remind us again what the name of that company is.
Scott MacLellan: [00:05:42] It’s called Foodbuy.
Jill Heineck: [00:05:44] That’s right.
Scott MacLellan: [00:05:44] And I sold it to the company I work for today.
Jill Heineck: [00:05:47] That’s fantastic.
Scott MacLellan: [00:05:48] Yeah.
Jill Heineck: [00:05:50] Well, I’m so happy to have you. So, will you tell us a little bit more about what makes the Morrison story a compelling one?
Scott MacLellan: [00:05:58] Whether you’re talking Morrison or TouchPoint, again, what we do kind of tactically is we provide food and facilities management to hospitals and senior care locations. My parent company does the same thing. So, if you’ve ever been to a Hawks game or a Falcons game, we’ve fed you. If you’ve been to the World to Coke, the Georgia World Congress Center, the Aquarium, we fed you and/or clean up after you.
Scott MacLellan: [00:06:21] The two businesses that I’m responsible for include running cafes, mostly our own but also brands you’d know like Chick-fil-A and Starbucks. And we feed patients in the room, but we also do some highly specialized things. So, we sterilize operating rooms just as an example. We transfer patients from place to place, within either a retirement center or a hospital. And we just have the privilege of caring for people at the most vulnerable points of their lives. But I think more than that, we are the largest in our industry, and we’re the only that is completely dedicated to what we do. And so, we have a lot of scale that we bring to the occasion that our customers just by themselves don’t necessarily have.
Scott MacLellan: [00:07:08] And I think even more than that is our people and the sense of purpose that they have. These are some of the most compassionate people that you would ever meet. And I’m humbled every time I get out and have the chance to visit with them.
Scott MacLellan: [00:07:22] And we have a corporate sense of purpose, but we also encourage people to live their individual sense of purpose as well. But our corporate sense of purpose for our seniors business is to be the best part of someone’s day. And if you’ve ever been in a retirement community, you know that food is very often the best part of a senior’s day, and we’re grateful to do that, but we also want to be the best part of each other’s day or vendor partner’s day. Anybody we come in contact with, we want to be the best part of their day.
Scott MacLellan: [00:07:50] On the hospital spot side, our sense of purpose is to provide compassion at every point of human contact. And if you’ve ever been in a hospital, you know how scary that can be. And we want to be a warm, friendly, hospitable part of that stay. So, if you combine the scale of being the largest, the sense of purpose, and then a highly trained team, it just becomes a very compelling offer for customers. You just don’t do this particular thing every day as their core competency.
Jill Heineck: [00:08:18] It is a special niche.
Scott MacLellan: [00:08:18] Yes.
Jill Heineck: [00:08:22] And you do have to have a special … you have to have that special something to work in that niche, I think.
Scott MacLellan: [00:08:32] Absolutely. And again, if you ever met just any one of our frontline employees, she’d be changed forever. They’re amazing people. Yeah.
Jill Heineck: [00:08:40] I can only imagine. So, Randy, what were some of the observations that you made while working with Scott and his teams where was there a passion that you saw and how their teams were coming together?
