Behind every great company is an excellent group of people. Forming a fast-growth team requires you to understand people. You have to study other companies to learn from their mistakes. Today’s guest is Christian Ranke, CEO at Tridata Inc. TriData Inc provides proven lean solutions in support of financial institutions and service providers globally. Their team of industry-leading professionals leverage relationships and ATM/ITM technical knowledge that spans decades. Christian give us his steps for forming a fast-growth team. We look at the counter-intuitive strategies of a fast-growth team. Discover how you can leverage growth through the talent and drive of your people.
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Christian Ranke: The Transcript
About: Christian founded TriData Inc in 2020, an exciting personality with a proven 20-year record to affect change while leading team and clients to time-honored relationships following his overseas military service ending in 1999, Christian began developing sales teams while deploying leading-edge technology to deliver “best in class” products, services, and solutions. Considered a market leader, he continues to educate himself and the team on all aspects of our changing marketplace technically and operationally.
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.
Christian Ranke: With a previous organization it’s, definitely, fast-paced, fast, fast growth. There was a, there was a vision, there was a vision that went, further past the financial technology space that, the business was doing its organic growth process in for the business to mature and grow. Further, I was, I wanted a new adventure and they were in a very good spot, financially, the leadership, the creativity, the hunger was there and it was perfect timing for me to start over. And, and that’s, that’s where I’m at right now.
Intro: Welcome to Grow 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: When you form a fast-growth team, you want to do it with intention. You can’t just, you know, cobble a few things together, a few people together. You want to have the [00:01:00] processes, the functionality, the foundational elements, and the principles that drive fast growth. When you understand what those principles are, then you can actually create a fast-growth team. base on that. This is all about, you know, re-engineering, what does it take to create fast growth? So I want to go out to a guest who had recently left a fast-growth company. He sold his ownership share and another Inc 5,000 company to create Tridata. Today we’re talking with the founder, CEO of Tridata, Christian Ranke. What we talk about really will help you understand what are the core elements and principles of fast-growth organizations. We talked about the power of transparency. Trust we talk about failure. We talk about humility. Being humble is a really important piece to you being the leader that you need to be. There are many elements inside of this conversation that you really need to understand in order to create a fast-growth company. And that’s exactly the reason why I’m recording. Today’s okay. [00:02:00] Before we jump into the interview, let’s go back a little bit and remind you of some of the things we’ve been putting together to help you as a leader, go to the next level. So I work with extraordinary leaders to do impossible things. One of the ways I do that is through a group experience that I call fast growth boardroom. You can check it out at fastgrowthboardroom.com. It’s a mouthful, but you can figure out if it’s a good fit for you. If you are a founder, CEO, or president of a company that’s been on the Inc 5,000 or growing at that level. Then you can actually apply and then we’d get on the phone and talk. There are no financial requirements necessary, but you have to actually apply in order to be in this because I want to make sure that we bring in the right people for fast growth boardroom. So if you want to check out what it is, if you want to race Porsche’s with us, you want to do some fun things, but also grow as a leader, check out fastgrowthboardroom.com.
Here’s the interview with Christian. Hi Christian. How are you?
Christian Ranke: Great, great. Doing good today. How are you?
[00:03:00] Gene Hammett: Fantastic. Excited to have another interview here for Growth Think Tank, you have, you know, a new company Tridata that we’re going to kind of start off with, but you also have a background in fast growth, but let’s, let’s start with Tridata. Tell us about what you guys up to?
Christian Ranke: So Tridata finance, Tridata works in the financial technology space, products such as a financial institution ATM’s and, cash handling equipment, but also is working, in focusing on areas. , to support the contactless, transactional spaces, such as retail, such as employee lists, shopping centers, and things like that. So we’re working into a lot of places that are hardware, software, based, businesses that we can. Look at, helping to support their business, over the period of time or the life of said, the life cycle of the, set hardware. And, but that’s everything that goes with any type of technology that we’re going to start seeing over the next 10 years and how it integrates into, the American retail and [00:04:00] financial systems here in the US
Gene Hammett: When you started this company was just an idea. I know you’ve had some background in this industry before. Well, where’d you get the idea?
