Culture is more than how people work. Culture is the foundation on which people communicate and collaborate. For it to work, you want to have evangelizers of culture throughout the organization. Today’s guest is Daniel Kasidi, CEO at Rastaclat. Inc Magazine ranked this company as #1397 on the 2020 Inc 5000 list. Rastaclat is a symbol of righteousness, doing good for yourself and others, with their unique bracelets. Daniel knows the power of culture. We look at the strategies of creating evangelizers of cultures. Join us for this conversation to help you discover how to develop a more robust culture for your organization.
Don't miss an episode. Subscribe to Growth Think Tank.
Daniel Kasidi: The Transcript
About: Daniel Kasidi is the founder and CEO of Rastaclat, a brand of sneaker-inspired bracelets that inspire a positive mindset and a reminder to do good for yourself and others and to always seek the positive. Daniel has a natural attunement for vision & leadership with the business acumen to execute branding, partnerships, international distribution, eCommerce, and retail distribution to name a few. Over the past 10 years, these skills have allowed Daniel to build a business bootstrapped from $4,000 savings to scaling to a multi-million-dollar enterprise. Rastaclat has been recognized by Inc5000 for the past 4 years as one of the Fastest Growing Privately Held Businesses in America (ranked 166 in California and 1,397 in America).
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.
Every one believing in the message and having, more importantly than believing it having a sense of ownership, right. And so when I look at that in our organization, we’re a cornucopia of different cultures, different ethnicities, different genders, different lifestyles, and that’s what’s great about our our brand is that we have that. And so we’re we’re also very socially conscious, we think about LGBTQ movement, you know, racial injustices we think about wellness with, you know, this month with breast cancer and all those type of things. All these causes that we’re part of as a brand. Everyone has a connection to one of them.
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 [0:57]
Brand evangelizers inside your company and outside your company can be one of the key things to you continuing the growth that you desire for your company. When you think about the brand, evangelizes, do you have people that are out there sharing the message, maybe even, you know finding another talent that wants to join the mission with you? These brand evangelizers are not just your top employees, but they can be all of your employees. They can love what they’re doing so much. They could love being a part of the feeling of belonging that when they actually think about their work, they want others to join along with them. These brand evangelizers can help you sell more products or services. They can help you connect to the right people, create more partnerships, all of the benefits behind these brand evangelizers are available to you if you know how to leverage them as a leader. Today we have the founder of Rastaclat he has Daniel Kasidi. Daniel is really a powerful leader. He’s got 10 years of experience. But really some of the things he’s coming up with really speaks to decades of leadership skills and capabilities. When we talk about some of the keys to him, understanding employees and creating this brand evangelizers, I really saw how much he cares for people. He cares for the brand he’s creating, he cares for all of the stuff that’s going on in the business.
Gene Hammett [2:17]
Now, when we share that today on this interview, I hopefully you’ll take notes, you’ll see some value in this. And before we get into the interview, if you are a leader who’s going from founder to CEO, make sure you check out the free resources on my website, Jean hemet.com. If you want to continue the journey you have as a leader, be more visionary, be more strategic. And all you have to do is go sign up for those things right now. They’re absolutely free. And they’re specifically for founders, CEOs of fast-growth companies. Now here’s the interview with Daniel.
Gene Hammett [2:48]
Daniel, how are you?
Daniel Kasidi [2:49]
Doing great, Gene, how are you today?
Gene Hammett [2:52]
Fantastic. excited to have you here on the growth think tank to talk about leadership and culture in a fast-growth company. You’ve had the chance to create a team grow this company fast. Tell us about Rastaclat.
Daniel Kasidi [3:05]
Yeah, Rastaclat is a company that I founded about 10 years ago, we’re in the accessory space, primarily focusing on bracelets, our company is distributed all around the world, in over 228 countries. We’ve put about 10 million bracelets on people’s wrists since the inception of the brand. And what’s really special about the brand is our brand message which is to seek the positive. It’s something that that was a part of our why, since the very beginning, and we are a consumer product company, but really our goal is to inspire people to have a specific mindset and, you know, do good for themselves and others every single day. So it’s not just about selling products, but it’s also about doing good. And another piece of that we have a foundation that’s tied with our brand, Ross klapa seek the positive Foundation, which we donate 1% of all net proceeds to, to causes like equality and personal development and things of that nature. So we’re based, in Long Beach, California, with about 35 employees. And yeah, it’s been a wild ride and we’re excited to keep going
Gene Hammett [4:13]
Well, thanks for coming here. I love to seek the positive. A lot of companies have a mission or purpose behind this. You call it you’re why. How did you come up with seeking the positive?
