Building a Culture of Excellence with Automation with Amahl Williams

About This Episode

Amahl Williams, Partner at Reveal Group, stops in to Decision Point to talk with Brad about creating a culture of excellence in a business, what it really means, and how automation can help smooth out the process and not have you stuck inside during happy hour.
Amahl had his successes in the sales field for many years before taking on the new challenge of RPA and IPA technologies to get businesses running smoother. But it was his successes from sales, as well as a military-raised background coupled with a collegiate athletic career, that allowed Amahl to face this new challenge and quickly adapt to the different needs it presented.

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Building a Culture of Excellence with Automation with Amahl Williams

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Amahl Williams: Yep. So here’s the thing for me, right? So just as by way of pedigree and background, I was a three sport captain in college very active throughout the entire school year. And I had to have different levels of conditioning for each one of the sports. And so part of being soccer dad that I like is one sports.

I didn’t play with soccer. Right. But I know there are some principles that are foundational to all sports, right. So it’s going to be conditioning, right? It’s going to be coachability, right. It’s going to be available. And then it’s going to be teamwork and sportsmanship to me, all sports, have those elements.

I think those are things that regardless of your skill set, you can strive towards achieving or attaining. Right? Additionally, my aunt gave me this additional charter and kind of intimidated me. So as he interviewed at Facebook and got the gig there, she talked about, she wanted her work to be beautiful.

Right. She never wanted somebody to question the caliber. Or the quality of her work. She always wanted to create an output that said, this person is invested. This person is informed. This person cares about the outcome. And I think some of the lessons when we talk about sports, it’s I don’t want a lot from the teams that are undefeated.

I really don’t. Right. Because being undefeated is only hard. If you lose to somebody who isn’t as good as you, the teams that I liked are the one and two loss teams, because it’s like, how did you bounce back from utopia? So what I, what I typically see is. In healthy sports cultures, right? The folks that are in the lead or the start.

They have earned that. Right. And the backups don’t question, it’s like, Jeff is better than me, right? Todd is exceptional or whatever it may be as, as, as my qualifier. So what my son, he’s very good at sports to the extent to which a seven year old can be good. Right? So path of least resistance, you know, high velocity scoring and all these other things like that.

Right. But now, as the kids are catching up and it’s becoming more competitive, this is where that discipline comes in. Am I on time and my early am I ready mentally? Am I helping my teammates and all of those things? And so for me, I honestly don’t care about the outcome of the game because of they’re so young that we don’t even measure it.

And during the pandemic we gave up, also the measurement, what I am going to be concerned about is the efforts while he’s on the pitch, because he’s a bigger kid, right? The kids look up to him, they respond, may interact with him differently based upon the success of the game. And so to me, When I played college sports, I never wanted my backup to be like a mall’s just there.

Cause he’s bigger than me and genetics. And what have you. I want it to be somebody where I gave an effort and I had a pedigree around my work ethic where they said, you know what? Not only should I aspire to do the things that he’s doing, but I think he’s doing the things that put him in a position to be successful.

And, you know, I love that part of the game because there’s plenty of guys on, on every team, Akron, you know I own it wherever you look. There’s second and third string guys who were never going to touch the field other than blowouts and may be special. Right. That’s not their story. That’s not their legacy.

Their legacy is all the practices, all the bus rides, managing the workload. So you’re grinding it out on in the classroom during the day. You’re prioritizing your physical fitness during the rest of the time. And then there’s your conduct as a part of the team off the field. So there’s just so many more life lessons about sports than the outcome of the game that I thought that that would be a nice carry over into business.

Right? It’s not about the work that gets published. It’s what you’ve learned about the work. That didn’t get published and how you can repurpose it and leverage it kind of going forward. It’s not about the first customer it’s I got this from my last interview. I think Kelsey saw this it’s about how your company has to change to make sure it stays above $10 million for the rest of his existence.

And some of those behaviors and patterns are like, Are we documenting process, is the process repeatable and scalable? Have we gotten the folks who were part of the team to buy into the vision? Have we taken their feedback? So now they own some of the process. And so when I look at those things, there are a lot of corollaries and overlaps, but I just don’t want my son to look at them as buying them.

Right. So when he’s doing his class where he does really well at stem stuff, cause he has half of my brain and the other half is my wife’s brain. I want him to raise towards the things that he’s weak. Right. And I don’t want him to slack at the things that he’s strong at. And so that’s where I coach him.

