Rethink Culture

“The thing to be careful about, which always worried me, was just drinking your own Kool-Aid too much… “strong convictions, loosely held” the value of the company, which means that this is our culture, this is how we do things. We're very, very committed to this... if you come along and you speak a truth that's going to improve or… invalidate something in here we are not attached to it. We will throw it out and adopt your truth... So I think it's extremely important… when creating your culture to make sure you don't become so attached to it that it's just one big group thing.”

S02E02 of the Rethink Culture podcast shines the spotlight on Byron Darlison, the visionary founder of Rise – a cutting-edge Canadian content management firm for digital signage. He has spent a lot of time thinking about culture and organizing the business for efficiency. Byron unravels three impressive decades of invaluable insights in under 45 minutes, making every moment a treasure trove of wisdom.

Discover how Byron seamlessly integrates Peter Drucker's concept of performance agreements with Kim Scott's skip-level review framework and witness the transformation of mundane quarterly planning into an exciting game. Byron ingeniously incentivizes his team by turning goal achievement into a joyous celebration, complete with cash rewards and a dedicated Slack channel known as the "Happy Room."

The episode delves deep into Byron's personal evolution as a leader, highlighting his journey of overcoming biases and fostering an environment where employees thrive. Explore how he masterfully built a team of domain experts, empowering them to channel their focus, creativity, and productivity while staying out of their way.

Listen to this episode to find out:

·       Why at Rise employees either exit after the first year or stay for a very long time.
·       Why when shaping your organizational culture, it’s crucial to have “strong convictions, loosely held” and avoid becoming too attached to it.
·       How having experienced and knowledgeable employees and empowering them to excel defined the uniqueness of Rise.
·       What makes Rise special and what the words “focus, discipline, and cadence” mean for Byron.
·       How to tackle the Peter Principle using radical candor while also ensuring employees are in roles where they feel content.
·       How Byron extended the “Rocks and Sand” concept even further.
·       What is the practicality behind the concept of a functional accountability chart.
·       Byron's personal favorites among the myriad frameworks he has explored and implemented, such as Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), Scaling Up, 3HAG, StoryBrand, Topgrading, and more.
·       What Shannon Susko's strategic functional and hiring swimlanes are.
·       How Byron gamified the quarterly theme, injecting fun and uniqueness into the workplace.
·       Byron’s invaluable lesson on leadership: focus on one task at a time, and never underestimate the importance of punctuality in meetings.

Further resources:
·       Radical Candor, by Kim Scott: 
·       3HAG WAY, by Shannon Susko: 
·       Topgrading, by Bradford D. Smart, Ph.D.: 
·       Building a StoryBrand, by Donald Miller: 
·       The Six Week Cycle, by Basecamp: 

Creators & Guests

Byron Darlison
I like to get up early, have an espresso or 2, work, and think about what's next.

What is Rethink Culture?

Rethink Culture is the podcast that shines the spotlight on the leaders who are rethinking workplace culture. Virtually all of the business leaders who make headlines today do so because of their company performance. Yet, the people and the culture of a company is at least as important as its performance. It's time that we shine the spotlight on the leaders who are rethinking workplace culture and are putting people and culture at the forefront.

Good morning,
good afternoon and good evening.

Welcome to Rethink Culture.

It's the podcast that shines
a spotlight on business leaders

who are rethinking workplace culture.

My name is Andreas Constantinou,
and I'm your host and I'm also chairman

and founder at SlashData and an accidental
micromanager who turned servant leader

over the years and developed
a personal passion for workplace culture.

If you have any thoughts
you'd like to share, let me know

by emailing

And today, I have the pleasure of hosting
Byron Darlison.

Byron is the founder of Rise,

which is a Canadian content management
firm for digital signage.

He recently sold that
and he spent a lot of time thinking

about culture and organizing the business
for efficiency.

Today, Byron spends
most of his time outside his business

outdoors, canoeing, camping,
cycling, skiing, he tells me,

which is only four months
a year in Canada, unfortunately.

So lots to talk about, Byron.

