Darin Bridges, VP of Business Development & Coaching, joins Steve and Rich to discuss the three things that businesses are currently struggling with. Talent, supply chain, and the ability to make money in this environment.
Episode with guest: Darin Bridges
Executive VP Business Development & Coaching at The Great Game of Business
(This episode was recorded in May of 2021.)
Key Episode Take-Aways:
1. Finding people is one problem that businesses have, but keeping the people already working for the company is also a challenge. (click to jump to this topic below) It's not just finding new people that are qualified for the job, that can keep up with demand. It's keeping the people that they have right now..
2. Don't let emotions lead you to buy parts based on what you missed; buy what you need. (click to jump to this topic below) We have a stock out. So, you tend not just buy based upon what you need or based upon what demand you've missed or back orders, you tend to over buy. And you tend to get very emotional about your purchasing practices, then when there's scarcity, and you hear all this news, you tend to increase it that much more.
3. Planning can help you understand what the market is saying and help you to identify the economic forecast. (click to jump to this topic below) I'm harping on high involvement planning. But when I was at SRC, you know, we did it twice a year, every year, it's a big deal for us. And we're always looking at the market indicators in the economic forecast. And we're reaching out and talking to our customers to understand what the markets saying.
Continue scrolling to read the full episode transcription.
Sponsor Ad 0:03
The "Change the Game" Podcast is sponsored by Prairie Capital Advisors, helping businesses think forward. For more information, visit prairiecap.com/ggob That's prairiecap.com/ggob.
Welcome to the "Change the Game" Podcast, where we share stories of open-book management and highlight capitalism at its best. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the "Change the Game" Podcast with special guests Darin Bridges. In this episode, Steve, Rich and Darin discuss the three P's businesses are struggling with today, people, parts and profit. Here's your hosts, Rich Armstrong and Steve Baker.
Steve Baker 0:52
Welcome to the "Change the Game" Podcast where we are changing The Game by doing business differently. We're highlighting stories of capitalism at its best. I'm Steve Baker and with me 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. Hello Rich!
Rich Armstrong 01:15
Hello Steve, how are you?
Steve Baker 01:17
Well, I'm exceptional today because we have a very special guest. And frankly, if I was any better, I'd be twins. Today we've got vice-president of coaching at the Great Game of Business, Mr. Darin Bridges, or as we call him in the hallways around here Mr. Michelle Bridges. Darin has an MBA from Drury University. And he's actually taught operations and marketing at both Drury University and Missouri State University. He's been an entrepreneur an executive a professor, a longtime veteran of SRC. And prior to joining us at Great Game Darin spent 10 years as Vice-President of Business Development at SRC heavy duty the original living lab of the SRC family and helped to grow it from $25 million in sales. $214 million in sales. So, Darin, welcome, and thanks for joining us. Can you tell us a little bit more about your background?
Darin Bridges 2:15
Sure. Thanks, Steve. Thanks, Rich. You know, it's my involvement with Great Game is interesting. I was a pre-med student at Jury, which is a local university. And I got basically shamed into going to listen to some business guy speak at one night, and I did not want to go sit in the back of the room with my arms crossed and rolling my eyes couldn't wait to get out of there. And by the time this get gentlemen finished, I changed my major into business. I grew up on doing deliveries milk deliveries on a milk truck with my father. And I used to hear him talk about business and management in them and seeing what he was going through. And I thought, Man, there's no way I'm gonna be spending my life doing what he does. But Jack Stack was the speaker that day or that evening. And he came in with a written speech. And I remember he tore it in half, and just started talking to us about how business can be done differently. And this was back in the early days back in the late 80s. When I got to hear him. And he you know, he talked about how you can treat employees and how they can be treated with an owner mentality. Now you can share with them and how you can value them and respect what their knowledge, and quite frankly changed everything for me.
Steve Baker 3:46
So that's awesome. From pre-med to business. I love that journey. I love that story. Let's get to it. We want to talk about three things that are keeping everybody up at night. Right now, our listeners are thinking about talent supply chain and the ability to make money in this environment. Let's call them the three P's people, parts and profit. So, if we start with people, everybody knows consumer spending is up vaccination rates are climbing, lockdown restrictions are easing. There's so much stimulus in the economy. And there are more job openings now than before the pandemic hit. It's crazy. I know right now at SRC, we have over 100 openings. So, Darin, as you talk to clients, they're in just about every industry every day, you're working with them. are we feeling shortages across all industries or just specific ones?
