Episode 30: The Evolution of the Small Giants Community Part 2

Posted by Hamsa Daher on Mar 9, 2021 10:27:32 AM

Hamsa Daher, Executive Director of Small Giants Community, talks with Steve and Rich about how she got involved with the Small Giants Community, the core values of the community and how people are connected within the community.

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Episode with guest: Hamsa Daher

Executive Director of the Small Giants Community

(This episode was recorded in February of 2021.)


Key Episode Take-Aways:

1. The Small Giants Community leaders are typically humble, open, transparent, and servant leaders. (click to jump to this topic below)  They are typically we say, they're humble, they're open, they're transparent, and they're servant leaders. So, we especially look at that when we're connecting with Small Giant leaders and wanting to sort of grow them and develop them.

2. The different offerings in the Small Giants Community to help people connect. (click to jump to this topic below)  We've gotten sort of clear about our offerings in the last couple of years, just so we can do the best work that you know, in order to support these leaders. So, there's lots of thought leadership. So just as you all do, you know, there's podcasts and we have blog and eBooks and then virtual events.

3. There is a different way to run your business where the only focus is not money, or a product or service. (click to jump to this topic below)  I think probably the biggest thing is knowing that there is a different way to run your business, where it's not just about money, or a product or service, right. There's a, there's a way where you can be really thoughtful, really intentional, you really start out with the people, you really focus on the culture.  


Continue scrolling to read the full episode transcription.

Announcer 0:04

Each year for the last 29 years, a community of game changers have gathered together from around the world to learn, share, and celebrate the principles and practices of the Great Game of Business at the world's largest conference on open-book management. This year we are back in Dallas baby! Stronger than ever because let's face it, we are better together. Join us virtually or in person in doubt September 8 through 10th. For the Great Game of Business Conference, visit openbookconference.com for more information.

Steve Baker 0:59

Today's podcast is part two on the Small Giants Community. This episode is an interview with Small Giants’ Executive Director, Hamsa Daher.

Announcer 1:08

Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the "Change the Game" Podcast with a special guest and Hamsa Daher. In this episode Hamsa speaks with Rich and Steve about how she got involved with Small Giants, outlines the core values and pillars of the Small Giants Community and how people are connected within this community. Here's your hosts Rich Armstrong and Steve Baker.

Steve Baker 1:31

Welcome to the "Change the Game" Podcast where we are changing the game by doing business differently and highlighting the stories of capitalism at its best. I'm Steve Baker and with me as always is Rich Armstrong, president of the Great Game of Business and co-author of our new book, Get in the Game: How To Create Rapid Financial Results And Lasting Cultural Change. Good morning. Rich, how are you?

Rich Armstrong 1:54

Hey, good morning, Steve. Really good. How are you?

Steve Baker 1:57

Really good, probably because we have a really special guest today. Now, I'm going to tell you that Hamsa and I have known each other for a few years now. Hamsa Daher is the executive director of the Small Giants Community, a peer group of purpose driven business leaders. And I got to say, my experience with Hamsa has been great both from you know, providing content but also as a partner and trying to promote one another's movements because they're so adjacent. A little bit of background on Hamsa. Since moving to the US from Iraq in 91. She earned her bachelor's degree from Wayne State University, and an MBA from Walsh College. Her experience has spanned higher education, the tech industry, and now business and leadership with the Small Giants Community. She loves to spend time with her family and cooking and I love this one playing Scrabble. I mean, come on what's not to love, get those points and exploring cities, basically, as a local, so Hamsa, how are you?

Hamsa Daher 2:57

I'm doing great. It's so good to be with you guys. Thank you so much for having me.

Steve Baker 3:01

Well, it's so great to see you again. We listen, we, we did a previous episode, talking to Paul Spiegelman, and we learned a little bit about the Small Giants Community and how it came to life. I'm curious if you could share with our audience, kind of how did you first get involved?