Very much
welcome to the Rethink Culture podcast.


Glad to be here.

You are a systems thinker
and that's how I would describe you.

I was fascinated, literally

fascinated when I came across Rise.

I think it was by
something you posted on Slack

for Entrepreneur’s Organization, EO.

And on that page, you had a very

thoroughly thought out and documented

set of processes for everything from like

compensation and hiring and bonus schemes
and like so much detail

about how Rise works.

And I thought it was very bold
that you put this out

for everyone to see,
but you had also taken so much

energy and focus to get it documented
at that level of detail.

So what

motivated you to put out in the public and
what was the thought process behind it?

Probably two parts.

Our operating system
was probably comprised of

ten or 15 different frameworks

that over time we we merged together that,

you know, better thinkers than I created
and they shared.

So there was a desire to pay it

forward, to make it available.

But more importantly,

there's a desire to write it down,

to put it in stone so that

it reinforces the discipline, the cadence,

what we call the artifacts that maintain
each step in terms of how we work.

And by putting it down
and constantly updating that,

it just reinforces the commitment

to that process.

And did you have any people
who were attracted

to Rise
as a result of what you posted there?

Was it meant as a as kind of employer
branding in today's terms?

I would call it employee filtering.

It made it really, really clear
as to how we work.

And you either thought it was amazing or.

Or you didn't.

I don't...

I don't...

I'm not sure

it was a recruiting tool
in the sense of hyping the company.

It was probably more of a filtering tool.

And earlier you were telling me that

when you hired someone, they

might have stayed in the company
for a year, maybe not,

if the culture was a good fit for them.

But if they did,
they stayed on for a really long time.

Yeah. So.

When I exited the company
I think probably the...

I exited after 30 years, and I think

the second employee was 28 years.

Yeah. So

there's, there's a lot of friends

that have been in the company
for a very long time.

If you if you like the way we work,

you stay.

There's no drama.

There's you know, it's
a very straightforward


but that's not always for everyone.

And as we discussed,
we're very transparent in our work.

We're very accountable for our work

quantitatively and

it sounds


But it's not for everyone.

So if you made it past a year,

you typically were there for a long time.

But in that first year, turnover
could be quite high.

Mm hmm.

I think

I think a lot about this notion that every
company's weird or special in a sense.

And I heard it first from Verne
Harnish, who talked about it.

And if you think
if you think about it, like

when we look for a relationship
as people, we’re very particular

about who
we want next to us, like super particular.

And a business is no different
because it's influenced

top down from the values of the founder
or the founders.

And the way that the company works,
especially if the culture is intentional,

does not fit everyone because they reflect
a particular personality

and values and principles and so on.

So I think this kind of

special values and attributes
and principles the company has

that made it make it a good fit
for a small part of the population,

what Robert Glazer in a previous podcast
said, one or 2%

of the people who apply, I think that is

something we should be conscious

about and proud about and thinking that,

you know, this, this, this business
that I've built as a founder

is very particular
in the way it does things.

And so we need to be looking for

the people that, you know,

are inspired by what inspires us
and follow

the same truths and values and principles.

did you have any thoughts on that or.

I had a question after that.

I've been talking for too long.

No, no, no, no.

The dangerous side about that.

The thing to be

careful about, which always worried me,

was just drinking your own Kool-Aid
too much.


and this was the other part
of writing it down

and committing
to constantly updating it, is...

Well, as we mentioned earlier,
strong convictions loosely held

the value of the company,
which meaning that this is our culture,

this is how we do things.

We're very, very committed to this.


but if you come along and
you speak a truth that's going to improve

or, you know,

invalidate something in here
we are not attached to it.

We will throw it out and adopt your truth.

We will

unabashedly steal

what you’ve just brought forward
and we will incorporate it.

So I think it's extremely important.

It's strong convictions, loosely held,
and I don't know who said that or when,

but I think that's
incredibly important when

creating your

culture to make sure you don't become

so attached to it
that it's just one big group thing.

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Like, like the sign says on my

right or to your left.

