EP. 10 - Keith Oldridge - How To Go From Broke To $250 Million Dollar CEO!

✅ Hey guys! Enjoy this EPIC interview w/ My good Friend, Keith Oldridge! Keith takes us all the way back to his early days as entrepreneurs and shares with us his backstory which ultimately shaped his career and his future!🙌

Keith shares TONS of gems in this one!

What is your favorite lesson from this interview?!

Let us know in the comment section below!

Connect with Keith Oldridge

Linkedin: Keith’s Profile

Transcript :

Rishi Sharma: [00:00:00] Hey everyone. Welcome to take care of today's guest is Keith Holdridge, CEO and founder of Keio consulting and former CEO of Swan communications, which was sold over a hundred million dollars. And as also the drummer of the band in the board room, which was a finalist at the best corporate band for the rock and roll hall of fame.

[00:00:22] Welcome, Keith. How are you?

[00:00:23] Keith Oldridge: [00:00:23] Good. Rish looks like you've about a cup of coffee this morning. Uh,

[00:00:27] yes, I have. Um, uh, so I love, thank you for being here. Appreciate it. I'd like to just get into kind of discussing a bit of your backstory and kind of where your journey began. So maybe if you could start where your entrepreneurial journey started to, to, to, to your current.

[00:00:44] Current role, but you can tell by the accent. I'm a Southern enough, a lot further South than normal. I come from, born in England, grew up in Australia. So the corporate journey actually started in Australia. Uh, I started in, uh, accounting, went to marketing, into sales. Uh, and then I started in the advertising and recoding industry.

[00:01:08] Uh, very much like your cake tell that was out here in America, taking well known personalities and hope and like a bloody sing, and then recording a record for him. Uh, so that led me to. A lot of chances to meet a lot of very interesting characters. And one of them was David Swan. I met in the 70s and he had a company in electronics, which I knew nothing about, but as the signed principles abroad and we got together, and within a year we were partners and we sold, became the 10th largest switch company in the world with operations in Singapore, England, New Zealand, Australia on.

[00:01:45] I started the operations in America. Uh, then I worked for the public company that bought us for maybe eight, nine years as the, in an actual director of operations, which basically meant I would turn up at your, uh, operation and work out what was made it to be improved if I needed to sell it. new management.

[00:02:07] Reorganize the company in a different manner. Uh, that was very interesting. And that was probably the most rewarding job I've ever had. Because you were, you were always trying to fix something and not just take over someone else's portfolio and further enhance it. So that gave me a heck of a training in, uh, balance shape management.

[00:02:27] Profit and loss management and cashflow management and all the people skills native. Cause you weren't in there for three or four or five. But yeah, you're in the F a six months to a year and you had to get, obtain together. Remold the team re-energize the theme, re motivate the team, make sure they had a clear focus.

[00:02:46] And that is, I think where you learn a lot of chops on how to get it done quickly, efficiently, and uh, effectively because you don't have a second chance. And then I ended up in America. Uh, um, David and I started the Swan group in 1997 and we got into security by accident. It was never designed. It was just a, you know, we sold, I thought he was mad in the first all item we had was a $600.

[00:03:15] A pen that had a camera and I thought, this is never gonna work. And a couple of hundred million dollars in sales a year later for the group. It was working very well. Thank you very much. So I might not always pick the right product, but I know how to mock it on get the company's going. Oh, thank you. It was good at the product.

[00:03:34] That's, yeah. I mean, that's always a to check tag team combination, right. To, to have success. Um, I'd like to start back, I would like to take it back to the very beginning. You're getting into the record industry. What drove you to take that leap and kind of start, start your own company?

[00:03:51] Rishi Sharma: [00:03:51] Well, I was a drama, otherwise, my inner drama.

[00:03:55] And, uh, I think you mentioned in your. Uh, opening presentation that, uh, I was a member of a band called band from the boardroom, and that's a band made up of industry professional for the consumer electronics tronics industry that gets together once a year at CES in Las Vegas and jams and perform some, actually a lot of good musicians in it that have left the industry.