Hamsa Daher 3:18

Yeah, sure. So, I was working for a tech company here in Metro Detroit. And it was actually my first introduction to sort of purpose and culture and values, they were a purpose driven organization, they had actually been involved with Small Giants even prior to starting there. And I just fell in love with the concept of running business this way in this philosophy. And after four years of being there, and a little bit of the change there with their culture and values, I realized I really have to be aligned to that in order to, you know, be productive and engaged and be passionate. So, I ended up kind of going in between gigs and searching for my next role. And that's when my dear friend and mentor Rob Dube, who, of course, is the co-founder of imageOne, which happens to be a Great Game of Business company, said you should check out Small Giants. So, he introduced me to Paul, I went out to Dallas. So that was five years ago, and the rest is history. So that's how I came to Small Giants.

Steve Baker 4:11

That's awesome. And Rob is definitely a connector.

Rich Armstrong 4:14

Yes. Well, hi Hamsa. So glad you could join us today. You know, I'm curious, you know, Small Giants Community, you know, helps connect, you know, like minded purpose driven leaders, and is based on some specific core values or pillars. And whether you identify as a small giant or not, I was I was, I think the listeners would be really interesting to understand or may relate to these pillars. Could you talk a little bit more about those pillars?

Hamsa Daher 4:41

Sure. Yeah. So, there's about, there's six pillars that were described in the book that Bo obviously wrote many years ago. And then it's also what we use when we you know, have conversations with Small Giants all the time. So, the first one is around purpose, vision and values and the idea that Small Giant companies not only sort of articulate their purpose and vision values, but that they're truly practicing them day in and day out. So, you see them, you know, they're not just sort of words on the wall, they're, they're using hiring and attracting talent and even selecting customers and, and just really ensuring that everyone is aligned, and that they're foundational. And we say non-negotiable. So that's sort of the first step. And the other piece is leadership. And so, the idea that Small Giant leaders are really sort of sure of who they are and what they want out of business.

1. The Small Giants Community leaders typically are humble, open, transparent, and servant leaders.

They are typically we say, they're humble, they're open, they're transparent, and they're servant leaders. So, we especially look at that when we're connecting with Small Giant leaders and wanting to sort of grow them and develop them. The other piece is culture. And this is sort of my favorite one. Because small giant cultures are ones that we say they care for people in the totality of their lives. So, you know, the way they look at the people that are in their organizations are not just someone that comes in works with you 9-5 and goes home. They're people, they're humans, and so you care for them in every aspect. And whether that be with you in the organization, or they even have to part ways you have to part ways with them, you're caring for them, everything is mindful, intentional, and thoughtful. Let's see, the other one is going to hit close to home, which is financial. So, the idea that Small Giant companies, you know, they care about the financial transparency, they care about literacy around the financials, they truly want to create a culture of owners. So, whether that's literal or figurative, the idea is that if you want to be a financially sound organization, you really want to kind of share this ownership with others in the organization want to educate around it. So, everybody can act like an owner and can make the right decisions within the organization. And let's see, another one is around community. So, the idea that you are deeply rooted in the communities where you practice business, your community can be, you know, the extension of your employees, it could be stakeholders, it could be customers. And the same goes with relationships, which is the last one, which is really every relationship you have, again, whether it be the person you're doing business with, or organizations you're dealing with, you know, all these relationships are important. And they're all again, aligned with your values and purpose. So those are the ways that we sort of describe these organizations.

Steve Baker 7:17

That's great. And you can read more about Small Giants origin in the original book, Small Giants by Bo Burlingham. And the book is really founded on the idea of that, you have to make a conscious choice, do you want to be great, but not necessarily big? And also, at smallgiants.org. So Hamsa, what types of organizations and leaders are you seeing attracted to and participating in the Small Giants Community?