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:08:56] Yeah. Well, it’s a great question. Scott and I started working together several years ago. He asked me to come speak for him for his national conference for TouchPoint back in Indianapolis. And we had a great opportunity to kick off our relationship there and got a chance to meet the team. I think as it’s true with any organization who has a stellar culture, Jill, it starts with leadership. And I’ve known Scott now for a long time, and I can just tell you that the things that mark his leadership are authenticity and transparency.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:09:31] And for everybody in the life of the organization, your authenticity is when you’re honest with yourself about yourself. Scott is one of those level five leaders that he’s an incredibly humble guy. You can hear it in the tone of his voice. She can see it in his mannerisms. And one of the things that makes Scott so special is when he meets with people, you feel like you’re the only person in his world at that moment. He focuses on you. And that’s true whether you’re a leader that directly reports to him or you’re somebody on the frontline and he engages with as he walks through the facilities.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:10:05] So, I think authenticity, but then transparency. Scott knows what his strengths are. He knows where his weaknesses lie. He surrounds himself with good people. And so, I think that’s the bonding of a good team. And then, been able to cast a compelling vision, that’s all part of leadership. And Scott has not only been able to do that personally, but he’s also got other leaders at the top of the organization and just sort of cascades down or permeates throughout the organization that’s clear on their mission. It’s simple and it’s compelling, but it’s clear and everybody is captivated by that.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:10:40] I mean, compassion at every point of human touch. I mean I can’t think about any other mission statement that’s more clear and compelling when you’re talking about the health care realm, and being the best part of someone’s day. And everyone goes to work every day excited about making a difference in someone’s story, even if it’s just through some small act of kindness or some gesture of goodwill. And so, it starts with leadership, humility, authenticity, transparency that breeds a genuine environment. But the, there’s the mission, which is clear and compelling.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:11:17] And then, the passion. I think one of the things that Compass does really well across the board and specifically to TouchPoint & Morrison Community Living is that they help connect the individual’s passion with corporate objectives. In other words, they clearly show them the difference that they’re making. They tell stories about the difference that they’re making and it’s just magnetic. And so, those things.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:11:44] And lastly, I would just say that through Scott’s leadership, there’s an emphasis on healthy relationships. And there are so many corporate environments – you know that, Scott – that they’re out there, they’re just toxic. And people will wake up in the morning, and they want to roll over, slap the alarm and go back. They drag themselves out of bed because they really don’t want to engage in the day. But when you create an environment where people play well in the sandbox together and they have a depth of relationships with one another, it makes all the difference in the world. People are excited to get up to see what the day will hold and how they can make a positive difference in other people’s lives. And I think that’s what Scott’s been able to create. It’s not just only Scott, but he’s been able to inspire that throughout the ranks.
Jill Heineck: [00:12:31] Right. And I think I want to talk about that a little bit further, Scott, on when you are empowering, and inspiring your team, and growing this amazing culture of passion, and they are excited about what they’re doing, they’re appreciated, where are you seeing that impact with the customer, the end users?
Scott MacLellan: [00:12:58] Well, I think, again, if you’re caring for someone when they’re at a very vulnerable state, kind of the end user, or the patient, or the resident just feels loved and cared for. And we track the metrics of what our patient experience looks like and our resident experience is like. And so, we know where that culture is working and where it’s not. So, when you’re talking about the patient or the resident, but I think when you talk about our clients, they’re in this business to serve others as well, and they have this incredible heart. And so, when someone comes in from the outside, one of their early concerns is, are you going to care for our patients, our residents, and our people as much as we do? And we spend a lot of time talking about our culture, and we spend a lot of time sharing other clients with them, so that they can find out that culture is authentic or not.
Scott MacLellan: [00:13:48] And so, I think what ultimately happens is when we come into a location, people ultimately feel like these people get it, they’re a thought partner, they’re a caring partner, and they’re going to be able to do what they said they were going to do. And so, it’s just very heartwarming to get messages from our clients to say, they’re often telling stories about what our people have done to care for their customers. And that’s when you know you got it. And one of the greatest compliments, quite frankly, a customer can give me is we don’t even think of you as Morrison or TouchPoint. We just think of you as part of our family. That’s when I know that we really, really have done a great job, that our brand is invisible and their brand is forward.
Jill Heineck: [00:14:32] That’s fantastic. So, when we’re talking about the employee experience, because that’s what we’re talking about here, the culture or the employee experience that is then translated to deliver the deliverables, where you’re caring for the customer or the patient. So, where are a couple of things that you feel like you’re doing well when it comes to caring for your teams and getting them feeling excited and passionate?
Scott MacLellan: [00:15:02] So, we spend a great deal of time every year focused on associate engagement in terms of surveying our team, both live with third parties. Randy has been a big part of that over the years and done a stellar job to help kind of ferret out things that may not be working. But we built our entire key performance indicators, structure, our compensation structure around whether or not you’re serving your associates. And we’ve had leaders in our business, quite frankly, who delivered great results but also delivered the toxic culture that Randy was talking about. And what you have to do if you’re truly going to be authentic about it is even if someone’s driving results numbers-wise but the culture is bad, you ultimately have to pull that person from the organization.
Scott MacLellan: [00:15:51] And so, we we take the associate experience very, very seriously. And today, it’s kind of an overused expression but we’ve lived it for the past 20 years, which is an employee isn’t going to treat their customer any better than we treat them. And so, really, our primary customers are our own team, and allowing them to succeed and thrive because if they feel they can bring their full selves to work and kind of fully engage, and to Randy’s point get out of bed excited to come in and serve, then our patients and our residents are going to be cared for.