[00:04:21] And. Like to do it for fun. Um, so when I was a drummer, there's not a lot of money in a band, a musician. And I thought, well, there's gotta be more money in marketing and selling. And so I went to work for a little private company and learned the trade of making commercials and advertising and doing royalty deals with the television stations all over Australia.

[00:04:45] So you release a record in one market when it's finished. There you go. We get all the returns and everything was on sale over time, and then you'd move it to another market and you'd man, you market the product for six to eight weeks and then just move it around the country until there was nothing less hopefully, and records like people there, are there going to be a hit or they're not going to be a hit?

[00:05:08] You've got to, you've got to put them out there. and just when the percentages and the percentage is are not everyone's going to be a winner, but if you get enough winners to overtake the returns you're getting and moving to another market, as long as you've got enough going at once and have four to six programs going around the country, at one stage, you can make good money out of it.

[00:05:31] And . So I was approached by a company that had its own television show and like your a Disney kids channels that had kids from eight to 16 and it was called young talent time and Australia. And the compare was an ex pop star called Johnny Young. Fantastic look. And his general manager, Neville Kent, myself, formed a company called Pisces records.

[00:05:57] And he had a lot of kids that have been through his training and, uh, ended up the Brittany Spears and, uh, you know, the pop singers of your day here in America, where the pop singers of our day in Australia. And we did the records for them so they, you know, they were with us as kids. And then once I left, I will with us in our record company as adults.

[00:06:17] So it was quite successful. And, uh, then I got, uh, drawn away from that into general business. And with David Swan, he met me through a . Mutual friend and said, look, I need someone to help me with marketing and advertising in my electronics business. And I thought, well, this'll be a good experience. So I tackled that.

[00:06:40] But the early years were all about the trial and error of putting stuff in on, uh, on television and seeing if it worked. And not all of them worked. I can not show you.

[00:06:50] Keith Oldridge: [00:06:50] Yeah. So you said, you mentioned that you. You went and learned from somebody else before you started, would you anybody else that's aspiring to one day a P an entrepreneur, maybe have some key executive roles?

[00:07:03] Was that something you'd recommend them as?

[00:07:05] Rishi Sharma: [00:07:05] Absolutely. I have two or three rentals in my life, and the first one was a man. It was older than I am, which is signing something cause not many older than , but a Saint . He'd been a writer at the pop magazine, Australia, Coco set. He knew all the players from, you know, little Ram van people to all the famous acts and artists in Australia.

[00:07:32] And he started his own record company in the back of a lawyer, a solicitor's office in Richmond, in the suburb of Melbourne. And ly mother-in-law at the time was the record buyer for Kmart in Australia. She was the national record buyer. And yeah, I was a young musician and pretty well known in some circles.

[00:07:55] And she said, you've got two choices right now. You can go and join this. Uh. Upstart company called Hammad records that I only had had one album out and had been quite successful. Or you can go on to AMR and be a number in a big cog. And I decided to go and learn my trade from somebody that was learning the trade.

[00:08:17] Same time, he didn't have all the answers, but he knew what the questions were and I didn't even know what the questions were at that time. And his mentoring was incredible. And. Having a memory for nine spices and people, because every business out of them, the real estate business to me is a people business.

[00:08:35] Every know if you want to be in real estate, you don't have to be personable. I mean, you just got to sell real estate, but if you want to be in any sort of marketing, selling, branding type company in the world, you've got to be good with people. And this guy taught me how to be really good with people.

[00:08:55] Keith Oldridge: [00:08:55] Yeah, that's a valuable, very valuable skill. I'm sure it's translated in other areas of your life as well. Um, beyond just business.

[00:09:03] Rishi Sharma: [00:09:03] Yeah, definitely. Uh, community service in my church. Environment. It's always allowed me to be someone, you know, I will give the accent a bit of credit over here in America on a little bit different than back home.

[00:09:20] I'm just another bloody LZ, like the rest of them. Uh, and it does help. But having that ability. To communicate with all facets of your life, your home life, your family life, your social life, uh, as well as your business life and stand out and be, don't. Overtalk. And the best part of speaking is listening.