I like always learning and unlearning,
you know, admitting

or putting aside your ego and admitting
you are wrong is part of that.

There's no there's no other way.


So let's zoom in to
what makes or made Rise special.

Made because you've left the company
but makes because it's still around.

So what makes Rise special?

We talked earlier
about focus, discipline and cadence,

which are very intentional words.

Do you want to describe the highlights of

these three words?

What do they mean for you?

Maybe if I could start with something

to the question of what makes the company

Coming back to tenure, the people
that are there

and the time that we've been together
and the time that they've spent

acquiring domain knowledge,
they're experts

in their domains...

is incredible.

So I think what makes the company
special are extremely experienced people

with unbelievable domain knowledge.

And what the company, me,

finally figured out is get out of the way,

empower them to exercise
that domain knowledge

to do amazing things

and harness it in a way

that is extremely focused and productive.

Meaning that there is one thing
that the company

is doing for a quarter or 90 days

that will harness
all of that domain knowledge

to produce some improvement

that will become a baseline
in the company.

So then the next quarter
you add another brick,

you add
another brick, you add another brick. That

getting out of the way,

focusing that domain knowledge,
that expertise

and doing it in a process that is...

got a very defined cadence, rhythm

and methodology for constantly

that engine is just very, very productive.

And it empowers people to, you know,

realize the expertise that we've acquired

and see they

get the creative return
on what they're doing.

You know they feel ownership and

room to make cool stuff.

Mm hmm.

I want to get to something

we discussed earlier
before starting the recording,

which is skip level reviews
and how you used those

to help managers

pick one thing
they wanted to improve each quarter.

How'd that, how does that work exactly?

So it's a combination of

Peter Drucker with the concept
of performance agreements,


and understanding
all of the character traits

that comprise a role and what excellent

or adaptation of that character trait is,

and A, you know, sort of a middle ground,
a B and a C,

and then I believe it was Kim

Scott and her book, Radical Candor.

Provided the framework for

skip level reviews.

So what happens is every quarter,
and this is discipline because it's

hard work, someone has to go through 40
character traits,

values, their critical number
of performance and rate themselves.

Did I achieve my critical number
for the quarter?

Everybody has one critical number,
a red, green

or yellow target.

Where am I at in the values?

You know, fully, fully aligned,

not so much, not aligned.

Where am I at on the character
traits for my role in the company?

And there's a lot of them there.

You're going to be very self-critical
and analytic.

And just

as an aside,

in my experience,

people were more critical

of themselves than their manager was.

Typically, it was more, No,
that's not as bad as you say.

It's this.

When you provide a framework
that's open and honest

and just really devoted
to improving a person,

people will become very self-analytical

and in some cases a little too critical.

So you take that

personal retrospection
with feedback from their manager,

but their manager, assuming that
the person is a manager of people, meets

with their reports directly and discusses
things like what's going really well,

what's not going so well.

If you were there, what would you do

There's four or five questions.

And all of that is collated anonymously

and into a doc,
and that document is shared

with the person whose performance review
is up that quarter.

And you take that combined
and then you say to them,

based on the feedback
from people who report to you,

your own self analysis, myself
as a manager's feedback,

what's the one thing
that you need to do this quarter

to improve your execution,
to improve your ability

to lead, to improve your ability
to go along with peers, whatever it is.

people will come back with ten things.

My experience has been that everybody
complains about being forced to multitask.

It's delusional.

My biggest
fight with people is not to multitask.

Pick one thing.

It's very, very difficult for people
to pick one plan and stick to it

until it's done.

So, just like the company, every quarter
you will go out to do one thing

for the company
that will improve everything.

For the people, you do one thing
that will improve your ability

to be a domain expert in what you do
and be able

to capitalize on that expertise
and how you work with everyone around you.

How much did you see?

How much did you see
people change as a result?

Marginally or phenomenally

or none at all?

For those that stayed?

For those that stayed?

I assume so, yeah.

That's an interesting question.
Nobody's asked me that before.

Okay, so, I found that

people changed incredibly to a point.

