Scaling UP! H2O

Episode 262

The following transcript is provided by YouTube. Mistakes are present. To hear the podcast episode, click HERE.

turn your windshield time into learning time when you’re not listening to the scaling up h2o podcast listen to the
next book that is going to unlock something so you can do better in your day to day by signing up for audible go
to scaling up forward slash audible to get a free book and a free month and learn why it’s one of my
favorite tools [Music] welcome to scaling up h2o the podcast
where we scale up on knowledge so we don’t scale up our systems my name is trace blackboard i get to host the
scaling up h2o podcast who could ask for a better job and thank you for giving me
the opportunity to come to you each and every week with a brand new episode of
my favorite topic and that of course is industrial water treatment now people
ask me all the time trace how do you figure out what is acceptable to put on
the podcast and that answer is very simple i’m an industrial water treater i’ve been
in that industry pretty much my entire life so if i have used something that
will help me in our industry it is fair game and i bring those guests to you i
bring those topics to you because they have helped me somehow and i want to make sure that they can help you that’s
how they come on the show that’s how i’m always thinking of what i can bring you
next and of course many of you help me with that with sharing your show ideas
and i’m always looking for what can i do to help the industry what can i do to
help myself get a little bit smarter on a particular topic because let’s face it
if you’ve got your own podcast why not use it to your own benefit and learn as much as you can so while you are
learning out there in podcast land i am learning
myself i guess they call that a win win something else i want you to think about is when was the last time you
tried something new now when it comes to your job when was the last time you have tried
something new has it been a while can you not remember the last time you
tried something new and if that’s the case i want to ask why the heck
not folks i’m willing to bet if you have not tried something new in a while
you’re probably getting bored and if you have not heard me say anything on this
podcast about our industry turn your volume up underscore this
because the bottom line is we are in a cool industry our industry should never
be boring and it comes with its own built-in alarm and that alarm is if you
ever feel bored you are doing this job incorrectly you’re doing it wrong
how do you do it right well you shouldn’t be bored because you should always be
pushing your boundaries you should always be trying something new you should always be trying to learn
something else about what you think you know and yes i said think that you know because
there is just so much in our industry even when you think you know something
you learn something else and you realize that you didn’t know it at all and i
love it when i get those experiences because that means that i am truly
being an industrial water treater i’m learning something new i’m pushing myself and folks
i can honestly tell you i have never been bored in this industry i got set up
in this industry pretty well with how to think about this and i’m sharing all of this with you because this is what my
father told me he told me the day that i thought i knew everything it was the day
that i needed to quit because i was not respecting the industry
if we are not constantly looking at how we can improve ourselves how we can
learn new things how we can do things better we are not taking full advantage
of this fantastic industry that we are in so i’m going to encourage you if
you’re a warning light if your water treatment check engine light is on and
that means that you are bored take that to the mechanic and that means
you’re going to start asking questions you’re going to start figuring out what are some new things that you can do if
all you’re doing is servicing the same way over and over and over again stop doing that add something to what you do
on a regular basis just because it’s new just because you haven’t done it before
and just because you don’t know what the result will be now a lot of people might be scared they’re going to mess
something up a lot of people might be scared that they’re not going to do it perfectly the first time that they do it well
folks if you’re scared of that listen to episode 1 of this podcast and that should alleviate you of any fears
because when you do something the first time it’s probably going to suck a little bit but the next time it gets better because
you learned from that experience and that creates this snowball effect
that creates that first domino that you can push over that creates a chain reaction
that you’re just going to start learning all of these new things it is my hope that if you are bored you
are going to make that change today and let’s face it if you’re doing those things and you are still bored in this
industry maybe this is not the right industry for you folks life is too short
don’t force yourself into a dissimilar sized hole square peg round hole that’s
what i was going for there if that is the case recognize that and find something that you love like i love
this industry life’s too short do something you love you’ll never work another day in your
life speaking of somebody who does what they love and is trying to get us all the
time to try new things at least think about new things here is a brand new
thinking on water with james [Music]
welcome to thinking on water with james the segment where we don’t give you the answers we give you the topics and
questions for you to think about drop by drop now let’s get to it
in this week’s episode we’re thinking about how to properly store ph probes
why is ph probe storage important what can happen if stored improperly
can a ph probe be stored dry can it be stored in city water or distilled water
what about storing it in ph 4 7 or 10 buffer solutions
why would one be better than another is there a storage solution designed for ph probes
how might the storage solution be applied to the rubber cover often used to protect probes between uses
take this week to think about your ph probe and what proper storage means to its accuracy in lifespan
be sure to follow tow 22 and hashtag scalinguph2o share
your thoughts on each week’s thinking on water i’m james mcdonald and i look forward to learning more from you
thank you james we always appreciate you giving us something to think about
making us a little bit better each and every week did you know that next
month is august i’m sure you knew that but did you know that it is legionella awareness month
well it is and we are going to do everything we can at the scaling up h2o
podcast to inform you all around the topic of legionella join us each week during the
month of august where we will be talking on and about legionella here are some other items
that you might want to go ahead and mark on your calendar and these are other events that are going on that might
allow you to learn something new the smart water summit is
taking place august 29th through 31st in san antonio texas the smart water summit
is a quality hands-on experience where people interact with industry leaders
such as vendors analysts federal agencies and all sorts of the like
attendees stay current on all the latest advances in technology by participating
in this summit if this is something that is interesting to you by all means mark
that on your calendar and you can always go to our show notes page where we have
a link that takes you to right where you need to go so you don’t have to worry about taking notes during the show
another one you might be interested in is the water infrastructure conference that’s september 11th through 14th in
portland oregon here you can learn all about infrastructure issues and discuss
solutions to all the challenges around infrastructure issues this includes
cost-effective strategies protecting the crucial infrastructure itself and of
course budgeting and how do you find capital to maintain these items if this
sounds like something you are interested in also on our show notes page and finally
but definitely not least the stormcon 2022 expo is going to take place
september 26th through 28th in national harbor maryland stormcon brings together
stormwater and surface water quality professionals all over the world where
they can share information making sure that the entire industry is getting
better that also will be on our show notes page so if any of those make you
think i need to learn some more about anything in any of those particular
agencies by all means reach out go to the show notes page and figure out what
you need to do to take the next step there are so many different agencies out