Jill Heineck: [00:16:33] That’s right. So, when you’re talking to a client who’s getting ready to sign a contract to work with you, is there anything in particular that you share with them about the team that would be potentially serving that account that would excite this customer about working with you? So, I don’t know if I’m making myself clear, but what I’m thinking is like, are there certain things that you say to a customer that you already have teams in mind that are going to serve that customer? And then, what are those one, two or three things that you share with the customer before the service even begins?
Scott MacLellan: [00:17:11] Yeah. So, we spend a great deal of time before the very first day that we serve. And it’s typically months, maybe even more than a year from the time we first engage a client until we’re actually in running their operations. And really, when you’re selling to a client, there are two primary things you’re trying to sell. One is the culture and the strength of the national organization. But that is only so good as the local team that’s there. And I think that’s the point that you’re making.
Scott MacLellan: [00:17:39] And so, we will very often bring in either one, or two, or three candidates and say, “You pick. You pick, and here’s what they’ve delivered, here’s what they’ve done, and you tell us.” In fact, we have a very large customer out west, we’re doing that very thing right now where we’re going through an interview with 10 customers. So, it’s a Zoom call with 10 customers and one candidate at a time, and I’m going through. But we think that relationship, that onsite delivery is that important.
Jill Heineck: [00:18:13] Excellent, yeah. And that’s exactly what … I don’t think you see a lot of companies doing that on the frontend. I think you get a lot of assigned teams once the account is signed, and then they kind of just backpedal if something isn’t working. But I love the proactiveness of that, and I think that makes such a huge difference and an impact. And then, obviously, impacts the business long term because you keep that customer in that account for a long time, which is the-
Scott MacLellan: [00:18:41] The customer isn’t working. And we do have customers where just the fit is not right. But if we’re 30, 60, 90 days in, and we’re already missing the mark, we’re not so much looking at the team that’s on site, we’re looking at the team that was looking at that customer to start with that we missed what that fit might be.
Jill Heineck: [00:19:01] Right.
Scott MacLellan: [00:19:01] Yeah.
Jill Heineck: [00:19:02] So, Randy. So, let’s talk a little bit about the compelling culture aspect. And I know that you talk a lot in your books about the client relationship and the healthy relationships that we’re building internally. So, how would you talk about coaching a team to create a better culture, so that they work better together? I know we talked about passionate people to want to come to work, but can you give a few specifics?
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:19:33] Yeah. Well, Scott just touched on probably one of the most important ones, and that’s making sure that you take the time upfront to make sure that the relational connectivity is strong. And I think a lot of organizations, they rush into the hiring process. There’s a formula that we use safe. If you want remarkable results, there are two things that you have to do well. You have to hire remarkable people, and then you have to craft a remarkable culture.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:20:02] And a lot of organizations, quite frankly, Jill, they just don’t take the time to vet people in the process to make sure they’re bringing the best people on board or, to Scott’s point, they spend months making sure that the chemistry of the team is right, and they’ve got the right leaders in the right places, and they’re working well together. And I think that when you rush into a hiring process, and you don’t vet and get the absolute top tier of the talent pool that you’re drawing from, that is a critical mistake. And that’s where many organizations find themselves just spinning their wheels or they’re on a revolving door of hiring.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:20:37] And so, one of the things that we’ve been able bring to the table is a very insightful tool that helps organizations in the hiring process to make sure that the people that they’re selecting are people whose values are strong. And we are able to ascertain that they’ve got the emotional strengths and ability to perform at a high level over the long haul. There’s sustainability there. So, that’s one of the first things. I think you have to make sure that your hiring processes are solid, that you take the time to get the right people because everybody would say if you get the people part right, you make so many other things easy because you don’t have to light a fire underneath people. You just have to fan the flame within them.