Darin Bridges 4:38
There are some pockets that are feeling worse than others. skilled labor specifically seems to be our big issue and they are preventing them from growing. It's preventing them from filling orders and some companies have backlogs that go throughout the whole year, because they just simply can't get the people to produce what they need.
Rich Armstrong 5:07
Darin another thing that's, you know, in terms of people and just finding those skilled workers, there's been a lot of unemployment, fraud has become a big deal, right? I just actually just heard this morning that Montana is considering opting out of the federal funds, so that they can keep the cost of those federal unemployment benefits down so they can get their people back to work. I think it is a really big problem. And we're seeing that in a lot of industries. But people are setting up with interview appointments is what I understand is called ghosting, right interview appointments, just so you can get their three interviews in or their three applications in and get the employment, but they actually never show up for the interview. And I know we've struggled with that at SRC. No, we've seen that in our area. Are you hearing that from the field as well? Have you seen that term being used? Or that that issue being a problem?
Darin Bridges 6:07
Yeah, it's happening everywhere. And you can't deny that it's not happening. But I still believe there are some people out there genuinely looking for work, who want to work and want to work for a company. And it's trying to siphon through, you know, who are the real contenders? And who are those just checking a box? So, they can get that check from the government?
Rich Armstrong 6:36
Yeah, it's, I know here at SRC has just been crazy. And how do we manage that? I heard recently that we talked to Jeff City, which is our capital, right? And understanding what options do we have? I guess Missouri also has just put together or you can actually make a claim, or basically how do they put it, they tie it to a report the employee work referrals, refusal, so they can actually list it down and submit to the state that these people actually applied, we offered them a job and they refuse the job. So how are you know, trying to try to make sure that there's an accountability behind that process? And it's just I'm mentioning that only because it's really getting ugly, it's getting so hard to get the right kind of people in there. And but I don't understand, you know, I'm not sure how much that spills over to all the industries. And what you're saying is you're hearing some of that through your, your client interviews.
Darin Bridges 7:43
Yeah, this week, we had a workshop with a group that lets call them advisors, or skilled labor, and, you know, such and basically what they provide is their brain power. And they're in serious threat.
1. Finding people is one problem that businesses have, but keeping the people already working for the company is also a challenge.
It's not just finding new people that are qualified for the job, that can keep up with demand. It's keeping the people that they have right now. Quick story Rich, it's kind of interesting. We had a construction company, and they're desperately trying to differentiate themselves in the market. You know, you've seen with our clients, I think 80% of our clients last year, were construction companies because of the boom, and yep, so everybody in construction up against this. And to dentists, in an effort to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. They asked for a logo, that brands them as a Great Game practitioner, and in the data supports that in, I think, in 2025 75% of the workforce is going to be millennials. That group expects transparency. That group bind's identity in themselves by who they work for. They want to work for something bigger than themselves, then it's not just the paycheck. They're not like their parents were, you know, just wanting to find a job. And quite frankly, they have that ability to choose right now. And so, they the biggest thing that's missing, though, is tying it all together. We're an employer and can show Yeah, we are about something bigger. We are about more than a paycheck. Not only are we going to be transparent, we're going to teach you what the financials mean and how you fit into that and be part of something that you would be proud of. And it was kind of exciting to see. So now we're providing it to our clients. And we'll see what kind of success they have.
Steve Baker 9:55
No, I really like to hear that because it's we can't talk about people without talking about engagement and anybody that hears about engagement has heard the Gallup numbers right that over the last 10 years, they've averaged somewhere between 30 and 36% of American workers that are actually engaged in the job they do. You know, our team found another study, the achievers workforce Institute, this in 52% of people in a job right now are looking for another job. And, you know, people don't feel as connected with their company, they say that 42% of people think their company culture has diminished since the start of the pandemic. And with that combination. I don't know, Darin, are you hearing things from, you know, clients and people in the Great Game community of how they're working to retain employees they already have?
