NextGen Featuring Rick Sbrocca

Rick Sbrocca: Helping Employees Become the CEO of Their Lives

Company leaders often fear developing employees only to have them leave. CEO & Founder, Rick Sbrocca takes a different approach to employee development. Rick offers all employees a program he created called "CEO of Your Life" where he encourages employees to not only develop professionally but personally as well.


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Rick Sbrocca is the Founder & CEO of Spiritus Solutions. After summiting the Fortune 50, Rick became an entrepreneur successfully building multiple companies. Now, having transitioned the core operations of his most recent venture, Rick provides professional services to select clientele.

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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.

The Transcript - Helping Employees Become the CEO of Their Lives

Welcome to the Next Generation Rockstars podcast. If you are trying to figure out how do you recruit and retain this next generation of rock star talent or you are in the right place.

Amanda Hammett: Hi, this is Amanda Hammett. I am with Rick Sbrocca today and Rick is one of my leaders who was nominated to be on the show because he is doing a phenomenal job of developing the next generation talent and really leading them up into that, those next levels of their career. So let's welcome Rick to the show. Thanks for being here.

Rick Sbrocca: You Bet. Good Morning Amanda. Thank you for having me on the show.

Amanda Hammett: No worries, no worries. You know, honestly, when I put out the call to have guests on the show, I went to people that I trust and people that I have worked with before clients, all those different people. And Joe Doll, I was really hoping he would nominate you and he did. So I'm so happy to have you.

Rick Sbrocca: Awesome. I'm sorry, I'm happy to be here.

Amanda Hammett: Well good. So why don't you tell the audience a little bit about you?

Rick Sbrocca: Sure. So from a business perspective, I started my career after business school, Corporate America, focused on that season for 17 years and had a very successful run to a global leadership position of various business units that were successful. And then my family and I moved from southern California to Northern California to change up our quality of life. And we founded a new company named spirit solutions and it turns co-founded another company named five 11 enterprises and they are focused on helping companies and individuals grow and the high tech space. And that's where we really changed it up. Amanda, when I was in the corporate space working for Fortune 50 companies, the focus was always primarily on the customer as it should be. And when we did our own thing, we decided to conduct an experiment and to make the team members the priorities. So we set a vision statement that put forth, we would create an environment where talents flourish and that was our priority with the values tied to the acronym team for trust, empowerment, accountability and mentoring. So obviously without trust, you can't do anything. We focus very much on empowering them with the right professional development plans and onboarding, holding them accountable through dashboards. And then we're early adopters, leaders in professional mentoring, which really has made the difference in our business. So that's a quick summary of our background and where we're at now.

Amanda Hammett: That's awesome. I want, you know, I know a little bit about five 11 seasons one we had Denay from five 11 on the show and she was phenomenal. And again, she also was on the show because of Joe Doll. But the way that she talked about the culture and the support that she got a growing professionally, you know, since day one has been, it was something that you, you could just tell was special, not just to her, but just, it's just special and it's different. And I really applaud you and Joe and the whole team over there for, for building this up. He is somebody that probably looking at her resume, she told the story. I mean she was slinging pizza and when she came to work, Joe saw something in her and chat.

Rick Sbrocca: I think the CEO, so he played a major role in that. Yes. You know, our DNA really is predicated upon that vision statement and we took a radical move forward to state that our objective is for the team members to accelerate in all areas of their life. And if we're not doing that in this workspace, then we're failing. Oh, of course, they have to take personal accountability. So that's a very powerful statement and overall, not in all cases, but overall it's, it's been successful. And, and Denay is a perfect example of that. She was delivering pizzas to us on Friday afternoon and we saw really a deep intelligence in her and critical thinking, although her, her IQ hadn't been developed in her confidence. So we took a risk on her and her ascension from pizza delivery person to sales development rep. Now two data analysts really quadrupling her comp is the greatness of the workplace. I mean, that's where we spend most of our time and Harvard Business Review and nailed it where they stated the battlefield is talent, period. It's about recruiting, training, retaining talent.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely.

