Subscribe in iTunes
Subscribe in Stitcher
Subscribe in Google Play
Subscribe in Soundcloud
Avoiding risk is risky which might be why fifty-two percent of Fortune 500 companies from the year 2000 are now extinct. Ryan Berman is author of Return On Courage, founder of Sock Problems and founder of Courageous, a creative consultancy that develops Courage Brands® and trains organizations through Courage Boot Camp.
Sock Problems is a charitable sock company that supports causes around the world by “socking” problems and spreading awareness. Previously he was the cofounder of i.d.e.a., an integrated marketing agency based in San Diego. He has helped brands such as Caesars Entertainment, Major League Baseball, Puma, Qualcomm, Subway and The US Ski & Snowboard Association.
We dig into three primary components that create a Courage brand: Knowledge, Faith, Action. I ask which risks leaders need to take to compete today, and in the future. All risk isn't good right?
Along with his "audit of fear" we discuss Berman’s five-step process, called P.R.I.C.E., which is based on his work with prominent brands like Major League Baseball, PUMA, Subway, and the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association.
Learn More About Ryan Berman
Buy Return On Courage
Learn more about Courage Brands
More Incredible Interviews
Listen To More On The Justin Brady Podcast
Transcript of Interview with Ryan Berman
This was automatically transcribed. Please contact me in the menu below if you find any problems.
Justin Brady 0:13
Avoiding risk is risky. Think about that avoiding risk is risky. And that's why that might be why 52% of Fortune 500 companies from the year 2000 are extinct. I'm sure our guest today probably agrees with that Ryan Berman, welcome to the podcast.
Ryan Berman 0:32
Hey, thanks for having me.
Justin Brady 0:33
You bet. So I mean, you're writing a new book we're going to get into that later you're the founder of courageous which is a creative consultancy that develops courage brands, and you train your clients to courage boot camp you're the former founder of ID EA and your clients have included Caesars Entertainment Major League Baseball, Puma Qualcomm subway, I should also point out Ryan, before we get too far into this year, also the founder of sock problems, which is a charitable sock. And basically, the whole idea is you buy a sock that socks a particular problem. And I want to get into this, but first of all, where we were a moment ago, is expanding on avoiding risk is risky.
Ryan Berman 1:17
Yeah, exactly. I think there's a huge difference between what's, what a risk is, and what's something that's risky. And it really comes down to like, understanding the context of the situation. And one of the reasons I went on this book writing journey to try to better understand the word courage is because I really didn't like the current Webster's definition of courage, which is the ability to do something that frightens one. Wow, okay, I'm out.
Justin Brady 1:46
Yeah, that kind of like, kind of sucks, doesn't it?
Ryan Berman 1:48
Yeah. And I just, I didn't find much utilitarian value in that definition. When you when you were actually in a moment, when you might need corporate courage, would you even recommend, could you even smell that this is an opportunity for us to potentially be courageous. So. So to go full circle on this. I think courage always starts with knowledge. And otherwise, you're working on a reckless endeavor, and there starts to answer the question, the difference between something that's a risk and something that's risky. risky is quite often, maybe you don't have all the knowledge you need to take on that endeavor. So that I think that's the difference. I mean, doing something that's a risk. Hopefully, you've done your homework, just to sort of put a pin in the end here that my definition of courage is knowledge plus faith plus action equals courage, and it has to be all three, you know, in business, you're never gonna, you're never going to have every bit of knowledge, you need to make a call. So that's where faith kicks in, and then do or do not, there is no try you even take action or you don't. And by the way, two or three in any direction is not correct. So knowledge and faith with no action is paralysis, or you know, what you need to do you kind of feel it's the right thing. And for some reason, you just can't pull the trigger. Well, if you don't pull the trigger, there's no action therefore, it's not a courageous move. Faith and action without knowledge is reckless. You know, I've had many conversations with even on this book writing journey with my family who's like, Oh, that's courageous. You know, they mean that stupid, like, don't do that.
Justin Brady 3:24
You're like, no, not,
Ryan Berman 3:26
I don't think it's stupid. You know, I'm talking to really smart people who have figured out a way to sort of activate courage. And then the final one, knowledge and action without faith, you know what I'm talking about religion here, we're talking about inner belief. If you don't feel that thing on the inside of that little voice isn't having a conversation with you saying, you share, we want to do this? Well, you're probably working on status quo, you're probably working on safe. So knowledge and action without faith is just safe. And as you know, there's so much noise out there right now, you kind of have to figure out a way to be relevant and stand out. And I think that's the way to do it is to have courage.