Darin Bridges 10:45
Yeah, you know, it's funny, I think a lot of them immediately go to the idea of money, financial rewards, and don't get me wrong, that does, you know, make somewhat of an impact. But if you believe in the Maslow's hierarchy of needs, once you get past a certain point, it's got to be deeper than that. And quite frankly, you're really skilled people. And I'm not talking educated people I'm talking about, you've got a guy outside out there building engines, and he's really good at it takes a lot of pride in building engines, that is a skilled labor. It's again, tying that in, but it can't be lip service, you can buy them lunches, and you can do a lot of those kind of fun and entertaining things. But if they feel like they are part of something, and if they are truly seeing their impact on that business, and they are engaging with a team, or peers that they respect, that they enjoy working around, that's a lethal combination. And we have had multiple companies, you know, first of all, during the pandemic, that said, we wouldn't have made it without Great Game. And fortunately, of all, our all-stars, only one company had a layoff. But they admitted to us, you know, look, we were probably going to have that layoff, anyhow was a publishing company, and they've had two people laid off I believe the rest had zero. And now they're saying we are seeing greater retention. Now, it's still something to have to keep in the forefront of the mind to have the very delivered about, but it's having those regular meetings, going over how the company is performing, how they can help. But then also talking about, look, if we succeed, we all succeed in some little way. And I think in a lot of ways, Steve, what I hear from our clients, it's not just the money, it is that feeling of winning. You know, they're on a winning team, there's plenty of heartache in this world, word is word, but when they feel like they're all part of something that they're, you know, making a difference. And they're actually winning. That's a big psychological effect.
Steve Baker 13:01
Mm hmm. Absolutely.
Rich Armstrong 13:04
Yeah, and you know Darin? Just, you know, echo what you're talking about in terms of having people enjoy the people that are around them the work environments around them I think it was just the other night, you and I were talking to, you know, an employee that's within SRC. And every question we would ask him about why he was considering leaving came back to I want to enjoy the people that I'm around and that, and there's a challenge. And the reason I want to set this up is that there was a challenge of that when you're trying to add people, right, and you're taking anybody you can get in your organization, to help you manage, you know, the current demand that you have. Sometimes you're bringing in people that don't necessarily fit your culture, and it's hard to balance that and it's just a shame and how do you maintain that? And there's no secret and in this is the question I kind of have for you Darin is what you're seeing around with clients is that there's no secret that paying a lot of money is really the first method a lot of people are doing signing bonuses, right. I heard the other day. And we've done some of this with some of our divisions that if you had variable pay, like a bonus program, and let's say you're at 15% bonus payout is a typical benefit. They're saying we'll just take 5% and pay it right up front. And now you have a 10% bonus just to just incentivize people to come on. And of course, there's referral bonuses and that sort of thing. But with mega employers like Amazon and Walmart, hitting some of our small towns and fierce competitors on with all the ideas of small, you know, sign on bonuses, how can small business attract people and still maintain profitability, sustain profitability?
Darin Bridges 14:54
I think that's what's risky is you see it with so many different things. This is you see scarcity, so you tend to overreact. And so, we're driving up the wages, once you get a wage up there, I've heard I've heard recently target's paying 15 bucks an hour starting now, once you get that up, they're trying to compete with that, man, you can't go back. And then what you're working at is, in order to stay profitable, you may have to make some really tough decisions on the amount of people, you still may need those people, you know, those man hours to accomplish what's needed for the business. It's a different world, I mean, SRC used to be able to track and tons of the boys, we had a surplus of people that want to work for us just based on our reputation. And now you're seeing SRC, because you have the Amazons and so many of these big box places coming into our area. They're doing billboards, they're doing TV commercials, they're offering sign on bonuses, they're offering referral bonuses, they're even putting signs out in boys' yards. But I will say the best innocence from personal experience when I had my company, Michelle and I had a distribution company, by far the best employees I ever found came from referrals. And I think a lot of it has to do with being very deliberate. So we go, we heard a lot of companies really hone in their sales pitch. They hone in on how do you go out and talk about the products and services we provide? What if they did the same thing with Why do you want to come work for our company? What if they hone that and then help their employees be able to spread that word, and talk to their friends and talk to their peer groups? What if you're speaking at different organizations, you know, that can tie into the type of work that you do. And I think that deliberate approach can really help with those referrals, but you got to set your employees up. One other thing Rich, that SRC has been doing is making sure people understand the total benefits of working for a company that goes beyond just simply the pay rate. And that is what the benefits mean, what kind of benefits are offered. Some companies I know like SRC offers tuition reimbursement, and you know, making sure what your 401k match and making sure all those things are tied into that. The other thing I think, is really important, is talk about the culture, being able to be very specific and deliberate about what kind of culture that we have. You know, Netflix has written a lot about us recently in two different books. And what I love about Netflix's HR principles are that, you know, essentially, you've got to earn the right to work here, you may get hired, but we don't just keep everyone, it's based on who you are. There's a certain amount of pride that comes into that. I know, it sounds almost counter intuitive, that you would challenge your employees when you're trying to keep, you know, keep a retention high. But there's a certain amount of pride in them, that I'm part of the winning team. And being very blunt about the type of culture you have now, small businesses, you know, that like I had, we really played upon the fact that, yeah, we're small company. But there's benefits in that if you're a young person coming up in business, what better way to learn all the aspects of business versus being pigeonholed inside one department. And we'd be in the type of exposure we can get, you just got to play to your strengths. But I do think there's something valuable as a business owner, or maybe getting your team is simply asking a question, why do you work here? Why do you stay? Why promote ourselves?