Christian Ranke: Yeah. So, so this, the I’ve been in this, the ATM and financial technology space for about 20 years. And the one thing that, has happened is there’s been a lot of maturity in it, or the, the internet of things space. There’s been a lot of maturity into the payments, and now we’re dealing in a space where you have cryptocurrencies a hundred plus different types. There are all these different things moving, and it’s advancing heavily. The one thing that didn’t advance. As fast as the rest of the world is number one. how do you automate the process and operations of how a facility gets built or how a product or a technology or a piece of technology that’s in the environment, how it’s serviced, how it’s supported, what’s going on? What was the entire traceability of said device? So [00:05:00] in looking at that and looking at all the competition here in the US and globally, there’s a lot of advancements in say, customer-facing user interface, but all the backend pieces of how to make it work. What’s the predictability, what’s the forecast. What is the true life cycle, of this device? And if you have to replace it, what’s your risk. So there’s nobody that’s really doing it, or can give proven algorithms or any type of mathematics. Financial viability to that whole space. So to be able to automate all the different functions that you have, 20 different companies that are outsourced to supply one piece of technology at a facility, how do you take all of that and automate it into one? So. I wanted to start an organization that took the very back-end piece and starts going forward all the way up to the front-end piece. So I know that’s, there’s a longer answer to that, but, it’s just maturing a business that is not faced or not been willing to mature yet.
[00:06:00] Gene Hammett: Well, I know there’s a lot of opportunity and industries that have been. You know, adopted the technology the way you want to, and that’s not this kind of show. So we’re going to dive into the leadership and culture aspects of our conversation, but I wanted a cool way for us to describe the industry you’re in, but you also came from. A fast-growth company. You sold your stake in another company that was on the Inc 5,000. Wouldn’t have to go into the details there, but what would you want to share about that experience?
Christian Ranke: Yeah, so, so with, with the previous organization, it’s definitely a fast-paced, fast, fast growth. There was a, a vision, there was a vision that went further past the financial technology space that, the businesses. Two minutes, organic growth process in for the business to mature and grow further. I was, I wanted a new adventure and they were in a very good spot, financially, the leadership, the creativity, the hunger was there and it was perfect timing for me [00:07:00] to start over. And that’s, that’s where I’m at right now.
Gene Hammett: Perfect. Well, I know in the early stages of business, we have so many things to think about product-market fit technologies, and you know, how things are going to be organized and all the legal stuff. But you had shared with me the very importance of people and culture and laying a foundation. What are the core things that you focused on as it relates to the people? For this new venture?
Christian Ranke: So, number one, yeah. Fast growth, fast growth is, is, it’s a very easy thing to say, but how to, how do you quantify and qualify that? Well, so for me, I found it easier to have a use basic math for every different function of the business. And that goes to. Shipping and receiving operations, technical sales procurement. And how do you mathematically make one employee the power of six? And how do you [00:08:00] do that? And one of the easy ways is automation, but number two is accountability. And on the accountability portion, if they, if everything is broken into some sort of formula, that’s simple enough for your team to understand and buy on suing and really invest themselves into it. There are many different upsides outside of the financial and seeing their positive performance, but they also, all of them come together equally. That’s forming a team, forming a unit and they’re all, they all feel equally invested. And, so I found that I’ve learned that from having a military background and I’ve used those same basics, the same fundamentals to build the same type of a streamlined focus, where sales, sales, accounting, the legal portions, the procurement the technical side, the quality side, how it all comes together and I’ll, every person is tied in [00:09:00] and the best part about it is every week, every month, they can all see the performance together and they all have equal success and they share in it. And so if you keep easy, it works.
Gene Hammett: What are the things that you didn’t mention in there? It seems like you value transparency across an organization like this, is that true?
Christian Ranke: True. A hundred percent.
Gene Hammett: What is the value of transparency when you ha, when you’re building this team and you’re creating this kind of trust that you really want,
Christian Ranke: that’s it trust all that because all of the employees and our team members, they all. All have to trust each other. They have to, and it’s not just given. It’s also earned, but when everything is transparent, everybody is telling the truth. They’re sharing their F they’re sharing the stories of their failures. The same as they’re sharing the story of their successes, and everybody is learning it. And everybody is learning humility, but everybody is being honest with each other. And [00:10:00] that also shares with our clients because the clients that we’re bringing on are all new claims. They’re all brand new clients. And the reason why they are coming to us is because of that word use trust that’s all of the business. So it was trust from previous relationships, previous clients, and that same, that works in here of how we trust everyone. It works with our clients and our vendors and, everybody else, every subcontract or everybody that we work with trust that’s there. That’s what we are.