there that can help us learn more a lot of us just simply try to find
information on our own it is so much better when you join something and you
meet new people that know about a particular topic because now it’s a lot more fun and life’s just more
fun when it’s more fun nation is it just me or is it hard to find people out there i don’t think the
problem is going away anytime soon in fact there are many people that say that
what we are experiencing in the workforce right now is the new normal so
the expression is i can’t wait until things go back to normal many think that that’s what we’re
experiencing right now in fact if you want to learn more about that topic you
can check out a youtube video that we’ve got on our show notes page called the demographic drought that’s done by
economist ron hetrick and it is one of the best explanations that i’ve ever
seen on why we’re experiencing what we are in the workforce right now so being
able to understand that i think you’re able to make better decisions and on that topic when we do find the right
people we need to make sure that our process is what we need it to be
so we can get the right people working with us in our companies and that’s
exactly what we are going to be talking about today we’re going to be talking
about hiring my lab partner today is chris belizzi of
eai water and fellow rising tide mastermind
member chris welcome to the scaling up h2o podcast pleasure to be here trace
chris i want to thank you because this is a topic that we’re going to discuss today with the scaling up nation that
we’ve been discussing at length in the rising tide and you approached me and said hey i would really like to
lend some help to all the people that are dealing with employment issues and
understanding all of this stuff so i want to thank you for all the knowledge that you are about to bring
to the scaling up nation well i appreciate that trace and uh you know it was at the mastermind meeting
where a few business owners made comments about really struggling with hiring and
i thought to myself well that’s one thing that we don’t struggle with and
actually have a really good formula for so i thought it would be great to be able to share some of the
successes we’ve had and the processes we use to you know attract and retain the best talent that fit our culture
i know what you just said perked up a lot of ears and they cannot wait to hear what you’re getting ready to say but
before we get into that do you mind letting the scaling up nation know a little bit about chris
you bet so grew up in the pacific northwest went to school at the university of washington
where i got a chemical engineering degree and about two months before graduating i was completely clueless as
to what i was going to do for a profession but i happened to go to a
career fair where nalco was presenting and i was sitting in the back wearing my
washington letter jacket and the uh nalco presenter came up to me after
the presentation and said i think you’d be a great fit for this industry
and i had no idea why he felt that way but i said if you’re talking about golfing with clients and testing some
water then i’m all in so i joined nalco right out of college in 1994
and took on a variety of assignments there for about 13 years i was able to be a district manager at a very young
age and so it really forced me into learning how to run teams and grapple with the
issue of hiring at a very early age and i was i was an open book on how to get better
and was presented with some awesome training material and so from that point on when i joined eai
water in 2009 you know i took a lot of the principles that i had learned during that period of time as a manager
and had the full autonomy to apply them and have just refined it with alongside
with some of our key management team that’s been with me for a long time and really kind of honed our craft on it
and now really excited to share it chris you mentioned your chem e and in
talking with other association of water technologies members the consensus seems
to be that if you want to be a water treat you can be a water treater it doesn’t mean what your degree in
determines how good of a water treater you are but it seems like some of the
best candidates i would say come from either chemical engineers or environmental
science engineers what would you say to that i would say that that
can be an accurate statement i think that provides you with a good technical base and and typically what
you’re looking for is someone that’s passionate about the water industry or mechanical and
chemical things and so those two degrees lend themselves to to showing a passion
at an early age for the water industry but i think that you can find great candidates outside of
those disciplines and also outside of the water treatment industry and that’s one of the things that i think
we’ve done that really has helped us is instead of only
searching through the traditional channels for people that have existing water treatment experience
we’ve said look at experience book of business
those things are less of a priority to us than finding the right fit for our culture and so we’ve opened our eyes to
looking outside of the industry and really looking for the values and and dna for the type of person that succeeds
in this industry without any previous experience chris you mind sharing with the scaled up nation what’s your day-to-day like
well the last two years my day-to-day has been a whirlwind about nine months ago we sold our
company eai water to the silmar group who i have to thank you for facilitating
that introduction because it was via scaling up podcast that i was introduced to michael wearity and i reached out to
him after listening to your podcast and nine months later we are working together at eai water
so i’m the general manager of of eai water and we also started a second company in 2016
called affinity and in the southwest united states where we are headquartered as you know there’s a lot of water
scarcity issues and there’s also a strong desire for green solutions
and so we wanted to bring to the industry some technology that was proven and
reliable but also innovative and affinity is is our tool kit for
reducing water consumption reducing chemical footprint and you know really kind of breaking through some of the
traditional barriers that have have been in the marketplace getting facilities where they want to go with respect to
those topics well chris let’s shift gears and let’s talk about what’s on everybody’s mind
everybody needs people and they’re really hard to find right now what’s going on
well i don’t know if i have the solution for that but i think that just lends itself to the topic uh even more so and
that is that i’m going to i’m going to start with the foundation of kind of my mentors and
who i’ve learned from but two prominent sports coaches that i’ve always
respected uh one is herb brooks the uh hockey coach for the 1980 miracle on ice
usa hockey team and then coach chris peterson who was at boise state university and the
university of washington as well as head football coach and both of those gentlemen um when
asked you know what do they look for when they’re selecting their recruits or
their their hockey players they both had a very similar answer and they said that they they look for values first
they look for the dna of the right person that fits what they’re trying to accomplish more
so than the athlete obviously they have to have basic athletic requirements but really they’re
talking about you know what what a person’s made up of and and what they value and so we i at an early age kind
of adopted that a similar approach and that i really identified
you know what are the core values that that clients really buy from over the
long term i mean you have to begin with the end in mind and that’s you know what is it that clients buy
and when we thought about answering that question
we always came up with well number one they buy trust and number two they buy results
and so we thought well what what makes up building trust and delivering results
the trusted advisor gives you a trust equation i’ve always used it’s a it’s a kind of a great way to illustrate how to
build trust and it’s credibility plus reliability plus intimacy
divided by self-focus so what that’s saying is is that the
client or anybody that you’re engaging with to build trust
wants high credibility high reliability high intimacy and low self focus
and so i’ve used that as the basis for you know what dna goes into
finding the right person for our industry the second piece to that is is delivering results
as you know in our industry our job is to deliver results but do it through other people because we are only at the
facility one to two maybe three four times a month at most and these water systems are extremely dynamic so really