I don’t want to say I coach my, my colleagues because that’s not what I do with my colleagues. I share my vision. I tell them why I think they’re special and what I think that they do well. And then I had to have them pitch back to me their vision. So it’s like based upon your understanding of what we need to do to be successful and how I kind of talked about you, what I like about you and how I think.

All of us be successful, you know, which parts of this do you want to own? And that’s new for me. Before I was a partner, I didn’t have to do that. It was more like, do what I say. Cause I had the measurements that I have to meet and reach. And now it’s more collaborative. I think it’s, you know, threefold people who I work with.

They want to sit in my seat at some point in time to. I have to do some mentoring as an organic part of my job. And three, what we’re doing has to make sense that we shouldn’t be doing it. And that’s, that’s really, you know, kind of how I look at it holistically breath. Does that make sense?

[00:04:58] Brad Seaman: Tell me a little bit about the business.

Now, just walk us through kind of how you got there and then talk about the business today.

[00:00:00] Amahl Williams: Yep. So here’s the thing for me, right? So just as by way of pedigree and background, I was a three sport captain in college very active throughout the entire school year. And I had to have different levels of conditioning for each one of the sports. And so part of being soccer dad that I like is one sports.

I didn’t play with soccer. Right. But I know there are some principles that are foundational to all sports, right. So it’s going to be conditioning, right? It’s going to be coachability, right. It’s going to be available. And then it’s going to be teamwork and sportsmanship to me, all sports, have those elements.

I think those are things that regardless of your skill set, you can strive towards achieving or attaining. Right? Additionally, my aunt gave me this additional charter and kind of intimidated me. So as he interviewed at Facebook and got the gig there, she talked about, she wanted her work to be beautiful.

Right. She never wanted somebody to question the caliber. Or the quality of her work. She always wanted to create an output that said, this person is invested. This person is informed. This person cares about the outcome. And I think some of the lessons when we talk about sports, it’s I don’t want a lot from the teams that are undefeated.

I really don’t. Right. Because being undefeated is only hard. If you lose to somebody who isn’t as good as you, the teams that I liked are the one and two loss teams, because it’s like, how did you bounce back from utopia? So what I, what I typically see is. In healthy sports cultures, right? The folks that are in the lead or the start.

They have earned that. Right. And the backups don’t question, it’s like, Jeff is better than me, right? Todd is exceptional or whatever it may be as, as, as my qualifier. So what my son, he’s very good at sports to the extent to which a seven year old can be good. Right? So path of least resistance, you know, high velocity scoring and all these other things like that.

Right. But now, as the kids are catching up and it’s becoming more competitive, this is where that discipline comes in. Am I on time and my early am I ready mentally? Am I helping my teammates and all of those things? And so for me, I honestly don’t care about the outcome of the game because of they’re so young that we don’t even measure it.

And during the pandemic we gave up, also the measurement, what I am going to be concerned about is the efforts while he’s on the pitch, because he’s a bigger kid, right? The kids look up to him, they respond, may interact with him differently based upon the success of the game. And so to me, When I played college sports, I never wanted my backup to be like a mall’s just there.

Cause he’s bigger than me and genetics. And what have you. I want it to be somebody where I gave an effort and I had a pedigree around my work ethic where they said, you know what? Not only should I aspire to do the things that he’s doing, but I think he’s doing the things that put him in a position to be successful.

And, you know, I love that part of the game because there’s plenty of guys on, on every team, Akron, you know I own it wherever you look. There’s second and third string guys who were never going to touch the field other than blowouts and may be special. Right. That’s not their story. That’s not their legacy.

Their legacy is all the practices, all the bus rides, managing the workload. So you’re grinding it out on in the classroom during the day. You’re prioritizing your physical fitness during the rest of the time. And then there’s your conduct as a part of the team off the field. So there’s just so many more life lessons about sports than the outcome of the game that I thought that that would be a nice carry over into business.

Right? It’s not about the work that gets published. It’s what you’ve learned about the work. That didn’t get published and how you can repurpose it and leverage it kind of going forward. It’s not about the first customer it’s I got this from my last interview. I think Kelsey saw this it’s about how your company has to change to make sure it stays above $10 million for the rest of his existence.

And some of those behaviors and patterns are like, Are we documenting process, is the process repeatable and scalable? Have we gotten the folks who were part of the team to buy into the vision? Have we taken their feedback? So now they own some of the process. And so when I look at those things, there are a lot of corollaries and overlaps, but I just don’t want my son to look at them as buying them.

