Believing you need to improve accountability across your organization is a common thought. However, many times it is seen as hovering. The idea is to improve how you delegate without micro-managing. Our guest is Renzi Stone, CEO of Saxum. Saxum was #4246 on the 2019 Inc 500 list. Renzi begins by sharing his top strategy for optimizing his time, integrating personal and professional time. He even takes time in the middle of the day to squeeze in a workout to improve his focus at work. In part two, Renzi is coached on how to delegate without micro-managing. He wants to improve how he leads and lift overall trust with his employees. You will discover how to delegate without micro-managing better inside this episode.
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Renzi Stone: The Transcript
Target Audience: Renzi Stone is the CEO and Founder, Saxum. The Saxum Visitor Center helps pilgrims to deepen their knowledge of the Holy Land through different multimedia resources in order to enrich each person’s Holy Land Experience.
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.
When we when we let go of others expectations on us and just do our best. Because we are driven people, if you run a business, if you’ve grown a business, if you scale the business quickly, you’re probably pretty ambitious. So why are we so hard on ourselves for that, and so I’ve just kind of taken the the, the approach of, I’m gonna do my best. I’m not going to apologize for choosing myself. And, and I’m not going to waste my time trying to prove to others how I’ve got it all figured out, because it’s something I’m working on on a daily basis.
Welcome to Growth Think Tank. This is the one and only place where you will get insight from the founders and the CEOs of 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]
Time, time is so important that we sometimes let guilt get in the way of how we spend our time. Because time is not just seconds on a clock. It’s really about the energy that we put into stuff and the energy that we have to put into other things in life. When you think about your time, this series of optimizing your time is really about you becoming a better version of yourself, as a leader of fast growth company probably get pulled in a lot of directions. So what I thought I’d do was take a peek into what people are doing that are in your role of the Inc 5000. They’re CEOs of highly successful companies to help them share back what’s moved the needle for them, we’re also going to look at some of the things that they’re working on right now and do a little bit of a lens of a coach if you will. And that will help you understand how to use your time, you will learn from both sides of this today.
Gene Hammett [1:49]
In our interview with Renzi Stone. He’s the CEO of Saxum. Saxum an integrated marketing platform, they are obsessed with good, but we’re going to share with you some of the things that he’s done to move the needle as it relates to optimizing his time, but also what he’s working on. In fact, one of the things I love most about this is, it’s probably not something that’s going to be revolutionary, but it’s going to be something so simple, that you can actually learn from today’s interview and the coaching session and part two, and apply it immediately. And the whole framework is laid out for you. If you have any questions about that, make sure you reach out to me, I’d love to support you. I love to figure out what your game plan is to be the visionary leader of your business. If you want to have those conversations with me, just go to genehammett.com. Look for start your journey and you can register your conversation with me right away, and it costs you absolutely nothing. Just go to genehammett.com. Start your journey. Now here’s the interview with Renzi.
Gene Hammett [2:47]
Hi, Renzi. How are you?
Renzi Stone [2:49]
Gene, great to be back with you.
Gene Hammett [2:51]
Well, I was gonna mention that you’ve been on the podcast before, you have talked to us about some of the leadership and culture aspects of why your company grew so fast. A little bit different today. But I want you to go ahead and tell us a little bit about Saxum.
Renzi Stone [3:05]
Well, Saxum is an integrated marketing communication agency headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with team members around the US who think we’re nine different states mainly focus on b2b. We are we believe that the world is changing, it’s changing quickly. And we believe that having a purpose beyond profit is important. And so that’s not a political statement. It’s a strategic statement for our company that we want to work with clients who are doing good, both for their employees and in their customers as well as the world. So we call that obsessed for good. Saxon was about 50 people. And as of December 18, when we close an acquisition we’re making will be about 100 people.
Gene Hammett [4:06]
Well, I appreciate that context. I do a lot of interviews about, you know, real purpose-driven companies. So I really appreciate the work that you’re doing here. A little bit different take this is a part of our optimize your time series. So the key question I gave you a chance to think about was what’s the one strategic thing you’ve done recently, that has made the most impact in your own time that you can share with us? In today’s interview?
Renzi Stone [4:32]
Yeah, thanks, Gene. I have been thinking quite a bit about that question. And what are the behavior changes that I’ve made and I think the big one is the integration of my personal and professional life, unapologetically. So the word unapologetically is the keyword there. I think up until you know, call it the last six months. I apologized for the time I spent on myself during the workday. And I apologize to my family for the time I spent on work during my off time. And I realized that that wasn’t healthy either way, as someone who is driven and ambitious, it’s, it’s a lot harder, to segment your time to work and personal. So I think I’ve, what I’ve spent my time is integrating it all together. And one of the examples I gave you when we were talking a little bit before we started today was I’ve started working out in the middle of the day.