it comes down to being able to get an end result through others and so there’s also some traits that are inherent to
delivering results through others and from really those two things building trust and delivering results through
others it created a list of 10 attributes that i look for in every candidate so when i’m
looking for candidates i don’t care about their work experience especially in the water treatment industry i don’t
necessarily even prioritize their skill sets at this point in their life i’m really looking for the dna of the right
person because i figure if we can get them into our team and they fit our culture then they are going to prosper
through our training and development program because we have a really good one well i’m dying to know what are the 10
traits that you’re looking for i thought you’d never ask [Laughter] all right so so the non-negotiables
which means uh when i’m interviewing them they have to score an 8 or higher out of a scale of one to ten uh number
one is is low ego i think you’ve mentioned that before low ego that’s low self focus right people that
are secure in giving other people the credit people that put team
and mission ahead of themselves to me that is the number one trait that
i look for i’ve been in organizations that have not emphasized low ego and
kind of looked for the most charismatic high-powered high accomplished person in the room
and that can lead to short-term success but over the long haul if there’s a high
self-focus it tends to to erode the culture that you’re trying to build chris you mentioned you you rank these
one through ten so what would be an example of how you would scale somebody a one on low
self-ego and a ten yeah so in the i’ve developed an interview process where i have a list of
questions and it’s it’s it’s very informal but i’ve still have a foundational uh list of questions that
help me get to the root of of people and not really just listen to everything they’re saying but
get them to have to back up what they’re saying with examples and one of the ways that you can figure out whether
someone’s you know low ego is have them talk about their accomplishments and you’ll get very quickly whether it’s all
about themselves and their sales numbers or what have you or if they credit the
mentoring or mission of the organization that they’ve been a part of
so the second quality that we look for is high integrity in our business it’s
all about do what you say and so in the interview process i’m creating several
opportunities that people have to make commitments and then keep them whether it’s a calling me at a certain time or
doing a small assignment whether it’s write me a paragraph on somebody that’s important to them and
why or whether it’s solving a a mass balance around a d a tank
whatever it is i’m really evaluating whether they are very astute at keeping their commitment
and the other thing that i don’t tolerate is is any kind of fabrication right i’ve had situations where people
may have fabricated their age or experience or what have you and those are definitely deal breakers
yeah i always look at it that if somebody’s going to do something unfavorable on the interview that’s where they’re supposed to be showing
their best self and if you’re seeing that on the interview my goodness what are you going to see when they get the job that’s absolutely right
the third thing that we look for is high emotional intelligence as you know getting back to that
delivering results through others we deal with a wide variety of personalities
and job descriptions from the you know vp of facilities down
to the operator responsible for the water treatment program and the ability to
understand yourself and how you see things and your social style
and then also identify what the people you’re engaging with what their social style perspectives are and adjust
accordingly is paramount in our industry you know as you know there’s no one solution in
water treatment there’s a variety of ways to get from point a to point z and
the person that can read the room and empathetically listen and understand what’s being asked
for and then make the proper presentation of what you know options would be
really are very successful in this industry so that’s something that we look for in both sales and service personnel
chris i’m reminded a lot about a book i’ve read by pat lincione called the
ideal team player have you read that one i’ve only read parts of it so uh he talks about hungry humble and
smart and i think the three you just mentioned really that’s what that’s saying hey do we have people that are hungry to learn hungry to be part of the
team do we have people that are humble where it’s more about the team and less about them
and are they smart can they actually get around people can they talk to people can they make people feel good and
actually miss with them when they’re not there i think i i think that’s those are great things
to look for you know i am curious though i know we’re going to talk about the other ones do you have any insight on where the
best place is to find people that are good candidates for the industrial water
treatment industry that’s a great question so our priority is to build through the draft if you will we
prioritize going to colleges trade schools as well as referrals and our client base
in order to to really get our candidates we use recruiters
very little maybe once in a while when you need a key free agent acquisition you use a recruiter but that
is not the predominant mechanism that we go looking for candidates i was breaking down the team that we have right now
and about 40 percent of them came through referrals and what i mean by that is people on our
team because because we have embraced this okg as we call it philosophy and
okg stands for our kind of guy or our kind of gal everybody on the team knows exactly what their identity is and i’ll
get into that a little bit later as to how we reinforce that but because we’re all conscious competent of
knowing that we’re looking for okg’s a lot of times and it’s very rewarding to me
a teammate will come to me and said you know what i have a client that’s an okg you’ve got to interview this guy and i’ll go interview him and you know about
about 20 of our roster is made up of clients about 40 of our roster is made up of you
know friends of friends and that’s the other thing is okg’s have a tendency to have you know contacts with other people
that are that have these qualities you know and only only about 20 of our roster comes from i would say a
recruiting source the remaining 20 comes from colleges and trade schools where we
go similar to how i got into the industry we will go introduce ourselves talk about the water space and our
company and look around the room for candidates a lot of times we’ll start them out as
interns so you get extremely economical help and eager help
and you get them at a young age appreciating the work opportunity
but it’s also a super extended interview process for us so we we hope we’re getting the right
intern but even if we don’t we have about a year to evaluate them and decide did we make the
right call here or not something you said that i i want to unpack a little bit is you said you look
around the room and i have heard so many times people will buy a spot
at a college job fair and they will set up a table maybe even
put some brochures on there put a chair behind the table and they spend almost the entire time looking on
their phone or not really being intent they said that was a waste of money it doesn’t sound like that’s how you
approach this it’s not you know it’s no different than when you go to an awt conference and
you’re walking through the hotel and you’re like oh that person’s in the water space that person’s in the water space you know everybody has a look male
or female it’s it’s it’s interesting that maybe it’s just me i i have a radar that that picks up on on that but uh
yeah absolutely you have to be active and and if you know what you’re looking for then when you see it in the room you
go get it you don’t wait for them to come to your table absolutely all right so we started out with a couple let’s
continue on with the 10. some additional ones that uh well the last non-negotiable
is an acronym we use called rfc and it’s
got an expletive in it so i’ll just say it stands for really effing cares there we go you’ve got a similar acronym
when i was talking to you about this about a month ago you said you have an acronym uh i think it’s gas right gas
gas which is give us stuff yes give us stuff exactly so you know what does that
mean go ahead you tell me in from your perspective because i think it means really the same thing well i will tell
you that uh so we have we have five core values gas is one of them and i’m going to be totally upfront i went to