Hamsa Daher 7:43

Yeah, sure. Let's see. So, you know, when it comes to companies, we see that we sort of see all industries. So, manufacturing, technology, professional services, food industry, you name it. So, we see it, we see all of it marketing, we actually recently did a survey at the end of 2020. And what we found that probably about 50, to 60%, of our audience, in terms of company size is somewhere between 20 to 50 million in revenue, those are established companies, 50 employees, or more. And then in terms of leaders, we kind of sort of serve two audiences. There's the founder and CEO, which was the audience that we initially started with. But then what we got really excited by is the idea that a lot of small giant founders and business owners are, you know, they don't want to be the only ones shouldering the responsibility of culture and values, they want to share that with everyone in the organization. So, we expanded the audience to serve what we say what we call emerging leaders. So, that could be operators in the business that could be leadership, team members up and coming stars. And so those are sort of the two audiences that we see. And I think sort of at the foundation of it again, the leaders are lifelong learners, you know, again, they want to they want to learn they want to share this philosophy with others in the organization. And they want to continue to develop other leaders within the organization. So, that's sort of the two audiences that that we see and work with.

Rich Armstrong 9:03

Very interesting. I mean, you are just you are literally trying to build a community, right. A community of leaders that that are like minded, certainly like-minded like hearted. I'm curious, how do you go about doing that? How do you connect people? What kind of things do you provide in your community to help people connect and learn from each other?

Hamsa Daher 9:22

Yeah, yeah, that's, um, so there's a few different ways.

2. The different offerings in the Small Giants Community to help people connect.

And we've gotten sort of clear about our offerings in the last couple of years, just so we can do the best work that you know, in order to support these leaders. So, there's lots of thought leadership. So just as you all do, you know, there's podcasts and we have blog and eBooks and then virtual events. So, we've been doing those for a long time. So, we've been hanging out on zoom for a lot longer than 2020. We'd say, hey, you want to connect on zoom? You'd be like, what's, what's that? And so now, of course, everybody knows what zoom is about. And so, we do virtual events. So once a month, we gather people from the community and whether it be roundtable discussions or workshops are a fireside chat, but the idea is to bring people together and talk about what's top of mind for these for these leaders, what's happening in this Small Giant companies, you know, what are the sort of opportunities and challenges so, so thought leadership is one and, and people can consume that and share with others, then we also have a, an annual conference. So that's a couple of days of learning, developing and, and really connecting on a deep level. And so, you know, back in the days to be in person, we're going to be virtual this year in April. But that's a great way to learn and, you know, connect with each other on a deep level. And then we have sort of two formal ways we say, to engage with the community, there's a mentorship program. So that's one-on-one mentorship, very much from a practitioner sort of standpoint. So, supporting leaders, as they, you know, are infusing a purpose driven culture within their organization. And then we have something called the Leadership Academy, which is kind of the most comprehensive way to engage with the community, which is a one-year development program, could be great for business owners, wonderful for emerging leaders. And it's a leadership development. So, we're, you know, developing the individual, but we're also giving them this philosophy from a practical perspective. So, they can take that back to their organization, implement and see change. So, our hope is that there are many leaders at every level of the organization learning this philosophy and creating sustainable organizations. So that's sort of our you know, our favorite way to engage individuals is through the Leadership Academy.

Steve Baker 11:32

Awesome. And speaking of the different events that you do your annual summit is coming up this spring. Obviously, we're all working with the pandemic and the different ways that the world has been trained on zoom now, which I think is pretty cool. So, you can do a lot of different things, then then maybe we could have a few years ago, but what are some of the learning opportunities that are available for folks who attend?