Steve Baker 19:01
That is awesome. Because sometimes you forget about it. When you're working at an SRC company or a Great Game company you do. You are challenged to be out of your comfort zone and to grow and become better. And I remember when Rich was interviewing me years ago, I went to a friend of mine who was a business owner and they knew Jack, and I said, hey, what do you think of SRC? You know I'm looking at maybe working over there. And they said, well, Steve, I don't know if you'd like it. It's a performance environment. Maybe I wasn't cut out for it. So, I must have slipped through the cracks. I don't know.
Darin Bridges 19:40
How did that affect you though? Did that challenge you?
Steve Baker 19:42
Oh, yeah. What do you mean, of course, I could do this? But it also scared the shit out of me.
Darin Bridges 19:48
Isn't that cool? And then think about the alternative if you would have said Well, I don't want to be held accountable. That's not the kind of employee you want. I love that. That's a great story.
Steve Baker 20:00
Makes you makes you so much more competitive in the marketplace. Because you're you know, as Jack says, whoever has the dominant or the best workforce, the smartest most engaged workforce will be the dominant company in the next 10 years. So that's very cool. I'm glad you brought it up.
Darin Bridges 20:16
You know, I'll tell you one other thing that I found with some of our clients that's attracting employees, we do high involvement planning. And that's all about painting that vision, where are you guys where you want to go as a company? What do you want to accomplish? And how are you going to get there? Think about having that conversation with someone who may be interested in your company versus just okay, here's what's your pay rate. Here's the hours. Here's a break room, you know, when here's the job responsibilities. Think about that for a second what you taught, here's our vision. Here's where we're going. Here's how we've been performing. And here's what we're going to do to get there. And here's number of opportunities in front of us. That's a whole different conversation. Is it true? I heard a rumor that isn't true that you were found by our president to come work a Great Game by beating out a 12-year-old girl in a trivia game.
Steve Baker 21:08
Yes, I knew all the words to the SpongeBob theme song, and I think Rich was very impressed by that. I credit my children with helping me get this job.
Rich Armstrong 21:21
If I remember right, Darin, I think we are in a big labor crunch that time. I just tried to get some people in here.
Steve Baker 21:30
Yeah, when I first met Rich, he said, you know what my interview process is? And then he took my pulse.
Darin Bridges 21:39
I just want to know. Well, did you do a victory dance when you beat her?
Steve Baker 21:44
I crushed her. It was merciless.
Darin Bridges 21:51
Right, don't sing it.
Rich Armstrong 21:52
I knew he had a competitive drive in him there. And after I saw that it didn't matter who was in front of him
Steve Baker 21:59
Roll them over. Alright. Though, this is why people listen to this podcast. We talked about people let's shift gears and go to another one of the P's. Let's talk about parts or supply chain. Darin, you're an expert in manufacturing. And you know the importance of a healthy supply chain right now raw material parts shortages, it's all having a really big impact on trying to keep up with orders. Is there a hidden danger? In the current state of supply chain? You know, like we've heard this idea of a false economy from Jack, could you talk a little bit about that? You know, what is the lurking thing in the darkness that's gonna get us.
Darin Bridges 22:46
And I hate that word expert. But I am so passionate about manufacturing operations. So, if I geek out a little bit, forgive me, there's a term that we used to use in person called the whiplash effect. So you go, you have a stock out, let's say when we're distribution, or head a distribution company,
2. Sharing the "why" with employees will help them understand why different guidelines or incentives are set in place.
we have a stock out. So, you tend not just buy based upon what you need or based upon what demand you've missed or back orders, you tend to over buy. And you tend to get very emotional about your purchasing practices, then when there's scarcity, and you hear all this news, you tend to increase it that much more. And there is a real danger in this that, you know, there's is definitely a tremendous growth in consumer buying. And money, cash is blowing free, and people are getting excited. And vaccines are hitting people getting out. And so, there is this is definite increase. But you got to keep your eyes on, you know, and so from a purchasing standpoint, talking to some of my friends are still over at the SRC divisions. They're working with their suppliers directly. They're placing orders with the understanding, we may push out due dates, but we're not going to cancel our orders to allow some flexibility, but the tie up that helps them tie up their production, so they know you know this is legit. I know that when I worked for a large corporation of Fortune 500 Corporation, and we used to supply Winchester and Remington all the shotgun shell ones. And the key to our success. We didn't have any beginning was gaining their trust to share with us their back they would call them MRP reports. What they were producing, but that relationship was key that data was key. How can you work with your suppliers? How can you work with your customers to have that data? So that your theme at SRC Division I was with we hired a lady full time and sounded crazy but all she did was continually looked at our OEM We call them devils distribution centers. And by part number, what that what their stock on hand was, by part number knew from the OEM, what their safety stock levels should be, match our open orders against that, and then be able to predict their demand. That's all she really did. But that information was valuable for leveling out our production and scheduling because, quite frankly, remanufacturing is very manual intensive. And there's not a lot of automation. So, trying to level out those schedules. Because the other issue with this is you can end up running a tremendous amount of overtime. And all employees like in the beginning, if they do start to fatigue, but that relationship man, it's we have some SRC companies that are doing mini games, we have multiple SRC companies that are doing many games right now, with their customers, in order to do like product launches with the customer. So, the mini game, not only does the SRC people get rewarded, so do the customers, people get rewarded based on product launches based on time deliveries, they're even working with suppliers. In fact, we have one division that's giving away a car for a mini game. And it was a customer who's given it, but they will realize that if we can get this amount of engines this amount of time, the price of that car, which during the automotive industry, so it's not nearly as the expenses of going out and buying one.
Steve Baker 26:32
He says 97 years ago, we were right,
Darin Bridges 26:35
I doubt that I hope not it's a fraction of it. But it makes a big statement, man think about you know, if you're an employee, and you have a chance to win a car like that,
Rich Armstrong 26:47
Steve Baker 26:49
My takeaway from that is that I heard you talk a lot about the relationship with your suppliers. And then the other part was you took it on proactively to actually they the supplier isn't the in the customer. So, you're looking at both sides, you're saying I am going to predict your need even better than you can. For us. That's pretty powerful.
Darin Bridges 27:12
And the other thing is totally. And we talked a little bit about changing the conversation, getting beyond just a service conversation, it totally changes the conversation that companies are having with each other. They are talking about board forecasting; they are talking about deeper issues than just pay amount of parts. You know, how come you guys can't ship me on time, they're talking about the problems and how to solve these problems together? versus just thinking and asking, you know, we're not hitting the shipment on time.
Rich Armstrong 27:45
Yeah, I think I mean, there, I don't know if it can be said enough. I really love what you're saying. Because people are making a lot of those decisions. Without that conversation, and they're making it on fear or making it on, you know, misconceptions and that sort of thing. I know one of our sister companies that are saying that the dealership inventory level is the highest they've seen in years. But they're making those decisions in isolation, right, just to save, you know, just because they and I just love that point you're making Darin is that find a way to connect your supply chain together from end to end on the communication, how we can work through this together, not just trying to cover each other's you know, back and man, that's great advice for people?