aquafenix scientific and gas was one of their core values and when we were rewriting our core values as a
leadership team i mentioned that and my team just fell in love with it and we tried to wordsmith that and we just
couldn’t find anything that had the same meaning so we were like you know what we’re going to honor aquafenix
scientific and we’re going to go with it and we went with it and then we started defining all of our core values and as
we defined gas it took away from it so it’s our only core value that is not
defined you either have it or you don’t you either get it or you don’t and i will tell you when we have our
leadership meetings it is a requirement that we identify how our core values are
being followed by our team of the previous week and are our customers commenting on our
core values they have no idea what they are but they might say hey so and so did this
and that’s a direct tie back to our core value nine times out of ten
customers are always saying something about the gas core value and my favorite
one that happened uh not too terribly long ago was there was one of our one of our team
members he had dropped a pillow packet behind all of the the drums and everything and
okay well i don’t want to leave that trash there so he moved everything out and it was just a mess just things that
had fallen back there other things that other people had left
so he cleaned all that out and then he had a three by three clean spot in this huge mechanical room so it stuck out
like a sore thumb so he decided to sweep up the entire room and luckily for us
right at that moment the guy that was in charge of giving us that account walked through the door and he about fell on
the floor because he had never seen a contractor pick up a broom so uh and he called me immediately and he said okay
if you guys are taking care of my floor this good i just can’t imagine what you’re doing with the water treatment
and that was him recognizing gas so so yes we have a similar one
sorry i went off on a tangent there that’s such a great example and you hit it right on the head i mean what i look
for is people’s pride and craftsmanship right whether it’s the work that they do
how clean their vehicle is or presentable things are it’s it’s really how how much they care about developing
themselves and and the image and brand that they bring to the
organization chris let me ask when somebody drives up for an interview do you try to make an
opportunity to walk them back to their car so you can see what it looks like or is that just me
no i do i mean i’ve done it uh and and i give people grace because i know there’s been times where
my car’s been a pit and uh it’s not a good reflection but um yeah i
mean they’re all data points right you’re always looking for various data points to validate
whether somebody really takes pride of ownership well tell us about your fourth core
value there the last non-negotiable is a passion for mechanical and chemical things
that could range anywhere from people that are passionate about fixing
their motorcycles or their vehicles you know to hot water heaters now we have a joke if you can fix a hot
water heater and you want to have a beer with them then that’s a good sign that you want to continue to talk to that person as far as being a candidate but
they have to have a passion for technical things
and the reason that that’s important to me as opposed to maybe having the the
experience and skills is that if you’re passionate about something you are going to invest yourself into getting better
you always want employees that partner with you and developing themselves yes you want to have a great training
curriculum and process to mature people’s careers but at the end of the day the people
that really flourish are those that that take ownership of their development and
that means reading their textbooks at night that means on the weekends you know maybe they’re honing their craft
somehow so if people have a passion they’re going to get better over time and that’s really what we look for not
so much what they currently possess in their skill set that reminds me of some comments that
another mastermind member russell baskin has made to me several times and he says the commonality with the people that
really work well at his company are people that like to work on their cars and he looks for that
as do we again it shows that uh we we have some guys that
are fantastic mechanics and uh sometimes it’s it’s like the
water treatment gig is a side job but uh it’s definitely a good indicator that
they’re engaged with mechanical and chemical things so those are the four non-negotiables
let me ask what is the bar for that so you say you rank them one to ten is
there a certain number that you’re not going to go any lower than that and move on with those ones
i need to see a eight or higher then i have a second set of four
that i look for at least a five and higher can you tell us about those you bet work
ethic right you got to put in the work we have a job that is got
the utmost in freedom which is awesome so you can structure your work life
around your personal life but at the end of the day when the rubber meets the road for the client
you want people that are willing to put in the work so work ethic is one that i’d like to
see a five or higher chris let me ask how would you ascertain a five or higher
what’s an example of how and during the interview process you’re going to determine if this person
has the work ethic that you’re looking for yeah so again i always
structure things to where i need to see demonstrated examples because in an
interview process people have mastered the art of telling you exactly what you want to hear that’s called line by the
way right so you know examples would be
i really get them to describe to me what their current job is and sometimes i’ll even ask them what’s your typical work
week and and how many hours are you working but there’s just a variety of ways to to uncover
what their perception of of a solid work week is and
you know it’s got to fit with what we typically ask for from our employees
a couple of the other ones that i’d like to see a five or higher on are one that we call got your six which
means got your back and that is someone that is highly affiliated right
that really identifies with being with a team that will put teammates in front of
themselves if someone calls them and says hey i really need your expertise on this
topic or could you come you know see this client with me we do a lot of that we do a lot of team
uh approach to whether it’s sales or service and so people that uh again it
goes back to a little bit about not caring about who gets the credit being more about team than self
got your six is just something that solidifies that this is a person you want a foxhole with you
the other one that i found to be important in our industry and maybe more so on the on the sales side than the
service side is so what i call social leadership in our industry people that are
successful are those that are very comfortable initiating the relationship it doesn’t mean you have to be chatty
kathy but it means that you’re very comfortable walking up to somebody
and asking them about their day breaking through that initial task tension that exists with a stranger and
and um you know pursuing the relationship again because we’re dealing with such a wide variety of people and
we’re trying to drive results through others you want people that are comfortable initiating relationships and therefore
you know fostering the trust over the long haul chris let me tell you something about your team and that value i got to meet
was it eight members you sent out to seattle at the awt training a couple of months ago that sounds about right
what you just described i witnessed they they all came up introduced themselves to me uh they
invited me out with them uh unfortunately i’ve got a pretty pretty busy schedule during that time so i had
to decline but i but they were just they were just so open and they wanted to invite me in to their group i was
witness to that it was fantastic you got a great team that’s awesome to hear and
some of that’s due to your rockstar status on the west coast i i’ll let you know that we we use scaling up as a
training mechanism many times we once a week we we have a topic that we whether
it’s a technical topic or a sales topic or a leadership topic and scaling up has just been a major
blessing to us in terms of growing our team and really getting them excited about the industry in fact quick
story justin reyes who’s been with me for 20 some years about five years ago
he said you know i’m really kind of burning out in the industry i might start to look elsewhere and he started
to listen to scaling up and after about a year of it he was like you know what i’m reinvigorated