Hamsa Daher 11:57

Yeah, yeah. So, there's we're trying to do, you know, some things that are unique, just because I know, people are tired of being in front of computers all day, and all of that, but there will be many opportunities to connect with each other in smaller groups and larger groups. But you know, again, bringing that connection, because we know that's really important to Small Giants and leaders, like minded leaders, so lots of opportunities to connect. And then there's a couple of different formats that we're using at this summit. So, we will have the roundtable format. And essentially, that allows people to come together and pitch their challenges. So, what's happening in their business net right now around specific topics and themes, and then allow the rest of the individuals who are attending to share, you know, how they're maybe approaching that challenge or topic and then sharing best practices and resources around that. So, just a couple of examples, we're going to have a couple of roundtables on diversity, equity, and inclusion. So how organizations are, you know, approaching that topic? What are they doing? How do they deal with unconscious bias, etc.? We are going to have a couple on virtual and remote teams. So, how do you continue to engage teams as they can do to work remotely? Or do you sort of deal with the idea that some are going to go back to the office while other stay remote? So, this hybrid model. So, there will be a couple of roundtables around that. So, those are a couple opportunities that will also have some interactive workshops, and those where you'll be able, again, to engage with each other and then go into smaller zoom breakouts, so you can have a more intimate conversation, then come back and share out. So, a lot of focus on sharing. And then we're also going to have two tracks. So, one is geared towards founders and CEOs and the second towards emerging leaders. And the content will be curated specifically to address those two audiences. So those are some of the opportunities and then usually when, when the whole thing is sort of done, we'll circle back with lots of resources and, you know, articles tools that were mentioned. And so, there's always a follow up with sort of more that people can dig into and learn after the conference.

Rich Armstrong 13:54

Awesome. It sounds like it is a bit of a membership organization, how do people get involved with Small Giants? Or what are some of the ways that they can engage with you?

Hamsa Daher 14:04

Yeah, so you know, what we typically a lot of times, what we'll do is we'll have a connection just like this. Well, we'll get on zoom, we'll get to meet them, we'll understand their goals, and what are they trying to do in their organization, who are they trying to develop? And again, so they may, you know, they may kind of just slowly start to engage with our content and resources to see if this is something that they want to bring back to the organization and or where they're at right now in terms of their work they're doing with regards to this philosophy and where they want to go, and then we sort of help them and map out that journey for them. The summit is always a great way to be introduced. So, obviously, that's around the corner, and that could be a great opportunity. And then of course, they'll deeper levels would be the mentorship or the training program for those that want to again, dig deeper, train others. So those would be the other ways, but it always starts out we say with a virtual cup of coffee over zoom, and then and then we take it from there.

Rich Armstrong 14:54

Perfect, perfect. Yeah, well, it must be really exciting for you to have the opportunity to visit was really great leaders and some leaders that really care about their people in their organizations and building their culture. I just curious, you know, what's been the biggest impact for you personally, of being involved with this community? Mm hmm.

Hamsa Daher 15:13

Mm hmm, yeah. Um, gosh so much. And.

3. There is a different way to run your business where the only focus is not money, or a product or service.

I think probably the biggest thing is knowing that there is a different way to run your business, where it's not just about money, or a product or service, right. There's a, there's a way where you can be really thoughtful, really intentional, you really start out with the people, you really focus on the culture. And that could allow you to make money, you can make a lot of money, you can scale you can grow. But there's, there's a like methodology to it. And so, I think, you know, when I think when I first started, I got that sort of in my, in my heart and my gut, but my mind was blown when I would have conversation with Small Giants, and then we would go visit them. And then we would learn about their practices. And it was like, Oh, my gosh, this is so incredible, why isn't everybody running their business this way? And so, you know, I think that has been the most impactful. And then the second is, the leaders that we work with, and talk with and deal with on a daily basis. It's incredible. And the how much passion and how much compassion and caring they have for their people. And again, that that's where they're coming from and leading their organizations. So, there's something really, you know, incredible about that. So, so we look forward to every conversation that we have, every conversation, like these people, this is they want to do good in the world. And oftentimes, they want to know how to do it, versus us trying to convert them. So that's been really, for me, personally, just really wonderful. And it's what gets me excited and passionate, every day to try to do more of this, to get it into more organizations and to hopefully get more organizations to scale and grow in this way.

Rich Armstrong 16:50

Very cool.

Steve Baker 16:51

Aren't we lucky to be able to work with some of the coolest companies on the planet and we get paid for it? It is amazing. Is there one story that sticks out to you, one company example or an individual or something? Because we always have our favorites, you know, where you go, oh my gosh, that was incredible. And you tell that story over and over. Is there anything like that, that you've run into in your, in your experience at Small Giants?