Daniel Kasidi [4:25]
Yeah, so you know, when I came up with a brand, I was always creative, right. And I took an extra pair of shoelaces and made a bracing for myself. And the interesting moment is when I gave that bracelet to someone, you know, there was such an emotion, exchange of emotion of positivity, someone was either uplifted by confidence, or some other people were just inspired by the creativity and I recognize this, this sort of esoteric exchange and it was positivity. That’s how I can bottle it up. And so when I started the brand, you know, we said what is the call to action going to be for this brand? How are we going to inspire people to evoke action? And so the tagline or if you will, the way of life of seeking the positive was born. And so that’s what we put on all of our, our marketing content. And that’s what we talk about. A lot of times in our marketing.
Gene Hammett [5:13]
So before we cut on the recorder here today, you said something and I wrote it down, nothing is scalable unless others are telling the story. And you have not only you telling the story out there, but what you believe in the reason why your company’s grown so fast, is you have others telling the story like employees, your partners, your customers, today, we want to focus on how do you get your employees to tell the story? And, you know, why is that so important?
Daniel Kasidi [5:40]
Oh, it’s very, it’s very, very important. Like I said earlier, you know, you want your brand or your business to scale, you can’t be the only person telling that story, you can’t be the only person that’s that has ownership of the culture. You know, I talked about culture, culture is cumulative of what everyone in the organization does when nobody else is looking. Right. So the question asks yourself, Is my staff telling the brand story? Are they passionate about it? You know, when they’re not even in the office, you know, and so, that’s really, really important. And so that’s something that we’ve focused on is, and we’ve done it in different ways.
Daniel Kasidi [6:15]
You know, I think one of the ways that we look at is, how do we hire right? You know, everyone has a great skill set, people come to the table with the skill set, but what I usually asked myself is what’s not on the resume that you’re bringing to this culture? Here? Ross o’clock, right? And if it’s if our message is seek the positive, then, you know, what’s their personality? What’s the what are they doing outside of work to empower other people and to continue to grow their communities. So these are some of the things that we really look for when we bring people in. And it’s not just their skill set. But it’s also a little bit about what their life vision and mission is, and making sure that we’re aligned in that sense. And that really helps drive forward the culture and it’s not forced, it’s, it’s very authentic in that sense.
Gene Hammett [6:59]
Before we go any further, I want to talk about this hiring process that you have finding those elements that are not on the resume. I’ve had many other founders say that this is a very important piece to really connecting to who they are. Are there any specific strategies or questions you do? Or a part of the process that lets you find out who they are beyond that resume?
Daniel Kasidi [7:18]
Yeah, so in our hiring process, we have a kind of an extensive one to one, we do have people meet, not necessarily just with myself, I’m usually the last person to interview, a lot of the team members will kind of interview for skill set and all those different things. And when I come in, a lot of times, I’m asking, you know, what do you do? What do you do on your spare time for your community? You know, when? Or When’s the last time you did something for someone else? Right? Or what are the what are the nonprofits and things that you’re passionate about? What impact do you want to have and leave into the world? So I’ll tend to ask questions that are a little bit more, not necessarily personal, but give me a really good sense of the person and what their what their purposes, right? It’s what I’m trying to identify as,
Daniel Kasidi [8:03]
What’s your purpose? You know, and and how do you take your skill sets and fuse your purpose into it? And how do you sort of build that together? And so those are just some of the questions that I asked. And when I feel like we have someone that’s really exuding passion, righteousness, integrity, discovery and excellence, that’s when we bring someone in. And you know, that’s the way that, we do it. And our goal is to retain our staff and our employees, we don’t want people that want to come and work a roster for a year or two, we want people that want to dedicate at least five years to this brand and this company. So you know, that’s really important for us to get into that into some of those, some of those areas.
One more thing here, if you happen to be listening to this on your iPhone, or maybe on the website, you may not know about the YouTube channel, we have if you want to check out some of the content we have over there on YouTube that we don’t put anywhere else. Just go to genehammett.com/YouTube. Inside that you’ll be able to see some of the details about you being a strategic leader, being more visionary, and really taking your business to the next level. Go to YouTube net right now by going to genehammett.com/YouTube, make sure you subscribe and get everything you need to become the leader that you really want to be.