And then because that process, was really,
really open, transparent,

candid, radical candor,
there were many cases

where the person went,
No, I got to go back down a level.

I'm more happy here.

And so,

you would improve exponentially
in what you did.

But sometimes someone would say,
no, I'm really not happy here.

I want to go back to what I was doing


And they would stay.

So people say, you know,

you can never demote a person
in terms of them

being happy and stay with the company
and all that kind of stuff.

But when it's that type of process, it's
not a demotion.

It's where is your expertise,
your domain expertise

and your skill set and your interests lie,
and what does that mean

in terms of the company?

Maybe you were thinking that you wanted
to be a manager of managers

because, you know,
it just seemed like you should be.

But now you're really, really unhappy
because you're not feeling

as creative
as you were in your previous role.

So to lose that person at that point is

expensive, extremely expensive.

You spend so much time building
that expertise, that relationship,

all of that stuff.

You've got to figure out
how to put them back

to where they truly want to be
and can be truly productive.

So maybe the better question is

what did this process
do to improve tenure?

Meaning finding the right fit for somebody
where they're going to be truly happy

and want to stay at something
for a long time.

It reminds me of the Peter Principle,

which says that in a hierarchy,
every employee tends

to rise to their level of incompetence.

So you keep getting promoted and promoted,
promoted until you are too far away

from your comfort zone
and your skill zone,

and you stop being productive.

And I mean, that
is particularly true because

in large organizations we tend to promote
individual contributors

who then become managers
without them having people skills.

But here you talk about a far broader
range of skills such as people skills,

and I think it's a brilliant example of

self-awareness for someone to say, well,
I'm actually more comfortable

being who I was before
and I don't want to evolve because,

I'd rather stay true to my principles

and what I feel comfortable with.

And I think it's

80% a person's realization.

But where I see most companies failing

is, back to the Peter

Principle, just leaving people here

and not addressing the problem.

So back to radical candor.

You've got to come in
and that's a really hard conversation.

Oh, yeah.

To say this doesn't seem to be working
and you don't seem to be happy.

What are we going to do about this?

And that also is part of the culture

we created, which isn't an easy culture.

And also the reason why,
you know, people would leave early

because that very candid feedback,

oh, it’s got to be delivered
politely and, you know,

kindly, is not

what people are comfortable with.



Talking about changing what was one thing

that you committed
to as part of the process

and changed in the way you work?

One, thing, back

to one thing, there's so many things.

Well, let's have three,
if you want. Three?

Oh, yeah.

Flavor of the day

killed that

which meant say no more often than yes

and saying no to myself

more often than anyone else.

No longer feeling responsible for


the ideation machine,

just becoming a collator and editor,

and I'll say it
the polite way, shutting up.

But in my head I'm saying it the other way
and it tends just to reinforce.

Like, you really shouldn't be talking.

So why?

Why did you or why did your employees feel
you had to shut up?

Was it because you were speaking too much?

You had too many ideas?

You know, I never had an employee tell me

that I talked too much,
that I can remember.

But what I found is, you know,
if you've been in business

for a long time,
you're a natural sales person

and you couldn't sell your employees

on your idea,
the thing, your pet project or whatever,

and you can push and cram to get

what you think is the most amazing thing
since sliced bread.

But it's something you’ve become

so attached to you’re blind,
and you got biases up-the-ying-yang.

And when it's not working

because you are so attached to it,
you're not willing to abandon it.

All of those things. So

why are you doing that in the first place?

You should be sitting there quietly

creating space for all of those people
that you pay a lot of money

and who are experts
and have been with you forever

and in many cases
are much closer to the situation

to describe what should be happening.

And then you should be spending all
of your time focusing on that conversation

as an editor, as a collator,

to bring it together in shared ownership

to be,
Okay, we've gone through everything.

We had ten options as to what we feel
we ought to be doing next.

Here's one
that I think we're all in agreement

on, and

so and so, I know you don't agree
what our principle is.

We disagree and commit
and here we're going to commit.

I'm making the call.

You have to back this

and this is what we're going to go off
and do.