this is great i feel like i’m in a great industry i feel like a professional and
that was a big component to it so thank you for that that’s awesome thank you for sharing
that with me that’s amazing i felt that way that’s why i talk about that i have felt that hey wash rinse
repeat that’s my job and i realized okay i’m not taking advantage of everything this job has to offer
you know if you’re if you feel that you are getting burned out you’re doing the job wrong because there is never a
boring day in this job unless you allow it to be boring
another trait that we look for is competitive drive in our industry as you know it’s competitive
people are if you don’t do a great job for the client they’re going to look elsewhere or have somebody else that’s pursuing
them that that is trying to open the door right so you want people that are
competitive you want people to think of their clients as you know as their children you want them to care about
winning and losing and so competitive drive obviously uh is a is
an indicator that uh that they’re gonna care and that they view life as a scorecard to some degree
and you know are going to be engaged with producing more wins than losses
and then the last one is is aptitude for mechanical and chemical things we talked about the passion component but you do
have to have an aptitude so there’s a variety of things i mean i’ve interviewed some great people that the only piece that they didn’t have was the
aptitude for you know mechanical and chemical things and again it doesn’t have to be specific
to the water industry if they’ve got hobbies that they do outside of the
water industry then that’s a great sign that they have some aptitude right but you’ve also got to uncover
whether they can do basic math and count the drops of m indicator and then multiply by 40 and
things of that nature right so you know there’s some little little assignments that i give people just to make sure
that they can you know handle the the mathematical piece the chemical piece the mechanical piece
so if people are trying to take notes on those i want to make sure i have that on my show notes page
and i’m sure everybody’s thinking oh the things you just described that is the model employee i wish that that is what
everybody had so i know you sold everybody and i’m also sure the scaling
up nation’s thinking okay well how does this fit into a process you know if we actually get somebody in this market to
find us or we find them how does it all lay out so we actually
at the very end know we have the right person for the job so there’s a couple of pieces to that
there’s the interview process itself which i’ll break down for you
and then there’s the once they’re on the team how do we create an environment where
okg is our identity and we reinforce that identity
to the interview process we do an extensive interview process so if someone’s in a hurry it’s probably
not going to be a good fit for us i typically talk on the phone with people two to three times
again i start out typically very informal and just get people talking about
themselves and their background and going through you know chronologically their their life
and i look for certain things obviously that we’ve been talking about once we’re done with the phone
interviewing stage they do a field ride with one of our team members that i think is the appropriate fit for them
and i’ll get the team members feedback on that ride that also gives the candidate a great insight into what the
day-to-day activities are of of our team and sometimes we’ll do two field rides
if we have the luxury of time the more you expose the candidate to multiple team members and get multiple
feedback on how it’s gone number one the candidate just continues to learn about what we do
and we’ll identify whether it’s the right fit but then you you’re really honing in on that emotional intelligence
piece which is can the person that’s the candidate you know process who they’re who they’re meeting with their social style did they
fit well did they build commonality etc so after the field ride component
then we usually have a final interview where i involve other leadership team members
for their final vote on the person and at that time really the last step
is we typically have the the candidate and their spouse or partner to dinner to
make sure that you know the other half meshes well with our other halves and
it’s going to be a smooth fit so it can be a one to three month process
it all depends on their timing and our timing and obviously each situation is different there’s times we move faster than others
but at the end of the day my job is not to compromise on the process just because i’ve got a job opening or
you know the the the candidates saying that they’re pursuing three other opportunities and that’s where our
salesmanship has to come in to sink the hooks in and get them really excited about what we can offer them so
that they stay engaged and they don’t commit somewhere else but at the end of the day i’m trying to
extend the interview process as long as i can because the more you touch somebody
the more you get to know them and how they respond to certain situations and
it’s just like i said about that internship i mean at the end of a one year long internship
you’re going to know exactly what that person is about and whether they’d be a great fit for your team so the longer the interview process
the better the art is in managing your expectations and their expectations
and not losing people along the way chris there’s an old adage out there higher slowly fire quickly is is that
basically what you’re saying here well i believe in the higher slowly uh the fire quickly we could debate for another
podcast fair enough but uh i get the premise of the saying absolutely higher
slowly is definitely a key ingredient so in hiring slowly let’s unpack some of
those items so the phone calls should they all be phone calls should they be video calls what are some of the
i know you you told us the core value so you’re crafting questions around that how important are facial expressions
when you’re asking these questions absolutely i try to create as many different
scenarios and environments as possible to understand the person that i’m
interviewing and so yes zoom sessions versus phone calls you know informal
talks versus formal talks small assignments again i can’t tell you how many
i try to throw in three to six small assignments throughout the phone call over or face face-to-face interview
process all right tell me tell me about that i’m dying to hear about that what are some of these assignments that you would give them you know i always want
to check their writing skills as well so i’ll have them write a paragraph about
somebody that’s meant a lot to them and i want to see obviously if they can construct a paragraph
how they’re spelling you know the other thing i look for is spelling again you you mentioned this earlier it’s an interview process if you’re not
putting out your best behavior and your best self during the interview process then what are you going to get down the
road right so if you can’t use spell check to check for grammatical errors
i mean that drives me that drives me nuts when i get a spelling error it makes me think that they don’t care
that is this is this really an rfc again i i give grace but if you see it more
than once then clearly they were either not focused or they don’t
care and because i know i would review everything that i am putting in front of
uh you know a job opportunity i would review everything four times before i submitted it yeah i always love it when
i see a resume with typos in it come on guys it’s your resume by the way you’re
not getting a call back from me if you got misspellings on your resume exactly what are some of the other assignments
you might have them do well one that i’ve always done and i learned from my first boss in the industry was having them do a mass
balance around a da tank so we have a water stream coming in with a certain conductivity a water uh from the soft
water and the condensate return and then the then the outlet so you want to see if you know
they can do a basic in in equals out mass balance and figure out what the
conductivity of the outlet water is for example and that tells me that they’ve got some
technical aptitude i also even if they get the problem wrong i want to see how they talk through it do they
get frustrated by it do they make fun of the assignment did they belittle it or do they ask questions if they’re great
questions then they don’t have to get the assignment right i’m just looking for how they responded to the situation
and do they have some basic aptitude do you give them any reading material and they’ve got to come back with
questions absolutely that’s another one i’ll have them read a whether it’s a technical article