Jill Heineck: [00:21:18] That’s right.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:21:19] So, if you miss it on the hiring piece, then I can tell you as a leader, everything else gets hard. You will perpetually be spinning your wheels, trying to get enough traction to move the organization forward. And so, I think that’s the first piece, and Scott alluded to that, getting the hiring piece right.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:21:40] And the second piece is getting the culture right. And that has to do with healthy relationships because we know that intuitively, we know through experience, we’ve watched organizations that people and organizations thrive in relationally rich environments. Now, we could spend a lot of time talking about what creates a relationally rich environment, but it’s a place where people serve one another. It’s not a place that’s driven by ego. And you see so much of that in the politics of corporate circles where people both self-promote and they self-protect rather than serving because it’s all about self-interest. But I think leadership has to go beyond self-interest in order to be effective.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:22:28] And so, good leadership rallies people to a higher cause. And when you create this environment where people bring more to the table on a daily basis than they take away, it’s such a simple concept, but if you bring more to the table on a daily basis than you take away, at the end of the day, there’s a surplus. And that surplus can be shared by everybody in the organization who help to create that value. When we’re not careful, when we fall back to our natural propensity, which tends to be selfishness, unfortunately for all of us, and when you have a team of people who are all rushing to the table to take as much off of the table for themselves as they can, then it’s not very long until there’s nothing left on the table. When there’s nothing left on the table, the game is over, go home.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:23:16] So, one of the things that Scott has done really well in the organization is he’s created this environment where people have this passion to lead a positive way in their world. And when they do that, they lay their head on their pillow at night and they feel good about what they’ve been a part of having created. And I think that’s a big key to the success of any organization, and that’s the key to a good culture. Are people excited about working there? Do they feel like they’re serving a greater cause themselves? Are they making a positive difference in the world? And when you start making a positive difference in the world, you feel good, the organization grows, and people, they will pay top dollar for those things they deem bring true value to life. So, when you bring more value than you take, I don’t care if it’s in real estate or it’s in health care, people will appreciate that and they will be drawn to that.
Jill Heineck: [00:24:13] That’s absolutely right. I know that. And I know Randy, you’re familiar with Gary Keller of Keller Williams, and a lot of our regional groups like Bob Kilinski, et cetera, where Gary’s always preached to us about hiring slow and firing fast. And that has a lot to do with what we’ve just discussed and that you want to take your time to find the right fit for your teams, and notice that when that isn’t working any longer that you are taking action quickly, so that it doesn’t poison the rest of the culture or the rest of the team action, right?
Jill Heineck: [00:24:47] So, that resonates really strongly with me because he talks about building our own little groups under the Keller Williams umbrella and really taking the time, which is painful for most real estate agents to take the time to hire slowly because we don’t have typically an HR department who screens through all of this and we don’t have all the channels. But the point being, it’s the same concept to really take your time to find the right people that fit in your company culture.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:25:19] And I think, here’s what you have to think about it, Jill, your culture is either strengthened or diminished by every single hire that you make. And when you begin to think about it that way, then it puts a whole different perspective on the hiring process.
Jill Heineck: [00:25:32] It really, really does it because one bad apple messes up the whole apple cart, right?
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:25:38] Absolutely.
Jill Heineck: [00:25:38] So, yeah. So, I absolutely believe in that. And so, I think I’m curious to know if either of you have had any strange or interesting situations that could be examples of what to do, or what not to do, or what is worked well, or what hasn’t worked well, in particular, anything that kind of stands out in your mind that you would want to share with our listeners?
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:26:07] Maybe this is not as specific as you’re asking for, but it’s interesting what I’m seeing take place right now. We’re in a very strange time in our nation’s history. It’s the first global crisis that the millennials have really ever seen, and I’ve seen people respond to this in two different ways. I’m seeing some people who are purpose-driven and very passionate about what they do, and they’re continuing to move about their daily lives with a sense of stability and peace that seems to anchor them. And they’re more intentional about building relationships. They’re more intent on serving well.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:26:49] That’s on the one side. But then, on the other side, I’ve seen this response to the pandemic and the economic crisis that we’re going through where there are people who are panicking, there’s anxiety, there’s fear, there’s frustration. And so, I’m seeing this frenetic pace. People are doing a thousand things and they’re staying busy, but they’re not making any progress. And I see this especially in social media. There’s a flurry. People want to connect, they want to broaden their network of influence, which is kind of interesting because the reality is everybody who’s trying to connect right now is kind of there’s a proposition coming. It feels [crosstalk]-
Jill Heineck: [00:27:28] Right.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:27:28] … Every social media invitation. This is not the time, I don’t think, to broaden your network. This is the time you need to go deep. That’s is what you need to begin with, to lean into the healthy relationships that you’ve built in the past. And the sad thing is, I think a lot of people, through this whole pandemic, have been forced to face themselves, and it missed the fact that the relationships they built across the years are extremely shallow. And so, I think it’s a scary thing if you don’t like your own company and you’re forced to face yourself. And that’s what I’ve seen with a lot of people. And there’s a frenetic activity that’s not impactful.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:28:15] And so, what I’m trying to urge people to do is one mentor of mine told me many years ago, actually, we’re going through the recession of 2008-2009., he said, “Never raise a crisis. A crisis is an opportunity for change.” And what comes to mind, I don’t know if you remember the Allstate commercial that was brilliant, had Dennis Haysbert looking out over downtown Los Angeles, and he says this, he says, “How will we look back on the day as the Great Recession or the recession that made us great?” I love that. And that’s a question we need to bring back today and ask ourselves all the time, how do we look back on this? Is this the great pandemic or the pandemic that made us great?”