Rick Sbrocca: So that's our focus.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. That's phenomenal. So let me ask you this. Let's, let's look, take a little look back to your days and the fortune 50 worlds. Um, and I would imagine as you were coming up yourself that you probably witnessed other forms of leadership, other forms of development if you will. And how did that shape own vision for what you wanted in spirit is in 5/11.

Rick Sbrocca: Sure. Thank you. So I was very blessed to have a couple of great mentors that I could go to that taught me how to mature because I always had the talent and the skill, but it was a matter of maturity and managing well to fulfill that, that destiny. So that was, that was the challenge and the solution to the mentors regarding my specific managers and leaders. I saw many examples of what not to do, what to do. And I really break it down into two areas. Either an abundance mentality or a scarcity mentality. And there were those managers that really believed that their team members were infinitely scalable. And if they helped you grow, the tide would rise and everybody would grow with them. And those are the best environments. The opposite of that was scarcity mentality that I've been given this unit of power and control and I'm going to hold onto it very tightly and keep people in their place. And then that limits personal growth and company grows. So those are really the two experiences I had and obviously adopted the if we grow people and surround ourselves with people that are smarter, brighter, better versed in certain areas in ourselves we'll do much better as leaders.

Amanda Hammett: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I agree with that wholeheartedly. Actually, my company did a study my partner Gene actually works and studies hybrid companies and he focuses on the ink 5,000, and he has studied them significantly and they have all come back and said, it's employee first. We focus on developing employees and they'll take care of the customers 91% of them said that.

Rick Sbrocca: Can't be that.

Amanda Hammett: You can't. Wonderful. So as you were coming up in your own leadership, uh, in, in these fortune 50 companies, did you ever feel pressure from higher-ups or corporate boards or, or anything like that to focus more on the numbers and delivering performance versus, you know, developing your people?

Rick Sbrocca: Yeah, absolutely. At the end of the day it's about the numbers and, and hopefully, the metrics are well balanced. I liked the Drucker institute scoreboard that they keep a card that they keep around financial health, employee health, customer health innovation, and social responsibility. So hopefully the numbers are balanced within that context. I was in the sales marketing channels area, so typically there was a quota and you know, when it got to the end of the quarter, sometimes we had values free moments where we had to focus on getting the number and that's what it was about. And over time, as I became more confident in myself and my own character, I made certain that I was honoring relationships and results and that they are not mutually exclusive. They're jointly exhausted and that has served me well.

Amanda Hammett: Perfect. Now, what about, you know, you've had quite a long career so far but you've seen the influx of millennials, now you're starting to see the influx of Gen z and to the workplace, you know, what influence have they brought into the workplace? What changes have you seen and what do you, what do you predict going forward?

Rick Sbrocca: Sure, great question. So I operate on a universal code regardless of the generational big man. And that is that everybody longs to feel and be significant and that every human being is infinitely scalable. So I start with that precept and from there really seek to be truthful and authentic and real and to listen and then to find the common vision for, for excellence. So without is the foundation. I've discovered that it's more important than ever to be very open-minded and to listen carefully as we started hiring millennials. And that's a very broad age range now. Yes, in 23 and 38 and there's a lot of factors within now regarding the country of origin, socioeconomic factors, gender, creation, diversity, etc. So I don't want to over homogenize them, but I have found them to be absolutely delightful and inspiring.

Rick Sbrocca: They're extremely energetic. They're extremely bright, they're tech-savvy, and they're not settling. They want to change the world for the better. They've been through some economic downturns. They have been through situations where the families have always stayed together and they have great ideas. I think it's a disservice for us to be wrapped up, not us specifically, but the space in this word entitlement. I don't, I don't really see that at all. I see that as a leadership responsibility to teach a process that they would come regarding their, they're great ambitions in there. They're phenomenal energy and work ethic that we would, we would meet that with our wisdom on what's the process look like and teach the process and engage in multigenerational mentoring where we're listening first and then responding and together we're moving the ball forward. So they've taught me to be a much better listener and how to, to work together regarding Gen Z. We're starting to work with them more and more.

