You Need A Village To Make A Business
Dr. Troy Hall
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
You Need A Village To Make A Business
The Inventive Journey
Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.
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rely on other people figure out what you're putting into your brain that's going to create the actions you're going to break and surround yourself with good counsel with people that you trust people who will give you good information people who aren't looking to try to profit from you but people who are really looking who will build you up and support you you need a village to make a business i mean it's really true you need individuals and you have to rely on people to help you and it's not a weakness you know people think that it's a weakness to ask for help and what i say to them is this the weakness is you doing it and doing it wrong when you could have asked somebody to help you that's the weakness the weakness and asking is not a problem it's only when you think that you know everything that's the weakness [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host evan miller serial entrepreneur that's grown several startups in the seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law we help startups and small businesses with their patent and trademark if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast uh dr troy hall and give you a brief introduction so um dr troy uh was going to college uh quit to marry his sweetheart and then spent 13 years getting a degree after that had a friend offer him a job as a strategy officer also went out and got an mba with his daughter at a period of time and then went on to get a phd and then wally is or while he's working to get all this degree started a few of his endeavors that he he'll talk a little bit about now and then also got into uh being doing consulting as well as being an author so with that much of the introduction introduction welcome on the podcast well thank you devin it's good to be here so i gave kind of a much quicker overview to a much longer journey so maybe take us back a little bit in time to kind of when you were uh going to uh going to college and what made you or stop for your sweetheart and then how you got re-engaged and tell us a little bit about your journey well thanks uh so here's the the story kind of works a little bit like this and i'm one of those individuals that is much more interested in the journey than the destination so as a child i didn't know much about what i wanted to be when i grew up except i wanted to be a superhero and so so one of my ideas of how i would have superpowers is i would take these smarties candies and i would create a power for each one of the little uh pellets that i would eat and so each one of those pellets and became a superpower so for me my journey began kind of thinking about um you know just trying to figure out in life uh one first of all i knew i wanted a relationship so that's why mirroring my high school sweetheart was an important aspect i thought at one time i might go into theater and so i dabbled at that i've certainly done it before you get too much into your journey so theater was that you know so you went to high school how did that go were you going to college at the time because if i remember we chatted a bit before you were going to college and then you dropped out to follow your sweetheart or moved or something of that nature is that right well the story is is that she's was always the sweetheart through the whole process but i did start out going to college for a couple of years full-time um and then and we did that while we were married that part didn't work out quite as well the theater didn't work out quite as well because i soon began to realize i need money and i was probably not going to get it through the theater although i think i'm a pretty good actor i think i sound really good but hey i have a better face for radio or podcast so the uh so the opportunity for us to decide to start our family was important and so that's what happened but through that process i got this epiphany that i needed to go back to school and some of it came because as i was watching individuals around me get promoted and i wasn't and so and even though i was just out of curiosities for the audience what were you doing at that time so you decided to go to school for a couple years didn't work out theater wasn't working out needed to make the money so when you put that on hold what did you go and do well i was working in a financial institution at the time and um you know and again i was you know it's me doing things or or having a form of intellect around what we're doing was never a problem or an issue because that during that time back in the late 70s and early 80s that really the degree was a was a big deal and not having the degree was a hindrance to my opportunity for advancement so it took me 13 years complete from the time i started two years off married all of that and i eventually uh finished with my undergraduate degree and worked out great one question before kind of going along because all that was 13 years that we jumped all over so i'm going to force you to go back just a little bit so you're working you know you do a job for a period of time you know was that a single job was it kind of going between different jobs or because you mentioned a little bit hey you know the culture was i needed a degree in order to progress and whatnot so what jobs were you doing was it a single path that you worked for for 13 years or did you go a few different jobs or kind of what was that what transpired over that period of time well that's yeah it was 13 years in the same organization so i started started really as a part-time teller in that position and then eventually worked up into various levels of management i ended up working in a number of different departments in