or maybe it’s an article or something that was written from someone that you know that we view
as an okg and i i just want to see how well they affiliate with what they’ve read
does it resonate with them how do they see it because again if they resonate with it then that tells
me a lot about whether they’re going to embrace our culture or not
i think this is great and i could just hear people speaking into their car
speakers saying well if i this house sounds great but if i wait this long to hire
the employee they’re going to lose interest or there’s other people that are competing with them and i’m not
going to be able to keep the proverbial fish on the hook you said you have to set expectations
up front during the whole process how should we be doing that what should we be saying
well here’s a fundamental mindset shift that i believe in i am always
looking to interview people i never stop if i’m the person that’s responsible for the culture of this team
then my number one priority is who comes on the bus and so i don’t wait to start
interviewing candidates when i have a job opening i am interviewing candidates every week
every month all year long because it’s my number one function and so you become proactive at that
point because it’s a priority and you what you do is you develop a bench
of people that you have in the process it’s no different than probably how you you know would coach a salesperson on a
sales pipeline or sales pyramid right you’ve got people in various levels of the sales process whether you’re in the
relating phase or the the discovery phase and i just work that all year long and
you know i’m up front with people there’s a lot of times where i’ll say look right now we don’t have an opening
but i i flat out tell them look i am always looking for what we call an okg and so
i’d like to have a conversation with you and follow up with that and just keep keep the fire stoked if you find it that
what i’m saying to you is is in line with your values and and what you want to accomplish in your career
and i feel the same way about you then let’s just stay in touch and you never know when the right opportunity is going
to occur the other thing that that does for you as a hiring manager or business
owner is that it puts you on offense if you have a bench of of potential okg’s
that you feel really strong about when you have a culture problem on the team whether it’s a poor performer or a
poor attitude you’re much more likely to to confront the situation
and deal with it and not worry so much that if you’re going to lose that employee because you
know you’ve got two to three excellent candidates on the bench waiting to become part of the team
and it really helped me become a more effective leader of the organization
because nobody likes to to really confront those poor attitudes or poor performers it’s a it’s a difficult task
right but when you know you’ve got the ability to
s replace that person with someone that obviously is likely a better candidate
you have a a different mindset as the person responsible for that decision yeah that’s fantastic advice you know
you mentioned the ride-alongs i love that because you’re interviewing somebody that has no idea what you’re telling them they have no context
so you’re taking people out they’re doing the ride along what are some of the things you want to make sure that
they see during that ride-along yeah so the person that they’re riding with i usually have a discussion with
the day before and the goal is to get them to two to three locations during the day obviously we
want them to see the down and dirty of what we do so i usually have them go to a place that maybe doesn’t take very
good ownership of their program and we’ve got to be very hands-on and it’s dirty and ugly because we want to see
how that person reacts in that environment and then we’ll also ideally take them to a very well-run client
so they see the more consultative side of what we do and how rewarding it is to to lead a water
management team through whether it’s you know the the return on investment projects they’re
working on or what have you we want them to be exposed to
every level in the organization that we deal with from the operator to the you know director of engineering
and so again that’s kind of what we’re shooting for in the ride-along but i’m also telling
the folks on our team and they’re used to it now because we’ve done it enough you know evaluate do they show up on
time you know how are they dressed in terms of you know did they did they look like they you know came ready to to work
did they show propriety or did they ask great questions all day long did they engage with the client themselves did
they step into a task and help you out all those things again give me data
points on the nine to ten things that we’re trying to evaluate them on and then you meet with your team members
you said you had maybe a couple people that are riding along with them what are some of the things that you’re
asking your current team about maybe hiring this new team member
so that kind of gets into the second piece that i was going to talk about is how how do you perpetuate the okg
mentality in your organization because to me okg isn’t just a a mantra for
the type of person we hire really it really defines our identity and and
so everybody on the team is very conscious competent about what an okg is and what we’re looking
for so we’re speaking the same language kind of like the the same reason you would take wilson learning and and do
counselor salesperson right it’s fundamental information and skills
but it’s really all about a common language and making people conscious competent on how to reproduce a sales
process and so i’ve taken the same approach with okg it doesn’t just stop at the hiring
piece we we use okg in our annual performance reviews we actually have the list of
nine qualities and we have the employee rank themselves in those categories and then we have the
management team rank the employee in those categories and then we have a discussion about it and we talk about examples why did you rank yourself this
way and here’s how we see you and here’s the opportunities you have to to become
more low ego or to become to improve your emotional intelligence because quite frankly
people could sit here and say yeah you’ve just rattled off a unicorn that person doesn’t exist right you know so
you’re going to be looking forever for the person that fits these nine qualities or so and that that’s not necessarily true but
it all comes back to the the nature virtuous nurture right if the person
maybe they scored a five you know just above a five in some of these categories it’s very hard to have someone really
possess all nine of these qualities at a high high level so the next thing you can do is make them aware of how
important it is to the organization and then they can start to get better at
it if they’re aware that’s step one right then if you’re coaching them on well here’s here’s how we
see you improving in in this area you know take this course take this personality quiz and understand yourself
better that way they can grow so so we use okg in annual performance reviews to
reinforce the message that this is our identity and then we also use okg
in our annual awards ceremony we don’t just focus on you know who sold the most or who retain the the highest customer
satisfaction we have okg awards where we pick specific examples that occurred
during the year that demonstrate they had somebody’s back or that demonstrate that they re rfc
or that they demonstrate that they had high emotional intelligence or social leadership and we’ll give them an award
for that so at the end of the day the team has become very aware of okg and what we’re
looking for and they become your eyes and ears they are as engaged in this as you are and the cool thing about it is
is that they know what to look for at a certain point right and so when they’re doing these ride alongs they’re talking
to me just like you and i are talking about hey did you see this quality or what’s the red flag why wouldn’t you
hire this person and let them talk about that so when they’re doing ride-alongs it’s
very valuable to to get other team members exposed and you know they’ll set
the bar for you chris i have heard that people have had great success
with the last part of your process that you mentioned which was inviting the significant other and and meeting them
and and getting to know more about them so people are listening to that they
might think that sounds brilliant they might be wondering how you do that are there legal ramifications around that so
share with us what you do and then what you hope to gain by doing that
so i think that the mindset is is that we’re trying to un understand how well the entire