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:29:02] And so one of the things I’m really focused on right now is trying to bring a message into the marketplace of hope because people just need hope. Fear, anxiety, depression, it all abounds. And people need to have hope that tomorrow can be better, and they can have a say over how their life is going to impact the outcome. And so, when you lean into that, that’s the kind of strength that a good culture provides. It provides a sense of stability, and we’re all in this together.
Jill Heineck: [00:29:38] Yes. So, that brings me to a question for you, Scott. So, what kinds of things are you doing for your team to make them feel stable and secure in their jobs?
Scott MacLellan: [00:29:52] Yeah. So, first of all, just the wisdom you just heard from Randy is what we’ve had the privilege of getting for years in our business, and also having the privilege of reading a manuscript of his new book, and I just can’t wait for that to come out for the rest of the world to see it and hear it. And if you haven’t read Relationomics, Remarkable, or his upcoming book, I really want to encourage you to do that. And I would also encourage you to get Randy in to provide that kind of wisdom to your organization because Randyt has helped build our culture over the years. And I think it’s one of the best cultures in the industry. And Randy has been a big part of that. So, I just didn’t want to lose that wisdom that just came across there.
Scott MacLellan: [00:30:35] But for us, COVID has been an exceptional time, and I don’t mean that in all just positive ways. It has been something that has dramatically changed who we are because you can only imagine, we are in the senior care industry, in the hospital industry, so everything you’re hearing on the news is what our people are living each and every day. And we’ve got one of two scenarios, either we’re totally overrun – like what you saw in New York, we have business in New York – or everybody emptied out for the COVID crisis that never came in that particular community. So, we’re either overrun or our people are not having as much to do as they’ve always done. So, we’re having to meet those unique needs differently. I mean, the people who are exhausted, how can we help, what resources can we bring in, how can we complement what you’re doing without getting in the way, and the people who are not having that kind of environment.
Scott MacLellan: [00:31:39] And again, great wisdom for Randy, it’s how do you deepen relationships there both with your own people and with your clients as well as you’re going through that. And what we’ve gratefully done throughout all of this is we have just ramped up our communication, ramped up direction, ramped up how we’re dealing with the crisis, ramped up the storytelling around what’s happening in the crisis. And we’re fortunate in that while many businesses have had to shut down, we’re actually having, for the most part, the opposite experience. And people are connecting in like they never have. This is their chance to serve, their chance to live their purpose, their chance to be heroes, and they are heroes. They’re walking into a life or death situation and doing it with a smile and a great attitude. And so, the more other people can hear what’s happening and be inspired by what’s happening, the more you connect and make people feel stable and secure. But providing direction, and clarity, and transparency during a time like this is more important than ever.
Jill Heineck: [00:32:45] And you’re talking about internal communications.
Scott MacLellan: [00:32:48] Internal and external. Helping our clients understand what we’re doing as well. But we have in our organizations about 25,000 associates spread across about 47 states. And so, you can feel isolated in that kind of environment. And so, we’ve just had to ramp it up, lots of videos, lots of phone calls because we’re not allowed to go in in-person at this particular time.
Jill Heineck: [00:33:12] Wow! I mean, that is, I think what would be a crisis communication protocol in a situation like this. I mean, any kind of challenge, I guess, challenge communication protocol, when the employees want to know what’s happening. It’s kind of like you’re on a plane, and they’re not telling you why you keep circling the airport, right? So, that is the most frustrating thing. So, I think that is, number one, the best thing you can do is to communicate or over communicate in a situation like that. So, that’s just going to keep people engaged and feel like they are included. It’s an inclusive feeling and that they’re important enough to know these details.