[00:09:45] On my Skype, it says, you can never, if you look up my in Skype and do a Skype conversation, my little banner just says, you can't take any words you've set back ever. And in this modern day of social media, you know it to be true.

[00:09:59] Keith Oldridge: [00:09:59] Yeah, absolutely.

[00:10:01] Rishi Sharma: [00:10:01] The politics, we'll just move on.

[00:10:03] Keith Oldridge: [00:10:03] Yeah. Uh, so another passion of yours, you mentioned a couple of times, and I mentioned it also in the intro, um,

[00:10:12] Is drumming. So what drew you to be gay drumming and how has that passion translated to other areas of your life?

[00:10:19] Rishi Sharma: [00:10:19] My father was a drummer, a drummer on the army in England. Uh, that's where I was born and we immigrated to Australia when I was quite young. And dad was a drummer in the, uh, military. So he was in the marching band and all, and so.

[00:10:34] He would teach me a little rhythms when I was three or four or five and by the time I was five I knew I was going to be a drummer. I knew that was what I wanted to do. Mmm. And advice for anybody. There's nothing better than the skills of the technical side of anything we do. They get accounting, marketing, a new product development, product, marketing, whatever we're into, and I only wish that I'd done the right thing by myself and the musicians around me and studied my craft.

[00:11:09] I was just one of the guys that thought I knew everything. I don't know. People that know me will say I haven't changed, but, uh, aye. I took one drum lesson on thought, well, that's it. I'm done. I don't need to learn anymore. And I wish I had it because I think I could have gotten a lot. I've got more out of it than I've ever put into it.

[00:11:30] Uh, I've been very lucky to play with bands all over the world and, uh, still play with Anzel Lobo over the world and lot of great musicians and I've gone away. As the time that if I'd have studied, probably I would have got a lot more out of it myself, instead of, you know, my limitations are there. But yeah, I can play.

[00:11:51] I get to play with brilliant musicians, which generally makes you better, and it's like in business and equating music to business. If you go and play with a bunch of really good musicians, you're going to sound really cool no matter what happens. And if you go to work with a whole bunch of ratbags, you're going to be a bad businessman.

[00:12:10] If you go to bed in the business and managed businesses with the right people. That's what's going to make you successful. I don't care what business you're in on NK, how you manage your business. unless you can get the people behind you all on the same page and have transparency in what you do. And that's the same in music.

[00:12:31] If I look over the specially the drummer and he doesn't know where he's going, they're all going to fall off a cliff. And if you're leading a team in business and you don't know what you're going to do when you're turn up to work, they're going to fall over a cliff. So they quite closely relate. Um, not like my golf game.

[00:12:48] That doesn't relate at all. Or that's my addiction has golf, my passions, music, my work is my vacation and my life as my family. That's something you haven't heard before. I

[00:13:02] Keith Oldridge: [00:13:02] gotcha. Uh, so thank you for going into that and describing that. And so, like you said, it's about the people you surround yourself. So you know, anybody who's starting a company or their company's just starting to come, come, come, my bow.

[00:13:17] Um, they're looking at hiring more and more employees. And so you've had decades of experience of hiring various people, so like to understand what, what you would say. Is the number one thing that that goes into hiring somebody or looking for a potential cultural fit within your organization?

[00:13:37] Rishi Sharma: [00:13:37] I don't think, I think it's horses for courses during certain periods of the growth of let's just take the Swan group of companies all over the world from 997 till we sold it in 2015 um, at different stages.

[00:13:53] We need a different types of people and a different. Mix of people and a different, uh, people with different skillsets. But the common theme was teamwork. Yeah. That was a common theme. But as it developed into a more sophisticated business, we needed more sophisticated, uh, team members to join us, but still have the same mantra that we had.

[00:14:19] Still have the same philosophy we had and transparency we had. But you get, you needed to add. The nuts and bolts into it that understood the mechanics of high level software, high level, uh, it integration. Yep. Yeah. As a family business, we didn't quite understand, so we just had to get that into it. But as long as I understood what our philosophy was on, a lot of them didn't agree with it half the time.

[00:14:44] Yup. Uh, they could never come back and say we were, we were not transparent that we didn't tell them what our goal was. We didn't tell them what the aim was. We didn't tell them what the philosophy was. So when we were hiring people, we will hiring for that point in the hockey stick that we were at and what it was going to do to take us to the next level as long as I fit it culturally.

[00:15:09] And if they didn't. One of the things I'm very proud of is recognizing I'm doing something about it quite humanely. It wasn't pointed, it wasn't an addictive or anything like that. It was just this is not the right fit. The one in a hundred times that we didn't have the fit, we didn't let it go. Uh, affect the rest of the company.

[00:15:31] And so I would say when I'm looking, it depends on the growth. If you're a startup, you got to Bali, you've got to hire people that are willing to go that extra mile. And if you're a yeah. Like, wait, we're at two, $250 million a year company at the end in sales, you can't have everybody doing what we did when there was 20 of us.

[00:15:53] Yep. It's just impossible. So you've got to have a transition from the startup company where you work 20 hours a day, you don't sleep, you sleep with your phone next to your area, and then when you get to the 200 to 150 million, yeah. At, at the senior level, you still do the same thing, but at all aspects of the business have to operate so that it accommodates the needs of the staff and the needs of the people getting into the next level.

[00:16:24] So what I always look for was, was, you know, people who could fit into that growth pattern that we were on from a startup to a quarter of a billion dollar company, and they would in, in EFI, that's always different than year 15 and year 15 it's different than your 25 I was with Swan, the last incarnational swung for over 30 years and 15 or 20 of them.

[00:16:51] Roughly, uh, as an executive director on arrest as a, uh, of the book. But yeah, you would always look for that, that you need it to get you, and I wouldn't walk up any further than two years out because I think if you're doing that, you don't as if you're managing a football team. I don't care what code it is, be it rugby, Australian rolls on on his way called American football.

[00:17:18] You've got to put the right people on the field. At that point in, in the mixture of what you're doing. To win the super bowl. And I always, you've been with companies, I've, uh, have been around and you've seen what I say and what I always said was, I want us to make the playoffs every year. We're not gonna win the super bowl every year.

[00:17:39] It'd be nice, but we're not going to do it as long as we're in the playoffs. Way of managed the business properly. And we've taken it through that current. A growth spurt, hopefully, that we were going forward. So the people and team members that we would want to attract, have to be committed to that segment of the journey, not the end journey, not the beginning journey segment of the journey that we're on at that stage to make it successful.

[00:18:08] And then you have to chop it up and do it all over again for the next stage.

[00:18:14] Thank

[00:18:14] Keith Oldridge: [00:18:14] you for going into detail about that. So you mentioned several times getting the right fit, getting the right cultural fit. Yeah. But how do you, how do you go about creating that culture? Like, well, how do you sustain that? How do you go about building out? What are kind of the tools or things you look to do?

[00:18:31] Rishi Sharma: [00:18:31] Well, when you're a startup or a young aggressive company, that's what you. As a team lead or as the business leader, as somebody that has your vision, you've got to be able to sell that to your, your team and anyone joining it. Diaper, drink the cool light as well as you're going to have a dead white in your time.

[00:18:52] It doesn't matter how good they are or what you thought they were going to be able to contribute. You can't, you don't have enough time in a startup company to cover for him. So you've got to look for their ability to identify what you see as the vision. I find a lot of companies spend too much time, right?

[00:19:10] In a mission statement and a vision statement. They spend an enormous amount of time doing it. It's crazy. Excuse me. And the reason I think it's not as if it's taken you as a business team leader that much time to. Articulate what your goals and the vision for your businesses. How the heck do you think that the team members are going to be trying to interpret it?

[00:19:33] Yep. They're not not going to work. So you've got to have a clear understanding of that journey. Okay. And how long it's gonna take and what level on the journey you are to attract the right people at the right spice in time. Cause some people. I've said no to because they were not ready, but what we were doing, or we were not ready for their capabilities at that point of time.

[00:20:05] It would have been, you know, a waste of a great resource that we could use later. So I think good leaders are going to recognize where you are in the journey and what you need and try and attract the talent to fit.

[00:20:21] Keith Oldridge: [00:20:21] Okay. All right. Yeah, that's words of wisdom for sure. Um. So I like to go into, you mentioned earlier how valuable was in regards to your relationship building and that skill. Uh, so say if you could give some tips on how to go about that, or some things that you learned from your mentor on, you know, how to incorporate that into their career.

[00:20:45] You know, other aspects of their life, that skill,

[00:20:49] Rishi Sharma: [00:20:49] well, a lot of us, excuse my, your natural . Communication skills. If you're going to be a good visionary leader of any type of business, you've got to be able to, as I said before, articulate that vision and get everybody on the same page. And what you need to do is make sure they've drunk McCool like and you've got to take the time to ask them.

[00:21:22] Too many business leaders and especially startups, don't have the time to ask, do you understand what we're trying to do? Have we made it clear enough? Have we guided you along to where you know where you're going to be? And I would rather have, here's what I used to do a lot when swarm was getting too big to be involved in everything.

[00:21:45] for a senior position, I would work with HR. And select five to six final candidates for a position and then we would get it down through the highchair process and the team process does the loss, two or three and because I thought you're going to have to work in product with the product team or marketing with the marketing team or accounting and the accounting team.

[00:22:20] I would pick a bunch of Peter's in that group and say, look, we've got to the last three. You pick it, and I would let them pick. I would let them go to lunch or dinner or whatever, or travel to Australia, whatever it took so that they felt empowered, that it wasn't just the bosses decision, it was their decision.

[00:22:39] And if they cocked it up, they cocked it up and they had to wear it. And I had to live with it. So they made it work and it wasn't a popularity contest. It was what is best to fill the role and do the old jobs had a definition. Old jobs had a KPI and a job description and a matrix to bench market and a reporting system to review it every six months.

[00:23:05] If you don't do that, you're, you're, you're telling your team. That anything goes and you're not going to be held accountable to anything as long as you do the review process and get the right people in 5% of the time, you'll be okay. That's, that's

[00:23:24] Keith Oldridge: [00:23:24] Sage advice. That's very Sage advice. So, uh, I'd like to just.

[00:23:30] Ask you if there's any particular resources, books, um, that made you a better leader as you were scaling all of these companies you ever been a part of?

[00:23:41] Rishi Sharma: [00:23:41] Well, on books at Swan for the last 15 years, we would have, well, why the same book as it were. We were going through the growth stages. One year I picked the energy bus.

[00:23:55] So everybody in England, Australia, China, America, ever all had to write the energy bus. A year later. It was, and that was because we were, yeah. Needing that extra effort to get us across the line for the goals that were set. Then I picked good to great. Mmm. I always picked a book that reflected our part of the journey, and I worked with HR to research it.

[00:24:25] The other thing I did was in developing aye aptitude test with a highchair consultant and his company on a worldwide basis for certain senior positions, we would give them this test that. try to reflect our culture as best possible. As far as I was concerned. If they're in the running for the position, they have to be qualified, otherwise we're wasting that bloody time.

[00:24:55] So if they qualified, what leaves it as the last decision making? Part of the process is. Do they fit our culture? So I paid for a guy to research what our culture was, and every three to four years we'd go back to the drawing board and redefine our culture and then pacifically apply this test and and read, define the test that they would take.

[00:25:19] Look, it wasn't infallible, but it did help us weed out those that didn't have the same thought process as we did. I found that very helpful.

[00:25:28] Keith Oldridge: [00:25:28] So it was like that adage, trust, but verify did, but with both quality and and quantity because you are testing it with quantitative metrics and with the qualitative, correct.

[00:25:39] Other fitting in.

[00:25:40] Rishi Sharma: [00:25:40] And I know you're doing those, just lessen your chances to make a mistake and let you know if you put in the marketing campaign nap, if you're doing your consumer research through. Um, okay. Focus groups, et cetera. It's all the same thing. Hiring the staff has exactly the same process as marketing, accounting.

[00:25:59] Anything else you've got to trade as such. A lot of young, especially young business leaders studying, don't give an emphasis to the HR. They always have HR as a part of accounting. I find that ridiculous. Hi, Josh should have nothing to do with accounting. And yeah, it should be so far removed. We should be in different buildings, and there's a reason for that.

[00:26:24] How HR has to interpret as a business leader, what your values are, what your philosophy is, what your mission, what your vision is, and make sure the culture of the business accommodates that. That's like asking the marketing director to do all the accounting work. That's ridiculous.

[00:26:43] Keith Oldridge: [00:26:43] Yeah, absolutely.

[00:26:45] Absolutely. Um, and I think that's very well suited for today's business environment as a lot of the millennial and gen Z is coming into the space, they're choosing culture over financial metrics many of the time because, you know, they want to make sure that they're feeling needed. They're feeling close to the business.

[00:27:04] I think that's a, especially a great advice for the current climate

[00:27:10] Rishi Sharma: [00:27:10] because they jump on ship. But the drop of a hat, because of the environment we live in, in America, with with 3.6% unemployment and a workforce added today, the numbers kind of had a two or 125,000 new jobs at it. So they can jump around as much as I like because we need them.

[00:27:28] And so if you give them what they want as well as what you need. Everybody wins. If you don't treat them right, they're not going to be there next month. Yup,

[00:27:37] Keith Oldridge: [00:27:37] absolutely.

[00:27:38] Rishi Sharma: [00:27:38] Absolutely. They're about, as you said, they're not there for the paycheck. They're there for the experience, so you show them what the vision for them is, as well as the business you're operating and they, if they yeah, I drink the Koolaid.

[00:27:54] You've got somebody that's loyal on or serve your brilliantly.

[00:28:00] Keith Oldridge: [00:28:00] absolutely. Absolutely. So of all the books that you dated, you said you have book every year with the company. Is there, was there one particular book that kind of you saw the most improvement or the most adoption or people were the most excited about after they read it?

[00:28:20] Rishi Sharma: [00:28:20] I think the energy bus was the one that did that. Sure. The rank and file and you know from supervisors to middle managers, the senior managers and the other one. As you were going up the second or third year in the hockey stick in any inbox. Oh, I always found teaching the elephant to dance. And that's about taking that next step when you're doing from a small, medium sized business to a large business, uh, and what the challenges are because it put you all on the same footing and it's a storytelling.

[00:28:54] Teach. Taking the elephant to dance is a great book, uh, of anyone that's reached that mid cap level and looking to go the next stage as questions, how are we going to get there and how am I going to have everybody on the same page? That's the book I would recommend. Okay.

[00:29:10] Keith Oldridge: [00:29:10] I think that's great advice and I'm sure the audience will, um, quad and purchase those books.

[00:29:16] Um, so I'd like to just get into the final questions. So we'd like to discuss the habits, routines, rituals of, you know, Changemakers like yourself out there. Um, so are there any particular routines or rituals or habits that you're quite religious about just doing on a regular basis because it helps you optimize the day.

[00:29:38] Rishi Sharma: [00:29:38] Mmm. I take the lead of my wife of all things. I'm don't tell her that. Uh, but she's an early bird. She's up at four 30, quarter to five. And because she wants to work out before seven, uh, yeah. We were very early. Debate and we're very early to rise because then we can maximize our day. I would rather get that project that, you know, I'm an XL, not, I love working on Excel or any computer files, as you know.

[00:30:07] Uh, and I'd rather get that done with a cup of coffee in my hand before I'm interrupted with a bunch of people or a million phone calls or podcasts or whatever ongoing, uh, and get it where, when it's fresh in the morning. So my hours. Yeah. And I say out not only mine, but our routine is very up early every morning and by seven with, yeah, a company, all those things that we thought we were going to get done, but normally Donner, and we try to, including working out, including having a cup of coffee and I'm chatting, my wife reads the Bible every morning and studies first, and I get on my computer and doing my computer working, and we've found that that routine.

[00:30:52] It may mean that it, no, I know nine 30 we're, we're a little fatigued or tired, but we're fine when non-drinkers were, you know, we don't drink a lot of alcohol or anything like that, so it's fine for us to do that. So I think it's an, and of all things, a lot of water. yeah. W w we, we drink at least six or seven big bottles of water a day.

[00:31:19] Because everything else will, uh, affect you in some shape or form, but walk straight through you and Glen, a cleansing mechanism for your Brian as well as your body. Yeah,

[00:31:30] Keith Oldridge: [00:31:30] absolutely. Hydration is, yeah, very important. Very

[00:31:34] Rishi Sharma: [00:31:34] important. Actually. If you're taking long flights, like either all the time to Australia or anyone or China, like you do, if you're not drunk on the flight, you're going to feel buggered for a couple of days, and if you drank a lot, it'll make you feel a bit better.

[00:31:48] So that's part of our routine is just hydration, hydration, hydration.

[00:31:54] Keith Oldridge: [00:31:54] So, you know, you've obviously been involved with various different industries and main different categories, um, a business. Is there one particular thing that you find as a myth that you'd like to debunk that, you know, people talk about all the time, but it's not true.

[00:32:15] Rishi Sharma: [00:32:15] I just don't think that anyone has all the answers. I, I think that it takes a lot of us to achieve any common result. And there are people I would follow for no pay. Uh, and I'll, I'll tell you who they are later, but I think it's gotta be recognized that leadership isn't dictatorial. Leadership has to be a consensus driven management form, because if you're dictatorial, I just don't think you can get everyone's input.

[00:32:52] And, and that's where I think people who see a dictatorial boss, okay, well I only fall on one, let's say purpose. but not beyond. If they see it inclusive, all incumbent person team later, they'll fall on when it isn't beneficial to them. Don't follow them. If they see the vision and it's not, yeah, just a top down thing.

[00:33:18] They felt involved. I feel so I think the myth that strong leadership equaling dictatorial leadership is a good thing. I just don't, I think it is. I think I've, I think the Mets, I think, you know, you can be a strong leader at decisive leader, but unless you get everybody in, you're nothing but a dictator with a title.

[00:33:40] Keith Oldridge: [00:33:40] absolutely, absolutely. Totally agree with that. Um, so just have two final questions. So what does personal care mean to you? Um, if you could go ahead and answer that.

[00:33:54] Rishi Sharma: [00:33:54] Well, I'm going to ask you what up mines. W what do you mean by personal care? You know, I wash, well,

[00:34:01] Keith Oldridge: [00:34:01] uh, yeah, so personal care can have variety of different, uh,

[00:34:06] Rishi Sharma: [00:34:06] well, I take it from a health standpoint.

[00:34:08] I think, you know, one of the things that I made sure in every company that I ran that health insurance was available and paid for by the business. Yeah. If you're meaning personal care in that manner. I am a strong advocate and you know, you know, personally what I've been through a lot of things, but, uh, I just think it's imperative in any business to have a relationship with your staff on a personal level so that you understand what their needs are.

[00:34:36] And I saw her in some of your business relationships and your family business relationships. Exactly that. Yeah. And, and it was so refreshing and caring for me to observe that it was brilliant. And I think they're the sort of things you've got to recognize that, yeah, you might be a business account of Ford, a hundred percent contribution, but even if you can affordX , that's better.

[00:34:59] And they'll, they'll, you know, they'll reward you when otherwise they'll be committed to you. But. Their personal wellbeing of the team members in, in your, your environment, in your orbit. It's so important that they feel, uh, that their wellbeing is part of your Mmm, business philosophy. Then they'll do often foyer, you know, cause you've looked your, I just remember simple things like sending people home at four o'clock or their kids were coming on early and I don't know, it was, it was something so simple as that.

[00:35:35] Is caring that you'd be home for their, you know, they'd be home for their kids and leave work an hour and a half early with no retribution and buy them for it. It was, it was fantastic. And I think they are the sort of things that I, I really believe businesses have to attend to and make it a matter of a routine and principle.

[00:35:58] Because if you just add it to your list of to do's because you think the staff are going to need it, you're not, you haven't bought into it. You're not 100% committed, and unless you're 100% committed, it's going to reflect badly on the end. But you've got to want the best for the people that work with you and for you.

[00:36:18] Keith Oldridge: [00:36:18] Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. So, final question. If you were to have a, a dinner party or hosted dinner and you could have three people, anybody you chose dead or alive, who would you choose and why?

[00:36:33] Rishi Sharma: [00:36:33] Well, that's, I said that people that I would love to have work for, and, uh, Jack Welsh was one because I went through the six Sigma training in working with home Depot and, you know, being one of their vendors for many years and a company I was

[00:36:51] A partner in the largest fireplace man company in the world was foster Mandel's and mod master design out of Northern California. And I ended up in that business, which I had no right to be involved cause I'm not very good handyman or any of that. But they just needed someone with the relationships with the.

[00:37:09] With the customer base. And I had that. And so I ended up in this business and I had to go as far as six Sigma training. I'd been through the Malter Motorola quality assurance training in the mid eighties in and, uh, in Illinois, in Schomburg for a group I was working for. But the six Sigma training, I learned a lot about Jack Welsh and, uh, cause it was one of his lieutenants.

[00:37:36] Uh. to home Depot to run it. I think he was, yeah, a bad manager, but he brought some good philosophies. So Jack Walsh was somebody that I really, really respected. And because he went more into, uh. The relationship between management and stuff all the time was his philosophy that as long as I understood you could help him and like it helped you.

[00:38:06] And that's why I think to me, Jack Walsh was one of them, not my first, you know, he'd be number three. Mmm.

[00:38:18] Number two would be Churchill, I think would all be speaking German and Japanese if it wasn't for Winston Churchill last century. And it's just, he's my man for the 19 hundreds. And, uh, you know, the 20th century. He, he to me, was the epitome of a leader. He was as my madism a Accetta, but I would've, you know.

[00:38:44] Learning and reading, watching movies. I've got all these writings in my library. I read every book ever written by him or about him most rubbly and I just found him fascinating and I just think he was the difference between, uh, Hitler winning and the Western world losing. It was just, I just thought it was his.

[00:39:09] Ability to motivate people and be ruthless. He was ruthless. He, he would do things that, yeah, if you reflect today, you'd go that, you know, that's bad. But he did it in the best interest of the overall humanity, and, and, you know, the British Commonwealth and all that, and he did it with only one outcome in mind.

[00:39:32] That was the defeat not seeing as a woman, Hitler. So I just think that, uh, yeah. He is somebody, any business leader could launch just radio books and you'll love it to lay people and be accountable. So here's my number two, and number one is Jesus. And because I'm a person of faith and, uh, was brought up in a, a very scholarly environment in my home.

[00:39:59] Church was all about studying and Toronto understand, I find, yeah. Starting in the Bible to be a great history lesson, and I take it from the theology she saw side more than a uh, enforcement side. I'm not one for a lot of trinkets and yeah, Holy water and all that. I'm just one that believes in the spirit of it all.

[00:40:23] And I'm sorry, I had locked up at dinner with Jesus.

[00:40:30] That's

[00:40:31] Keith Oldridge: [00:40:31] there's some great choices. So, uh, thank you so much for being on the podcast. It's been a pleasure having you here. Um, if anybody wanted to reach out or connect with you, is there some place online that they can

[00:40:42] Rishi Sharma: [00:40:42] contact you? Um, yeah, I'm, I'm in LinkedIn. Oh, love of business references, all that could contact you.

[00:40:51] You can. You've always got a direct line to me.

[00:40:54] Keith Oldridge: [00:40:54] Yeah, absolutely. So thank you so much and a pleasure having you.

[00:40:58] Rishi Sharma: [00:40:58] Thanks a lot. Reishi take care.


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