Renzi Stone [5:39]
One of the I hate waking up and working out, I like working when I wake up, but I don’t like working out. I also don’t mind telling a client or a friend, or a or a colleague that, hey, let’s have a walk for that meeting. Instead of doing a zoom, let’s get outside and go to a park and have a walk. And we’ll walk six feet apart right now during the quarantine. But then also just for me personally, I’m now spending about an hour a day, usually during the workday, physically working out?
Gene Hammett [6:17]
Well, there are a few things I want to dive into that before we get into the actual working out piece of it. I want to go back to something you talked about being unapologetic. I know, I’ve experienced this within my own life. And there’s some guilt associated when we don’t feel like we’re showing up at our best. And so I want to talk about that is that kind of what you felt when you were apologizing to your family or even to your team members about how you spend your time.
Renzi Stone [6:48]
Yeah, I recently read a quote, and I don’t think that I forget who said it. But it’s something along the lines of being a good person, but don’t waste time trying to prove it to others. And so the guilt that comes with making decisions about how do you spend your time often comes with the guilt associated with it and, and Gene, I challenge you to a little experiment, I would get into your email, your email, and I would type into the search bar, the word sorry. And see how many times the word sorry, comes up in your search results. My guess is if you’re like me, you have 10s of 1000s of emails that are archived. And you’ll be amazed at how many times you use the word sorry. And then do a similar exercise and put in the word. Thank you. And I guess what I’m getting at is when we let go of others’ expectations on us and just do our best. Because we are driven people, if you run a business, if you’ve grown a business, if you scale the business quickly, you’re probably pretty ambitious. So why are we so hard on ourselves for that? And so I’ve just kind of taken the approach of I’m gonna do my best. I’m not going to apologize for choosing myself. And I’m not going to waste my time trying to prove to others how I’ve got it all figured out. Because it’s something I’m working on on a daily basis.
Gene Hammett [8:31]
I did a quick search on my email while you were talking about that Renzi. And I can proudly say that there are not too many of my emails that say sorry. I get some coming back. So that does prove your point that this is a very common thing. I also want to kind of dive into something you were talking about there relates to the health thing. I just turned 50, about two or three weeks ago. And I was on the way to a beach vacation with my wife. And I was thinking about goals for the next year. And I know I’m not alone when I say this, but I was thinking about my business goals because that’s so easy to think about what’s most important.
Gene Hammett [9:09]
And then I said, you know, why is it? Why don’t I put my family first? And then I started thinking why aren’t I putting my health first. And because those are not natural to be honest with you. I love my family. I want to spend time with them. But it’s so easy to put in a lot of time into our businesses and our people and whatever we’re doing there. But when you have experienced this integration of a business and personal What else could you share with us around you know, kind of putting yourself first?
Renzi Stone [9:46]
That’s a great question. So on. Today is November 30 when we’re recording this show, but on December 10 at noon until December 11 Five, I’m doing something that I haven’t done every year, but more years than not, I’m having a personal retreat day, I’m going to a friend’s ranch in western Oklahoma. And I’m not going to connect to the internet. And I’ve got a list of things that I want to think about. And it’ll be my time to reflect on what kind of year I just had. It’ll be in my time to reflect on what kind of parent I was, what kind of husband I was, what kind of leader I was for my company. I’m also somebody that sets goals on an annual basis, it’ll be a chance for me to review my goals from 2020. And see how I did.
Renzi Stone [10:48]
Those aren’t things that I look at on a daily or even weekly basis, I probably last looked at my 2020 goals maybe four or five weeks ago. But it’ll be a chance for me to take stock of those. And it’ll also be a chance for me to capture some new ideas about things I want to work on. For next year. I’m a believer that if you don’t set goals, I don’t have any problem with goal abandonment. I abandoned goals all the time. So it’s kind of a Douglas MacArthur moment of it’s the planning that matters, not the plan. And so I’m a big believer in writing down the things that that I want to accomplish. And as it results in as to answer your question about how to prioritize with family and self. It’s something that all successful people have to do. I’m successfully being a, a very subjective term, but anybody who would end up on the Inc 5000 list is somebody who has prioritized the growth of their business. And I’ve asked that question to my peers, who are in that, in that subset of leaders. And what I hear time and time, again, is balance. It’s something that everybody struggles with, and some are more self-aware about it than others.
