Company growth in times of change requires leaders to have a rock-solid foundation for your culture and leadership. Today, we keep the conversation going on living your values to align the team. Living your values starts with hiring people that have the same attitude to work and life as you. You can teach them skills, but hiring those that are living your values before they arrive at your company will make leading them easier. My guest today is Jeff Kingsley, CEO of IACT Health. We look at how living your values drive growth. Jeff shares his journey of starting a mission-driven company after leaving the traditional medical field. Discover the strategies of living your values in today’s interview.
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Jeff Kingsley: The Transcript
Target Audience: Dr. Kingsley is a serial entrepreneur and international speaker, passionate about excellence in everything and in making the world a better place. Jeff received his Bachelor of Science degree with concentrations in biology, chemistry, history, and cultural anthropology, and his Master of Science degree in biochemistry. He then completed his medical degree and went on to complete his MBA several years after founding what is now IACT Health.
Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
If we focus on our customers first and our employees second, it’s just logical to assume that quality is going to be less. If you’re asking that much more of your team, then it’s reasonable to assume if you’re not focused on them, turnover is going to be higher quality is going to be lower, your customer service is going to be lesser. And so actually focusing on the customer above the team is counterproductive because you can actually serve the customer less. If you focus on the team first and you surround yourself by the best of the best and you treat them like the best of the best the customer will win.
Welcome to Growth Think Tank. This is the one and only place where you will get insight from the founders and the CEOs the fastest-growing privately held companies. I am the host. My name is Gene Hammett. I hope leaders and their teams navigate the defining moments of their growth. Are you ready to grow?
Gene Hammett [0:58]
Values we All heard how important they are to the organization. But the problem is, many leaders think that they’re fluffy. It’s something that you do one time. It’s a project that you all kind of get together, create the values, and then you get to work, you get executing. But here’s the truth behind it. You’ve got to live your values. Living the values means you are actually operating from the day in and day out. It may mean you’re hiring from them, it may mean that you include them in meeting rituals, it may mean that you actually lead and fire people based on the values. But what it definitely means is that when you live by the values, you have a chance to align as a team to a higher degree. That’s what this episode is about. Our guest today is Jeff Kingsley. Jeff is the founder of IACT Health. There’s another company that we talked about inside here that has that is supporting that company, but they’ve grown really fast. out of a mission-driven approach, and they have a very keen focus on how to live your values. So we’re going to go deep into this conversation. What I like most is he unpack some specific details of how he actually hires and how they have meetings that are run by living your values.
Thanks for tuning in here to Growth Think Tank. Really excited about sharing this with you. And before you run, I have done so many interviews in the last few weeks. I have such an exciting time to share with you those interviews that have been organized into the 12 core principles of fast-growth companies. So all you have to do to get that is going to genehammet.com/worksheett. So you can get the 12 principles and I’ve been able to go in there and find which episodes will align with each individual episode. When you subscribe to Growth Think Tank, you will find exactly what you need so that you can move forward and many of them haven’t been published yet, depending on when you’re hearing this. But you can tune in to the date that means the most of you. So here’s the episode with Jeff.
Gene Hammett [3:03]
Hey, Jeff, how are you?
Jeff Kingsley [3:04]
I’m doing great. How are you, Gene?
Gene Hammett [3:06]
I am Fantastic. Well, I am excited to have you here. We’re going to talk about your business and talk about your specific aspect of leadership you have. So tell us about the business here in and just really catch us up on what market you’re in.
Jeff Kingsley [3:22]
Okay, so, we do medical research, we do clinical research. Most people don’t realize that pharmaceutical, biotech, and device companies don’t really do their own research. Some do what’s called bench research. They design molecules, they do stuff in labs. Some don’t even do that they buy molecules, but when it comes to human clinical research, they outsource that work to companies like mine.
Gene Hammett [3:48]
And we didn’t even mention the name of the company so I’ll give you a chance to share the name.
Jeff Kingsley [3:52]
I have two. IACT Health is my company where we are seeing patients day in and day out and We are collecting the data to prove or disprove that something is safe and effective to be the next best thing since sliced bread. And then also hyper core international was a company that I formed with some friends year and a few months ago. Hyper core international is a legal partnership of companies like mine, where we’re coming together to make the industry that much better. We have more than 100 sites across five countries.
Gene Hammett [4:28]
Now, you’re what I would consider a mission-driven company, you are an actual doctor, and you set out to do something that a lot of people don’t do you want to provide some medical services to the community. So give us a little bit of light on that.