Rick Sbrocca: I'm in. This isn't based on scientific research, it's, it's our experience. I'm finding them to be equally high potential in a different way. Seem to be focusing more on a conservative approach of job security and a career path. Mentoring is very important, not quite as radical. If I can use that term about changing the world and changing things that aren't right. They're looking to create a strong, stable career path and lifestyle at 10. Again, we're having to listen very closely to them and understand where they're coming from. Handshake is their professional community. They did a survey, very interesting in the top five. Gen Z is asking for mental health resources at work. So I think that's an important trend you're asking about where I see it going. That's an important trend. Google did a study a few years back entitled Aristotle, and it was about cultural development.

Rick Sbrocca: One of the findings was psychological safety or trust in the workplace. So a couple of the trends that I see and that we're helping to shape our, our number one, what I would call humanistic influencers. So we hear about AI and ml over and over and over and that's awesome. I'm, I'm fully for that. I think it's also going to create info versus reserve funds of humanistic influencers that are important to merge with the rise of A.I For our best overall success. And it goes back to talent. At the end of the day, this is all about talent, so I find that to be very fascinating. The other one that we focused on as we've discussed them and Israeli life-work integration, Apple hired me a while back to talk to them about work-life balance because one of their managers, it's said, this is a quote that the sheer velocity and ambiguity, that business is breaking down our people and it's spilling over into their personal lives.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely good.

Rick Sbrocca: After this work-life balance thing, we found out it was really a myth. You know, there is no work-life balance. It's a series of sprints and recoveries. It's a sprint sprinter, Ethan, and so we've developed our own content around life-work integration and work has certainly crept in through our life. Has it not?

Amanda Hammett: Oh, for sure. For sure.

Rick Sbrocca: Very important. Now that we give equal respect and integrity to live being honored within this new growing, changing, dynamic workspace, what we focus on that very much what we call a complete life victory. We prepare professional development person. This is all voluntary per the team members desire to state their overall goals around getting out of debt. Right. We're in relationships or whatever it may be. And we found that if we can tap into that, because Gallup's found approximately 70% of the people really aren't highly engaged at work. So, you know, that's unacceptable. Why is that? And people are going to have to do certain jobs that they may or may not like, but if you can tie it to their burning passion for moving their life forward, then you have a win-win together. And that's what we see is a major trend and a major differentiator.

Amanda Hammett: Right. Absolutely. Well, you know, I think you've touched on this a little bit, but I'd like for you to be pretty specific right here. you know, why don't you tell the audience a little bit about your program, the CEO of your life program and how that has really affected your, your leadership style. And you know, you've definitely touched on it, but let's, let's be very specific with, with the audience on this.

Rick Sbrocca: Sure, Well, when I was in a corporate position and rising rapidly work was my priority and I was doing an excellent job at work. However, I was not doing an excellent job managing my other priorities in myself by my spirit, my soul, and my body, my family, etc. And through that painful lesson, I learned the importance of what we call complete like victory. So we teach complete lie victory through workshops to our team members. These are off hours and we typically, you're getting 98% attendance. And it's about really maximizing your purpose, your life, and your work together as CEO of your life. That you're accountable. It is a meritocracy. And here's the operative word, Amanda. It's processing. A lot of people are understanding why. Yeah. But they don't know the process to really understand where they're at in life.