So if you do it the other way around,

if you're anything like me historically,

you've lost millions on your great ideas.

Because they're not so great once
they hit the...

No, they’re stupid.

They're absolutely stupid
and they're 99% ego.


yeah, that's so true.

And we,
we always forget or we tend to forget that

when a CEO comes in and says

another great idea
and everyone knows they’re head it's

because of that person's job title
and not because of the idea.



You also mentioned earlier to me

this paradigm of turning rocks into sand,

which sounds like a Chinese parable,
but it's actually something

really tangible and

I, I,

I really
like the way you describe that paradigm.

Can you tell us

more about how you put that into practice?

Well, it's not...

those term, well,
I guess I put an extension on it.

So Covey

had the idea of...

Stephen Covey?


Of working on,
how did he put it, the important

not the urgent or the, you know,
he had those quadrants, so,

the four quadrants,
you got to be working on something.

So his point was
you take a fixed container

and if you pour in all the sand,
the mundane, the urgent,

the things that are easy,
and then you try to add

three rocks to the container,
you can't, you can't put them in.

But if you put the three rocks in first
and then pour in the sand,

it fills all the space around it,

you end up with a container
with three rocks plus sand.

My extension of this is


do something, something new,
some improvement.

That's the rock.

But at the end of that period
that rock is crushed, it's

sand, it's become part of your foundation.

So now, next quarter, new rock.

So the container is getting bigger
and bigger and bigger,

meaning the improvement.

And the company is getting better
and better and better, in terms of what

you're delivering to your customers
or how you're

attracting and retaining employees,

whatever it may be.

So taking

Covey, Stephen Covey's
principle of rocks and sand,

but realizing at the end of it
a rock is done when it's become sand.

So when you've incorporated that
and it just happens by every day,

there's nothing, there's nothing
special about it, this just get done,

is when you're ready
to put another rock into the mix.

And when you no longer notice it,

and then you take

another rock and move to the next step.

And... It's interesting.

I noticed this
when you're trying to produce

something that's new,
let's stick with the analogy,

a rock you're pushing, pushing, pushing
and trying to get people to adopt it.

You're trying to da da da, and
it seems like it's never going to stick.

And then all of a sudden,
in some meeting somewhere, somebody goes,

We don't do it like that.

We do it like this.

And that's a tipping point
where all of a sudden

that rock is now sand and people
start saying, We don't do it like that.

We do this.

And it's

you're pushing a rock up the hill
and it doesn't seem

like you're ever going to get there.

But all of a sudden when that happens,
it's downhill from there.

And it's all good stuff.

Something I want to go back to
is this notion of transparency

and accountability, which is probably

pivotal and foundational to Rise
and how it works.

Tell us a bit

more about like,
the principle of having individual KPIs

and being fully transparent
about your work and what does it mean

in day-to-day work.

I think a company should be

as transparent as humanly possible.

So I'm a firm believer

in the concept
of a functional accountability chart.

So you have your organizational chart,
but you have your functional chart,

which is here are all the roles
that we need as a company.

And for these roles to be optimized
this is the number

that we think
is extremely important to this role.

That's the critical number for this role.

And here is
what the mission is for this role.

This is what this role has to achieve
as measured by this critical number.

And there may be a few leading
and lighting indicators to give you

some more visibility on whatever,
whatever that number may be.

So if you are organized enough
to know what

your functional accountability chart is,
all of those measures that make up it

and they all roll up together
to be the CEO's

overall number for the company, it's
very easy

to publish a weekly dashboard
that is all of those critical numbers.

Here’s the team, here’s some individuals,

and everybody has access to it.

But it also means that
in that weekly accounting,

we used to call it scoreboard Thursdays,
if your numbers are in the red,

you have to, by end of day, produce
a correction

that you're going to be making
to put your number into the green

and you're going
to commit to a date by when.

So you

may say at the end of the day, I can't.

I need one week to figure this out.

That's fine.

But by the end of the day,
you are committing to a date

either by when it will be corrected
and the action you're taking, or

the date by when you will have
that commitment to be made.