Justin Brady 4:01
So you would you would say the difference between good risk and bad risk is courage. Good risk is courageous, bad. Risk is stupid. And, you know, I would that be fair to say with, I think, qualifiers, of course. But
Ryan Berman 4:13
yeah, I think the main thing is just the amount of knowledge that you've been able to collect is the difference in something risky and a risk.
Justin Brady 4:20
Now, I like that knowledge, faith and action are the things that separate, just stupid risk from courageous risk. And I think a lot of people have identified that, you know, we need to take risks. And I think a lot of people have also identified, you know, risk just for the sake of risk is also stupid. I mean, you know, I can jump off a cliff. That's risk, that's risk jumping off a cliff, but it's also stupid risks. So risk by itself is not good. And you're drawing that line and saying, courageous, risk is good. And in order to have courageous risk involves knowledge, faith in action, if you lose, if you don't have one of those, it's not good risk.
Ryan Berman 4:54
Yes, not good risk. And for the record, let's say, just to use your I'm going to jump off a cliff, let's say your Red Bull with suit guy and run your whole career, whole career is jumping off cliffs of those crazy suits? Well, you know, from down here where we are, of course, we're gonna be like, that's a that's a careless risk, like, how can you possibly do that, but let's say you bring on the red ball wing suit, Captain, on the next show, that person has probably studied that jump, oh, seven hours and hours and hours of research, understands the weather patterns, knows exactly how long they're going to be in the air, and so to the to the jumper itself, yet that we don't know how that's going to turn out. Obviously, there has to be some level of faith, but the knowledge before that person takes that leap needs to be super high. So in some ways, courage is relative pending on the person or the team embarking on the challenge at hand.
Justin Brady 5:43
No, I like that. That was very, to take my off the cuff example and convert that into what would make that a courageous risk right then in there, that's a really good example. So this would, this would be the risks leaders need to take today. This, this is what leaders need to do. They need to take the risks, they need to base it a knowledge base of action. And or I should say, they need to base it on knowledge, faith, and then they need to take action. It seems like that last thing is also a hang up.
Ryan Berman 6:13
Yeah, well, it's hard to jump is right. I mean, you know, it's almost like, in some ways, and I'll use a less courageous example, like, okay, we all know how to lose weight, right? diet and exercise, right? We have the knowledge that that's the right thing to do, we feel we should do it. And yet, for some reason, it's hard to do it, it takes action. So again, I think it's the same thing on a courageous endeavor. It's often we know we need to do we feel that it's the right thing to do. But for whatever reason, we start to speculate about what happens if we take that action. And I found myself saying quite a bit, by the way, that we're having a conversation about courage we're really having a conversation about is change and change is hard, but the heart of not changing or always harder. And that's, we're right back to where you started on that 52% of the Fortune 500 since 2000 that are now gone.
Justin Brady 7:09
Well, a lot of people, you know, are even I would, I would venture to say, even some people with knowledge and faith of that cliff jumper still scared, right? Fear just kind of consumes us. And so is there something we can do to is there some process? Is there some way we can tackle fear? Or is it just kind of a stick your head down and run through it kind of a thing?
Ryan Berman 7:30
Yeah, again, this is this is exactly why I wrote the book return on courage, which is the my book that's coming out in 2019. And the whole idea was, can you actually deconstruct this concept of courage that some people think you're born with? And can you teach people how to do it? Can you teach leaders How to do it? Can you teach high potentials how to do it. And, you know, coming to me, it was more like writing a documentary than a book because I didn't have all the answers going into the process. And I had the opportunity to interview astronauts and navy seals and tornado chasers and, you know, flight attendants who are now trained for terrorism, that's, you know, that's a new part of the job.
And then and then like courageous C suite. So I had a chance to with Eric Ryan, who's the founder of method soap, or the Russell Weiner from Domino's Pizza, he was the CMO who launched Oh yes, we did when the stock price was a $2 and 84 cents by the by the way today it's it was up over 300 bucks earlier, this
Justin Brady 8:35
is this is that story so much. The dominoes turnaround story is just, you know, making fun of their own product. But in a calculated way, I love that story.