Gene Hammett [12:13]
Well, I appreciate you sharing with us the one thing that’s moved the needle for you as it relates to your time. And I could go deeper into this all the time because I know my own workout schedule is different from yours. But I want to make sure that we have enough space to talk about what’s next for you when you think about the strategy that you’re working on now or skill as a leader that will give you more time. What’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Renzi Stone [12:41]
I heard a great comment. Last week out I’ll go ahead and give it attribute. I was talking to Chad Richardson, who is the CEO of Raycom pay comms one of the fastest-growing public companies in the United States. I’m not sure what their market cap is. But it’s into the billions at this point. But Chad said Chad is somebody who I was one of his first customers. They’re a payroll processing and other HR benefits company, all automated on the cloud. I was one of his first customers, and we were having a problem as part of our merger. And so Chad said if you ever have a problem reaching out to me. Well, some CEOs, that’s not they don’t really mean that. But Chad does. And so we’re having a problem.
Renzi Stone [13:33]
So I texted him, I said, here’s the problem I’m having, he immediately called me and he had three or four follow up questions. But he said something really important that I think will make it onto my list for next year of things I want to work on. And the answer to your question is this. I’m not a micromanager of people. I’m a micromanager of processes. And I love that line. Because I believe at my core that you have to delegate to capable people if you hope to grow your business at all. But no business is going to grow and meet its potential if its processes are flawed. And so if I could be a micromanager of processes and the next year, that would be a really great goal for me to set.
Let me take a second here to remind you that if you want to keep getting episodes like this, you want to evolve as a leader, then you want to make sure you go to genehammett.com/subscribe. genehammett.com is my home base. The podcast is Growth Think Tank. And if you want to be a visionary leader, if you want to keep learning from all of these amazing founder CEOs that go to genehammett.com/subscribe so you don’t miss an episode.
Gene Hammett [14:50]
Now, I’ve got to ask you on this because this is kind of a coaching moment for the rest of this interview where I help you get more clear about what you’re going to do to make that happen. This is different than what you told me 15 minutes ago before we turn on the timer, which is okay if I can handle the curveball. But you had said deep thinking was something that you were working on? Is there a relation to you being a micromanager and processes to the deep thinking that you really want to have? Or are they two separate issues?
Renzi Stone [15:20]
Yeah, so we all basically function in five categories of time Gene. It’s called the five gears by Jeremy Kubitschek. The five gears say we have rest, we have social time. We have business social time, we have task-oriented time. And we have deep thinking, those are the five gears in order. I’m pretty good at the four of those. Most of us spend most of our time in fourth gear, which is the task time deep thinking is the one you have to set aside time for, and the micromanaging process is not something that you do on the fly. You don’t write down on your to-do list, micromanage the process today. No, you write down on the to do list, prepare for an interview with Jean today. So so absolutely. It’s tied together. It’s not even a curveball, Gene, I think it’s it’s definitely connected, which is, can I put the deep thinking around? What are the processes, knowing I’m somebody who is entrepreneurial and tends to make new product tends to make new processes like a lot of entrepreneurs do? How can I be a better micromanager of the process? And that’s gonna take some reflection, and some thinking, where do I want to stick my nose at? What do I want to stick my nose into? I’m not sure.
Gene Hammett [16:46]
I gotta go back to something you said before I take a lot of notes. This is just like my coaching clients, you had said something like we spend most of our time in that number three, which is the task time, and your five gears. And I noticed that with a lot of leaders that they’re on, they’ve got a really good picture of how to do the work, but they don’t have a picture of what they could be doing. If they weren’t doing the work. They also know the importance of empowerment. You even mentioned that to us today. I want to make sure I ask you the question that really makes the most sense here but becoming a micromanager of processes. Why do you think that’s most important for you at this stage of the company you have.
Renzi Stone [17:32]
Well, I’ll tell you on December 12, if it makes my most important list, I think the reason it came up today as I’m thinking about the integration of my company with the company that we’re buying. And I’m thinking about what things I need to spend time on and what things I don’t. And it makes a lot of sense to me. If I have the right people in place, I’m quite certain I do. It makes more sense to me to focus on the processes, how do we hire? How do we onboard? How do we measure? How do we celebrate? Those are things that you can put a process around? And so it makes sense to me that I should spend some more time deep thinking on those issues? Will it make my number one thing I want to focus on? I’m not sure I’ve been in task mode too much to truly think through that.