Jeff Kingsley [4:44]
They have a company I tell people the company was was an accident. It was meant to be a hobby. It wasn’t meant to be a business. I had a full-time job. I was the medical director of two departments. I was a faculty in a residency program. I was teaching young doctors how to be productive Doctors on how to grow in their careers. And the research was meant to be a way of delivering free health care to the community nights and weekends. Let’s do a little bit of medical research on the side. And if the research can pay for the free delivery of health care, then it’s a win for the community. It’s another way of just delivering a great mission. And six months after starting this hobby, I was having so much fun doing research, I decided to dedicate the rest of my career to research and that’s 15 years ago. That’s how it happened. But to this day, we still run the company like a mission-driven organization that never left us.
Gene Hammett [5:37]
And I’ve got my notes here about 50 employees.
Jeff Kingsley [5:40]
Yes. Yeah, most of the physicians are independent contractors. We have about 50 employees we have probably 70 so on payroll, including part-time and PRN people and that kind of thing.
Gene Hammett [5:54]
When you look at the business, and I asked you that my big question, which is as a leader, what’s more, important customers, our employees? I really wasn’t sure what you would say. What did you say you remember?
Jeff Kingsley [6:11]
Gene Hammett [6:13]
Why is it employees to you?
Jeff Kingsley [6:16]
Because you can’t have one without the other. You can’t if you focus on your customers, so life is hard. Business is harder. medical research is really hard. I tell people all the time, I was speaking to Auburn University students on Monday. And I was telling them, there are plenty of easier ways to make a career, it’s easier to be a physician than a medical researcher a lot easier. It’s easier to be a nurse than a clinical research coordinator. If we focus on our customers first and our employees second, it’s just logical to assume that quality is going to be less if you’re asking that much more of your team, then it’s reasonable to assume, if you’re not focused on them, turnover is going to be higher quality is going to be lower, your customer service is going to be lesser. And so actually focusing on the customer above the team is counterproductive, because you can actually serve the customer less. If you focus on the team first and you surround yourself by the best of the best, and you treat them like the best of the best, the customer will win.
Gene Hammett [7:30]
Well, I’ve asked this to hundreds of people like you, more than 94% say that it’s, you know, you’ve got to focus on employees first.
Jeff Kingsley [7:38]
Gene Hammett [7:39]
And I want to dive into, you know, some of the strategies that you use behind this, Jeff, one of them is your perspective on the importance of values. You call them company core values, or you actually call them like, fundamental.
Jeff Kingsley [7:56]
I call them the fundamentals with fun in capital letters a capital FUN fundamentals.
Gene Hammett [8:02]
So why are they so important to the growth of an organization?
Jeff Kingsley [8:07]
Because every team, and I use team broadly, Every family has values has a culture, whether they talk about it or not. Every division in a company has culture that has values, whether they talk about it or not every company, every organization of any shape has a culture and values. And it amazes me that most people actually don’t try and influence the culture. They don’t pay much attention to us. They never built a culture. The culture just simply happened without conscious thought. And that’s dangerous. I tell people, we spend more time at work than we do at home. If you’re a full time when you’re at home, you’re spending some time sleeping a good deal of time sleeping.
Jeff Kingsley [9:00]
So let’s forget about that because you weren’t awake. Subtract that out, look at how much time you spend at the office with your office team versus your home team, you got to be devoting the same amount of time and attention to being happy. And having a culture that is rewarding. I tell people, if you’re not happy, I’ll help you get a job elsewhere. The last thing I want is a team member who’s just not feeling fulfilled, not feeling like they’re leaving the mark on the world, toward the values are fundamentals. It’s very easy for two great team members to feel dissonance because they’re just not communicating on the values and they could both feel like they’re doing the right thing. But without communication, they could both be growing apart. It’s no different than a marriage.
Now, hold on for a second, Jeff just talked about culture happens and explain to you some of the details behind it. But what I believe and what I’ve seen from all my research and hundreds of interviews with fast growth leaders just like you is that you’ve got to be intentional about your culture. You’ve got to be the person who decides to shape it, you’ve got to see where things are not aligned with the way you want them to, you’ve got to be able to have conversations with people who are not demonstrating the behaviors that the culture expects. Now, that’s a big request of you as a leader, but really do believe that your job is to make sure that the culture lives beyond you. Now, back to the interview with Jeff.
Gene Hammett [10:27]
And we talked about this, you know, it’s one thing for companies to have values and to have them may be plastered on the wall, or maybe they’re in a plaque somewhere. Maybe they even bring them up at the annual meetings and retreats and things like that. But it’s a completely different mode of leadership when you actually live by the values. So what does that mean inside of your organizations?