Ryan Berman 8:45
And again, me too. I mean, that the very first chapter of the book is called a taste of courage. And, you know, the reason I love that story, too, is, you know, although they say they think of themselves as a technology company, they're based in the Midwest, they have 250, 50,000 employees. This is not like some Silicon Valley garage brand. And they found a way to turn this big boat around after three years of negative sales, by the way, in terms of like, creating creativity in a corporate culture. One of the things from my interview with Russell that I love most is that he did not hire or fire anyone in the first year, he kept the exact same team that was, I guess, technically responsible for the three years of negative sales that then turn the ship around. So it just shows you the power of unlocking the people that you've got, right? And what happens when they believe
Justin Brady 9:33
Oh, I've seen staff turn like I am bad and good. I've seen the same people who were absolutely forward thinkers and innovators and pushing boundaries completely change over into lazy infighting. jerks, simply because their leadership was that way I've seen it, I've seen them change within, I would say, 60 days. So it's amazing. Just a leadership change what that can do to a team. Yeah, positive role model, positive leader can complete change a team pretty quickly.
Ryan Berman 10:02
Well, I have a, I have a major gripe with the word leadership now. And it's not that I don't think we need leaders, because we do. But what I've seen is that poor leaders turn leadership into cheerleader ship, and they start, they started to the staff. And you know, that sort of rah rah, pick me up, which is it may work with maybe the bottom 10% of your group, but the workers who are doing the work or smart enough to recognize what's going on it, it actually, you know, they start to roll their eyes and on there. So I actually like the word believer ship, something I talked about in the book. I think the whole goal of the believer ship is to make believers out of your staff make believers out of your board. If you're a public company, make believers out of your customers. And you know, the end of the day, it's pretty clear. You even make believers or fake believers and fake believers. They don't wear a T shirt that says, fake believer walking around the office, right? They just sort of nod and smile and collect a paycheck. And then productivity drops, because they're like, I still don't believe in what I'm doing. Oh, by the way, I think believers are not bad people, right? They're just not not not in the right place for them. They should go find something that they're passionate about doing and get to it already.
Justin Brady 11:17
Well, I mean, so what is a I like that the you're kind of saying cheerleading leaders don't. They're ineffective, they make people roll their eyes. And I think everybody can relate to that, especially listeners on this podcast. I think that hits home with them. You know, I've been there done that. When a when a leader is, oh, look at this, you know, I totally get in you. You do you roll your eyes. You're like, Oh, my gosh, this guy's drinking his own Kool Aid, big time. And it drives that wedge. So if you could talk to that person directly at that person swing by the podcast for I mean, what are some tangible things they can do to shift that? Well, I mean, how does that in very granular specific terms, cheerleaders do this in believing worship leaders do this? What does that look like?
Ryan Berman 12:03
Yeah, I think there's, I think there are four ways to really make a believer today. So if I'm, if I'm a leader of a company, and it's good. I don't have a gripe with the word leader. we clearly need leaders, right. I get I just, you know, if I want to make a believer out of this next generation workforce, who, by the way, I think 75% of our staffs in the next decade will be millennials. So what do we know about this next generation workforce? Well, they wear their values on their sleeves, they vote with their dollars, they don't want to work for for jerks. They want to, they want to work on a meaningful assignment. So so like, the very first thing is as simple as respecting makes believers like, do you actually respect the people that are working for you. And that command and control style that used to work when our parents ran companies, those days are sort of gone. You know, it's so funny, when you talk to the last generation and the journey, just keep your head down, work for 30 years, get a watch, right, retire. That's, that's, that's that that doesn't play with our with our generation, what would plays with our generation is having meaningful assignments where you're respected to do the job. And I know that's so cool. It sounds so obvious. What does that mean, to respecting makes believers it means empowering the next generation and making sure you've hired right, by the way that the team can handle the job at hand. And the task at hand. I think the second is as simple as caring makes believers and it's just like actually getting to know your staff get to know what they're about, understand what their life is, like, outside the office. And one of my favorite interviews in the book was with an astronaut named Loretta Hidalgo, and she says, her definition of success is when there's no daylight between the professional her and the personal her. And I was like, wow, that's good. That's a win. And for some reason, like, for some reason, we can't fully be ourselves or we think we can't fully be ourselves, right and in the workplace. And so I think if I'm a leader, I want to empower you to be the best you that the real you, the authentic, you and in the workplace, like speak your mind, say what you think, you know, if you feel that thing deep down inside, saying, we shouldn't do this, bring it out, let's have that conversation. Now before it's way too late, a year down the line where some piece of creative or some ideas out into the universe, and you knew you could have stopped it. So I think that's number two is just caring makes believers because if you're having an honest conversation with people they're going to share back.