So everybody knows who's doing what,
where we're all at,

and somebody may say, Hey,
I see you’re in trouble.

I have an idea.

And they can come in to help.

They can support you, they can do
whatever, whatever you may need.

So that's very,
very difficult for people to do.

Now, on the other side of that,
though, is,

you know what
all of these functional roles are,

you know the levels of experience
that you need for them.

So it's very easy to take those roles
and create a compensation ledger

that says, this role,
if you're an A player,

plus or minus 20% typically, pays X

and use third party services, pay scale,

whatever you want to use, or a combination
of services to actually decide, okay,

I want to pay in the 60th percentile for
a company of a thousand people or more.

And the jurisdiction that that I reside in
or where I'm using

as my geographic target and you list out

all of those those pay ranges

and you list out
what the variable portion of that

as a percentage of the base
is for all of those roles.

So it's very easy for people to go,
I understand what these functional roles

pay. I understand that my performance in
this role is a B, I'm not at the top level

yet, as per the performance review
that we talked about earlier

and what it means if I get to that
A level in terms of the compensation,

and an A level has to be sustained
for at least a couple of quarters.

It can't just be a one-off affair.


And then from a company's perspective

to commit to that compensation,
don't break it.

And then share on a monthly basis
your financial numbers and use those

financial numbers in that presentation
in an all hands meeting to once again say,

say one thing.

Sorry, just give me one second.

Just say one thing that the company,

and typically it's your CFO
making this presentation,

and the difficult thing for a CFO
is to go, Hey, here's the numbers

and here's the one thing we've got to work
on this month to improve these numbers.

And typically you want it

tied to the theme
for the quarter that you're going after.

But it's not just
a whole bunch of numbers.

It's like this is what it all means.

And this is by doing this,
what it means for all of us.

And if you, if you’re smart, I...

Well, ok, in my opinion, if you're smart,

you have a profit sharing component
that's paid out monthly to people.

So you're sharing the financial, you're
telling them what that impact is on profit

sharing that they're getting that month,
and you're giving them an action.

This is what we all need to do

to improve your profit sharing,
which improves our financials,

which all ties
back to the functional accountability

chart, who owns
what and all that kind of stuff.

But this means,
and it means all of your work is visible.

It applies all across the board

to have that level of

transparency, corporately, as a leader,

as a contributor,

is really uncomfortable at times,

and it's not for everybody.

So you've read a lot of books and

utilized a lot of frameworks

to build your own flavor
of an operating system at Rise.

If you were to take

three or four frameworks

and you wanted to advise

people here listening, leaders, and say,

from this framework,
I really take that part,

let's say the GWC system
from the Entrepreneurial

Operating System or something else
from Scaling Up and so on.

Is there like,
do you have favorites on what are really

great techniques

that you've read and built on?


Shannon Susko, 3HAG.


Basecamp’s software methodology.

6-week sprints

in a continuous deployment environment.

StoryBrand, Donald Miller.

Radical Candor, Kim Scott.

There's probably a lot more.

I would go with those.

As a great starting point.

What's your favorite,
like, your key takeaway from 3HAG

that you started with?

Probably the...

my favorite tool in there is,

well in that...

I like 3HAG a lot
but I don't think it does a great job

of giving a framework
and I haven't gone back to it.

I know it's being constantly improved.

It doesn't do a great job
of identifying the customer.

I think StoryBrand
does an amazing job of that.

So really, really dialing in on who
your customer is,

and then whaling it down to 3
to 5 attributes

that they are
making their buying decision on,

and then mapping scale 1 to 5,

how you do as a company
at fulfilling those 3 to 5 attributes,

but then taking a look at your competition
and really knowing your competition

and grading
how they do at fulfilling that.

You all typically chart it out.

You will typically end up
in a grouped line, probably pretty close.

But now you've got to say, Okay,
I don't want to be like everyone else.

I want to distinguish myself
as being exceptional in some part of this.

Same, same point
as do one thing at a time.

You can't just pile on.

If I'm going
to be exceptional in something,

what am I going to be unexceptional in?