Darin Bridges 28:30
3. It is important to know what goals and rewards motivate the people in your company.
I'm harping on high involvement planning. But when I was at SRC, you know, we did it twice a year, every year, it's a big deal for us. And we're always looking at the market indicators in the economic forecast. And we're reaching out and talking to our customers to understand what the markets saying. But if you think about that supply chain, and where you're at, in that, the closer you can get to the customer, the better. And so, for instance, the best obviously, we sell OEMs. But the more we can talk to the fleets, to the dealerships, to the people on the front lines, the better we were at predicting what was really going to happen. And, you know, I attribute that to the high involvement planning process. That was not something that came naturally for us. But it does make a tremendous impact. And then you can share a lot of that information with those people in the middle that may not even be as knowledgeable and also now your resource to you know, you're coming in with information that they can do their job better.
Rich Armstrong 29:35
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. let's shift gears just a little bit further, Darin, we just held our semiannual coaching summit last week and part of that summit. Your agenda focused on referral programs and one of our Great Game coaches Dave Skelton, who has a knack for referrals and shared in really facilitated the whole group on what running effective referral programs? What were some of the key takeaways that you came from that conference? You saw from that conversation there and maybe how business leaders and other industries and things like that could utilize some of these ideas.
Darin Bridges 30:16
You bet, you know, I think I'm gonna sound kind of like a broken record, I swear this wasn't intended, but what Dave's processes, a lot of coaches that go in, they help out, and they may have some type of relationship, you know, usually a close relationship with the CEO, Dave takes it a step further, he's extremely deliberate. He talks to that CEO or that President every week, even if it's for 10-15 minutes, just to give them an update. And he said, what happens is usually they keep him on the phone for quite a bit longer. And they get to know each other personally, we develop some relationship with them, they, you know, they go beyond just client coach to friends. He also was deliberate about setting up a relationship with the person who's the head of sales, the person who's the head of HR, and they have similar type of conversations with them, maybe not as often, maybe not weekly, maybe it's at least you know, every other week or once a month, but he's very deliberate in the way that he does that process. And in return, they start to realize what kind of an impact he's making, how much he cares how knowledgeable he is, and how can they not refer. A lot of the other coaches also do a tremendous amount of referrals in but again, they seek them out. And they know exactly, the ask of what they're asking for. And they also realize that they get about equal as much as they give. So when you show up with a client, and you're asking them, you know, if you know of anyone that might be interested, being a little more specific, if you know someone who's in this industry, are you part of an organization already, like a peer group, or a Vistage group or something like that, that you find would benefit from this, and then making it easy on providing them the book or the business card or the link? That all they don't have to do a tremendous amount of work. But they have that path in place. It's very, it's proactive, they've thought it through ahead of time, and in something somewhat strategic in the way they go about it. It's not just an afterthought. Does that answer your question? Rich.
Rich Armstrong 32:36
Yeah, I think so I think very much. So, I think it's just another way of what you can you never really can underestimate the power of referrals. And I've always felt like that measurement also is a great measurement on the quality. And I think that's what you're pointing out is that, that it's an ultimate measure of just how well you are servicing the client. One of the things I do remember from the conversation is the balance of your serving verse asking for the referral, right is that don't get in the trap of asking too quick until you've really served them and provided the necessary value back to them.
Darin Bridges 33:17
You know, it's one story. Mr. Scholten, working with a very large company in Australia, this year, and this company hired Great Game. For one specific reason was to increase the overall value of the company, it was beyond just profiting beyond just you know, the culture and employee retention, they want to increase the value of their company. And they were quite skeptical in the beginning. They blew it out of the water. I mean, just absolutely blew it out of the water. And that comes into the quality. That one guy was responsible for getting Dave, five new clients, one guy, that is the price of referral, don't get me wrong, you can go out and you can do all the marketing, you can do all those kinds of things to bring in new clients. But when you've got a trusted advisor telling you Hey, there's this guy named Dave Scholten, he's a coach for the green game business, you need to talk to him. He made a tremendous impact on my business. Here's how you can reach him that that's, you know, that bypasses a lot of that grunt work that you have to do on the front end. Yeah. Golden.
Steve Baker 34:32
It is referrals are amazing. So that's one strategy to if we're talking about profits, you know, how am I going to drive profitability? We'll, I don't think you can do better than a referral for good business. Do you think let's go to pricing? Do you think that business owner should be raising prices right now?
Darin Bridges 34:52
Steve Baker 34:54
But how do you really feel?