the institution and so things were going well i mean i was always within a year or so getting some sort of promotion advancement new career opportunity i even had an opportunity to be part of a conversion team and at the time in the early 80s it was a big deal of savings and loans and the savings and loans debacle and so those financial institutions were available for banks to buy so i was working in pittsburgh at the time and the bank that i worked for purchased these facilities out in philadelphia and because i had so much background of the things that i was doing and i again was working on my degree at the time i had an opportunity to be part of the conversion team and that just totally changed my mind about you know how things you know what to do it really gave me a much more feeling about an entrepreneurial spirit running a company the kinds of things and decisions i mean i really got to see a macro level of how you would transform an institution from what it was to something else and it was just a really great tremendous experience i was with a lot of talented people at the time um who you know really provided great resource and for me it's part of what i've collected you know i have always been an individual this started an early age my mom told me that it was always better for me to be a mister learn it all than a mr know-it-all and so my ability to look for information is important it's why my mantra today is you don't have to know everything you just need to be teachable and it's why in my in the book that i wrote one of the books collision culture proven principles to retain your top talent when i talk about the seven attributes of an effective leader the very first one that i say is teachable because you see if you're teachable it's like it's your mind open to new things and new ideas you're not stuck in one particular thing in one particular way and for me i but i'm very loyal so for me working 13 years for the same organization wasn't a problem until i hit a ceiling and wasn't able to advance to the next level and needed the degree to be able to do that and then once that i had the degree all of a sudden new opportunities opened up and it wasn't just at that same organization i had opportunities at other organizations i was able to leverage the background i had i wouldn't trade the process the fact that you can sometimes get a degree in four years and have no job at the end of the four-year degree i was blessed i had a job and managed to get the degree with the job i had when i was done not only a degree but i also had 13 years of experience that went with it it made me extremely marketable no i think that that definitely makes there makes perfect sense now one question that i i think when we talked about before the podcast that you mentioned was that you also when you went back you were to get a degree you went and did an mba with your daughter as well was that during this period time or did you get an undergraduate and then come back and get an mba or kind of how did that go into your journey so a couple of of uh career uh changes uh the nba happened so so the story for for that but how i got there was um i ended up uh working for a larger financial institution in the columbus ohio area so from pittsburgh to columbus ohio and then that that particular institution wanted to make some internal changes i wasn't as excited about those internal changes and then i had an opportunity to start my own business so i partnered with a individual who ran a printing company and i did all the marketing for those clients who did print services i was able to provide an extension so i created an entire department of graphic artists and individuals who would be able to work for those institutions and we were doing all the printing work so we were able to design so that we could actually print and again you can when i hear the word print you're going oh my gosh you must be talking about the 1990s and the answer would be yes i was because that's when print media was really big and you know building catalogs and brochures and all these types of things and doing four color press work and and really understanding that but what i had an opportunity to do is because of again my background i was able to go into these companies and i sat with the senior leaders and and key stakeholders to projects that i was able to not only talk about the marketing but i was able to relate it to the sales of the organization and to other other business units that might be impacted by it and to some degree i had a couple of clients that actually invited me into their senior management meetings and i would actually sit and be a part of it i didn't speak but i was actually there to hear and listen because i could translate those strategies later on into what they would be doing in the organization well after a while one of the clients and because then i have clients and the clients kind of approached me for a job now i'm going to pause on that for just a moment because i wanted to go back one of the things that motivated me to get that degree over 13 years is not only seeing people move on was that i had this thought this epiphany thing that that showed up to me that said that maybe one day if i didn't get this degree what if i lost a great job opportunity because i didn't have something that was needed for it but it was something that i could do something about not that i'm some victim of circumstance but that i could actually work on getting a degree i could have it it wasn't there was nothing keeping me from doing it and what if that degree was a requirement to be to get advanced so so if anyone has done their own company and you have done that you've talked about startups and so forth you know that running your own company is not a walk in the park there's a lot of work that has to that goes along with it i was exhausted from all the travel all the work that had to be done to do that and