Hamsa Daher 17:16

Um, there are so many, but what I will say is because I start out by mentioning Rob Dube and imageOne, because that was my connection to Small Giants. So, what I'll share, and we covered them in a series called stepping up. So last year, you know, pandemic hits, it's chaos, there's so much negativity and bad news. And then we decided, well, Small Giants are doing some really incredible things that share the goodness of what's happening during this year. So, we started series called stepping up. And it was about just companies and leaders who are doing really incredible things, despite all the challenges. And so, I'll share with image one how they came about. So, they, you know, like, I think overnight, something like 60 to 70% of their revenue was gone. Right to manage printing company, people have to be in the office to print, nobody was working in office. So there goes their business. And what was really, really incredible is that, you know, the leadership came together, the whole team met, and they said, look, here's where we're at, here are the numbers, here's the situation, this is the reality. We want to we want to keep everybody; we care for you all, we want to make sure we get through this and so like help us get through this. And something like over the next two to three weeks, you know, the team literally overnight, you know, day in and day out, just sat together, figured it out and decided that as a team, they're going to take like something like a 50% pay cut, they're going to pull through, they're going to figure it out. And over the next few months. That's exactly what happens. So, they were able to keep basically almost everyone, they were able to like figure out a whole new, you know, line of offering that they could, you know, that could like, and they could innovate and, and they just got super creative. And it was because they were open and honest and transparent with the team. Of course, it helped that they were financially transparent, and they can share all the numbers. But that was just incredible. It could have been so easy to be like, okay, 60% a team out, we can save our money, we can be profitable, you know, balance sheets look good, you know, but that's not what they did. They just came together. And it was just so unbelievable. And you know, they're still there. They're plowing through it; they're figuring it out. And the team is incredibly loyal, that they were all part of that, that decision making. So that's just one example. There's so many more. So, how awesome is that? Yeah. How awesome is that?

Steve Baker 19:24

That's the best. That's the solution right there is that we can get together and figure something out without expecting someone to bail us out. It's all the answers are all here. Let's figure this thing out. That's awesome.

Hamsa Daher 19:37

Do it together. Yeah.

Steve Baker 19:38

That's great. Well, Hamsa, we always like to kind of wrap up our interviews by asking this question, what's the question we aren't asking you? What should we be asking you?

Hamsa Daher 19:50

Yeah, um, let's see. Well, um, I talked about a virtual cup of coffee. So, if somebody wants to know how to have a virtual cup of coffee with our team. They could email us at Hello@smallgiants.org. And we would love to connect with them, we would love to learn from them, and also just support them in their purpose driven journey. We know it's not an easy one, it's a great one. And you can see wonderful results. But it's not, it's not an easy one. So, we'd love to connect with them and support them. So, again, they can email us at Hello@smallgiants.org. And we would love to help them out.

Steve Baker 20:25

That's awesome. Well, I got to tell you, it's great to have you on the podcast. And we are, you know, having seen this from the beginning, I think Rich and I can both say that we've seen your impact personally on the Small Giants Community and really helping to grow the organization. So, thank you for being here with us. And thanks for the work that you're doing.

Hamsa Daher 20:44

Thank you. Thank you, guys. It's really nice to be here. It's wonderful to connect with you. And we appreciate all the synergies and alignment that we have with you all. So, thank you so much.

Steve Baker 20:54

You bet. Well, let's keep the conversation going. send your questions, your stories, your best practices, ideas, your challenges, and your victories. Remember, you're not alone. This is capitalism at its best. Thanks for joining us and we'll see you next time.

Announcer 21:09

The "Change the Game" Podcast is produced by the Great Game of Business. To learn more, visit greatgame.com.

Topics: Company Culture, Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy, Leadership, Transparency, engagement

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Hosted by Rich Armstrong and Steve Baker the Change the Game podcast highlights true life stories of organizations influencing positive change by doing business differently. They’re teaching people how business works and closing the gap between the haves and have-nots. It’s capitalism at its best. Inside each episode, you’ll discover stories of entrepreneurs who are Changing the Game.

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