package the partner the spouse fits in with with the team’s mentality as well right
you’re trying to understand the dynamic of both of their careers and which which one fits
with the other and which one may take priority over the other you’re trying to understand
the level of drama that either that person might be dealing with or the level of drama that that
spouse slash partner might bring to the team with your spouse or partner so
what we do is we get them out to a nice dinner it’s also a great excuse to expense a nice
meal with some some beverages perhaps and and really allow people to let their guard down and
see how naturally it fits and if there’s some tensions that’s created by the other half then that’s just a good
indicator that again everyone’s on their best behavior during an interview process so if there’s some tension that’s created
during that type of you know interview or environment then you can expect that there’ll be even more of that drama down
the road so those are the things that we look for and um you know it’s proven to be a very valuable final step in the
evaluation process because we’ve i’ve met some great people that just unfortunately
they had a tough situation and you know it really distracted them from having a
solid uh career i think it’s a great step i think it’s a missing step and if you truly have the
culture that you’re describing you know the the significant other has to buy into that as well so i think it’s
i think it’s brilliant i think more people should be doing it i know i’ve invited people and i can
think of only a handful that said yes they thought it was weird and i think it’s weird that they think it’s weird
you’re getting ready to join our team we’re going to be part of this person’s you know life don’t
wouldn’t you want to know as much as you possibly could so i’ve never been able to understand that but i think it’s great that it’s one of the things that
you do all the time chris i’m curious i mean you’ve got this down you’ve got a
great team you’ve proved that by sending them to class in my class and i met them i can
see that this works but i’m sure you can do everything that you’re supposed to do and sometimes it
just doesn’t work so i’m curious do you have any funny stories where this just didn’t work
i don’t necessarily have a funny story but i can say that we all make mistakes and
you know you that’s where as a hiring manager you have to have a peer group
you have to involve other people in the process and and bounce perspectives and ideas off of each other
because we all have blind spots and we all have a tendency to hire in our own image and that’s not always a recipe for
success i’ve made some mistakes with maybe hiring people that uh had
on paper all the qualities i was looking for uh but that you know they they just ended up not really identifying with the
day-to-day environments that we work in maybe they thought of themselves a little more of
like a professional engineer or consultant and weren’t willing to get down in the trenches and
do some of the things that we’re all asked to do and so that’s sometimes hard to pick up in the interview process and therefore
it has led to some mistakes but in general this really should minimize
the amount of mistakes that you make which is all we’re trying to do right we’re we’re always trying to refine a
process and optimize it and have more successes than failures
chris if you just get one point across to the scaling up nation today what do you want that one point to be
prioritize hiring the right values and behaviors
over experience and book of business put yourself in a position as the hiring
manager where you’re you’re in a position of offense where you’ve got a bunch of people you
know fit your culture and it’ll allow you to be the leader and manager without fear that
you want to be great advice and i i love how you said always be hiring
you’re always looking you’re always making sure that you’ve got the next player or players available such good
great advice today i still have some questions for you these are a lightning round questions so
let’s go ahead into that so my first question for you if you could go back to your very first
day as an industrial water treater what advice would you give yourself
always assess whether your client’s in lockstep with you my challenge has always been to pour
more of myself into situations than perhaps the person i’m dealing with
and as you know as a water treater you could
drive 10 projects at one time you could write a three-page report that’s got every
technical reference in the book and if your client isn’t valuing it
then you really have an opportunity to spend your efforts elsewhere rather than
viewing every client like you have to provide eight or nine value-added projects at a
time and write two-page reports there are clients that respect that and are in lockstep with that and and truly value
that and you’ll know who they are the ones that aren’t i would just say evaluate whether that’s
where your time should be spent rather than you know creating an 80 hour work week for yourself
what are the last few books that you’ve read not a big book reader trace i’ll be honest uh the daryl amy book i thought
was incredible we did that for the mastermind team you’re referring to revenue growth
engine and that was a phenomenal book i’m curious how have you used that book you know
the biggest takeaway for me was focus on the outcomes for the client and not
yourself he told that story about if you were on a date and the person just talked about themselves all night long would you want to go on a second date
with them rather than the person that was more engaged with you know what’s going
on in your life and how how they possibly could be of value to that
it really hit home for me as a great example because nobody would want to go on a date that the person talked about
themselves so the takeaway for me was you know i i went and reviewed all of
our sales presentations and lo and behold a lot of them focused on hey here’s what we here’s our you
know three uniques here’s our this here’s our that and it didn’t focus on the clients
outcomes until maybe way down in the presentation uh so i kind of went back and revamped and started the
presentations out with those outcomes and then finished with them as well so you’re kind of doing an outcome sandwich
to reinforce the message that uh you can deliver the outcomes for the client so i thought that was very valuable and you
know i’m much more of a podcast guy than a than a book guy just because of my short attention span
we’ll pretend i just asked the question what are some of your favorite podcasts you know besides scaling up of course i
got a good answer that’s a great answer i really enjoy entre leadership i think
dave ramsey started that and has just fostered a culture of other interviewers that do
a fantastic job they have great guests and i’m always learning something about how to run my business
uh from that or just you know identifying with the the stories that i hear and then another one that i i
listen to regularly is called every man’s ministries and that’s by pastor kenny luck and he’s he’s our men’s
pastor and he focuses on the challenges that men face in today’s world and it’s just a
great uh it’s kind of similar to the mastermind group in that you know you’ve got a
weekly podcast you’ve got a group of people that you’re accountable to that you can identify with that are in a
certain you know have certain commonalities as you and really you can vent to them get their perspectives get
their accountability and just make yourself a better person chris you brought up the mastermind i
want to ask because a lot of people have this question you’re a busy guy you do not have time to spend an hour a week in
the mastermind but yet you do why do you do it and what does it allow
you to do i think in any job there’s times where you feel like you’re on an island like
you’re the only one dealing with the problems that you’re facing and the reality is is that’s not true at all
that’s a that’s a myth and when you get into a group like mastermind you
quickly learn that other people have faced the same challenges you have and they’ve also learned lessons right
and so what better way to maybe shortcut your own hardships by learning from others
that have had similar challenges have already gotten great advice have already tackled the situation successfully and
improved their life and adopt those ideas from them and really you know just just
continuously improve to me it’s extremely valuable time spent and i
wouldn’t trade it so you didn’t have the hour to spend in the beginning but now because every week
you spend the hour you’re now saving hours because you’re starting on step six instead of step one is that what
you’re saying yeah that’s right and and you know before mastermind