Justin Brady 14:30
Okay, so one, understand by respecting respect
Two, caring for people.
Ryan Berman 14:37
Yeah, number three is, is is just simply repeating makes believers let's say, you've got let's say you have seven people on your leadership team, or you have four people on your leadership team is everybody beating to the same drum. And so I think it's critical that we, you know, that we are all saying the same thing over and over again, maybe you say it differently. But it's very clear that there's a 30 epidemic happening at the workplace where maybe a company hasn't done the hard work to have total clarity in what they're about. And when you have that, when you know exactly what you stand for, and you're preaching that left and right, and you're hiring people that believe in that as well, then, then you have a shot to actually make conviction in the organization. One of the things I love most about courageous is it's very clear what we're not, you know, we're not called iterative calm, we're not called Safe, calm, don't go to that website. And it's, you know, when you're really ready for a courageous change, that's when you call us. So that's the cadence of the company. Everybody who works at the company knows they're signing up for more of a special forces approach. And our clients do as well. So that's what I mean by that.
Justin Brady 15:48
Yeah, no, I like that. That's and then what is, you know, understand, respect, care for people repeat makes believers what's number four?
Ryan Berman 15:56
Seeing is believing. So believing? Yeah, I mean, if you say something, you stop better see something, they're, they're smart enough to see when you Hey, I thought we're here to be courageous. And then we're actually doing something super safe there again, they're smart enough to see that and smell that. And
Justin Brady 16:14
I totally agree,
Ryan Berman 16:17
you know, so. So just giving people like, Hey, this is we're going to say this, again, it goes back to action, the minute you say, or something like we've got to be that we've got to live that everything that we do.
Justin Brady 16:28
Yeah, and I've actually spoken to leaders who did not want me to fully explain initiatives and be transparent with their staff, because they thought they wouldn't they just, they're just not going to understand this, or it'll frustrate them.
There was one individual that there was a major breakthrough in success this company had and their leader the organization did not want to tell anybody in the organization because this major success took some money and initiative, and he's like, Well, some people don't think we spend money on the right things. Therefore, I don't want anybody seeing this success. Because they they may understand we spent money to get there. And I'm like, wait, what are you gonna kill? You know, this is insane. What? Why would you think that they just didn't, they didn't believe in their staff. They didn't believe in the staffs intelligence that they would understand that idea. But, you know, some people didn't figure it out anyway. And private conversations with those individuals. They're like, Oh, this thing is brilliant. Why aren't you guys shouting from the rooftops? Everybody should know about this is exciting. And I just shrugged. I said, I, I don't know the, you know, the decision is out of my hands. And it's been said that we're not going to communicate it at this time. I don't understand why. But, you know, this is really great feedback, and I'll communicate it. And to this day, I don't think anyone's even aware unless they are really savvy on what happened. And I just don't understand that kind of stuff.
Ryan Berman 17:54
Well, again, it goes, it goes back to, to why I like, Look, again, this is why we have sometimes we have organizations that do create fake believers. And, you know, sometimes there's some problems, you just, you just can't help people get through, there has to be a level of willingness on the side of a client or a leader. And by the way, so the book which is called return on courage, the other Title I was playing around with, and I still love the title, I just don't, I think it's a bit narrow, was willing courage brands. And I love what that means, right? Because the idea of willing has this awesome double meaning one willing, are you open? Are you actually open to listening into considering other options, I'm willing to put my ego to the side for the greater good of the business, I'm willing to put my own biases aside for the greater good of advancing the company. And then, and then once we make a decision, because this is an easy, right, this is hard stuff we're talking about here, the idea of willing, like, as a gritting willing it out, right. And, and, and putting in the work, whatever that purpose is, the company is why I love that word so much. And that takes that's that's hard for leaders to do, because they think that they're supposed to have all the answers when really, it's flipped, especially if you've hired right,
Justin Brady 19:14
so after, I mean, if people start to work on this, and they want to make their company a courageous one, are there any key moments? Are there any, is there any proof? Is there any other any indicators that allow these leaders or organizations to understand they are in fact, on the right path? What starts to happen?