i had just this tremendous opportunity to come in again at a senior level position and run a financial institutions division several divisions of it and so i had this great meeting the the ceo is brand new to the to the job i've known her from a previous opportunity and she approached me and we had all this worked out all mapped out of the things i would do got the salary got the benefits all of that and guess what the last question she asked me before she finally made the offer did i have a degree she said her board gave her complete authority to hire anyone she wanted did not have to go through any review process whatever she knew the person well enough she could offer them a job but that person had to have a degree there it was that was the whole turning point for me i spent about nine or ten years at that organization in c-suite i then transferred to another financial institution in the c-suite so i spent over 25 years as a c-suite and really have been using all of this experience from that first 13 years being on a conversion team so for me it's not just about acquiring knowledge and information and i tell folks when they say when i do executive coaching and i work with them and i go you know you heard that knowledge is power right and the person said she asked and i go but you know that's not the whole story that's not the rest of the sentence and they'll say what is it and i say it's knowledge is power when it is being used if you hoard knowledge and information it doesn't make any difference it's using it so when you say that someone is speaking wisely or that they have wisdom it's because they have applied the knowledge and information that they've had so for me it's always been about getting information being generative in that process of always learning and figuring out how to adapt and how can i be diverse and what will i experiment with and and how will i be a good steward of what it is that i've been given or the opportunities i have and to be able to leverage them and so that has you know allowed me to have a 44-year career as well as a 44-year marriage with my sweetheart two kids six grandkids in that process and now i've created a micro business inside of a business and been working now on my consulting and my executive coaching work and i've been able to do it for for individuals around the world and now one question on that great thing you've been working with you got that you had the degree when it was the time that was needed you got the job you've been doing that getting you know higher or higher up level in an organization how did you get into kind of doing the consulting speaking gigs you know and all of that what was the motivation was just hey enough people were asking or you had a story you wanted to tell or kind of how did you get into that or what what prompted you motivated that okay so talk about how i got into that but i forgot to answer the question about the mba so we need to make sure we don't want people like going like does this guy not pay attention to the questions i just got sidetracked on a little rabbit hole so i need to come back and rewind so the mba program worked like this i had a great job i didn't need the mba but here's what motivated me i was hired as the successor to the ceo and what i knew was that in the in that organization i was surrounded by cpas people with military degrees people who ran very successful in large businesses i just didn't want to be that guy who thought i knew so much going back to you know you don't have to to know it all and i learned it and i wanted to be the right candidate i wanted to be right for the organization i wanted to earn my spot to be the successor not that it was handed or given to me i was taught you work for what you want so i decided to do an mba program and it resulted in my daughter saying to me she says dad wouldn't it be great if we did mbas walk across the stage together well i'm a romantic at heart and i thought oh my god that'll be great well two and a half years later i end up with my degree she has gotten married and now is expecting a child and she never did the mba but that was okay it was good for her so i had to finish the mba and now you want to know about the doctoral program because that now follows suit before i even finish the mba i had this need and desire to do this phd work and i didn't know why other than i recognized the next level of where authority was being in the way people spoke and so the mba was a nice fit for me to have but the doctoral work was also a chance for me to create an an authority within the marketplace where i could really expand on on the things that i know to do and the things that i've done in my past and that's how i've gotten that's how i got to the consulting and the executive coaching literally i have been a mentor trainer coach i look for teachable moments i've always been trying to help people my goal has been to figure out how can i help improve and how can i help others be successful what can that what can i do i was also taught at a very young age that you help others achieve what they want to achieve and somehow in life whether you call it karma faith whatever you call it you are taken care of if you don't do it for if you don't do it with the intention of the only reason i do it is so i get something back but if you freely do it because you believe it's the right thing to do and helping other people gives you great satisfaction then do that because you will receive more blessings and more opportunities than you could ever ever imagine on your own so as i created my exit strategy from this uh 26 plus years as an executive uh in the c-suite i had to decide well what do i want to do like what do i want to do when i grow up devon what is it and i said what am i always trying to figure that out their whole life i'm still trying and and i i was like you know the rocking chair isn't for me um you know so i knew that i