Rick Sbrocca: You know, we, I don't want to get too deep into this, but we have heredity and environment, which we can't really control. But then we have our response-ability response table or what we can't control. So we're helping a lot of people just process things even are very focused on them. Speaking with professional counselors to let it go, burn, burn it down, whatever is holding you back, here's your future. And then from there then we can set goals around what we call a life echo system. It's not a balanced wheel, it's an always changing ecosystem. And then we taught them to go through setting goals, plans, resources, and how to actually achieve results. Yeah, that's what the core curriculum is all about. We've put over 400 people through the, through the program, their graduates and I mentor many of them. And for the people that do the work for the people that work the plan, it works. And we've, yeah, we've seen some miraculous transformations from people that were desperate. They've gone to a very high level of earning and that's secondary. That's important. But it's secondary walking in confidence and economic empowerment and feeling significant and then being able to raise a family in a strong manner and then support your community. And so work is vital and were runs on the fuel of talent and it's becoming much broader in the sense of our responsibilities that we're seeing today.

Amanda Hammett: Yeah, I would agree with that.

Rick Sbrocca: Will help that talent stay engaged.

Amanda Hammett: Absolutely. Yeah. So let me ask you this if I understand this correctly, you said that this is something that you offer to your employees' free benefit. And to me, that's a tremendous value. I mean, that's almost something you can't put a number on as far as what that's going to teach them and allow them to set up for themselves if they do the work moving forward for the rest of their lives. I mean, that's, that's tremendous. yeah, that, that is really tremendous. I really don't even have words around that. That's a tremendous benefit beyond the normal salary. And vacation time and health benefits, those things. I mean, that's a tremendous additional benefit that most young people probably aren't aware of or even thinking of like this is a possibility that a company could offer this to me. I'm going to have to figure this out myself. So that's wonderful.

Rick Sbrocca: Yeah, it's, it's, it's our responsibility to meet them where they're at. And especially Gen Z, they're coming in. It's the first generation fully raised on technology and there are some great positives from that. There are also some challenges around maturity and communicating and listening and processing this avalanche of information every day and how to sort it and then how to move to a maturation path. So we're not caught in the Peter Pan Principle. Right. And I think a lot of companies allow their workers to stay in and it, it's not a solid, healthy longterm for the individual or the company.

Amanda Hammett: No, it's, unfortunately, it's not. And it fuels and an additional retention issue for these companies, which is expensive. Exactly. Not to mention productivity and all that good stuff. So it's a machine that feeds itself, so, yeah. All right. Well, what would you, I would imagine that there has been some sort of financial benefit to that you found through developing your employees in this way or are in developing them. And another way that maybe you haven't mentioned it, have you found there to be a direct correlation between their development and the bottom line at the end of the quarter, at the end of the year, things like that?

Rick Sbrocca: Absolutely. There's a, there's a strong specific ROI case around this type of leadership and first and foremost, it relates to the customer experience. Yeah. And we receive incredible feedback from our prospects and customers even when they don't do business with us because our team is engaged, it's energetic and they care. They're not robots making their calls and just trying to hit it hit a quota. And that matters more and more the marketplace has become numb and certain areas because there's been so activity around selling things and we're adopting a very personalized approach to that in a very respectful approach. So the first Roi is in the net promoters scores the NPS scores that are indexing the norm. And I think that's number one. And then number two is in pure profit, our retention rates are of the talent are exponentially better than the benchmark competitors we have and in design in different cities because you know, the cost of training somebody in losing them straight away and on average our team members are attained to a multiple of two to three x her the per the norm.

Amanda Hammett: really?

Rick Sbrocca: Yeah, that'd be perfect. It's huge. And I think the other metric that we don't have is, is the quality of their work while there while they're working to be excited about going to work, doing a great job, which takes a tremendous amount of energy. But the Roi case is absolutely there. And I believe corporations are starting to realize that HR is vital. I know they realize this because I read the human capital trends research and it's important that we accelerate our adoption of, of programs like ours to help the employees succeed, which in turn will help the company succeed.

Amanda Hammett: I couldn't agree with that more. And just going back to your, your client base, I happen to know one of your clients and him, he was actually the reason I was introduced to Joe Dell, to begin with, and he just raved about your, an SDR rep about how good they were and just how vital they were. And he was raving not only to me but to a group of other people about how good they were. And actually, Joe was a little like embarrassed for a moment because he was just going on and on about how great.