Darin Bridges 34:56
Absolutely. And you know, we always had kind of a saying at SRC. When the economy goes down, it's not time to be as price increases, you got to do a lot of economies going up. Everybody knows costs are going up, this is where it comes the whole idea of engaging your boys in the business in the finances and taking ownership, what they do is so important, because costs are creeping up everywhere, there's surcharges. I mean, you've we've heard horror stories about the price of lumber, you've got to stay on top of it. And one man, one owner, one business leader can't do it all. How do you get your people to proactively constantly looking at that, and then realizing, okay, we take we keep the We kept our costs as low as we can? Now we've got to go after the price increase, we must protect our margins so that we can continue to fund the growth, funded people fund the retention and all these other things. And that I truly believe is one of the biggest benefits that we're seeing right now with a lot of our clients is that they have that insight, they have that view of what's going on with their costs, and what's going on with work prices need to be increased. And again, I know it's a difficult conversation. But think about it, if you develop that type of relationship with your clients. And you can give them a logical explanation. You get that again, it's that conversation of going deeper, here's what we're dealing with. Most businesspeople are going to understand that. And then working with them on the time that that's a key, just nobody likes surprises you and that's where that forward forecasting forward thinking comes in, don't surprise it, give them some lead time, so they can expect it and get it passed through their price increases as well. But it's interesting. I know, you know, last year at our conference, we had a gentleman that came on, and we talked about inflation. And at that time, we hadn't seen inflation in you know, 20 plus years. It is you're hearing a lot more talk about inflation right now. And you've got to stay on top of it.
Rich Armstrong 37:09
So, Darren, we always like to wrap up these episodes by asking this question. So, what question should we be asking you? What do we miss?
Darin Bridges 37:18
Oh, no, Rich. So, I gave the beginning of the story about how I got acquainted with Jack Stack, Great Game, changed my career, I worked around, I'm from Springfield, Missouri I was around Great Game, it seemed like all the time, not directly, but with companies or, you know, be hearing about what was going on. We had our company, and I tried to give them a Great Game on my own and created the greatest entitlement program you've ever seen. I valued my people, and I was paying them some type of a game share each quarter, but I was not overly transparent with our financials, because quite frankly, I was heavily leveraged, it was a startup company. I was not teaching them how we made money because I just wanted to sell ship. Like, I didn't want to tie up their time learning how we made money. And so, you know, they were getting checks from me, but they didn't know how they didn't know why they were just getting money. And it basically became an entitlement program, then, you know, I was at SRC, and I definitely saw the benefit of the Game. But it wasn't until I came over here. And then I see, our practitioners, the clients that we have, it's, I mean this in all sincerity. So, I've been, you know, a Great Game just over a little over a year. It's incredible to me the impact it makes, and I'm not trying to tell any of the listeners and they're probably all know this already. But that value of educating, empowering, engaging your voice, it is a differentiator for you as a company that you can market and become a workplace of choice. Put that Great Game practitioner logo out there, and let people know the value of working for your company. And I feel somewhat guilty of talking a lot about SRC it doesn't have to be a big company to get that kind of benefit. We have a landscaping company that we've worked with. And you know, we talked about building those relationships and such. And they probably let everybody know, the guys that are taking care of your lawn, have the ownership mentality. They may not have the equity, but they have that ownership. They take they have a piece they have a stake in this company. It's not just the paid job for them. That's, you know, that's a differentiator among all the other landscapers out there. So, I think if I was going to summarize wrap it up that educate, empower and engage man. It is a defining factor and sometimes it seems like Especially when you're in the heat of battle. It's hard to do. But if you can set up that deliberative process, it will make a difference.
Steve Baker 40:08
I think that's a tremendous example Darin. Because I just think about no matter what it is, if the guy changing my oil or setting my landscaping or anything, knows the how the business runs, I'm just gonna feel like they're just gonna do the job a little bit better. That's awesome. Like I'm working with the owner. Well, Darin, it's a pleasure to have you on the podcast. I know you really should be working with the coaches right now. But thank you for being lacs and your duties enough to be a part of our little show here. And thanks so much for your insights. You're awesome. Well, let's keep the conversation going. Send us your questions, your stories, your best practices, Ideas, challenges and victories that is capitalism at its best. Thanks for joining us, and we'll see you next time.
The "Change the Game" Podcast is produced by the Great Game of Business. To learn more, visit great game.com.
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