Right. So when he’s doing his class where he does really well at stem stuff, cause he has half of my brain and the other half is my wife’s brain. I want him to raise towards the things that he’s weak. Right. And I don’t want him to slack at the things that he’s strong at. And so that’s where I coach him.

I don’t want to say I coach my, my colleagues because that’s not what I do with my colleagues. I share my vision. I tell them why I think they’re special and what I think that they do well. And then I had to have them pitch back to me their vision. So it’s like based upon your understanding of what we need to do to be successful and how I kind of talked about you, what I like about you and how I think.

All of us be successful, you know, which parts of this do you want to own? And that’s new for me. Before I was a partner, I didn’t have to do that. It was more like, do what I say. Cause I had the measurements that I have to meet and reach. And now it’s more collaborative. I think it’s, you know, threefold people who I work with.

They want to sit in my seat at some point in time to. I have to do some mentoring as an organic part of my job. And three, what we’re doing has to make sense that we shouldn’t be doing it. And that’s, that’s really, you know, kind of how I look at it holistically breath. Does that make sense?

[00:04:58] Brad Seaman: Tell me a little bit about the business.

Now, just walk us through kind of how you got there and then talk about the business today.

[00:05:04] Amahl Williams: Yeah. Sure. So, you know when you look at RPA plus IPA, plus a robotic process, automation, intelligent process automation at its core, it’s just data processing, right? So if you have a lot of people, 70 analysts doing a lot of the similar work, a hundred accountants doing a lot of the similar work.

What we’re trying to do is take away some of the mundane tasks from your back and middle office employees to improve their quality of life, to improve the quality of the inputs and to allow businesses to scale costs. RPA is a part of that story. IPA is including the humans as a part of that story. So how do robots and people work together to improve the business outcomes, right?

Reducing errors and et cetera. So I’m four years in the industry now.

[00:05:46] Brad Seaman: you guys doing those installs? Are you in consulting?

[00:05:50] Amahl Williams: So great question. Right? So there’s a software, right? There’s the services. And then there’s the technical services that I would call. So we do all three. We partner with the top right quadrant top right corner of the Gartner quadrants.

Right. And we provide implementation services based upon the customer’s maturity. So no robots them. What the heck happened to the box, right.

I call them digital. I call them digital hippies. Right. Get those digital hippies a job. And so those are our core customers, but I would say, you know, for me, from where I started to where I am. The guys who get my first art, they founded wonder bots. They were the founders of the robotics practice at E Y.

It’s the best boot camp that I’ve been to professionally in ever period. And part of that pedigree is why I got recruited to be the first black partner at reveal group. Twofold reveal group takes DEI initiatives very seriously. I will tell you to a brand, my hiring has been merit-based, but the importance of having me at this level, the businesses to ensure that we walked through.

From top to bottom. Right? So finding talent helping talent matriculate, I’m starting to get agency use and kind of working my way up. So why I like it here to your point, the co-founders took a very serious stance on it and they’re matching that with resources. And funding, which I love. So that’s really exciting to me.

I have, you know, 12 to 20 peers that I would call out between the U S and Australia in total. And we were the top right portion of the Forrester wave this year for midsize for himself, top 15 in our space, you know, the top four and you know, all of them. Right, right below that tier top tier level is where this company resides and how we got there was.

And our second part was our customer satisfaction. And part of that reason is in the services where we provide, we also provide a software solution that reduces the time of the labor required to be successful by 30%. And our peers do not have that. Excuse me, our co-op. They don’t have those credentials

[00:07:44] Brad Seaman: that G cast is that the product

[00:07:47] Amahl Williams: that, so actually, you know, it’s funny tinny cast was born out of on-demand expert access to subject matter expertise.

So it was like four consultants. And I started actually in reporting and analytics. So I was a marketing. And I shifted to digital transformation.

[00:08:03] Brad Seaman: So talk a little bit about digital transformation, because I think a lot of people, you know, it’s at some point it becomes a buzzword, right? So I, I think everybody probably understands that, Hey, COVID hit, this is what I had from the outside.

Yeah, something happened in digital transformation that hasn’t happened before, but what that is, I don’t think anybody does. So I’m going to let you

[00:08:23] Amahl Williams: sort of talk a little bit, you nailed it, Brad, if you look at that hashtag there’s like, you know, there’s hairstylists in there, you know, there’s e-commerce platform.