Commentary: Now Christian just talked about trust. But, you know, trust is a foundation across every team. You want to make sure people trust you. You want to make sure that they trust each other. You want to make sure that you trust. That the real three pieces to that really are important. And you’ve got to have all of them best way I know to improve trust is to make sure that you are being vulnerable, where necessary you’re having the real direct conversations and you have a foundation for giving [00:11:00] feedback and anything that’s required. That’s difficult. You don’t avoid that stuff because if you avoid these difficult conversations, it ends up festering and the trust starts eroding quietly away. You want to make sure that you are having enough strength and courage to have those conversations upfront, and that will keep the trust going in the right direction. And if not, you find out if someone’s a good fit for the organization earlier, as opposed to later, that’s also good too. Back to Christian.
Gene Hammett: You also mentioned this failure. I think a lot of companies say that they embrace failure. I, what I’ve seen is they don’t embrace it to the level at which they could. That failure really is the way to innovate, move forward. What are you guys seeing as you build a team?
Christian Ranke: So, in my personal and professional experiences, failure has been, I would love to say the cheapest educator, but, it has been my. Best educator in everything that I’ve done. And because of, [00:12:00] my younger bashfulness, I’d never share in the things that I felt that I failed in because of ego or whichever. But it’s amazing personally, when you share with somebody to previous failures, whatever they are, and you get things to become neutralized and you get honest opinions, you get honest feedback from other people, not criticism, but things that help you develop as a person and. Using that the same and talking about our failures. Cause everybody, as you know, in sales wants to talk about, oh fuck, was this huge deal? Oh, this customer loves me, but it’s amazing when somebody is humble enough to share their failures. And when other people start coming in and how much a team can gain talking about failures, successes are great to share as well. But I see a team really coming together and failure and why we have to share.
Gene Hammett: I find that I’ve always learned a lot more through the failures. I’ve had, it provides a little bit of self-reflection a little bit of honesty you don’t get with maybe, you know, and maybe [00:13:00] we chalk up a little bit of the things that we are successful at as lucky because we’ve worked hard and it was kind of fell into place, but those failures really do provide lessons for us to latch onto and grow from.
Christian Ranke: It definitely, definitely failures are, even though you don’t want them to happen, they are a beautiful thing. And, help us, help us all understand that we are all human and that we all have, flaws, but, we have to accept those things and, and better ourselves.
Gene Hammett: I know you talked a little bit about the logical view of how you’re structuring the company and how that translates into automation and the mathematical formulas. But I do find that there’s also a human person-to-person element inside of all of our companies. How are you leading that through the early stages of a fast-growth company?
Christian Ranke: So there’s, the, the dictatorship, especially when you’re dealing with less than 10 employees that it’s dictatorship a route never works, [00:14:00] lead by example. Sure. What I found for me that’s where best is. If you get to the packaging of a product, say a box. And it’s amazing if you build it and say, this is how I want our product to go out. That’s one way you can say it, or another way is, Hey, somebody made this for us. This is how our product should go out. How it should look, this media kit, whatever you want to call it, what do you think we could do better? And it’s amazing because everybody has at least three ideas, three variations that are all different, that are wonderful ideas. And then, so from this one idea of what you thought was standardized, you just got 20 to 30 new ideas, new concepts, and maybe not, all of them are great, but easily more than half are great ideas. And if that asks, just asking a question like that brings out creative creativeness out of [00:15:00] anybody and it’s that’s what I’ve seen work the most on how to lead as the cab. Have everyone on the team share their input and take that and leave with it.
Commentary: Hold on, Christian just talked about employees bringing their ideas. Here’s what you don’t want. You don’t want an organization where everyone’s dependent on your ideas as the founder CEO of a company, because if they’re dependent on you weighing in you contributing to the ideas and your ideas, when consistently then people will learn that you want your ideas to win, and they have to wait for their own ideas. They have to hold their tongue. They have to hold back. Anything that could be innovative or on the edge. But what you really want to happen is you want the best ideas when Christian and I go a little bit deeper into that in the next conversation. But when you let the best ideas win, it actually has an effect across the company where people aren’t waiting on you to weigh in. They’re actually figuring things out for themselves, which is what you [00:16:00] actually want. Is that, that feeling of ownership across the culture. , back to Christian.