obviously i would always meet with our leadership team on a regular regular basis but you know the
you’re only getting again every organization has blind spots and you get comfortable with
how the dynamics between you and the people close to you and when you’re in the mastermind you’ve got people you’ve
never met before different parts of the country different roles and responsibilities
and you’re able to learn from their perspectives and their experiences it just broadens
the the voices that you’re hearing and the perspectives you’re getting which makes you better
when hollywood writes a script about your life who do you want to play chris
sly stallone there you go not not because we share the same physique but because the rocky
mentality of the italian underdog with the passion to compete at the highest level that
resonates with me always has my final question if you had the ability to talk to anybody throughout history
who to be with and why i would like to talk to our founding fathers i am not into politics but i would
really like to understand like maybe be in a saloon with those folks right
and and just the casual conversation that went into the you know why did we leave england what are we
trying to create here what are we going to put together to prevent where we were at before i would just
like to learn that from them in their time and their perspective
so i can appreciate it number one and number two so i can represent it today better than i do i i
don’t know everything that went into the constitution
and there’s a lot of times where you’re in a social situation and you’d like to you’d like to speak to the
really what was the intent and so that’s who i’d like to meet with well and chris thanks for coming on the
show this is topic that i really think you uncovered well and again people are
thinking okay well i don’t need to hire now so i’m not worrying about it okay it’s been two years since i hired the
last person let me dust off everything and see if i can remember what went right and what
went wrong and you’ve just shared so much with the how the organization has to think when
you actually go through the process what that process has to be and then above all else you never stop
doing it it’s always your job thank you so much for sharing that on the scaling up h2o podcast
well you’re welcome trace and i appreciate the opportunity to share it
chris that was fantastic thank you so much for sharing that with the scaling
up nation you know in addition to chris being a great hiring manager a great
water treater chris is married and he has four daughters now here’s the cool
thing two of his daughters are actually in the water treatment industry and i
think that’s the dream you know all of us go home and we tell our family about our day but just imagine his family
actually understands what he’s telling them so that is just fantastic chris i
know that had to make you proud when two of your daughters decided to go
in the industry and if you’re wondering they actually don’t work with his company they’re in other companies so
how cool is that i bet thanksgiving dinner just has a whole new level when you add water
treatment to the mix well as you heard chris mention he is a member of the rising tide
mastermind and you might be wondering why would somebody come on the podcast and share with all of the scaling up
nation some techniques some processes some procedures that they are doing very well that quite
frankly gives them a competitive advantage over other people other people that they
compete with well it’s because of the mindset and the mindset is a rising tide
raises all ships and just imagine if the entire water treatment industry was
better because we were sharing knowledge with each other we all know that there’s no
secret sauce out there and if we think we have a secret sauce you’re soon going to discover all it is is thousand island
dressing with that mind life is easier when we do it with other people and i am
sure as you heard chris talk about his experiences and share all of the great things that he shared with us during
this podcast your opinion of chris has gone up tremendously
because people like to help people that help people so is that you is that
something that you’re doing on a regular basis are you out there giving as much as you are trying to take
now there are different ways that you can do that uh the group that i’ve been a member of for years is the association
of water technologies and i’ve tried to give to that organization and i will be very honest with you i have received way
more than i have ever given to that organization but i’ve never had
that mindset i’ve never gone in there thinking that i was going to take
more than i was giving in fact i never even worried about taking i always worried about what i could give
and other people saw me give and they wanted to reach out and help me
now i’ve been a member of a mastermind myself for at least 10 years and i’ve
always put myself in groups like that so i can learn what i didn’t know i didn’t
know it’s my hope that you are volunteering somewhere you are trying to give back to
this great industry that we are in but it’s also my hope that you are not doing life alone and you have a group of
advisors that you can help solve issues with
if you are trying to do that alone you might be successful but it’s not
going to be as fun and it’s definitely going to take longer now obviously i’m going to tell you to go to scaling up forward slash mastermind to see if the rising tide mastermind is the
right group for you but above all else i want you to find a
group i want you to find a person i want you to make sure that you can talk about
issues and process them outside of your company so you can get a different
perspective and the cool thing is is you might find somebody that’s already gone
through the issue that you’re experiencing and they can give you the exact salt they can tell you all the
things not to do that they messed up on so you don’t have to spin your wheels
you could get out of the gate with immediate traction and maybe even all the steps of what you have to do
now why would somebody give you something like that because when you join a group like that we are all trying
to improve each other if we improve each other by default that helps us improve
and you saw that today with chris coming on the scaling up h2o podcast and telling everybody about his procedures
that he has done very well and he does a lot better than most of us and now
you’re going to be able to take that and use that to your advantage so nation
underscore bottom line life’s too short to do it alone life is too short to try
to do things when other people can help you do them and get there faster and
further than you ever could on your own so why not start talking to each other
and why not check out the rising tide mastermind again by going to scaling up forward slash mastermind
nation people are always asking me how they can help me with this podcast and the answer is always one continue
listening if we don’t have listeners we do not have a podcast
if we do not have show ideas well we also don’t have a podcast so if you have
an idea for a show if you have a guest that you want me to reach out and interview
please let us know about that go to scaling up navigate over to our show ideas page and tell us all about it
of course if you also don’t mind something that helps us tremendously and
i’m not sure if you all in the scaling up nation know how much this really helps our
ratings but when you go and write a review about this podcast it changes
everything in our podcast world it allows our podcast engines that we use
all the hosting sites to actually bump us up so people can find us a lot easier
so if you don’t mind taking 10 seconds on whatever podcast player you choose to
use and write a quick review it will help us tremendously which means we’re
going to find more people which means we’re going to add to the scaling up nation which means we’re going to get
more ideas for this podcast and it means that we are making the water treatment
industry just a little bit better because we are all learning together speaking of
learning together i’m going to bring a brand new episode to you next friday to do that very thing in the meantime i
hope you have a great week folks [Music]
so many people ask me what a mastermind is does that mean in six weeks i am
going to be the best water treater that i can be through a training class folks
that’s not a mastermind that is a master class what a mastermind is is when
like-minded people get together we process issues we form common bonds of
friendship around each other and we celebrate and push each other towards
success it is the key to so many people unlocking their potential to find out
more go to scaling up forward slash mastermind