would still want to do something and i wanted to figure out how could i have a meaningful life and a purposeful career and as i began to think about it and i started talking with with folks so i didn't know about writing the books i knew about the phd a phd is in global leadership and entrepreneurship i've been fortunate enough to have tremendous opportunities to travel i've been to 45 u.s states over 60 countries and set foot in six continents and i said if i'm going to have a degree that says i'm a global leader then i better back that up with something more than just a piece of paper and so i began to start to leverage these field engagements that i had when i would work with various organizations and institutions and my current employer was very happy to allow me to get this because every time i would bring knowledge and information back to the organization we could use it again so i had these opportunities to travel so in addition to my own personal travel i was also having this corporate travel that could be a part of the program and so as i'm thinking about my exit and i'm having conversations i i've recognized this as a leader from a very early age i don't have to know everything and i'm not going to know everything and i need help and i'm not ashamed or afraid to ask somebody for help so i just started asking people what do you think or how would you get your voice out there or how would i figure out what i wanted to do and i and through those conversations i also went back and reflected on something that my dissertation chair told me he said troy first of all the best dissertation is a done dissertation so be clear about that get it done he said the other thing is remember you're not solving world peace and you're not curing a disease he said what you're doing is extending the literature he said you're creating something meaningful that wasn't there before but it doesn't have to be a whole bunch of new stuff and he said whatever you do though it's what you'll be known for so that was always on the back of my mind so what was it that i want to be known for so in this degree of global leadership and entrepreneurship my dissertation was on group dynamics with an emphasis on cohesion so i knew i worked with groups i worked with teams i liked working with people that's really energized i get a lot of energy from it so so i knew i would be doing that so as i'm having these conversations about what do i want to do kind of when i step away from this organization where i am today you know what should it be we started having a conversation around an authority voice and once again i was reminded whatever i choose to write about whatever i choose to speak on should be the area that i want to be known for and not just speak for the sake of speaking or writing i mean you could write for the sake you write you can speak for the sake of speaking but if you wanted to do it purposefully which again was my desire then don't be accidental about it be purposeful so as i thought about it it was like well why don't i leverage the dissertation i did all this research i should be able to do something with it and we began um and so when i say we because i had a team of people i considered my my council of people and we were working on this project and we started looking at what was available in the marketplace and what wasn't and there is a ton of information on acquisition i mean you can buy book after book after book on talent acquisition sometimes you can get some that have will give you some training information or onboarding experience some of them may even hint at retention but no one was really bringing retention talent retention to the forefront and it became my niche so uh so then we then created the book all around creating and what what's the whole point of creating cohesion well it's about groups and teams working together what did i know from the research i knew that when cohesion was present in an organization it created performance the performance just just as a as a matter of time just to kind of bring people to the where things are out today so we have a chance to talk about that is before you wrap up okay sure with all that in mind kind of maybe give us a an idea of how that kind of transitioned to where you're at today and what are you doing today so that that and that's that's what happened so the book translated to me creating a foundation of retaining top talent because i knew that cohesion created performance performance created engagement organizations historically have not done a good job of treating their employees like they are their greatest asset they talk it but they don't do it and i knew that there was a tremendous cost that was involved in having churned from your employees now you might have some term in some entry level but really for your executive levels and your higher levels you want to be able to retain those people and you need to create a culture that will allow you to retain them and that culture has to be built on something intrinsic not extrinsic because your extrinsic values only happen for a short period of time they're only for the moment in which you receive them but something intrinsically how you feel how you react your emotional connection to something lasts so much longer than than what the extrinsic factor so that's what led me to actually doing it and the consulting work listen i've been consulting in executive coaching for years i just never called it that so the opportunity was leverage what i did with the book launched the book became a best-selling title provided information i wanted the book to also include everything that people needed i didn't want to write two or three versions and trick people into buying one then buy another and buy another because it's really not about buying the books it's about taking the information and applying it so you have wisdom and if i wanted to help people then i needed to write a