Jill Heineck: [00:33:12] So, Randy, can you just share with our listeners again how you define remarkable? And I was listening to one of your videos or watching one of your videos and I love how you explain remarkable. I mean, you can look it up in the dictionary, but how are we applying it here?
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:34:18] Yeah. Well, it’s a dear word, obviously for us, because it’s the title of the book, but it’s also the name of our organization. And remarkable just simply means that you provide a service or a product, and you do it in such a way that you exceed all expectations. You blow people away. You go the second mile in terms of serving people. You do something to make their story better. And in doing so, what you do is you leave them with this irrepressible desire to talk about you and tell other people about the positive impact that you’ve made in their lives. And by its very definition, when other people are telling your story, when other people are remarking about the difference that you’ve made in their lives, then you have become remarkable.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:35:05] But remarkable also means that you mark someone’s life for the good. In other words, you leave an indelible impression upon them that’s not easily erased. And so, on a personal and relational basis, we’re talking about the culture of an organization, a remarkable culture that is a place that is marked by three things. We call it the Remarkable Trilogy. And it’s a place where people believe the best in one another, they want the best for one another, and consequently, they expect the best from one another. So, there’s that first element of trust because nothing happens without high levels of trust, especially when we’re talking leadership. The second point is compassion and connection. We talked about that, compassion at every point of human touch. And the third point is accountability. A lot of organizations, they lean into accountability to get results before they’ve built a high level of trust and before they’ve established deep levels of connection. And that’s a real challenge.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:36:08] So, it’s got to flow in that order. Believe the best in one another, trust; want the best for one another, compassion; and then expecting the best from one another because that’s when you really began to see teams grow and flourish. When we coach each other up and we call each other out to just a higher level of not only performance but a higher level of living. And so, that’s what remarkable means to us.
Jill Heineck: [00:36:33] Scott, have your teams been able to implement some of these lessons from Randy?
Scott MacLellan: [00:36:40] Yeah. So, Randy, I’d say it again, just had a huge impact on our organization, and he’s done so kind of corporately and individually as well. And we’ve had Randy speak to our national meetings, all our leaders coming together, hundreds of people, and he’s always had a four-day session, the most highly rated speaker there. And so, he’s reinforcing the culture that we want to build, but kind of more importantly is that Randy will be in small groups having a chance to more directly impact people and help them kind of understand what a remarkable culture is, how to implement what behaviors look like that. Randy has helped us learn how to hire right because we e hire thousands of people every year, and that can get kind of become but of a work when it’s, as we discussed, the most important thing that we do. And so, Randy’s had a huge impact on both my companies and people. Still to this day, we’ll talk about things that Randy might have done five, six, seven years ago. And that lesson has stuck with them that long. So, we’ve absolutely had the chance to benefit from everything Randy’s to offer.
Jill Heineck: [00:37:53] Suffice it to say say that Randy is remarkable.
Scott MacLellan: [00:37:56] He’s remarkable.
Jill Heineck: [00:37:59] He’s leaving indelible mark on your teams. That is the point, right?
Scott MacLellan: [00:38:04] That is correct, yeah. And that trilogy that Randy just referenced, that’s powerful. And it’s very often to say you have a great culture, but when you hold it up against a standard like that – and I just hold it up against my own actions, and behaviors, and thoughts – it really challenges you to decide whether you’re doing that or not. And I love those kind of convicting questions and thoughts that force you to think differently and act differently.
Jill Heineck: [00:38:34] Well, as Randy said earlier, this kind of time where we are in today forces you to look internally and be realistic about what maybe what needed to be changed for many, many months or many years. And now, you’re being forced to look internally and make those changes. And I think when you have the tools that Randy provided your teams, you have that library of tools that you can look back on and say, “Okay. Well, we’re in a time where we probably need to go ahead and exercise that.” And I think a lot of companies are missing that. I think a lot of companies are going to continue to miss the mark and wonder why they go away after this time, potentially, because of the wrong formula happening inside the culture, right?
Scott MacLellan: [00:39:26] That’s right.
Jill Heineck: [00:39:26] So, let’s say, Randy, why don’t you have a couple pieces of actionable advice or tips that you might share with our listeners this morning on creating a great culture or whatever you want to share with us, we’ll be happy to have?
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:39:48] I appreciate that. And this has been great. And Scott, thanks you for being so gracious about your comments. But I think during this period of time, the thing that we all need to do is do the hard work of introspection. This is a time for personal growth and development. I think that we’ve slowed down, the world has pushed the pause button. We’re sort of, in some ways off the hamster wheel, and in some ways, we’re running harder than we ever have before. There’s a scrambling to keep up with this change. There are so many industries that are necessary, and they’re exhausted, quite frankly, and frustrated with the current situation. So, the only way that you can keep people engaged is to help them grow personally. And we’ve got to bring a better self to the table every single day.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:40:34] When you talk about culture, culture starts with you. Well, it’s the disposition. What’s the mindset? How are you dealing with your own challenges on a daily basis? Because the affect that you bring into the work experience is going to have an impact on other people. So, I think that probably, during this time, more so than ever before, we are forced to confront ourselves. You’ve seen probably on social media the guy who’s being asked during this pandemic, “Would you (A), like to be able to be confined in your home with your wife and kids; or (B)?” and he goes, “B, B, B, B, B. I’ll take B.” And it’s funny, but it’s true because all of our relationships are being tested right now.
Jill Heineck: [00:41:21] That’s right.
Dr. Randy Ross : [00:41:22] And we’re being forced to have to look at ourselves and go, “Wait a minute. How does this apply to me as a leader? How does this apply to me as a business owner? How does this apply to me as a spouse? How does this apply to me as a parent? What am I bringing to the table? What’s the self that I have to contribute?” And I think the best thing for anybody to do during a period of time like this is to seek feedback on how you can grow personally and make strides to look deep within to make sure that you’re bringing the very best self to the table that you can bring because that’s where all good leadership begins.
Jill Heineck: [00:41:55] That’s right. And how about you, Scott, any tips are words of wisdom for leaders like yourself who are working through this pandemic and trying to really keep and inspire, motivate your teams to bring their best selves every day?
Scott MacLellan: [00:42:11] So, maybe a cliche but, again, it’s one of those standards that you don’t always necessarily actually live up to, and that’s just to listen. Listen to your clients, listen to your people and listen deeply. I think so often, when we come to leadership, we have an agenda that we’re trying to push. When we’re selling the client, the sale, very often, is our goal. But if you turn that around to actually want to deliver value, what Randy’s been talking about this whole time, and listen deeply to what people are asking for, whether it’s your own people or your customers, I think you think differently, act differently, and then you succeed differently.
Scott MacLellan: [00:42:53] We have the privilege of leading the largest client in the world for our organization, and when they’re asked by other people, “My goodness, how did they win the business?” what he says, “They actually listen to us. They actually cared more about what we were trying to accomplish than what they could get out of the deal.” And so, I think that’s equally as true for your people. When you actually listen to what is important to them, you connect at a very deeper level. So, it’s a cliche, but I don’t think we always actually do it even though we might say we’re doing it.
Jill Heineck: [00:43:28] I appreciate that so much. And I really appreciate both of you and your time and insights, especially in a time like this when we’re called out, Zoomed out, videoed out, and taken the time to carve it out for us. We really appreciate it. And I really want to thank everybody for listening. I’m proud to share the show with you. And these stories to me, it shows how companies are prioritizing the customer experience, as well as the employee experience as a legit business strategy. It’s not just about the numbers, it’s not just about how many accounts can we get. Reminding us that no matter what business you’re in – health care, real estate, consulting, the entertainment – the customer experience is always the heart of the business. And really appreciate your time today. Thank you so much.
Scott MacLellan: [00:44:19] Thank you. Thank you..
About Your Host
Jill Heineck is a leading authority on corporate relocations, and is highly sought after for her real estate industry acumen and business insights. As a published author, frequent panelist and keynote speaker, Jill shares her experience and perceptions with people from around the globe.
Jill is a founding partner of Keller Williams Southeast, established in 1999, and the founder and managing partner of Heineck & Co. Her real estate practice specializes in corporate relocations, individual relocations, luxury residential, and commercial properties. Jill’s analytical approach to problem-solving, along with her expert negotiation skills and sophisticated marketing, deliver superior results to her clients. Her winning strategies and tenacious client advocacy have earned her a reputation for excellence among Atlanta’s top producers.
While Jill has received many accolades throughout her career, she is most gratified by the personal testimonials and referrals she receives from her clients. Jill’s unwavering commitment to the customer experience, and her focus on the unique needs of each client, serve as the foundation of her success.
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