Gene Hammett: Yeah. I want to get a share of a little bit of the research I have. Cause I, I share with you offline, Christian, about what I really study about fast-growth companies we’ve touched on so many of the things you didn’t even realize my research, you probably haven’t read everything I’ve put out watching you certainly haven’t watched every episode because that would be time-consuming. But one of the things that I wanted to highlight here is the best ideas. Fast-growth companies, a lot of founders get stuck into, well, my ideas, you know, should be the ones that drive the company forward, but I find that fast-growth companies, those leaders are humble enough to say no, the best ideas should win. Not just my ideas, the best ideas, and the more they do that, the more they get trust with the team. And they get the confidence of these ideas winning. They are actually able to scale faster. Does that make sense?
Christian Ranke: Agreed? A hundred percent? A hundred? Yeah.
Gene Hammett: So, how do you do that [00:17:00] inside your meetings consistently? I know you just gave this example of the media kit or the product box, but how are you truly doing that to make sure the best ideas win?
Commentary: Just a little reminder. If you’re listening to this on your phone, if you are listening on your computer, that you may want to check out our YouTube channel, we have a few things that we only put on the YouTube channel. If you want to be extraordinary. Go to genehammett.com/youtube. You can check out what we have. You can subscribe, you can hit the thumbs up. We want to make sure that you get what you need to be, the leader that your team deserves.
Christian Ranke: So the one, the one thing that, that I, I do believe in is a solid schedule and regimen of things to be covered and keep meetings 20 minutes or less. That are, that are bullet-pointed and coming with facts and to keep off of a small, small disc, small, you know, side sidebar discussions, and it just covered the facts of performance, performance, based, for each different department what their percentage [00:18:00] of success was. And then the very last five minutes it’s town hall and town hall is all right. You bring up all your points, bring them all up. And you know, nobody gets in trouble. Nobody just brings them all up. And that’s how I get to understand the best conditioning or hire the company is conditioned for growth for new employees, bad culture, issue with, With an employee issue with something inside, but it’s, it’s when there’s that free time to chat and throw everything out there. It’s a very simple question, but you know, the answers are always between the lines and what people share is telling you their general, the general field, of the business, but what’s even more important too, is getting, are people that have just started in. The shipping and receiving and, to have them call clients directly and say, how did we do. And, you know, just having a general so they can [00:19:00] hear directly, how did we do rather than the automation and that gives them a feel and they have to report it up and they will tell us every flaw, every success. And, I, I think that is, that’s probably our most exciting portion of our meetings. I mean, everyone wants to say we’re a hundred percent successful, but that’s probably the most exciting part of our weekly meetings.
Gene Hammett: Christian, you’ve shared with us a lot about the foundational elements. So. Even laying the groundwork with 10 employees as you scale this up to 50, a hundred, and beyond, you know, that this foundational work pays off. Is there anything that we missed inside the foundation elements of the people and culture that you’ve started to think about for Tridata?
Christian Ranke: Yeah, I was, I was asked here recently about because I’ve been very fortunate, you know, within. Within business, but really what it was that has been, the building blocks of my success outside of luck or circumstance, it was, it was a good heart [00:20:00] and loyalty. Those are the two things I said were really the two things is, is, and, with loyalty, it’s in your relationship to your employees, to your vendors and to your customers and to all of your partners. Equally loyal and you know, good con good, hard. Anyone can say they have a good heart. I believe I do, but, loyalty, loyalty to the plan, to the team, and stay loyal.
Gene Hammett: Christian, I appreciate you sharing with us what you think about as you’re building this team. You’ve had some experience with other fast-growth companies and I thought this would be a fresh take on what we can contribute here on Growth Think Tanks. Thanks for being here.
Christian Ranke: Thank you for having me.
Gene Hammett: Let me just recap a little bit of the conversation here. I know that you want to grow a fast accompany. You want to lay that foundation, or maybe you’ve reached a point where you need some more systems. You need structure and the foundation that allow you to keep scaling. And I hear this quite often. The big thing to think about is who are you truly learning from? Who are you [00:21:00] truly getting your insight and values? Well, we put together a group of peer to peer. Coaching facilitated experiences around other founders and fast-growth companies, CEOs. And if you want to join something like that, then make sure you check out fastgrowthboardroom.com, where we get together. We talk about some of the challenges we’re facing but also learning from each other. We do some fun things like racing, Porsches and other things. You can check out the details at fastgrowthboardroom.com as always. When you think of growth to think of leadership, think of Growth Think Tank as always live with courage.
See you next time.
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