Cause I can't do...

I can't make everything a 5.

It's just, it's not going to fly. So

I want

to invest in these two attributes
to create an incredible amount of

whitespace between me and my competition
so that I can't be compared.

That means

maybe I'm going to give up on price,

I'm going to be expensive or whatever
it may be.

You figure it out and then mapping out
over a three year time horizon

and always have a three year framework
that you're moving one quarter to a next.

This is constantly about moving forward.

By quarter what you're investing in or
divesting in, in each of these attributes.

And who owns that?

Who on your functional accountability
chart is the leader,

is the person accountable
for making that deliverable this quarter.

So those are what I call or no, Shannon
Susko calls, strategic swimlanes.

And then you have,
in your functional company,

you have your functional swimlanes.

What are the improvements by function
we need to make?

And then you have your hiring swimlanes.

Who are the roles
that we have to bring in?

And you're always looking at this
three years of swimlanes and you're

deciding every quarter of what we're doing
across these, what's the number one?

What's the theme for this quarter?

What do we got to do? And

we had
a really fun way of going about the theme,

or at least I felt it was kind of unique.

We'd establish a theme for the quarter.

We'd set ‘as measured by’.

That's a very common term for us.

It's not just we did this, we are doing
this to change a critical number.

It's not a

checklist on a task.

It's, no, we're doing this work because
we want to improve this critical number.

So we are going to

deliver this thing,
this quarter, as measured by this number.

And if we hit it, if we hit
the green target everybody gets 150 bucks.

It's not a lot of money.

It's a tiny amount of money.

And if we only get the yellow target,

everybody gets, I can’t
remember what it was, 50 bucks.

And if we don't, we're in the red,
nobody gets anything.

But to get your reward, you have to spend
the money on something fun.

And the only way that you can

that money is if you posted a picture

in a Slack channel
called the Happy Room of that thing.

So I'm out for a drive-in movie
with my family.

I am a Star Wars nut.

I bought a huge Star Wars
puzzle or whatever it is.

You didn't have to submit a receipt,
you just had to submit a picture.

And that just creates a culture of success
and bond and all that kind of stuff.

So it's not,
it's not a big amount of money at all.

But it gamifies the whole thing,
makes it fun, makes people,

especially in a distributed company,
get to know each other.

And it gives you a reason

at every weekly meeting,
at every all hands, all of that stuff,

to talk about where you're at
with the theme for the quarter.

Amazing. I love it.

No receipt?

Just send us a picture of you
doing something?

Just a picture. And no picture, no money.


Love it.

Byron, as we wrap up,

what do you think that we as leaders

need to rethink about culture?

Be systematic in what you're doing,

commit to it, disciplined about it.

And as a leader,
you can't be late for a meeting.

You can't miss a deliverable.

If you say this is how we do things

and when we do them
and what gets produced from them,

you must always, always,

always show up and deliver
what you said you would,

even if that means
you don't sleep for a week

because the moment you don't,
you just undermine the whole thing.

And just do one thing at a time.

Don't ask people to do anything
other than that.

Be smart about what that one thing is
and be really systematic

about it. And

I think if

you do all of those things,
look after your people, you retain

and attract good people and their domain
expertise will grow over time.

And they lead, not you.

So shut up and listen to them.

And it only took you 30 years
to arrive to that wisdom, right?

As you mentioned earlier, 25 years

and five years really accelerating.

Yeah. And

when I'm asked about this,

I say, I spent 25 years going up and down,

five years moving in a straight line.

And when I'm coaching my line is, If you
listen to me, you can do it in three.

And if I’d do it again,
I would set out to do it in three.

But I would start with the framework.


Byron, thank you for the wisdom,

distilling these frameworks
and books into some really tangible

operating systems and

practices that you practiced at Rise.

I'm going to go back and read 3HAG
because it sounds like

a very foundational piece of

structure that maybe will be useful
in my new business.

So thank you for being here with us.

And for everyone else,
thank you for listening.

Do hit the subscribe button
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Do let us know what you think
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and keep leading.

Ciao. Thank you.