I mean, I don’t know, you know, there’s a Pinterest links. I think if you look at the additional business, right, this is a school 1 0 1 people process. And they were all equally weighted, right? So the people did a process or procedures, which are comprised of multiple processes and they either use technology a lot or a little right.

And typically analysts from. Technology enables business outcomes. So the companies that use less tech aren’t as effective as those that use more tech in RPA, IPA automation transformation in the broader scope of things, when you’re doing digital processing or data processing of large amounts of information, what you’re doing is you’re eliminating those traditional pitfalls.

So personal fatigue, quality, lack of familiarity with systems. So now instead of people, process tech, all being the same size. Tech is the largest finger process is the primary consideration for automation. Right? And then in the people use case because we’re taking a lot of the work off of their plate, which type of subject matter experts are we interacting with them?

So if you just do that little pivot where you say the work needs to be done, does the human need to do it? Yes or no. We’ll figure that out. And then for the humans that are still interacting with the robots on a very frequent basis is the quality of the outcome greater than it was before. And in almost every single use case that we see, you know, the answer there is.

Yes. So to me, digital transformation is digitizing the organization. Automating the processes around your core platforms and freeing up your highly valuable employees, right. To do higher level work, but also reducing attrition in turn because of the fatigue of doing repetitive processes. Could you give me

[00:10:12] Brad Seaman: a quick, quick little illustration of what a project would, might look like or a problem that might be solved?

[00:10:18] Amahl Williams: Yeah. I mean, let me do the most basic ones. My favorite one. So it was my first one. So there’s a large medical center in college, north of Boston. Their mascot is called the Catamounts. And when you looked at payroll, it was about 10,000 plus people submitting timecards, not somebody tying cards, you know, manager approval, escalations and complete the entire, like.

Mayhem that is payroll,

[00:10:41] Brad Seaman: big old process.

[00:10:43] Amahl Williams: Right. But the first thing, Brad, right? Can we describe it? How it’s done today? Right. That’s number one. Can we capture it? And then can we transform it? So what used to happen is they ran payroll weekly. I didn’t realize how painful that was before I talked to you guys.

I was talking to the former head of payroll at general motors. UK, I believe is where he was and he was, he made it very easy, just brass tacks. And for me, he said, I’m all, he’s like when the tech stops. So it doesn’t. I got Jesus. I was like, I don’t know how to say it more than that. So at the hospital, at the medical center, if you don’t pay your students, if you don’t pay your interns, if you don’t pay your employees, right.

They stopped showing up. They throw up picket signs and what have you. So each week the payroll team would stay all day calling, reminding, being like Kelsey, come on, man. Tell Brad to submit his time sheet, like declined that or approve it or what happened. And so when I first met the process, they just had a ball.

If everything is coming. Pay me employee. If there are exceptions apply the business rules and escalated accordingly, and I won’t get into the skunkworks of how the automation works, but basically my favorite part of the interview was at the end when I talked to Curtis and I said, Hey what’s it like now that you have automation around Kronos and there’s nothing wrong with problems.

Right? And he was like, Monday used to be the worst day of the week. And he goes, and now we can leave after lunch, if we want to, I can take half days. So.

[00:12:05] Brad Seaman: That’s a great marketing campaign. I can leave after lunch. Yeah,

[00:12:08] Amahl Williams: dude, don’t miss happy hour. And I know it sounds fanciful when I say it, but there are certain things that we all do on a monthly basis that could be done by a software application interacting with other software.

Right. So that’s RPA, once the data processing is done, the cost of doing business goes down. Right. So that’s one of the. And then you attract different talent because of how progressive your company is. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. They will outperform their peers. I buy their stocks when they do so, and I make more money without having a conflict of interest.

Right. So I can’t do it for every customer, but for the ones where it’s not inappropriate to me to do it, I watch them, especially in e-commerce and especially in travel management systems, they’re outperforming the marketplace because they’ve started to automate the mundane tasks. The talent will start to come to them because they say, Hey, you know what?

A hundred percent of this job was mine before transformation. Now only 25% of it is mine. So what else can I do with that time? Five minutes? Are there things

[00:13:07] Brad Seaman: that you feel like the technology can’t? So, you know, obviously there’s an explosion of AI. So like in our business, we provide a dialing product.

The way that I like to think about it is, you know, even with all the increased. Around AI. There’s a lot of stuff that the technology can’t do. So the technology can’t tell the difference between Kelly, the guy and Kelly, the girl. So the difference, you know, it can’t, it has no contextual understanding of what’s what’s occurring on a phone.

So if you’re getting transferred to offices or somebody is telling you to. All of that is stuff that a computer can’t process, maybe in some day someday it can, but it can’t now. And so what we do is when we can use technology to dial the phone, we, we use technology when we need to bring a person in for context or for decision-making, we’re going to bring, we’re going to bring a person.

And what it looks like is at the end of the day, just like your client got paid, our client’s going to get a conversation with a client with the prospect. But under the hood, we are automating the things we were trying to use technology where we can and people where we, where we need to to ultimately get the, the final and ultimate result.

So there is a kind of a version, but for you, when you guys go in and do a project, is there actual, so there is some technology, like in the payroll example, you guys are deploying some kind of technology along side, whatever applications they’re using to automate everything.

[00:14:26] Amahl Williams: Yeah, absolutely. Brad investments will find it.

The best recent definition that I’ve seen was by a pill from horses, for sources versus

[00:14:34] Brad Seaman: for sources. Is that, is that a company or is that like a blog? Is that

[00:14:38] Amahl Williams: a blog? So it started off as a blog. Now is one of the nice marketing services firms in my industry. They are the voice of reason in my space.

So we rely on them, but Phil said something brilliant. He’s like, it’s a product. And it’s a service. So when you think about the software, right, we all bought CRM software. We all bought office software, right? Once you purchased the software, it can perform functions for us. Right. So it’s not about the human interacting with the software.

It’s about the software interacting with other applications in your system when your laptop is closed, when you’re asleep in these other times. So when we look at the solutions that we deliver, first, we train people on how to use the software so they can do it themselves. Right. Second, we do the hard, you know, hard hitting heavy lifting things where it’s like, when did the humans interact with the robots?

And then also the customers in the contact center. So I was at sites before this, right. And we were looking at using robots in the contact center to improve average. Right to access legacy applications, to make sure we have a single view of the customer, but also to help them prioritize offers based upon the center.

Analysis of how the conversation’s going. Right. So it’s one thing to key in and say, Hey mom, when you talked to Brad, use metaphors use examples in the CRM system for, Hey, you know, I’m always cranky on Mondays when he calls in and asks for credits. It’s about how is the current call going? And is that impacting the customer experience across our entire footprint?

I love rope. I love technology there because now we’re working with. And that’s where we get the high value, high ROI. You know, the use cases you see on TV, like Verizon’s a perfect example, right? Verizon’s using chatbots context and a abroad back office transformation, automation across all these other areas.

They were already outperforming their peers. When they add a layer of automation to this, they reduce the cost of doing business. And Tammy looks like a rockstar, right? Money went up, cost, went them. That’s how I looked at. At least you said Verizon. Yeah,

[00:16:38] Brad Seaman: I’m excited. So, so part, so part of the, so I’m going to transition a little bit. So part of the podcast is we kind of got to do a rule. So one thing we talk about is we talk about 70. Yeah. And then the other thing we talk about as we talk about, you know, cover the stuff that we just covered around sales and, and what what’s happening in the market.

So what we haven’t covered is we haven’t covered, you know, is, is, it sounds like you’ve probably had, you know, sounds like your parents instilled some discipline in you. And I’m guessing that you’ve probably had some adverse situations that you’ve had to overcome to get to where you’re at. So I’d love to hear, I’d love to hear if you ha, if you have one of those that you want.

[00:17:14] Amahl Williams: I know it’s like, what’s one, do you twos? Right. So I, I, when I introduce myself, I introduce myself in the, through the lenses of the last four years. Cause I think it takes 15 to get to where I am to be candid. Right. And all of that you know, shadow boxing and sword fighting. It’s about learning. Who you are professionally and where you can be successful.

So when I was young, my mom would not let me quit anything. So this is counter to my current perspective. It’s like, I’m all you’re taking. Kenpo, can’t quit. You know, you’re going to be in the plays at school. Can’t quit. Not letting you try out for the basketball team, if you can’t make a lay up with two hands.

Right? So the nice part about coming from generations of military folks, but also generations of athletes on both sides of the family. They understood what was material to my success, diet conditioning, practicing, and all these other things like this. And again, like with the initial example I gave my mom did it the same way.

Right? So she was better in academia than I was. It’s funny. My wife is actually a better student than I was as well, but I wasn’t a bad student Dean’s list, et cetera did well on and off. But I think the common thing for me, when I look at adversity, adversity is not about making good choices versus bad.

So. Because my son’s a tablet privileged. So is my daughter. They only have good choices to make. Literally it’s like, which school do you want to go to? Which sneakers would you like to wear? Which meal would you like to have? And what we don’t realize? This is a staggering number to me. I’m less than 1% of where I grew up.

That made it out of college. They didn’t, the profession has white collar job. Let’s just call that, making it for the sake of the exercise along the way, every four years or so. I had a critical mass decision to choose principle over comfort. So when I first got into university, I’m going to say any names here, but one of them is you’re frozen.

Can you hear me?

[00:19:01] Brad Seaman: You froze for a second. You were like run into the heat there,

[00:19:06] Amahl Williams: correct?

Okay. So it’s the, it’s the critical decisions that you make, right? It’s not the everyday decisions to go. Cause we all have to wake up, show up on time, do our best that we got to do that. It’s the critical decisions. When you know, one of your best friends says to you, Hey, well, here’s a pound of weed. If you sell this during the school year, you’re making 40 grand or something like that, selling it to your classmates.

Cause I didn’t do drugs. Right. And I basically remember having this conversation. I was, I was, I was a second part of my freshman year and I was like, how much money is it? And he tells me the numbers and what have you? I’m like, well, what’s the risk? And he’s like, well, you know, you go to jail. It’s not going to work out.

And I was like, man, if I stay here and I graduate, not only do I make 10, 15, 20 K more than what you just told me, but I don’t have to worry about the cops. The best friend high school teammate, you have a different life than I do now. And for me, it was like, if I wasn’t willing to sacrifice for a short term, I never would have gotten to the longterm.

Right. And I had a receiver on my college team. I’m not gonna use names here. He got locked up for six years. Right. And when he got out, guess what? Right. Here’s the scale of. The people you owe money to, we’re still looking for you

and I’ll stop right there. Cause I don’t, I want this to be a positive conduct, but I’ll tell you, overcoming adversity is not surviving your hangover the night before. That’s a part of your job. That’s your paycheck. You should have figured that out in college, overcoming adversity, in my opinion is at those critical moments of truth, do I leave a company early and not do a proper.

Right. Do I not get my two weeks notice? Do I hop between jobs every six months to get an extra 10 K do I work for any company, regardless of the company’s reputation, those are moments of adversity where I have to make a critical decision about myself and say, do I want to be associated with these brands professional?

Right. So for me, overcoming adversity was how did I find a career in an industry where the next 25 years of my life are going to be on my own? At fair market value. So I could’ve stayed in my previous industry and never did robotics. I I’d be somewhere else. We probably wouldn’t even be talking, but I chose this specific adversity because I knew that after I got my training, got my certificates.

And what have you, I saw the industry information and I said, man, these folks are doing pretty well. They have a very clear matriculation path. And when they do a good job at what they do, they went awards, right? I’m like, this reminds me of like what it was like when I first got out of work, you know, annual annual events, you know, celebrations, you know, networking, you know, work, being fun.

And so for me one of my friends said, Hey mom, you know, you’ve experienced so much adversity that you’re not afraid to take risks. And I go, you know, the only risk that there is Jason, I’ll tell you his name I said is the only risk that I would have had. The only adversity that I would have faced is if I stayed and I didn’t change.

And so when we talk about future of work and digital transformation, there are a lot of folks right now in jobs, right? When they look at their resume objectively, right? They’re missing out on opportunities to increase their fair market value in their annual. You have to take the first kind of couple of steps.

So to me, it’s get certified, get exposure. And then lastly, ask yourself, am I positioned to be successful over the next 10 to 15 years in my industry? And at the answer is no, you have

[00:22:26] Brad Seaman: all right, this, this was great. That is great stuff in my life. I, this has been, this has been an awesome, this has been an awesome conversation.

[00:00:00] Amahl Williams: Yep. So here’s the thing for me, right? So just as by way of pedigree and background, I was a three sport captain in college very active throughout the entire school year. And I had to have different levels of conditioning for each one of the sports. And so part of being soccer dad that I like is one sports.