Ryan Berman 19:33
Sure, that's what it's a really good question. So again, I think the idea of how to turn your company into what I call courage brand comes at a price, you know, if it was easy, obviously, everyone would do it. But this is what sort of unveiled in the book and price is actually an acronym. And it's the five steps that any company that's willing and okay, right, can follow to get them on a path to becoming a courage brand. And so price actually start stands for, prioritize, rally, identify, commit and execute and prioritize. The first step is prioritize through
Justin Brady 20:08
valid that's what I was gonna ask, can we still a little bit of your knowledge here before we pick up that book?
Ryan Berman 20:13
Yeah, yes, prioritize through values is, of course, the very, very first step. And, you know, what I've, what I've learned is a core values, they get a bad rap, and they get a bad rap, because companies aren't utilizing them in a way that that's shaping the behavior that they desire of their teams. So for example, they, you know, you may see core values on a wall, but they're not living those values or right, the values are collecting dust and some employee manual,
I think, I think core values aren't I roles there, how the exceptional role and the problem is that most companies haven't done the hard work to revisit values that may have been set 30 or 40 years ago, and they keep them to honor sort of the legacy of the first partners are founders. Sure, but those that those guys are not aligned with the next generation?
Justin Brady 21:03
No, I think that's, I think that's very wise, I see that a lot to where the here are the here are the values that we did some market research, or we did some research and we figured that a great company looks like this, let's post them on the wall and never refer to them again. Or, or they try to loosely connect any initiative, they just did it random to that value. But they don't really lead with those values. They don't really understand what they mean. And then you said rally is the next one.
Ryan Berman 21:29
Yeah, so. So to me, it's like just to put a pin on that last note, you know, if you don't know what you stand for, you never truly know when to take a stand. And I think that's what values are there for is to help you make decisions in your company. And that includes that includes who you hire, like, who you bring onto your team, which brings us to rally believers. And like I said, You even make believers or fake believers. So this whole section is about finding your wrath mates, and life, finding your team and finding a way to get conviction for whatever it is that you're bringing to the market. And, you know, prioritize your values and rally believers I would call the organizational health steps. And it's very hard to scale. Imagine like, not only do you have multiple personalities, but if you're really big, you might have multiple offices. And the whole goal of like, creating conviction starts with knowing your about values, and finding your estimates and making sure you have the right people that share your values, but maybe reading bright breadth of experience to the table.
Justin Brady 22:25
Sure. And how about identify?
Ryan Berman 22:29
Yeah, so identify if you had mentioned this already, Justin about the power of fear and fear as a terrifying thing. And you know, the way I look at fear as it's kind of funny, because I guess being a Seinfeld fan, I like to say that I've been in the fear, shrink shrinkage business. So it's like, and, and so the idea of identifying beers is the third, the third part of the equation. And there's a famous proverb that fear encourage, or brothers, that you actually can't get to the courageous move without first channeling it through fear. But what most of us do is suppress fear versus address fear.
Justin Brady 23:04
Oh, that's interesting,
Ryan Berman 23:06
you know, so the idea is to smoke out what that fear might be an address it head on with our teams, you know, I find it interesting that SWAT has somehow survived 60 years as the standard in business. And so all I'm trying to do is a better way to swat here, we're auditing different types of fears. We're looking at industry fears, we're looking at our product fear, we're looking at our perception fears, which is pretty much marketing. And then because we're all humans, we're also going to talk about personal fears, like, what do you actually fear? Can you be vulnerable with your teams and share like, Hey, I, if I like, choose this? Am I going to be on an island all by myself? Or am I going to get fired if I'm by myself and make this call here. And so I think it's important that our teams actually address the personal fears of making decisions in the workplace.
Justin Brady 23:53
And then let's go through commit to a purpose, I believe, and then execute your action quickly. Because I also want to ask about sock problems. We have a few questions before we leave here.