Gene Hammett [9:13]
You know, I’m not surprised anymore. When I talked to fast-growth companies, they have extremely high retention rates, meaning they don’t lose many people at all. We know that it’s much easier to create a company where you get momentum if you’re not having to replace people over and over right. But you take this a step further by getting your people what you call, to be evangelized. So what is that evangelizer? And what would it look like inside your organization?
Daniel Kasidi [9:40]
Yeah, in terms of evangelizes is just everyone believing in the message and having more importantly than believing it having a sense of ownership, right. And so when I look at that in our organization, we’re a cornucopia of different cultures, different ethnicities, different genders, different lifestyles, and And that’s what’s great about our brand is that we have that. And so we’re also very socially conscious, we think about LGBTQ movement, you know, racial injustices we think about wellness with, you know, this month with breast cancer and all those types of things, all of these causes that we’re a part of as a brand, everyone has a connection to one of them, you know, maybe someone’s grandmother had had breast cancer, or maybe someone in our team is part of the LGBTQ community. And so people are out there, and they’re evangelizing what we’re doing as a brand, to further humanity.
Daniel Kasidi [10:35]
Right. And so, because there’s a connection to our staff, with the things that we do as a brand, authentically, they’re constantly going out there and talking to their families, their friends, wearing our product, talking about the story, talking about our why our message, and that’s then being evangelized. You know, they really believe in it. And everything that they do on a day to day basis helps push forward, not only the company’s initiatives but their initiatives. And that’s what really makes it powerful. And, again, it’s that sense of ownership, you know, because if people have that sense of ownership, and belonging, then they feel like it’s theirs, too. And it is, and they’re able to take that with them everywhere they go.
Gene Hammett [11:16]
So, Daniel, you keep saying ownership, I’ve got to put a spotlight on that for a second, you probably know that my work is around, how do you inspire people to feel like owners, even when they don’t have a financial stake? And you’re describing a big piece of this, which is, they feel so connected in a sense of belonging. And they, they’re on this mission with you? Yeah, but there are many other elements behind it. You know, I can tell you my research, but what do you think some of the key elements of people feeling that sense of ownership are.
Daniel Kasidi [11:44]
I think the main one, for me, you know, has been buying, right. And we always say that a lot of times I sparked the vision as a founder, but that the company is really the fire, right? Like always a spark. And so it’s really just getting buy in and and having people strategize your business strategy with you, and making sure that they have a sense of ownership. Because to be quite honest with you, the roster cloud strategy isn’t my strategy. It’s our strategy. It’s not my vision, it’s our vision. And so when you take that approach in strategic planning, as we’re planning 2021, right now, I probably do the least amount of talking and strategy sessions, I do the most amount of listening. And I let the team really talk about where they see the company going in the lens, and then the specialty that they have, and that just creates a lot of buy-ins. And, and then when people have a task or KPI that they need to hit, they feel like it’s theirs. It’s not Daniel saying, hey, hit this KPI and saying, Hey, I came up with this KPI.
Daniel Kasidi [12:50]
This is, this is something that I’m passionate about, I put it on paper, I’m gonna go hit it, you know. And so I think that’s been the biggest eye-opener for me as it hasn’t always been that way. There was times when I was a younger CEO, where I would come to the strategy meeting with a 20 page 30 page strategy and say, hey, go do it. And people wouldn’t people would do it, but it would, it would be harder to get do it, there’d be less passion. And I don’t want to say it would be begrudgingly. But it would be harder to get people to execute on it because they weren’t as passionate about them being a part of that solution. So buy-in is my answer there.
Hold on for a second, Daniel talked about the need to create buy-in, I had a client once say to me in a meeting is how do I get my employees to buy in at a deeper level? Well, you can blame them for not buying in. But here’s the key thing you want to understand, you’ve got to create the kind of belonging and the commitment, where people have to buy-in, they can’t live without what you’re doing. And this experience you give them at work is a part of their own growth and transformation. If you think about some of those details, you will have by and beyond just the paycheck, you’ll have that sense of ownership that really is necessary to create the kind of scalable brand that you want. Now back to the interview with Daniel.