Jeff Kingsley [10:52]
Well, it means a couple of things. It means we interview for values fit. We interview first and are most Are you a great culture fit with us? If you’re not, we’re not going to be happy with you, you’re not going to be happy with us. I can teach you the aptitudes necessary for the job. I need to interview for the attitudes necessary for you to be a great culture. First, we hire and fire based upon our fundamentals. Not kidding. There are great people who totally nailed their job description. But they eventually got fired because of their lack of culture fit with our fundamentals. And then we talk about the fundamentals every two weeks.
Jeff Kingsley [11:34]
We are non stop talking about the fundamentals. We talked about the fundamentals every two weeks. We do monthly one to ones with every single team member in the company. And then of course, we do annual reviews. And the fundamentals are front and center in all of those conversations. Because we find this. There’s so much teaching to be had by talking about the fundamentals you identify what something really means to the group. You will also identify the balanced scorecard of fundamentals where wait for one fundamental, how can we live by that fundamental? And the second one at the same time? Don’t they conflict with each other? Well, sure, and that’s fine. Let’s talk about why they’re both important and how to think through conflict.
Gene Hammett [12:19]
You said something in there about the values I want to kind of put a spotlight on and it really is this whole concept of, of the meetings, as the structure of the two-week meetings, are you how is that a specific meeting to go overvalues? Or is it coupled with other aspects of the team meeting? Are details on that?
Jeff Kingsley [12:44]
Okay. Yeah, it’s a 10-minute meeting all hands on deck every two weeks, only to talk about a fundamental. And so every two weeks, 10 minutes end of the day, everyone gets together. People are remote people who come in via Microsoft Teams. Some people can simply call in if they’re traveling. And we talk about a value a fundamental. And what we do is it’s an overlapping cadence. So two weeks ago, we might have talked about having fun, have fun as one of our company fundamentals. And so we might have talked about having fun. And then we pick two people in the organization to then live that fundamental. Two weeks later, those two people are going to talk to the entire company about what they did, how they lived to that fundamental, and then we’re going to tee up the next fundamental, which might be about accountability. And then I may talk to the group about what accountability means to me and how I define it and why it’s so important. We pick another two people, two weeks from now, those two people are going to describe the group how they lived to the value of accountability. And I’m not a coach.
Gene Hammett [13:54]
I’m glad you gave us detail around that because I think there’s it’s real easy to say do this every two weeks.
Jeff Kingsley [14:00]
Gene Hammett [14:02]
That’s too much. That’s too often, and you’ve broken it down to a specific structure inside of 10 minutes. I’ve got a name for this. And it’s not specifically your structure, but it’s a meta-conversation. Because I think what we’re missing we talk about in sales, we talk about the pipeline. Right? And customer service, we may talk about customer satisfaction, but we don’t talk about the actual What is that mean? Right? What does customer satisfaction mean? What does accountability mean as a definition, and getting all align to that on the same page? And as a layer deeper than that is what are the behaviors we see when we are being accountable? Right. And those meta conversations just aren’t happening much inside of organizations, but that’s kind of what you’re doing with this two-week structure.
Jeff Kingsley [14:52]
Absolutely. Absolutely. And it gives you opportunities I talked about, we’re to two fundamentals might have a dissonance with each other. One of Our fundamentals is done whatever it takes. And I’m wired that way. Do whatever it takes. Another fundamental is to be fair. Well, do whatever it takes could mean be unethical, do whatever it takes could mean do illegal things, do whatever it takes, be fair, and so that it gives you a great opportunity then to then talk about what does it really mean? Where are the limits of doing whatever it takes, and how does that dovetail with being fair, how can you live both of those fundamentals equally, and balanced?
Gene Hammett [15:33]
Now, you mentioned the scorecard. What does that look like? Is it something physical? Is it something that you have and us give us a little bit more information on that?
Jeff Kingsley [15:44]
So give me some clarity, because you mentioned the term scorecard. So we have scorecards with KPIs, we’ve got financial metrics, customer service metrics, team and satisfaction metrics. And then we’ve got God how we evaluate people on the fundamentals, which is more of a lot of what we’ve done with the fundamentals. I see traction on your on your bookshelf behind you. We’ve taken some of the genes stuff from or Gino rather, yeah, remember his name correctly from traction get it wanted to have the capacity. And many times when we’re evaluating people on their job description as well as on the fundamentals will use some of the terminologies that came out of that book.
Gene Hammett [16:29]
Perfect when you are looking at someone’s performance and they’re not aligning with the values the way you want them to. What are the steps that you take to make sure that they understand the expectations as an individual inside the team?
Jeff Kingsley [16:48]
Yep, great question. And it’s not an easy question to answer, because it falls to that be a fair issue. I’ve described this to MBA classes you described I’ve got a team member who’s right now living up not living up to the job description and or not living up to the fundamentals? Well, what is be fair, the more I work with that individual to help get them up to speed, the more I’m being fair to that individual, the more I work with that individual, the longer I work with that individual, the less fair I’m being to his or her team, because they’re still having to pull weight, they’re not supposed to have to pull. And so there’s got to be a balancing point, right? I want to give this person every shot, I want to be able to coach them up, I want to help them to understand where they may be lacking, and give them every opportunity to become the person that we hired the person that we know, they have the capability of being. And at the same time, I have to remember that I have to be fair to the rest of that team at the same time.
Now Jeff just talked about living up to the values. When you are living up to the values you’re really playing at the highest level. But here’s the problem, not me. Everyone lives up to the values was once talking to Herschel. Say, at one of my leadership events I have had founders come together, we raced Porsches, and we did some other stuff together on leadership development for two days. And horse came in and shared this big example. When you’ve aligned all of the stakeholders, the investors, the partners, the leadership team, the employees, the customers around the vision of what you’re creating, and someone gets out of line. It’s your moral obligation to be able to have the conversation that gets them back online or gets them moving to another place. Your moral obligation, you don’t have a choice. And this takes a massive amount of courage for you to see it is it’s not just, oh, should I have this conversation or not? If you’re feeling that out of alignment, you have a moral obligation to bring it back into alignment. Back to the interview with Jeff.
Gene Hammett [18:57]
Well, I love the fact that you Have this process around values. I know we talked just a little bit about hiring, I want to make sure that everyone tunes into it because this is a phrase that I’m going through in my business, we’re hiring. We looking at the values, and one of the approaches we’re using is what questions would we ask inside the interview that would allow us to determine if this person is naturally a fit for that value? Right. Is that a similar process? Or do you take it a little further?
Jeff Kingsley [19:29]
Absolutely, absolutely. In fact, I was just at a conference Friday and Saturday, and I was speaking on interviewing. And I was speaking on interviewing for the soft skills. You can teach people the hard skills, that’s easy, or it’s well, it’s lovely. If you can hire somebody who has both and they just bring it to you on a silver platter, right? Yeah, that’s wonderful. But if you’ve got a choice, interview for the soft skills, somebody who’s a team fit a culture fed and you can teach them to cross T’s and dot eyes, you can teach them where to find the information that they need.
Jeff Kingsley [20:07]
As an example, teamwork, we’re an organization that is high in teamwork we have a need for high teamwork. Medical Research is very complicated. It requires you to be able to negotiate and interact with the principal investigator and the sub investigators and the community physicians and the interventional radiologists and the nurses and the infusion nurses and and and and it requires high teamwork. So don’t interview and ask people questions about what you can already see on their CV. That’s a waste of everyone’s time. Ask questions like, describe to me an issue that you’ve had when working on a team, what outcome there was and what you learned from it. And it’s amazing how you’ll ask a question like that open-ended question and a non-leading question right? Don’t ask Are you a good team player Everyone’s gonna say, yes.
Jeff Kingsley [21:02]
Don’t say, Hey, we’re an organization that really values teamwork. Tell me a situation. Because again, you’ve just, you know, just ask the question. Give me an example. And it’s amazing how many times you’ll ask a question like that. And the person’s responded with nothing but eyes. I did this, I did this, I did this, I did this. And so you listen for the other cues that say, this person doesn’t really feel like they’re ever part of a team, look for the cues that this is really a team player, because that’s something that brings immense value to the organization.
Gene Hammett [21:31]
So we’ve just talked about many different ways to live the values of a company, you sharing your fundamentals. Jeff, I really appreciate you being here on the podcast. I’m fascinated with what you’ve done in 15 years of taking just a way to give back to the community and turned it into a long term business success. So really appreciate you being on Growth Think Tank.
Jeff Kingsley [21:54]
Yeah, absolutely. The pleasure’s mine. I love it.
Gene Hammett [21:57]
This is one of my favorite episodes because it really does give a chance for you to unpack how you could take your values and living those values to the next level. Some details inside there are things that I’ve never heard before. So getting to the point of uncovering them was really exciting for me. So if you want to improve your culture, you want to align your team, you want to become a better leader. I believe that you’ve got to pay attention to what’s going on with your values and figure out a way to live by them every day.
Gene Hammett [22:28]
So if you have questions about what your values are, how you create the rituals that allow you to, to live by them and create recognition systems that allow you to really reward people who are aligning with it, then I want you to make sure you reach out to me [email protected]. I love what I do, I love to help leaders take it to the next level. And so that’s what we’d be doing in that conversation. I will give you some detailed descriptions and plans of what to do next based on where you are. And it really is customized to you find me at [email protected]. As always lead with courage. We’ll see you next time.
Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
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