Ron Kitchens grew up so poor that his childhood memories include moving every time his mom couldn’t pay the rent and rummaging through Goodwill bins to find clothes to wear to school. Today he is CEO of a firm that’s created tens of thousands of jobs in Michigan and beyond and has been voted one of the best workplaces in America by the Wall Street Journal.
Ron talks about how to create and sustain double-digit growth year after year, how to find and hire the right people and much more.
Welcome to Episode 273 of the podcast. Listen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.
3 Insights from Ron
1. You will lead at your best when you lead like you
When building your organization, it’s tempting to copy other successful leaders or organizations. That can bring some limited success, but no one will pay full price for a copy. The only version of you people will pay full price for is the authentic, real you. The authentic and real you is what you have to build your business on. If you want to have impact and influence, just be you.
How do you do this? Ask yourself questions like “What does success look like for me?” or “What are those things that are important that I want out of my life?” If you don’t know the answers to these questions, then every day feels inadequate. If you know what you want and are working towards those goals, every day feels like an acceleration towards your best life.
2. High standards during the hiring and training process will lead to high results down the road
Ron’s company is very particular in its hiring process. They look beyond a regular resume and background check. Every person applying will be observed for how they behave in abnormal social situations like having a meal mixed up at a restaurant or being interviewed by surprisingly young female employees of the company. Ron’s team will observe how the new hire reacts to these situations. If the potential hire responds poorly, they will not get hired.
Another major part of their hiring process is that you will meet with every staff member of the company before you get hired. And before someone gets hired, Ron wants every current staff member to be willing to sign off and take responsibility for the success of that new hire. When they do this, the rest of the team becomes invested in the success of their new teammate. This strategy makes for great company culture.
3. To lead a thriving organization, communication is key
Communication is like a big plastic bucket that is always leaking. You have to be constantly working to pour into your team’s communication. Otherwise, the bucket runs out, your communication lines go quiet, and your organization suffers. To overcome this, Ron’s team meets together in the office every morning at 8:05. Ron follows different strategies for this meeting depending on the day.
On Monday, everyone on the team shares their calendar for the week. They share any major meetings they have, important family events, or any other key events happening that week. When they do this, it gives the rest of the team an idea of what that employee is doing and where they will be going.
On Tuesday, they have a quick vision casting meeting where they talk about what is going on with the company and how they are accomplishing their goals.
The rest of the week is designated for random, fun conversations that provide an opportunity for teammates to get to know each other on a deeper, more personal level. This helps build a culture where workers are more willing to work together through hard or difficult seasons.
These meetings have become key to building the company culture that sets Ron’s organization apart from the rest of the business world.
Quotes from Episode 273
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Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.
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Next Episode: Charles Lee
So many leaders have great ideas…that go absolutely nowhere. Charles Lee wants to change that. He helps companies and leaders turn ideas into reality. Charles shares a proven path from idea to execution, and shares some of his early life watching his immigrant parents grow and scale businesses. His family helped bring Korean BBQ to America. Charles explains how seeing that much hard work made him realize much more is possible than most leaders think.
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