I didn’t play with soccer. Right. But I know there are some principles that are foundational to all sports, right. So it’s going to be conditioning, right? It’s going to be coachability, right. It’s going to be available. And then it’s going to be teamwork and sportsmanship to me, all sports, have those elements.

I think those are things that regardless of your skill set, you can strive towards achieving or attaining. Right? Additionally, my aunt gave me this additional charter and kind of intimidated me. So as he interviewed at Facebook and got the gig there, she talked about, she wanted her work to be beautiful.

Right. She never wanted somebody to question the caliber. Or the quality of her work. She always wanted to create an output that said, this person is invested. This person is informed. This person cares about the outcome. And I think some of the lessons when we talk about sports, it’s I don’t want a lot from the teams that are undefeated.

I really don’t. Right. Because being undefeated is only hard. If you lose to somebody who isn’t as good as you, the teams that I liked are the one and two loss teams, because it’s like, how did you bounce back from utopia? So what I, what I typically see is. In healthy sports cultures, right? The folks that are in the lead or the start.

They have earned that. Right. And the backups don’t question, it’s like, Jeff is better than me, right? Todd is exceptional or whatever it may be as, as, as my qualifier. So what my son, he’s very good at sports to the extent to which a seven year old can be good. Right? So path of least resistance, you know, high velocity scoring and all these other things like that.

Right. But now, as the kids are catching up and it’s becoming more competitive, this is where that discipline comes in. Am I on time and my early am I ready mentally? Am I helping my teammates and all of those things? And so for me, I honestly don’t care about the outcome of the game because of they’re so young that we don’t even measure it.

And during the pandemic we gave up, also the measurement, what I am going to be concerned about is the efforts while he’s on the pitch, because he’s a bigger kid, right? The kids look up to him, they respond, may interact with him differently based upon the success of the game. And so to me, When I played college sports, I never wanted my backup to be like a mall’s just there.

Cause he’s bigger than me and genetics. And what have you. I want it to be somebody where I gave an effort and I had a pedigree around my work ethic where they said, you know what? Not only should I aspire to do the things that he’s doing, but I think he’s doing the things that put him in a position to be successful.

And, you know, I love that part of the game because there’s plenty of guys on, on every team, Akron, you know I own it wherever you look. There’s second and third string guys who were never going to touch the field other than blowouts and may be special. Right. That’s not their story. That’s not their legacy.

Their legacy is all the practices, all the bus rides, managing the workload. So you’re grinding it out on in the classroom during the day. You’re prioritizing your physical fitness during the rest of the time. And then there’s your conduct as a part of the team off the field. So there’s just so many more life lessons about sports than the outcome of the game that I thought that that would be a nice carry over into business.

Right? It’s not about the work that gets published. It’s what you’ve learned about the work. That didn’t get published and how you can repurpose it and leverage it kind of going forward. It’s not about the first customer it’s I got this from my last interview. I think Kelsey saw this it’s about how your company has to change to make sure it stays above $10 million for the rest of his existence.

And some of those behaviors and patterns are like, Are we documenting process, is the process repeatable and scalable? Have we gotten the folks who were part of the team to buy into the vision? Have we taken their feedback? So now they own some of the process. And so when I look at those things, there are a lot of corollaries and overlaps, but I just don’t want my son to look at them as buying them.

Right. So when he’s doing his class where he does really well at stem stuff, cause he has half of my brain and the other half is my wife’s brain. I want him to raise towards the things that he’s weak. Right. And I don’t want him to slack at the things that he’s strong at. And so that’s where I coach him.

I don’t want to say I coach my, my colleagues because that’s not what I do with my colleagues. I share my vision. I tell them why I think they’re special and what I think that they do well. And then I had to have them pitch back to me their vision. So it’s like based upon your understanding of what we need to do to be successful and how I kind of talked about you, what I like about you and how I think.

All of us be successful, you know, which parts of this do you want to own? And that’s new for me. Before I was a partner, I didn’t have to do that. It was more like, do what I say. Cause I had the measurements that I have to meet and reach. And now it’s more collaborative. I think it’s, you know, threefold people who I work with.

They want to sit in my seat at some point in time to. I have to do some mentoring as an organic part of my job. And three, what we’re doing has to make sense that we shouldn’t be doing it. And that’s, that’s really, you know, kind of how I look at it holistically breath. Does that make sense?

[00:04:58] Brad Seaman: Tell me a little bit about the business.

Now, just walk us through kind of how you got there and then talk about the business today.

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