Ryan Berman 24:02
Yeah, sure. So yeah, again, as you said, commit to a purpose is the next step. And I think it's now more than ever, it's not, it's not just enough to know your why I think we need to put a rally cry in our why something that's going to actually create conviction throughout the organization, and great purposes, have enemies. And again, this is all covered in return on courage. So you can you can check it out there. And as we talked about earlier, when it came to knowledge, faith and action, if you have all the knowledge, and you have all the faith, which is what these four first steps do, right? It's all for not it's all for naught if you don't take action, so execute your action is the is the final step when it's time to actually hit the pull the trigger on on some sort of initiatives?
Justin Brady 24:42
So we asked two questions, everybody that comes on here. And the first one is about failure. And a lot of people wrongfully believe that, you know, people like yourself doing cool stuff just don't know, failure, or just fell into the right things at the right time. And so one of the things we like to address, especially for entrepreneurs right now, that are maybe in the midst of one of their bone crushing failures, his name of time, you miserably failed. And how did you use that to get to where you are right now?
Ryan Berman 25:09
Yeah, I think I know, your audience knows this, and I'm not sidestepping the question because I will answer it. But when you're in a moment of failure, the last like usually you're not thinking of it as a as a negative, blessed thing, you're pretty upset at yourself. But I honestly almost every failure that I've had nine now see as a learning experience for something else that I've done and the honest as the biggest failure that I feel I've had, I remember presenting the wrong campaign or recommending the wrong campaign to a client that was actually presented to campaigns and I knew which one What a surprise like I had I'm like, I know how this conversation is going to go we're going to pick this one I'm under recommend this one and that's it And wouldn't you know it the CEO was on the call and was out adamant about going with the other campaign and, and he's like, Ryan, you can make that work, right, we can make this work and deep down I knew I knew was the wrong move. And I allowed that campaign to go through still, it was the wrong move. It was the wrong one for the company. I knew it. I knew in my heart. And not only did it did not work for the for the company, but what is prized about six months later, we lost the business so it's a combination of things that went wrong there. And the lesson for me was I will never never never do anything but be my full self I'm never going to present something I fully don't believe in because you just never know and these little games that sometimes we play in the creative space we're okay we've got a present multiple campaigns because that's what the client expects,
I will I will never do that again, which is I also think the beginning of the answer to one of your other questions I think you're interested in
Justin Brady 26:56
well then that might lead us into what is one strategy tactic? You must be reading ahead Ryan, what is one strategy or tactic you continually use every time you think a team is stuck something that you use to solve problems
Ryan Berman 27:12
again, I just say tell me what you really think it's as simple as that. Tell me what you really think works all the time because it's like a permission to not give the BS answer and all you really want is for people to like Tell me what you really think Have you thought this through? I'm sure you have I'm sure you have the answer you want to give so I'd rather get that real answer on the table and address it all and then decide what to do
Justin Brady 27:36
It's a short answer Ryan but I think it's perfect way to leave it before we let you go I want to how do people reach out to you and how do people reach out to this other charity it's like a bias sock and get help a charity organization plug both of those before we let you go
Ryan Berman 27:54
Just look me up if you if you like my stuff you can look me up at Ryan Ryan Berman calm or courage brands calm that the goal of the companies is to build courage brands or lead courage brands. And on the other side, I have my own courage brand called sock problems. You can go to sock problems calm the goal is to solve problems in the world with socks. If you wanted to sock cancer, or sock racism or sock autism, we probably have a sock for you. And each sock has its own charity partner that 25% of the sale goes back to. So for example, our sock hate sock has 25% of proceeds. Going back to the Trevor Project while our sock breast cancer sock has 25% going back to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
Justin Brady 28:37
That's very cool. And if people want to pick up your book and what's the name and how do they get it it's out in January I believe.
Ryan Berman 28:44
Yeah, the books out return on courage is the name of the book. I do believe that our ROC is how you maximize your ROI. And I also think if you're a company that's stuck that any any willing business being a brand can return on the courage platform and could pick return on courage up even at my website, courage brands. com or just go direct to Amazon and grab it there.
Justin Brady 29:07
Ryan Berman, thank you so much for joining us today. Appreciate it.
Ryan Berman 29:11
Thanks, Justin. Appreciate it.
This was automatically transcribed. Please contact me in the menu below if you find any problems.