Rick Sbrocca: Grateful to hear that.

Amanda Hammett: All right. So let me ask you this. I know that you have millennial children of your own yes. But you also mentor a lot of people as you've mentioned. So if you could only give one piece of advice, just one thing, um, to early career. So somebody who's been in the workforce less than five years if you could give them one piece of advice about their career, what would it be?

Rick Sbrocca: It would be focused on dynamic, personalized learning that they would, they would prioritize that not just through their formal academic experience and their onboarding, but every single day because things are changing that much and there's a technology that can help us through micro learning platforms, etc. But I believe it's very important if I was starting out to focus on that, to dedicate a percentage of the week to formal learning in my space and then more importantly to listen, listen, listen to my team and to also study other companies that are doing well on how they're treating their team members. And I would suggest under this umbrella of active dynamic personalized learning that they would establish multigenerational advisory councils. So they would have team members that they're managing other seasoned wise leaders in the company that would, that would collaborate around what needs to get done. And we've seen great, great, great results in that area. Chip Conley is really a thought leader in this space of multigenerational mentoring. It's, it's so simple yet, I don't know why more companies don't invest in it and do it well, I can tell you some stories that will blow your mind when you go offline. But that's what I would focus on learning but in a very creative dynamic, personalized way that that orchestrates different resources.

Amanda Hammett: Excellent. That's a great, fantastic answer actually. Perfect. Perfect. So I would like to share with the audience something really quickly. Rick has been really generous. He has offered to give me a copy of his CEO of your life program, which is phenomenal. I, he's told you a little bit about it today, but I feel like that's probably just scratching the surface. And in turn, he is actually allowing me to share it with you. So there it is right there on the screen. So if you are interested, we are going to have a link below where you can go ahead and snag a copy for yourself because I don't know if your company is offering anything like this, but if they aren't, you guys need to get in touch with Rick and see about bringing it to your company. Well, Rick, thank you so much.

Amanda Hammett: This has been such a pleasure. You know, I feel like you and I are really in line with a lot of the ways that we see things and I'm just, I'm really, I feel very fortunate to have met you even though it's been through the screen, but still, I feel very much.

Rick Sbrocca: Okay. Take care.

Amanda Hammett: All right. See you guys in the next episode up. Next Generation Rock stars. All right, so I hope that you took lots and lots of notes just like I did during that interview with Rick Sbrocca of the spirit of solutions. Rick shared so much in that short amount of time. I think one of the biggest takeaways though for me was his CEO of your life program and that program, he is just, he's using it to develop his people not just in their professional life but also in their personal lives and so that they can grow very holistically and hopefully eventually that that means long, long term retention.

Amanda Hammett: That means higher levels of productivity, which of course were salts and higher levels of profitability. And Rick has been gracious enough to offer that to me so that I can share it with you guys in this audience of I do hope that you click on the link below and you download the CEO of your life program. But more importantly than just downloading the program, I hope that you actually implement it because implementing the program is where it is all about it. That's where life change happens. That's where the increases in, in your happiness really in your life. That is where it happens. So you've gotta be willing to change to make those big leaps in your life. Well, thank you guys so much for joining us for this episode of Next Generation Rockstars. Keep listening for next week where we will have another phenomenal leader who is helping to develop the next generation of talent. See you then.

Amanda Hammett: Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Next Generation Rockstars, where we have discussed all recruiting and retaining that next generation of talent. So I'm guessing that you probably learned a tremendous amount from this week's rock star leader. And if that is the case, don't keep me a secret, share this episode with the world, but really share it with your friends, with your colleagues, because they also need to learn how to recruit and retain this next generation of talent because these skills are crucial to business success moving forward. Now, of course, I want you to keep up to date every single week as we are dropping each and every episode. So be sure to subscribe to your favorite podcast platform of your choice, and you will see the Next Generation Rockstars show up just for you.

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.