book that helped people not tease them so now just diving in so that kind of brings us a bit to where we're at today and loved our fun journey to hear and as we are unfortunately running toward the end of the podcast and i always have two questions that i'd love to ask and that and they're always insightful so we'll probably jump to those now so what the first question will ask is now that we've kind of brought your journey up to where you're at today and you've talked a little bit about that along that journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it okay can you repeat the question for me one more time sure what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it um well the worst business decision that i made was one again if you want a very specific but i'll give you a conceptual idea and it is um it's not trusting i didn't trust people to do their job and i felt i had to do it for them and as a result i created a lot of a lot of friction that didn't need to be created that if i had done my job in making sure that i checked with the person they had all the resources that they have then they could have done the job that they wanted to do but i i tried to do it myself because i didn't feel like they were going to do it up to my par or my standard and instead if i had been a better communicator in what i was doing if i had trusted of them in what they were doing i wouldn't have made that mistake and so uh so today i know how to safeguard against that no and i think that you know that one's a a good one to learn from and i think it's an easy mistake to to make because a lot of things a lot of times i think the thing that pushes people towards being an entrepreneur being a you know self-starter that is that kind of type a personality to where hey i can do it better than everybody else i'm smarter than everybody else and i can you know i know what i'm doing and some of that may be true and a lot of times it's not but regardless that's kind of the mentality that you almost have to have in order to push yourself forward but then as you get into it in order to um you know allow other people to grow to expand to be here to develop their own talents you have to take that step back so i definitely think that that's a good lesson learned also needs a mistake from a second question i always ask is um if you're talking to somebody now that's just getting to a startup or a small business what would be the one piece of advice you give them well the best piece of advice i would give them is rely on other people figure out what you're putting into your brain that's going to create the actions you're going to break and surround yourself with good counsel with people that you trust people who will give you good information people who aren't looking to try to profit from you but people who are really looking who will build you up and support you you need a village to make a business i mean it's really true you need individuals and you have to rely on people to help you and it's not a weakness you know people think that it's a weakness to ask for help and what i say to them is this the weakness is you doing it and doing it wrong when you could have asked somebody to help you that's the weakness the weakness and asking is not a problem it's only when you think that you know everything that's the weakness no and i think that that you know it does i think i get that in the sense that people oftentimes will say you know i need to be able to do it i need to do it myself i don't want to ask for help i don't want to ask you know friends or family or employees or appointments or anything else because i want i want to show that i can do it and yet those are oftentimes your best resource and the ones that have the most depth of knowledge the ones that are the most likely to help you and to pitch in and everything else and so i definitely think asking her having that mentality will know i'm going to ask for help i'm going to get all the reason or take advantage of all the research i can or the ones that are going to be successful i think that's a great piece of advice well as we as we wrap up so you've got books you've got you know coaching you've got training you've got other things that people want to reach out they want to be a um they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to get more information they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out contact their contractor find out more well i direct them to the website it's dr troyhall.com and there you'll see the books you'll see the resources you'll see the services and there's a connect form that'll that brings it right to me and once you fill that out and give me an idea what you want to talk about then we'll connect and we'll make it real and i'll then share even personal phone number information i mean whatever we need to do there but it's so much easier just to work it through that process and if you want to connect with me on social media it's at dr troy hall so good it's only 10 letters oh plus the dot com there you go that's a that's a great way to reach out definitely encourage people to uh check it out find out more and uh and uh and utilize the wealth of knowledge well thank you again dr troy for coming on now for all of you that are listeners uh if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast feel free to go to inventiveguest.com and apply to be on the show do more things as listeners one make sure to click subscribe in your podcast players so you know when all of our awesome episodes come out and two leave us a review so everybody else can find out all of our wrestling awesome episodes last but not least if you ever need help with patents trademarks or anything else feel free to reach out to us at uh miller ip law by going to strategymeeting.com thanks again dr troy for the coming on and uh wishing the next leg of your journey even better than the last great thank you so much