Gene Hammett [14:06]
I love that you said a word I want to make sure that we don’t let it skip by but inclusion, you’ve got about 35 employees. And you walked us through like this strategy meeting that you’re no longer having to come with all of the research and all of the plans and all of the ideas yourself, they’re actually coming in, probably more prepared because they know that they’ve got buy in, and it’s their company and their strategy when you have made that transition because this is not an easy transition for a lot of founders to do. What are some of the things you struggled with? Or what are some of the mistakes you made in letting go of that work so that they could take that by him?
Daniel Kasidi [14:47]
You know, it’s the struggles are definitely real and that aspect. You know, I think when you’re a fan, let’s say you’re the you’re the initial founder of the company like I was everything relying on you. You’re doing everything based on your gut feelings, you don’t have anyone that you need to sort of like sell on your your vision, and you’re just going after it and you find success in the earlier days doing that, right, I think what I struggled with is once we started building teams is taking that same approach, and sort of being the driver, versus, you know, like I said, getting getting a little bit more of the team’s input. And what I realized, it’s, it’s not necessarily a tactical thing that you have to focus on, it’s kind of the soft skills of, we talked about, you know, letting go of the ego, right. And now understanding that you don’t have all the best ideas, and you have the you, your role is really to own that high level vision of where we see ourselves in the next five to 10 years. And you’re no longer really responsible for the how, right, you’re responsible for the why, and the direction that we’re going.
Daniel Kasidi [15:53]
And so a lot of that, for me, personally had to do with shedding the ego, saying that you know, what, shut up during this meeting, and let it let other people talk. And, you know, really just delegating and giving a little bit more of that power to the staff. And that’s not an easy thing to do. It took me a couple of years to get really good at it. And, you know, now I’m able to sit comfortably, an understanding that, you know, I do still control the the vision and the direction of the company, but the How is not, is not necessarily for me to own.
Gene Hammett [16:26]
I’m kind of curious and you mentioned in our research that you have hired executive coaches before, where they, you know, helpful in that journey that you have taken to go from founder to the CEO you are today.
Daniel Kasidi [16:39]
Oh my gosh, it’s been life-changing game-changing for my business. And for my my journey as a leader, one of the things that, you know, executive coaches really made me realize is exactly that, you know, where I need to be focused on how to prioritize what I focus on, you know, making sure that I got to a point from a founder, where you’re wearing a ton of hats to now really like a more more mature business and what I need to focus on, which is really three to five things every single day. And I couldn’t have done it without coaching, because you don’t have that perspective, right. And you’re always trying to do trying to do more, and sometimes doing more, isn’t necessarily going to render the best results, it’s about doing, focusing in a little bit more on the things that you Only you can do in that organization. And executive coaching definitely helped me with that. I definitely, you know, recommend it to anyone.
Hold on, Daniel just talked about going from founder to CEO, this is a struggle, I hear a lot of people that have created a business, their heart and soul, their baby, if you will, and they want to hold on to everything, they’ve worn every hat in the business. But as they began to add new employees, they want to make sure that they let go of this, one of the key concepts behind this is learning to fire yourself. Yep, I said it when you learn to let go and fire yourself from certain projects, certain meetings, certain metrics that you’re responsible for, or have ownership to, and let others step up and you coach them to step up. That’s the key to you scaling your business, this has happened to a number of my clients. And you really want to make sure that you are getting this kind of founder to CEO being very intentional about how you’re evolving as a leader. Now, back to the interview with Daniel.
Gene Hammett [18:28]
So full disclaimer, Daniel, I wasn’t your coach. Because it’s such a glowing, you know, really a review of what that experience was for you. And it’s not always easy. So thanks for sharing a little bit that got here because we’re talking about employees and them sharing the message. Is there anything that you do specifically that you could, you know, give us behind the scenes look at you know, this is how we get them to be the brand evangelizers of the culture and sharing that message. Are you having certain types of meetings or doing certain things consistently that make that possible?
Daniel Kasidi [19:04]
Yeah, I think first and foremost is lowering the barrier of safety for people to be themselves and express themselves. You know, nowadays, we’re in a digital platform, digital workplace, I think just making sure that your staff feels safe to express themselves, right, if you want them to have ownership, and in the culture and division, they’ve got to feel heard. And so for us, you know, we have Slack, we share ideas, we share life experiences, different things of that nature. We’re very family-oriented type of company. But when things go wrong, right, and when times get hard, we have the really really hard conversations with each other and open up a platform, whether in this year it was COVID dealing with that. social justice issues dealing with that kids going back to school, digitally while parents are at home, trying to working having real conversation. about those things, the elections coming up having not political conversations, but how these things affect them personally, and really having that empathy and understanding. And then once you do things like that, and you open up that dialogue, people feel belonging, they feel that the company actually cares about their well being, and not just about the bottom line. And so those are things that we we do, and we’re caught, we’re just very aware of that we do on a, on a, on a normal basis.