Gene Hammett [18:30]
So let’s back up for a second here, I can totally serve you on this whole, you know, becoming a micromanager of the processes. And it makes sense for you to be focused on that as your company is going from 50 to 100 employees through this acquisition because there’s a lot of processes that need to be improved and merged together because one of the biggest dangerous areas of any merger is how does the culture and how did the processes actually fit together? you’re probably aware of that, right?
Renzi Stone [19:00]
Gene Hammett [19:01]
So the real question here is if you’re so good at a task, I want to go back to deep thinking. Not that I’m trying to do an end-around here. But I think if you created more time for deep thinking, you would actually have more time to focus on the prod the processes that need to be improved inside the organization. Are you with me on that?
Renzi Stone [19:22]
Oh, yeah, I totally agree.
Gene Hammett [19:24]
So we scheduled time to do interviews, right like today, we scheduled time to do our workouts, I know that you’re going to go to a workout later this afternoon. You probably even scheduled time for other things that are most important. Do you actually schedule time other than your, your personal retreat off-site for deep thinking on a regular basis?
Renzi Stone [19:49]
I would say I have time set aside in the mornings. That’s when I like to do my deep thinking before my kids get up and you know, but could I Schedule more intentional time? Absolutely.
Gene Hammett [20:03]
So you do this before the kids get up, I get it. House is quiet. Is there a reason why you like to do it that time is that when you’re most creative and most kind of mindful of of your own thinking process?
Renzi Stone [20:15]
Yeah, I think that’s right. For sure. Morning is definitely better than evening for me. And for deep thinking.
Gene Hammett [20:22]
So one of the things that I’ve actually talked to with other people in this series is about the zone of genius. Have you ever talked about thought about your zone of genius or hours of genius?
Renzi Stone [20:32]
I have not.
Gene Hammett [20:34]
So it’s a pretty simple concept. I’m going to share it with you today. And it really is a game-changer when you understand it is, what are the specific hours, two hours, sometimes three, that you do your best thinking? Do you do your most creative and innovative? Do you know what those hours are?
Gene Hammett [20:58]
Okay. So the question being is, a lot of times we if we know what those times are, we let other things actually take up that time. We don’t protect it the way we want to. Now, given the fact that you’ve got kids in the house, I don’t know if you’re still working from home, or you’re back in the office. Does spending family time encroach on that 630 to nine range? Or is there something else that gets in the way?
Renzi Stone [21:29]
Yeah, it’s definitely not completely pure.
Renzi Stone [21:39]
Yeah, usually between [7:15] [7:30]. But, you know, thinking to me doesn’t necessarily have to be solitary, it just needs to be I’m not, I’m not doing something like I’m doing right now, which is task-oriented, I’m doing an interview, it has to be I have my list of things I want to be thinking about. And so I’m taking that time to think through them.
Gene Hammett [22:04]
My reason for going through this with your enzymes to help you get more clear about that time to think, not really always put something inside of there. And it changes from day to day from week to week. And the idea would be to actually be intentional about that time. So what we’re what I’m kind of leading you through here, the process is you already know your best time to think. But you also know that it’s kind of you’ve got your family time kind of mixed in there. When you think about doing just from [6:30] or [7:30] in the mornings, would that be enough time for you to kind of like, do that processing that you need to do?
Renzi Stone [22:48]
You know, if I was very focused during that time? Yes.
Gene Hammett [22:54]
I also want to be really clear, some people need to be active when they do this like my best ideas don’t actually come when I go, alright, sit down at the desk, and let’s have an idea. Do you need to be like walking? Or do you need to be doing something else before that kind of that thinking comes in? Or can you just sit down and start working on whatever you want to think about?
Renzi Stone [23:17]
Generally the ladder.
Gene Hammett [23:19]
Renzi Stone [23:20]
Now, I am a very good shower thinker. But the ink runs. So I try to get out and sit down.
Gene Hammett [23:28]
So when you think about there’s a time of day when you do your best thinking, and you’re not working out because we already know that you work out in the afternoon. What would your life look like if you were able to commit to [6:30] to 7:30 am? In the mornings, just to think about the most important things for your life and your business?
Renzi Stone [23:53]
Why? There’s no question it would improve things. There’s no question.
Gene Hammett [23:58]
Why do you think it would improve?
Renzi Stone [24:01]
I would have the intention in place. And the routine the habit formed to do that kind of thinking at that time.
Gene Hammett [24:17]
I don’t know why I’m going to ask you this. But I’m kind of curious about that. I don’t know if five days a week is the best rhythm for this. I do know within my own work Renzi I do my best writing and my best work from eight to 11. Right. I like my workout in the morning. I like to get showered as quickly as I can and get to work and actually feel frustrated if I’m not able to do it because I know that’s my best time. I write for Inc magazine I write for all these publications and I’ve convinced myself, I don’t write in the afternoon. I don’t write at night. It just doesn’t work well for me. It’s a lot of rewriting. So I have to do it in the morning. So I end up protecting that time. My question behind this is, are you think you can actually commit to protecting that time? I’m not gonna say every day, but two or three days a week?
Renzi Stone [25:13]
Gene Hammett [25:15]
When you think about this time to think I think, I wish I could say it could get done in five minutes. But usually, it takes a little bit longer than that, what’s the minimum amount of time that you would give yourself to just do the thinking that’s necessary for you to be a stronger leader?
Renzi Stone [25:33]
I think if I just had 30 minutes, that’s a good start. But I shouldn’t have time, I shouldn’t have a problem holding an hour, there should be no reason why I couldn’t do that.
Gene Hammett [25:47]
What if we did this and I and again, this is that coaching session, I would go deeper into this with you Renzi. But I just want you to get really clear about if you want to work on more thinking time, and you can apply that to this. Processing the micromanaging of the processes of the company as they integrate together. But if you could give yourself 30 minutes a day, every day for five days. And do that for a couple of weeks. Do you think that would work for you?
Renzi Stone [26:15]
Willing to give it a try.
Gene Hammett [26:17]
Would you be willing to schedule it on your calendar and commit to it just like you would commit to having a date night with your wife?
Renzi Stone [26:26]
Gene Hammett [26:29]
This should be pretty easy for you. Because you said you already get up early, you get up before the family gets up. And it would be that first 30 minutes of your day of your kind of getting into a place where you could actually do that thinking. does all that kind of make sense for you?
Renzi Stone [26:46]
Yeah, and I’m and I’m pretty disciplined. So there’s no reason I couldn’t do it.
Gene Hammett [26:50]
I want to give you another step further. Because I think those listening in here go these are pretty generic. Is there a specific place in your house? Because I’m assuming you’re doing this at home. But your specific place you could go to and say that’s where I think the best? That’s my thinking chair. That’s my thinking place.
Renzi Stone [27:09]
Gene Hammett [27:11]
Where is it?
Renzi Stone [27:12]
In front of my fireplace.
Gene Hammett [27:15]
So the reason why I bring that up is I remember when I wrote my book A few years ago, instead of going to the coffee shop, which I normally write articles and do all this stuff, I went to a different coffee shop, to trigger my brain into I’m not here to check email, I’m not here to, to write for anything else other than my book. And I committed to myself that I would only write my book at that one different coffee shop. It may sound weird, but I got into a rhythm of doing this. And I was able to get my book written. And three, no six, three day weekends. That was my I was able to write the book over that now the editing process is a whole nother game. But what we’re talking about here Renzi, is you wanted more time to think you wanted to put that fifth gear into place on a more regular basis. You feel like we’ve got a plan for that for you.
Renzi Stone [28:07]
Yeah, really good. Gene. Thank you.
Gene Hammett [28:10]
Is this been helpful?
Renzi Stone [28:11]
Yes, this has been great. I, you know, as you and I have gotten to know each other. everybody learns differently, and everybody leads differently. And so little tricks and tips that can help you reorient are helpful. So this is wonderful.
Gene Hammett [28:30]
Well, I’m going to wrap up today’s episode, and I really appreciate you being here, Renzi.
Renzi Stone [28:36]
Gene, hey, I enjoyed it.
Gene Hammett [28:39]
So what you’ve just experienced and watched over there is me talking to Renzi about the one strategy that’s moved the needle for him. Hopefully, you can learn from that too. But also the coaching that we did in part two was really helping him get more clear about something he wanted to do more of wasn’t making the time. This is I wouldn’t say the best example of what coaching is, but I will say it’s a powerful example of just taking a different perspective, having someone that’s not emotionally attached to it, helping you see what you haven’t been doing, and making a commitment that will move you forward. It doesn’t work the same when you try to do it yourself. So if you want to have those conversations today, make sure you reach out to me to check out free resources that have been genehammett.com. When you think of growth and you think of leadership think of Growth Think Tank, 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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