Daniel Kasidi [20:31]
So that’s number one. Number two, is really making sure that everyone understands that, you know, we’re here to do something bigger than ourselves. So once a quarter we get out of the office. And nowadays, it’s not necessarily getting out of the office, but we do an event where we, we ask our staff to take a day out of their three months, take a day off and go do something good for the community, whether it’s picking up trash at the beach, or you know, feeding homeless, or whatever that it is that they’re passionate about, making sure that they they stay connected to that. And so for instance, this year, we’ve we’ve seen that with COVID, there’s been a lot more domestic violence in the homes a lot more substance abuse, we’re partnered with a foundation called gets better. And I support the girls. And basically, you know, getting, you know, feminine products to the women that are that have been abused, or whatever the case may be. And that’s what we’re doing this month, that’s next month, that’s what we’re going to do, we’re going to have a drive, we’re going to do that, that gives people a sense of belonging and a sense of higher, higher meaning. So those are just some things that we can do. I have a long list of other things that we do. But you know, those are just some of the ones that come off the top of my mind that we do to make sure that everyone’s engaged.
Gene Hammett [21:46]
You know, a lot of the things that you’ve shared with us today really are powerful leadership skills that many people forget. Because most people think that leadership is getting the job done. I had a virtual speech today, I finished it up and there was a q&a session and one of the employees or one of the people on the speech said, How do you be a good boss and be a good leader? And it’s not the easiest question. No, I had, you asked him to have to explain what is a good boss, or what is a boss specifically, because I have this better idea of leadership. And you think about your balance of time and energy, and the actual work that’s getting done. And the actual development of employees, the cue name, date, and engagement stuff that you’re doing? How do you see the balance of those two sides of your business?
Daniel Kasidi [22:37]
Yeah, I mean, there’s, there’s a work like you said, and then there’s the coaching and leadership, as you said, and leadership comes first, right? Because you really need to develop your team, you need to inspire your team, you need to motivate your team, or you’ll never get to do your job, right. Because if your team is not autonomous, you can’t actually get to do the Xs and O’s of your job. And so I focus a lot of my efforts on the leadership side, just as you coach CEOs, I’m constantly coaching my direct reports, right? Through leadership issues, through personal issues, everything of that nature. And that’s my number one. And I think when they feel what, as you develop them, the more that you’re able to delegate and the more that you’re able to do, what you’re really, really great at. So if you were to ask me, definitely leadership comes first, I definitely try to keep a 5050 as much about us. In regards to how much time I spend on both, I’d say it’s pretty equal, that I spent as much time in leadership is actually doing my job and doing podcasts and different things like this. So it’s a pretty good balance, and it’s a big focus.
Gene Hammett [23:46]
I appreciate you sharing that behind the scenes look of all of your leadership strategies and what you’re doing. I know there’s a lot more that we could talk about, but we’ve run out of time, Daniel, thanks for being here and sharing your wisdom. And thanks for what you do with Rostock law. It really is something I’m proud to be able to share with my audience.
Daniel Kasidi [24:04]
Thank you so much for having me and the amazing questions. I hope everyone out there got some, some great nuggets and gems from it. And if you guys ever have any questions, feel free to get ahold of me and Daniel Kasidi, find me on LinkedIn, or Instagram or anything of that nature would love to talk with you guys.
Gene Hammett [24:19]
That wraps up today’s episode with this founder about growth. It’s not just about getting the work done. It’s about creating a place where people feel safe, feel a sense of belonging, and coaching them along the way. If you feel like you’d like to upgrade your leadership skills, take your visionary, and strategy to the next level, and grow your company even faster, all at the same time. Make sure you reach out to check out the free resources at genehammett.com. When you think about growth, and you think about leadership, think about 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.
A QUICK FAVOR
And lastly, please leave a rating and review for the Growth Think Tank on iTunes (or Stitcher) – it will help us in many ways, but it also inspires us to keep doing what we are doing here. Thank you in advance!
If you want more from us check out more interviews: