The LoCo Experience

EXPERIENCE 85 | Mark Weaver on Organizational Culture

October 17, 2022 Alisha Jeffers
The LoCo Experience
EXPERIENCE 85 | Mark Weaver on Organizational Culture
Show Notes Transcript

My guest on today’s episode was Mark Weaver. Mark is the Founder of Open Door Organizational Solutions and has been serving businesses with Human Resource and Culture solutions for over 15 years. He’s had an influence on many of Northern Colorado’s finest and fastest growing organizations.  

Mark got his start in consulting at Philip Crosby Associates, whose founder was a best-selling author and culture guru. There, he gained valuable experience and became their benefits and culture specialist. In the early 90’s, he made his way out to Colorado and eventually founded his own company, Open Door.  

This episode is all about culture - how it’s defined, how it influences organizations, and you can grow it by hiring to your values.  Mark shares his expertise generously, and if you’re working to build a culture that fits you and your organization - this episode will speak to you.  Mark is a smart and fun guy, and his own “LoCo Experience” is a hoot, so tune in and enjoy!

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Follow us to see what we're up to:

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My guest on today's episode was Mark Weaver. Mark is the founder of Open Door Organizational Solutions, or known around here simply as Open Door or Mark. Mark has been serving small, medium, and larger businesses with HR and culture solutions for over 15 years, and has influenced many of Northern Colorado's finest and fastest growing organizations mark got his starting consulting at Philip Crosby Associates, where he developed to become their benefits and culture specialist before making his way out to Colorado and eventually founding Open Door. And this episode is all about culture, what it is, where it comes from, how to influence organizational culture and how to hire to your values. Mark Shares is special sauce generously, and if you're working to build a culture that fits you and your organization, this episode will have a lot of great content for. Mark is a smart and fun guy, and his local experience is a hoot, so tune in and enjoy.

Curt:

Welcome back to the Loco Experience Podcast. My guest today is Mark Weaver, and Mark is the founder of Open Door Organizational Solutions or Open Door as we note around here. And, uh, I'm really honored to have him here today. He's referred a couple of amazing podcast guests recently and, uh, I was just really enamored with his story as well when I really got to know him here recently. So, um, Mark, great to have you on and thank you. Let's start with the, Who does Open door? Do you work for? What do you do? Like, it's kind of ambiguous. It's,

Mark:

it's kind of funny that you ask that, Kurt, because I would say to every client of mine if they see me differently from any other client. Hmm. Um, so I tailor things that I do to what the organization needs, but I, I talk about radically defining your organizational culture and then radically reinforcing that. So kind of two different things. And depending on where they're at, they may need a lot more help. One side of that or the other. Um, and so for some that I'm, I'm translating that into the pain point. So if it's a fast growing company, then being able to scale up and find the right kind of people who fit the culture becomes really the emphasis. Yeah. You know, if they're more stable, that's not an issue. And so I've got clients who don't even know I'd help with that because what, you know, they don't care. Right, right. So interesting. Different world.

Curt:

Yeah. Well, yeah, you've, uh, you've had a really interesting, you know, career journey that led to the founding of this. When, when did you say you founded Open Door? Yeah,

Mark:

I started it technically in 2009. Okay. But I was under a three year non-compete with a prior organization I had had, uh, worked for and I had severance and then a three year non-compete. So Oh, wow. For all practical purposes, I didn't really appear to be functioning as open door until 2013. Gotcha. Um, that's not entirely true because the prior company that I had run, uh, before they got bought out, They had a couple different things come up with prospective clients that they didn't want to or couldn't do. And so they referred kinda contact to me. So I had, I had work, I just wasn't really public with it. I couldn't

Curt:

compete with them. Oh, that's neat. Um, and so maybe it makes sense to start with what was this prior company? Is that something you're allowed to talk about? And what was that transition like? Sure. Well,

Mark:

I used to, uh, let's see, from 2000, starting in 2000 through 2009, I worked for an organization that was originally called the Employer Source. And it provided outsource human resources, payroll, and other functions like that. Uh, it was owned by, um, a man that named Gerald Benner, who's a northern Colorado property developer. Uh, he had had an insurance agency. He started this thing as just a defensive posture because he was losing clients to other organizations in Denver that would provide that. Yeah. And it grew out of control. He had a really good salesperson and they ended up with like 120 clients. Okay. And so he didn't want to be involved day to day and wanted to hire somebody who. You know, could just take it to the next level or whatever. Just run it. Yeah. Allowing him to step out and really focus more on property development. And so, uh, I became the COO of that for all practical purposes. I was the president. He used to refer him to me as the working partner where he was the money partner. And so I kind of joked that I got to be an entrepreneur with somebody else's money.

Curt:

And how did he like find you? Did he like go put a posting? Was he an old college friend? Like, uh, is it network? Actually,

Mark:

he ran into a former boss of mine and was telling him about what he was doing and what he wanted to do in terms of being able to step back. And that, uh, former boss of mine said, You need to find Mark Weaver. And ironically enough, um, we had a small child at that time, this was 2000. So I had a baby and I was doing consulting work. But most of my consulting work was in Denver. So I'd be in Denver two or three days a week. My wife who used to teach was substitute teaching the other two or three days and we were kind of trainging off the baby. Yeah. Swapping the baby. Yeah. And, um, may have one particular day this person called and I couldn't find the wipes and I had a kid with a, with a dirty diaper, you know, under my arm. And somebody's trying to talk to me on the phone and I thought it's the list, or get to the punchline so I can hang up on you. And then he mentioned, you know, my old boss's name. And I'm like, Oh shoot, I haven't even been paying attention. You know, can we start over? And so he asked me if I'd come in and talk with him. So there was never a posting, I never applied for a job. Uh, it just, you know, was one of those kind of things. A former boss or something, I guess Fair enough. So, so it was, anyway, I ran the company. Um, there was a point where I told him, you know, you can make a lot more money on dirt than you can with this particular business. And he was, It's not that he's a risk averse person at all. You can't be when you're doing commercial property development. Right, right. All of this risk was spent on that, and this had to be completely safe. And that's hard to do. Yeah. And so there was a point where I literally told him, You know, you can make more dirt than you can on this. And, um, you know, you oughta think about selling. Well, I actually would've liked to have bought it if a time had been Right. Right. Uh, but, um, what happened was ultimately he, uh, he reached out to two different, um, organizations out of state, and they both instantly started vying for it. He was, he was only wanting a certain value for it, because it didn't hold that much. Didn't really want, Yeah. And I would've bought it for that value, but when the two of them started, it was beyond me before long. So, uh, so I didn't get to do that. So he sold it and then, Few years later, they, that company sold again. Okay. And so, uh, I find found myself in an organization that had, uh, people in different states like me, and they made all of us off So, uh, so I was replaced by my protege who was 20 years, my junior and half my salary. Yeah. And, uh, but somebody that I totally believed in. Yeah. And, uh, well then it was a

Curt:

smart business move. If he was 80% as good as you for half your salary, No. She, she

Mark:

was, or she, she was very good. Um, but she was used to having a mentor and, um, that didn't happen. So she sure without she still call me, you with, with things. And, um, you know, I thought the world of her, but it, it was only about a year until she decided she'd had enough. Now, ironically, that individual was now the VP of HR for Vail Resorts. Oh. So she, uh, did very well. She did okay. Yeah, she did. And, uh, I'm, I'm really grateful to, had the opportunity to work with her. She was, uh, she

Curt:

was terrific. Cool. Uh, and you can mention people by name if you want to give 'em praise, especially Uhhuh. Uh, but you don't have to. Okay. So, um, tell me. Like, did you have open door kind of sketched out in your mind or anything right away? Or was this a Yeah. You know, a real rapid fire process and you were like, Hmm, I'm gonna take a month or a year and just, No,

Mark:

I was actually ready to leave. Um, and I didn't like the way the organization had gone been trending as these two things had had happened. And it's not saying that they were wrong or bad, they're just really different. Yeah. And difference, not necessarily bad, but, but they kept moving in a direction that I didn't personally want to be at. Mm. And so, I really wanted to kind of get back to my roots Yeah. And, and get back to doing organizational consulting, not just compliance. Yeah. Um, to this day, if somebody said, Oh, would you do an F M L A audit for us? An I nine audit or something like that, I would say, no, I don't do that, but Sure. But I, that's just, yeah. Not real exciting to me. Yeah. Uh, I really like culture and that's really more, I would say, my professional dna if you, that's how I described

Curt:

you as kind of the culture guru, uh, of some of the fastest growing and most dynamic organizations around here.

Mark:

Well, thank you. Yeah.

Curt:

Yeah. Feels good. Well, yeah, right. Um, well I think, you know, rather than, we'll come back to Open Door a bit more, but I think it would make sense to understand, you know, where you built your chops to be kind of, You bet. Culture guru. You bet. Um, are you from Colorado? Like where, where is your family from? I'm actually from

Mark:

Florida. Florida, okay. From Central Florida. I went to UCF Fighting nights and all that. Awesome. Awesome. Yep. But, uh, yeah, I got out of college and uh, went to work for General Mills in the restaurant division. Back in that day, General Mills owned, uh, companies in five different industries, one of which was restaurants. So really owned Red Lobster and Olive Garden, and a bunch of things like that. Okay. So I was an analyst and. you know, the restaurant group office might have had 30 people in it. It was largely executives, some administrative people and analysts. Mm-hmm. and, um, I didn't land there right outta college. That would not have been a possibility for anybody. But I, I originally had started in the Red Lobster Central Office. Hmm. I ended up doing some financial analysis about differences in benefit program. Between General Mills Inc. Versus Right. The restaurant division. And the

Curt:

manager was like,

Mark:

This guy's pretty smart. That's what happened. uh, I literally was thinking, how do I get promoted or around my boss? Um, and outta nowhere I get this, you know, move to the restaurant group office, which is where everybody wanted to be cuz you know, that's running the whole thing. And so the analyst would look at potential acquisition targets and, uh, bring their little slice of pie, if you will. My little slice was looking at compensation and benefits for a restaurant change. Does it fit with what General Mills does? And if it doesn't, what does it take to get it? To that same level from year to there? Kind of, Yeah. Because General Mills cared a lot about offering the right kind of benefits and things to hourly employees back in the, you know, timeframe that, that didn't happen that often, but some of it was cuz they didn't want a labor union, quite honestly. Sure. And so they wanted to provide the best benefits in the industry and, and you know, competitive compensation incentives and all that. So anyway, my piece was just to look at that somebody else is looking at marketing, somebody else is looking at menu planning and finances. Sure. Margins, whatever, all the other pieces. But, but you know, I'm just, you know, providing input up. But once they acquired something then our job was to go and assimilate. Yeah. And so a lot of dog and pony shows as you can imagine. Sure. You know, explaining General Mills benefits or whatever it might be. And so, uh, so a lot

Curt:

of really change management, right? Like you're bringing in new elements to these teams and managers and stuff. Um, I wanna, I wanna hit the breaks. I wanna put it in reverse. Okay. And, Like even before ucf, Like tell me about your family, your folks, and were you athlete in grade school and like, I'm always curious about what got you passionate about or were you even passionate about these, this analysis things? Were you an economics guy?

Mark:

No. Um, it's funny because numbers have always been easy for me, but not particularly interesting. Yeah. So in high school, oddly enough, I took like six years of math. Right? There were only eight of us in my high school, uh, who did that. Um, but I did it just cuz you know, it wasn't hard for me. Right, Right. And I would have guidance counselors who would say, Oh, you're gonna be a statistician, or, Oh, you're gonna be, you know, whatever. I'd be like, Oh, I'm not,

Curt:

this is so funny. I actually placed, um, Fourth or third, uh, at a math competition as a seventh grader. Uhhuh and I was the only seventh grader just about in the room. And it was mostly, I think it was all the way up to ninth or 10th grade. And they were like, Wow, you're gonna be so good at math and he's gonna be a computer wiz and all these things. And I'm intuitively very good at it. And like the common core math that they teach Uhhuh, I taught myself that. Like, Oh, okay. I made that up in my own mind and used it a lot. You're the inventor of Common Core. No, I didn't share it with anybody cause it was strategic advantage, but I just wasn't really interested in it. Yeah. You know, and then I learned what engineers would do if I became an engineer. I was like, Eh, na. Yeah. You know? And so I resonate with, with all of that stuff and feeling kind of, you don't know who you're gonna be or what you want to do at that time, but you've got different adults that are like, Hey, he's good at. He should be a statistician.

Mark:

Yep. Well, I get to, uh, to college and I knew I wanted to work with people. Um, somewhere in there I thought, in fact, I took a semester and took psych and sociology classes and all fascinated with that. And my dad's like, You can't make any money in that Right? Go talk to the College of Business, Ask them about hr. And I was like, Whatever. But I did I, I'd followed his advice and, and, um, which is probably the first time I'd done that. But anyway, did it. And it was probably good advice this time. It actually was pretty good advice. And fortunately for me, the head of that department was somebody very engaging and passionate. And so, uh, so I got interested in it. But, um, but then I land at General Mills it's an analyst and you know, there's a flavor of it that's, that's hr, not really. Yeah. Um, but about five years later, I get a call from a head hunter re related to a business in the Orlando area. Okay. And this is the most prestigious, best benefits. And I'm like, Mm. I already worked for General Mill. You know, it can only be one other possible company. And it was, and it was a company called Philip Crosby Associates. Okay. Phil Crosby wrote numerous best sellers back then. Okay. And he was, uh, you know, besides the bestselling author, quality guru. Okay. Um, there were like three in that day, him being one, but he was referred to as the crazy uncle of the quality movement because he actually could take things and make them much more understandable. But anyway, he hired me to be his HR manager. I didn't really know what HR was. Right. I don't think he really did either, because he defined it by culture, not by compliance and not, not saying that it doesn't include both, but, but his focus was really on, um, On, uh, culture. The reason they liked me was because he really did want to have the best benefit program of any company in the us and he knew them all. That was in my first, my final interview with him. Um, I wanna have the best benefit program of every company. That in the US and I know them all. So you have to stay one step ahead of me. That's awesome. So that was one part. The other part was we say we treat people like ladies and gentlemen, sometimes we forget. You've gotta be the one that reminds us. So we defined it first of all, by culture and then secondly by benefits. But anyway, so, um, I had, I had the dream job for somebody in the HR space because not only did I get to do things related to internally at this company that had sky high morale, um, and really did, you know, if I were to go into stories about things they did and benefits they provided, it just was, and even the way they gave back to the community, just everything that's cool was neat. How big of an organization

Curt:

was this at that time? It

Mark:

ended up about 300 employees worldwide. And when you started. Uh, 1 25. I was number 1 25.

Curt:

So you were in a pretty high growth span there as well. Yeah,

Mark:

but but not the cool high growth span that some people were there,

Curt:

right. Not the exponential stuff.

Mark:

Right. Yeah. Yeah. When they got stock in lieu of incentive comp and all became millionaires because they went public in the stock. Right, right, right. Split twice And I wasn't, I was there for this, that kind of thing, living twice, but not there for the, getting the stock Fair enough. But the fun part was I got to consult with Crosby clients. Right. And um, and when it first happened,

Curt:

still some of their best practices. Well,

Mark:

to a degree, really what happened was, um, I did something with the executive committee and they said, You know, we really like how you handle us. You could probably help with some of our clients and are like, sweet. So it's not like it happened all the time, but that's where I got my taste of consulting. And what I had to do was take, you know, Ideas like performance management or incentive cop, and how do you do that with Crosby's philosophy of quality, which is now driving the culture of a company, right? How do you make, tailor that to the client and in this

Curt:

industry? And cuz this industry of garbage collection is different than right. Whatever.

Mark:

Very much so, right? So, so here I am consulting and really thinking this is just a blast. So, so I had a, I had a great job. He was a wonderful mentor. So, uh, I feel very, very fortunate to have worked there, but he taught quality improvement by culture change. And so culture was everything. And so when I talk about I was ready to leave the other company and kind of get back to my roots, that's really what I mean. I, I wanted to do that. Not, not doing, you know, this ever changing HR compliance thing, just update

Curt:

the spreadsheet and then update the spreadsheet again, and then do a report and whatever. Yeah.

Mark:

Yeah. So, um, so yeah. That's, I call Crosby my professional dna. Yeah. That's where, that's where I kind of got wired. Yeah. And I drank the Kool-Aid, whatever you wanna call it, Yeah. Just totally, totally, totally into it. And, and honestly is still the case

Curt:

kind of. Yes. Oh

Mark:

yeah. That's still am. Yeah. Yeah. Every now and then I run into somebody who was something at a client company. Right. Um, in fact, oh gee, what's his name? The COO at OtterBox. Name's not coming

Curt:

to mind. Oh. Um, w something was Brian. No.

Mark:

Or come to one of us in about five minutes probably. Right. But anyway, he looked me up one time because he heard there was a K Crosby guy in town, because he had actually Interesting, he worked

Curt:

at a company that used Pro. Yeah. Kinda like in the nfl, uh, you know, Like Bill Belichick and disciples of, and then now some of the disciples of those disciples, whatever. Well,

Mark:

40% of Fortune 500 companies were clients back then. Wow. And a whole lot of mid-size companies. So it, it wasn't that hard to run into people, but, you know. Right. But I picked myself up and moved out here instead. So.

Curt:

Well, you were at the, you were at. The brain trust, right? Like you weren't just one of the companies that got consulted with by Crosby, but you were delivering all the goods all over the place

Mark:

be You bet. And working hand in hand with the the people who were really doing the quality consulting, which is what the clients came for initially not, not saying that they didn't value what I brought to the table. Sure. But that wasn't the reason

Curt:

they were there. Well, and you could learn by osmosis what their principles around quality meant to the companies too. Yeah. So what was your place in life at this time when you moved out to Colorado? Had you, I see you're wearing a ring. I see you're married fella. Did you fall in love along this path somewhere

Mark:

there, or, Yeah, we were, we were married in Florida. Okay. So moved out here together. Um, and you know, that's kind of a fascinating tale. There was an individual at Crosby who embezzled. Oh. Um, and it was a perfect storm of bad events. Publicly traded company. General Motors actually owned 10% of the stock They decided they wanted to sell it. That's fine. We'll leverage the ESOP to buy it, which that was a fun transaction unless, you know, make everybody more involved. But anyway, um, that happened. Then the news broke that he had embezzled and the stock plum. And we got taken over. Um, and so it was a hostile takeover for all practical purposes. By the way, I did not hire the guy. We went through orientation together, but he, he had, uh, done this like six times before it was total identity theft. So you can check references and you're checking the wrong person.

Curt:

Just a, like a person in the accounting department or something, or like a CEO or a

Mark:

controller? No, he was the, uh, I believe it was director of International Finance. Wow. So, you know, he

Curt:

knew how to Yeah. Just skimming a little off the top off of every overseas transaction. Yeah.

Mark:

Actually he waited for years. He was probably a good four years. Wow. And he was a coach of a little league team and just all this around, you know? Right. Good guy. And then conman all of a sudden, you know, it was like, I quit, I've got cancer. And I'm, as soon as that happened, I was like, People don't quit when they have cancer. They need insurance. Right. It was like, it didn't hit me. Right. And it was only a day or so before they found that he had, you know,

Curt:

And did he get busted and did he like Costa

Mark:

Rica? This is a crazy story, story. He had this, uh, what we knew of as his wife and some kid. Um, but, uh, the controller at Crosby actually had tried to wire transfer money from a German account that came back nf, which made no sense because there should have been a million in it or something. Right. And so, um, so the, the amount he tried to. Or that he did wire transfer, I think was 1.2 million. Mm. Um, so she found out like the next day after he said he quit, so he had to have done it and then, you know, boom. But uh, since, you know, she was on it, she decided to find out where did this money go to that's not in our system. And it went to a vendor that wasn't on our vendor list. So all these things that shouldn't have been able to happen that he had already built, you know, raise around. Right. Um, so anyway, um, there happened to be a, along the books in Indiana that, uh, where there's a company where, where, you know, funds have been transferred, but it's in dispute. You can get a judge to freeze that asset for 72 hours while there's an investigation going on. Wow. So that's happening. They call the fbi, the FBI and the Winter Park Police Department. I'll swoop into his house at a time. He's not there. And, um, they arrest his wife and he drives by and off he goes. And so, so to my knowledge, they've never caught him. Wow. They actually didn't even know who he was because, because this was a fake ID the whole time. Yeah. They had to, he had like, had gone through six different ones of this.

Curt:

And was it really a wife or was she just some random Oh,

Mark:

who knows? I don't know what happened to the kid if it wasn't even their kid, but anyway. Um, but yeah, so he disappeared. He was on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list. Um, they got her, of course, I guess

Curt:

he didn't drink the Kool-Aid.

Mark:

He did not I think he saw, Wow. I can, I can, This is pushovers. Company's got a lot of

Curt:

money, a bunch of plums here,

Mark:

So anyway, But yeah, it was a, it was very sad because a lot of people's lives, uh, were impacted, but we got bought out at a hostile takeover and I found myself working for a company that was pretty much the opposite of Crosby. Right, right. In a lot of culture ways. And, and it wasn't, Did they break

Curt:

it ultimately?

Mark:

or I think they really still around bought it. No, they, they ran it into the ground. Really? I think they bought it for the client list because he had the best client list ever, you know, and so Sure. Um, so they exploited that to whatever degree they could laid people off left and

Curt:

right. Right. They bought it cuz it was too cheap to not buy it almost.

Mark:

Right, right. And so, um, but ultimately he bought it back Oh. And renamed it PCA two Okay. So, uh, it never became what it had been before. Yeah. But, uh, but you know, it reckon it's heyday, it was publicly traded and um, you know, on the nasdaq, so. Right. Having quite a company, having an esop, you know, you could actually go, gee, this is what the value really is. Wasn't a matter of an audit or something like that. Right. So, Uh, but yeah, it was an amazing company, but you know, unfortunately the embezzlement thing happened. Yeah. The first thing they did was T fill, which is like the stupidest thing ever. Right. Sounds like it. So, So anyway, that was the first morning side that this is

Curt:

changing. Like the Oh, the new buyers. The new buyers asked to

Mark:

Joe Crosby. Yeah. So, yeah. So anyway, but that's,

Curt:

so, yeah. So you guys go shopping for what's next?

Mark:

Yeah. And I had kind of wanted to move to Colorado and, um, the new company, um, I wasn't having fun, let's put it that way, But they liked me. There were three of us that they liked and they kept giving us salary increases, so I was making a lot of money. Yeah. You know, um, and I remember telling these other two, don't be duped by this. They're gonna pay you at a level you'll never be able to leave, cuz you'll get used to the standard of living. Well, I was not gonna do that. I wanted to move to Colorado, so I sucked every bit of extra income away. Mm. Give you another raise, you know, like, Oh yeah, yeah. Okay. So, uh, yeah. So I just build up a savings thinking that that'll fund my move to Colorado when I land a job out here.

Curt:

Yeah. And and had you been to Colorado? Yeah, I have a brother

Mark:

who went to csu. Okay. And so we used to come out to visit them once or twice a year and Yeah. Um, so yeah, so anyway, we, uh, ended up landing a job that paid for the move and so, you know, the savings that I had was just fantastic savings. Yeah. So Awesome. So that was nice. But, uh, but yeah, it was, uh, uh, you know, every organization has a culture. Yeah. Some of 'em, you know, we don't fit in every organization and every organization shouldn't try to make everyone fit For sure. So though I don't like. The company that bought out Crosby, and I don't like their culture and their ways. It doesn't mean that it's toxic to everybody. It might be to me, it might be for it, I would say. Yeah. And so, um, but it wasn't where I wanted to be. For

Curt:

some people that like domineering know it alls that, I'm just kidding. They might, I mean, honestly, frankly, interestingly enough, there are some people that really like being told what to do they do and whatever.

Mark:

Right. For sure. About a week before the hostile takeover was announced, the front page of the World, Wall Street Journal listed the buying company as the evil empire. was buying up consulting companies and then, you know, people still had the Wall Street Journal. It's announced, so you can imagine the shock. So, Oh wow. Wow. But, uh, no, I'm just go back to a point that you just made about how, um, there are people who actually like, you know, some of you know, different kinds of behaviors that some people wouldn't. Um, and I'm not gonna use names here, but there was a, a company that I tried to help for a few for while, for a few years. Yeah. Um, the first time that I met with the husband and wife team, um, she told me, I don't want to hire people who, uh, wanna work life balance. I'm like, Okay, what do you want? I don't wanna hire people who just wanna work hard, play hard. Okay. What do you want? I wanna hire people who derive their entire sense of fun from work. And my response back was, Okay, you can do that. You can hire workaholics. Yeah. But you've gotta be, be blatantly clear that that's who you are. Right. Because they couldn't figure out why people would come to work. Yeah. They'd burn people. Yeah, they, well, they have people leave in the first week and it's like, well the only way to change this is to be honest about what it's really like. Yeah. Yeah. Well we don't want to be thought of that way in the community. Well, there's a point where I can't help you then Right. But I mean, just to hammer it further, it was funny cuz then the husband said, Yeah, we have, we have a norm called Figa doo, which is figured out, get it done or F off spelled out. And I was like, well that certainly sends a message

Curt:

right? Yeah.

Mark:

So, uh, it's culture cue I guess. But the fun part is you can find people who like that. Yeah. And they are either people whose entire life is work and it's very dog eat dog, or they're very subservient kind of people. Yeah. That, you know, don't mind that somebody's, you know, that intense and you know,

Curt:

Just tell me what to do and I'll do it. Yeah, yeah. So,

Mark:

uh, but whole lot of people,

Curt:

it won't work for most, most people. Yeah. And it ain't, I, I, I thought of the name for my, um, newest blog. I always come up with the name of my blog, first title, and then I write it out and it's three to 5,000 words. And, and, uh, September's is gonna be, Labor takes a vacation. And so I hope at some point during this conversation we can kind of talk, uh, inform my thoughts on, on the micro level, especially of what we can do to wanna not make labor, take a vacation. Hmm. Great. Because we're having kind of this labor shortage problem we've heard about and stuff. So anyway, let's come back to that. But I wanted to plant that seed and let it Marin in a little bit. Okay. So you're, um, so this new role in Colorado is, is it good you enjoy Yeah, I

Mark:

became the, uh, HR director for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. Yeah, I remember that part. And coffee. Yeah. So, um, now by the way, that was the perfect example of an organization that's not a good culture fit for me. they are a wonderful organization, great pay and benefits, um, world renowned, right? All of that kind of stuff. So it's not that they're toxic, yes. But they can't make a decision. They hate change. When they do make a decision, they're gonna revisit it and revisit and revisit it.

Curt:

Um, and, and you're like this whimsical guy that says we should have fun at work. And they're like,

Mark:

Well, I'm not even thinking we should have fun. I'm just thinking we should get something done So,

Curt:

um, they're no working government then.

Mark:

They're literally, and it's not government. It's a private, not proof profit governed by academic research organizations. Yeah. But anyway, the, uh, um, yeah, it's, um, yeah, it's not even really that, but, but at any rate, I remember driving up the mesa to the mesa lab up above Boulder for five months in a row thinking they pay me for my time. Hmm. They don't necessarily pay me to do anything they just pay me from my time because, you know,

Curt:

I didn't tell you what you had

Mark:

offer. Kind of, they just hated change. And so, you know, what I was trying to do was pretty monumental change in terms of the way they paid. And, um, but they asked for it. So then it's just a matter of Freddy and it, Oh gee, did we make the right decision? Let's revisit it. Okay. You know, and so I think it happened five months in a row and they kept coming to the same decisions somewhere in there. My boss is like, You are going toe to, to with PhD statisticians. I'm like, It's okay if I learn something fine, you know? Um, I can hold my own. I think, you know, um, not, not saying that I'm of that league, but I can hold my own. Yeah. And, you know, talk about compensation or whatever. But, um, but you know, they. Part of their process. Yeah. They feel like everything should be thorough and debated. Um, and so change is scary in organizations like that. Well, I love change. I like to move fast. Yeah. You know, and I really hate indecisiveness, so to me it was like, ping your head, I'm gonna stop wall Yeah. Yeah. So,

Curt:

uh, anyway, but struck me a little bit. When is this by now?

Mark:

Um, I was at Incar in the early nineties. Okay. Yep. And, uh, Yep. Did that for about five years. Okay.

Curt:

Yeah. But five months in, you were like, They pay me for my time. They paid me for

Mark:

my time. I don't think it was five months in. I think it was, you know, after they had asked for something and then I presented and they agreed. And then we, You tried and you tried

Curt:

and you tried five months. They're, they're dragging their feet and you're trying to drag 'em ahead and, Well, part of, Sure. You've changed a little. But just not like you imagined, I suppose.

Mark:

You mean that Incar? Yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah, for sure. Um, there are things that we put in place that are still happening today and uh, it's kind of fun to look back. Nobody will remember that there was a Mark Weaver that was involved in this. Yeah, that's totally okay. Um, but I do this thing, which is something I learned working for K Crosby. It's like you wanna make quality happen, you form a quality improvement team. Hmm. Okay, great. So we wanna make work life balance happen. Form a council on family and work, wanna have wellness happen. Great. Let's form a wellness team to evaluate, you know, You know, So I had about five different teams going there, just like I would've at Crosby. And, uh, so people would say, uh, you know, that nothing ever changes at Incar. Yeah. But when you get people involved informally like that mm-hmm. Even just that, and you get those things Yeah. You get buy in, it starts having more weight to it. For sure. So that was, um, so I, I basically did my Crosby thing at Incar still thinking it was hr. Right, Right. Not knowing that it really was more about culture and maybe more organizational development than, uh, than HR

per

Curt:

se. Yeah. And in a place where organizational development wasn't really that welcomed nor wasn't needed. Comparably, you know, comparable to a high growth organization like, uh, you know, Encompass or a Old Town media or some of the clients. Yeah. I know that you have around here like. Even if you do your job magically, the degree of change that you're gonna find desired and receptive to is not nearly like when you're scaling from a 10 to a hundred bet to 250 to 500 employees, whatever. Yeah. So anyway. Very true. I digress. But, but I mean that, I'm sure that we've all seen those state old organizations Yeah. That's kind of part of their DNA is to not change

Mark:

very fast. Yeah. Well, and it's an academic research institution. Um, you know, the board of trustees are all from member universities that, that are part of the consortium that governs ncar. And so, uh, you know, to get the board to group to agree with you means you're dealing with academicians. Right. Same thing, you know? Right.

Curt:

Don't like change. And even that board member kind of reports. Other people at their organization as to what their preferences are for their involvement in this realm, because they're, and some of those

Mark:

were private comp or universities that have a lot of money and some were state funded that were on budget cuts and so, Right. So yeah. The, the other fun part with it was that, um, in order to change any policy or get a benefits change or a, uh, like next year's salary increase budget. Yeah. Any of those three things, you had to go through the administrators' committee, which is the business managers for each of the scientific departments, the scientific direction heads or the, the Incar Director's Committee, the Ucar office of the president and his president's council, the personnel committee of the board, the full board, and the National Science Foundation, because 50% of the funding came from nsf. And the fun part was the board only met four times a year, so you had to plan your life out about how long will it take me politically to get through all of this? Wow. To be ready to go to. the board and, you know, twice a year the board was in DC twice a year the board was in Boulder. And so, you know, it's, um, yeah. You know, now it may have changed. Just been years since I've been there. Yeah. Um,

Curt:

I, uh, I was just reflecting back to, uh, Ellie Naz was my first intern. She was working on her master's at CSU when she answered my ad for a, a marketing and administrative intern back in the day. And, uh, we, we talked about some topic about around HR and this and that, and, and we kind of come to a conclusion about how we should do it around here. And she's like, Well, we should, you know, think about making that like part of our. Thing and I was like, We just done did Like that's all the bureaucracy that there is. If me and you agree, it's done. Yeah. there ain't no more than that. Yep. Yeah. So anyway, uh, much different process. Yeah. Um, so, but for somebody

Mark:

who likes speed and likes the size of this Yeah. Likes change. Yeah. You can imagine there was

Curt:

like slow agony, moderate. No, I

Mark:

stayed for five years because I had a boss who I adore and I still do. Um, we're supposed to get together this week. Right. Um, she lives in the springs. I live up here. We meet, I don't know, once or twice a year. Yeah. Um, and so. It didn't bother me too much. Yeah. Because I really enjoyed her. Um, so, which by the way, also that's a good, interesting.

Curt:

Yeah. Yep. People leave bad bosses and they stay longer than they might otherwise and work harder than they might otherwise for good bosses. Yeah. You know, average bosses are fine. People don't leave them necessarily too much. They just kind of tolerate and maybe they'll get a different job or whatever. Yeah. But they don't intentionally like find a way out like they do with bad bosses. Oh, you bet. You bet. But you had a good boss, so that boss doubled your stay

Mark:

You know? It did, It did well, and, and it was funny because even when I took my next job, which was at Puter Valley Health System, Okay. Um, when I took that job, they still wanted me to stay on. Um, and tried to get me to come back and all this fell back a little bit, but even they were like, Well, for a month or maybe I think it was a month, might have been longer. Can you work one day a week here and four days a week there? And I agreed to that. I will never do that again. And anytime anybody ask me about that from a career coaching standpoint, I'm like, No. Pull the bandaid off, do whatever and I'll just cut it. Uh, cuz you really feel like you have two full-time jobs. Yeah. People are calling you all the time for both places. But the funny part was that had ended. And I still went to the next board meeting to make a presentation on something that I had been involved in. Mm-hmm. because it takes forever to get through to that point. And after I gave the presentation, then the, um, associate director of Incar informed the board that I would be departing and that I had given my resignation was like, I don't even work here anymore. Like six weeks ago was the last time I whatever. But that's how much they don't like change, you know? Right, right. So didn't want that, didn't want that change either. So like know, I actually already left.

Curt:

We tried our best to claw him until he wouldn't leave. Um, and so, so we're getting down, you know, now into the early two thousands, I guess, or almost late nineties. The late nineties, I guess. I Cause in that 2000 is when you went to this other place. Yep. Yeah. And so P VH starts and.

Mark:

Uh, mid nineties, about 95. Okay. Through the end of

Curt:

99. So another five year

Mark:

tour or something? Yeah. Um, you know, when people talk about, um, generations that change jobs, I was Okay, well, I'd fit in that too. five years that a shot. I, I think, I think that that whole concept of working someplace for life changed in my dad's generation. Yeah. Um, it's not a new thing at all. Um, he stayed at the same place for 25 years, you know. Yeah. Um, but I never stayed on a job more than five. Yeah. Your

Curt:

path is pretty similar to mine in some ways. I started my banking career in Fort, well before Fort Collins, a couple years before Fort Collins and what, 99 or 98 I guess. And then oh three was a move. Oh, seven was a move. Mm-hmm. you know, so that same kind of thing in five to seven years and then, you know, jump ship after a while. Yep. Um, like you did. And so I guess we kind of talked already about. The consultancy you were at right before open doors. So, and the where we left off, if I remember correctly, was, you know, did you have this thing like drawn out, ready to go? You had a plan, you knew what you wanted to do with your life after that

Mark:

buyout, You know, there were actually some things that, that caused it to morph. Okay. Over time, um, one of them was a deal that my prior employer, um, had asked me to do. Um, Okay. And when they first did, I was like, um, why this? So

Curt:

they contracted

Mark:

back to you from Yeah, they were, Well, they're asking me to contract with a former client. Yeah. That I, that knew me. I knew they were board and everything. And so, uh, why do you want me involved? Well, because if they used any other consultant, That consultant could then try to take everything, the rest of their business, and you can't

Curt:

Right. So I was like, You're only one

Mark:

dude. Good. Um, but what had happened, they, this was a large notfor profit in Weld County with about 165 employees at that time. And they were notified that they'd be getting a, uh, budget cut from the state of about 200,000. Okay. And so in their brain, they had to lay off 10 to 12 people mm-hmm. just to be safe. And so, That that was the thing. Come help us manage the layoff, layoff, help figure these layoffs out, help figure out who we should be laying off. We don't want to get sued, We don't want be on the front page of the Greeley drip. Too much. All this. And I told them that's the wrong answer. Um, what you should do is allow me to form a team, cuz that's my thing. Quality improvement team, you know, let me found for a team that will take this place apart and put it back together for long term viability. At the time I was on the board of Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance or in c and I already knew the state budget was gonna be a mess. Time was like a cut. It's like, yeah, yeah. If you, if you just lay off people, you'll be laying off people in a year again. And so, and then two years after that, things that we can do to fix this. And so, um, are

Curt:

you allowed to share this story or the type of organization or is

Mark:

that Yeah. Actually ended up in HR magazine, weirdly enough. Okay. Well let's, So, um, yeah, the, uh, this was Envision, um, which helps people with developmental disabilities in Oak County. And, uh, the, the executive director, uh, Betty Lou is now retired, but, um, but the end, the executive director today was actually on my team. Okay. So, uh, so there's, you know, a legacy there of stuff. Um, that's kind of fun. But anyway, um, that's what we did. We formed a team. I told them I want passionate people. I want the informal leaders that other people hide behind. Even the whis. I'd rather have 'em at the table. You know, I need their, I need their buy-in, I need their ideas. And so it was a little bigger team than I wanted. And we met twice a week, which is pretty often. Wow. But we needed to get this done in about a month. Wow. And so, um, so yeah, met twice a week for an hour and a half. We found enough, um, enough missing revenue that we shouldn't be missing. Oh, right. And cut enough costs. In the end, there were only three people laid off, but the budget cut was actually double what they thought it was gonna be, which means it would've been 20 to 24 and Right. That

Curt:

loan services would've been harmed a lot by that kind of a cut. Imagine.

Mark:

Yeah. Yeah. So, um, you know, and, and it was a lot of fun. I love doing teams like that. Yeah. Um, so anyway, you're pretty

Curt:

weird, uh, mix between that highly analytical and very systems integrating thinker and very people first notions.

Mark:

Yeah. Well, like I said, that kind of started in high school. I could do math, I just didn't like it Right, right. So, yeah, fair enough. But, but anyway, I, um, you know, there were ideas that they came up with. There were also ideas that they probably don't know where they came up with cuz I interjected them. Yeah. And that's completely okay. Yeah, that's allowed. Yeah, for sure. Because I, I want them to feel like they, um, they own that, but, you know, so there were, there, there were just a variety of things. In fact, it was kind of funny. At one point I remembered thinking. Okay. I understand how Medicaid reimbursement works, and I know a lot of this is Medicaid. I, Yeah, yeah. Worked for the hospital before. You wanna maximize reimbursement, Not illegally, but you sure wanna get everything that you're allow. Yeah. And so I just asked during one of our meetings, who does your translations? We must do a lot of those in World County, right? Um, oh yeah. We do a lot of translations. Who does that? Our admin assistant. I'm like, Hmm. So what happens if translations shift over to a certified case management tech? Now to get certified as a case management tech isn't a huge deal, by the way. Um, you know, it's, it's a few months, right? But it's an official thing with a state. Well, all of a sudden it's a hundred percent reimbursable, which I knew it would be. Oh. And so that's part of what I mean about missing revenue. Totally. You know, so, So anyway, so you know, there were just things like that, contracts that they had been ENT to enforce because we might lose whatever, and I'm like, No, no, you got a budget cut. So, Often when I do these things, what I'm trying to find out or what are the hassles that people see, because those are the things we've just left alone to fester. Huh. And if we can get at those, we'll find that cost drop and morale goes

Curt:

up. We just had a speaker in one of our chapters today that I visited, and she was all about operations and process documentation. Uhhuh but really centered around the pain points of the people. Yeah. And addressing them. And so even though you brand yourself, or not necessarily I said it, you didn't, but like a culture guru, there's a lot of like. Process and integration of, you know, how are you suing your customers and who are they, What do they care about? Right. In your DNA as well.

Mark:

Yeah. Well, and again, it's Crosby. Crosby used to say, if you listen to the people in the trenches, you'll hear their hassles fix the hassles and quality improves. Finances improve, and morra goes off. And so, so I still remember that very well. I remembered like, Morra goes up. Cool. You know, so that's, that was my trigger, right? That was the thing that I got, uh, you know, really caught me, I guess. Uh, but it's true. And so that's what I started with is finding what were the hassles. And so once you start hearing what the hassles are and you start fixing those, okay, everybody's aware that we're in cost cutting mode and it's a drag, but wow, that hassle went away, right? Because I told the board

Curt:

right, what cost run. Cost cutting. Makes it harder to do my job, then it's a pain in my ass. But if it actually is hassle elimination. Yep.

Mark:

Well, I told the board we can reduce costs and have morale go up and they didn't even like what like you can. And so, you know, it was fun with, so those things anyway, that, that ended up in HR magazine, um, in November of 2012. So, And how does that

Curt:

happen? Like, like did somebody pick up on a story? Did, did you like, spend, send a bunch of money to HR magazine? I did not.

Mark:

Honestly, I don't know that I would've cared that much about HR Magazine. That sounds horrible. But, but there, there's a lot in the HR space, there's a lot in the HR space that, that, um, just doesn't get the result that I'm looking for. Um, and so, and, and you know,

Curt:

I, I, well and hrs kind of split between. culture and compliance, like you say, and you're not. Well, to

Mark:

a degree it is the reason I made that statement, by the way, that sounds horrible. But, uh, but there are HR people who get so focused on the control role mm-hmm. that is necessary, but then they become control, um, as if they are the ones holding it all together. Mm. I've worked with companies who had an HR person who would say, you know, I'm the only one who can solve the problems. And I'm like, Oh, you're sending the wrong message, you know, need to be right. Empower the manager. Make the manager a hero. You know, you, that you don't need to be the person that everybody runs to. So anyway, um, that's, that's kind of my issue is that sometimes, you know, in the profession you can have that. Um, so because of that, I really didn't care much about if I was in HR Magazine or not. Right. I didn't think I ever would be. Um, you know, I, uh, I've had different times of, you know, weird notoriety and I can talk about that some other time too. But anyway, um, Somebody I know said, Hey, HR magazine is looking for stories on da da da da da, and you did that thing. Yeah.

Curt:

Um, would you be willing to tell that

Mark:

story? Yeah. You ought to email 'em. So I'm like, Okay. I'll email 'em. Yeah. And that's, that's how it happened. I really didn't think I'd hear anything back. I instead, I'm like, Hey, the editor wants to interview you and, and do a, you know, an interview for the, our article. And I'm like, Okay. And then I'm thinking, you know, it's just like a little snippet or something. Um, they ended up, um, focusing on five different organizations, one of which was envisioned meant me. And, um, and it's, you know, your basic little panel thing that says, Here's what we did. And they're quoting me, Mary Lou and me and Sure. Um, and all that. And so, you know, my big point was buy in and you get buy in because you involve people. And so I was using words like inclusion before they met what they seemed to mean today. Yeah, Yeah. And, you know, I have to take away from that. But by inclusion, I wasn't mean D Dei, it wasn't meaning included in decisions that impact your job and the way workers done. Um, but anyway, so it was the, the art. Cover article was called Business Transformations Take Flight. So if I was ever gonna be in HR magazine, right? Even one on business transformations was really cool because I love business transformations. So anyway, but when I'm doing the interview with her, um, halfway through it or so at one point she stops me and she said, You don't talk like an HR person, And, and I laughed and said, Well, why is that? Because I kind of thought I did. Um, and later on she's like, Where did you get this way of doing things? I'm like, Oh, it's not original. You know, I worked for this quality guru, best selling author early in my career, Philip Crosby. I drank the Kool-Aid, whatever. Um, and so the next day I was at the. And I, um, ended up talking to a CSU professor from the College of Business and I was just joking about, Isn't this weird all my life I thought, I've been in HR and I got HR magazine telling me, You don't sound like HR Right? Why am I, Anyway, And um, so he wanted to know what it was about and I said something about Crosby and um, his response back was, You worked for Crosby, you you need to talk Crosby. I'm like, you know, well he's dead you know, his point was we still teach his stuff in the business school. Right? So, um, somewhere in that, that's about when I started going, Hmm, maybe I'm really not HR in terms of what people typically think. Maybe I really am more culture. Yeah. And so that's kind of where. You know, got it through my head that maybe what I've been doing all along. I mean, I look back at Incar now. Yeah. I look back at things I did at other places and think, gee, I still used the same ideas. I still used the concepts. I still was trying to change the culture, not just change things. Yeah. So, uh, anyway, um,

Curt:

I like that I, I, we have such a r i I was a banker as you know, for 15 years and even during my career, occasionally people would, would say something like, or especially afterwards, would be like, You sure don't seem like a banker to, to me. You know? And that's what people were saying to you. You sure don't seem like hr. Yeah. Something else. I

Mark:

think I used to try to convince people I really was. Yeah. And now I'm like, No, I really. You know? Yeah. I can talk hr, I can, Yeah. Um, but I think I'm really more about the organizational organization's culture. Okay. Um, and including people where you need to make changes. And so that example, um, I've had plenty of other clients that I've done a team like that with to address a particular issue. Um, and, and it's interesting because. I call them solutions teams when I do them. Okay. Not solution, because I'm not looking for one Yeah. Yeah. Looking for solutions. Right. And uh, but you know, I've done them at CSU Police Department.

Curt:

Yeah. Sounds like. So even, even like any company, basically 10 employees or more, you would like make a team first and figure out who those kind of informal leaders are and really get down to brass tax about what is the culture like here? Yep.

Mark:

Well, and not even what is the culture like or what are your hassles? Yeah. And, and it may be that you've got a budget cut or you've got new competition or you've got a problem hiring people or Yeah. Or you know, how

Curt:

do we increase service and you need to get awareness

Mark:

or, and so it's really normal business realities, not necessarily HR things. Yeah. And that's part of where I'm going, Okay, this. Really hr, I mean, I, I helped envision, take, envision apart and put it back together for long term viability. That's not HR

Curt:

culture and organizational solutions group.

Mark:

something, something like that. Who knows? I know.

Curt:

Um, so if you were going to try to, like, first, we have a lot of small business owners that listen to this podcast. What I'm imagining is if you were gonna do like a, if you were a business owner in listening and you wanted to do like a self examination or a, you know, am I good here? Am I bad here? Like, or even just thoughtful of some best practices and things that are organization wide, like whether they're a five or 20 person organization or a 500. What are some of your like principles and markers and things like that for identifying, you know, how, where we're, where the patient is at and what we need to

Mark:

do from here? Well, the difference. Between what I do in a patient analysis is there's not necessarily a, a bad, um, because, you know, the, the company I described earlier with the husband wife team Yeah. If you are clearly wanting to only hire workaholics and you're very honest about that. Yeah. And you do and you advertise that way, you onboard people that way. You reinforce it and, and that becomes, this is who we are and you're real clear about it. That's not a bad culture fair. You know, people who fit love it. Right. And they would hate it if it got soft and squishy or something, you know. So, um, so, but what I do is I try to understand the culture. When I start working with a client, I have a tool that I've developed. Um, I will be changing the name of it, but I call it higher values, h i r e values. Okay. Um, the reason I'm changing the name is because I, I, I've by, I've had the tool, I've worked with a tool for 20 years, you know. Yeah. But, uh, but, uh, it. I don't use it just for hiring. I use it often to assess a company or to see how our leadership team is aligned or whatever that may be.

Curt:

Yeah. Yeah. And uh, that sounds like a good, uh, discount weed store, by the way. Uh, higher values. Um, Ooh. Yeah. But higher spelled the other way. anyway. Sure. Digress. Yeah, that could work. So, so you use this assessment

Mark:

tool? Yeah, I, I use that, first of all with the owner of a company and the executive team. Mm-hmm. because I want to know, you know, kind of what, what do we want to be like? Mm-hmm. um, Not necessarily what are we like, but what do we prefer? Yeah. What do you aspire to? Yeah. Now, when I said I've been working this tool for 20 years, um, there was a point where I used to just do it as a spreadsheet and you just ranked, ordered 20 different culture terms. Cause I had identified 20 different cultures and how they kind of interplay with one another. Um, I got it all. Um, we got it on one system and about switch to another. But, um, but it, you know, it's just a, a form fill that you do. But I use the concept of paired comparisons or stepwise comparisons. Mm-hmm. which when you have a bunch of things to rank order, it's hard to do it's hard to rank order 20 good things. Well, some

Curt:

things aren't as comparable to you as others. Yeah. Or they're not as well defined. Yeah. So you just wish 'em lower, even though they might be actually more

Mark:

resonant. But paired comparisons actually pairs every single term against the other. So it makes for 190 comparisons and to mix it up good. It's all randomized and synonyms are used for all those 20 words too, so you just don't get too monotonous. But I tell people, if you overanalyze this and start looking up definitions of words, it will take you an hour and a half and you'll hate me. It's not my goal. You know, just the

Curt:

word you like more five or it's like at the eye doctor A or B. Yeah. B or A.

Mark:

Yeah. Well, and it's like, you know, Oh, I can't decide. Just pick one. Who cares? Right? We got 190, you got exactly like, one's not gonna matter, five's not gonna matter. Just, just get it done. You know? Um, but what that then tells me is, you know, what are the things that are a priority and what are the things that aren't? Yeah. Um, now if the owner does that and everybody on that team does that, and they're all fairly well align, Cool. Yeah. If the owner does that and the executive team are not aligned, then I need to figure out what does that mean? Right. You know? Um, so it's not that there's a right or wrong answer to any

Curt:

of it. And does that mean like does that mean you try to either bend the owner into

Mark:

No, I get into a, Yeah, I get into a discussion with the executive team to, to really say, what are we, And then I have other questions that I ask them and, you know, things like that. But basically what I'm trying to come up with is who are you? Yeah. You know, who is the organization? And then once we decide who that is, what do you see? You know, what's, what's the vision? Hmm. Um, and then how do you take those things and make them real? And so I have different things that I do with it. I, you know, some, some consultants will do a strategic planning session or whatever and Yeah. Yeah. And, you know, take a day or two to come up with a mission, vision, values, and, um, much of that work. Um, Sometimes it's good. Sometimes it's just like everybody else's. Just generic. Right.

Curt:

And I did it before. Yeah. I've done the mission, vision, values exercise a bunch of times. I know. I've been on a few boards. This like, and it's in the spdc, you know, thing, the business planning thing. And it's important Yeah. To do. And it isn't necessarily bring that much clarity.

Mark:

Yeah. Well, what I do, and I can get obnoxious with it and not mean, but you know, like you could tell me, Well, we do the best, da da, da. I'm like, Yep. Well this company does too. So what makes you different? Well, da and we hire the best people that company says they do. What makes you different? You know, and just, I just keep pushing and pushing until, you know, until we come up with, this

Curt:

is who we are. This is the real definition of us. Yeah. Yeah. Both who we are. You, you don't focus as much on who we are now as who we are, who we aspire to be in some way. Sounds, Well, I wouldn't say

Mark:

that I, because, uh, I have about a 10 step process to define the culture. Hmm. Wow. One

Curt:

of them's history. Are you? Using like tools that you've developed? Yes. Are you stealing stuff from Crosby from back in the day, little different trainings and stuff? Are you just kind of an inventor of ideas and workshop

Mark:

tools and I actually don't use that much of Crosby. Yeah. I, I do a little bit if I get down a path, you know, that requires that. But you know, in his day what he would say is your people have to know who you are. What you value and where you're going. Right. And so he would, I import, you know, he would say this is important, but he didn't actually say, Here's how you go do it. Right. And so I have different tools that I've developed that are the how do you do that? You know what I think? Yeah. Yeah. And um, and then I pull a lot together. You know, I can tell a lot from that higher values exercise. Sure. Um, but it's just words. So then what does it mean to you? So like, if you rated customer service high, do you mean the customer's always right and we bend over and kiss their butt, Right. Or do you mean we're gonna do exactly what we said and so be happy with that because that's what we agreed to. And both are good customer service, but which do you mean? Right. Right. You know, so all kind of words are like that. Um, I have achievement in it. You can mean personally I want to get ahead and somebody else might be, I wanna be part of a team that changes the world. Right. And it's not all about me. So, So it does require discussion and in a

Curt:

lot of precision of language or, or under awareness of what, you know, achievement means to you. Yeah, to me.

Mark:

Well, it's funny because I don't know, back when I first. Had it online, I decided to have, um, the developer of it allow you to hover over words that would give you a definition. Mm. And then people are taking an hour and a half right. That's, this is, can't do that.

Curt:

Increase my website times

Mark:

get it done faster. So, so anyway. Um,

Curt:

so yeah. Fair enough. Um, I guess you were kind of continuing on a track of, of what examining your culture looks like and that path. Um, it seems like you're a little bit agnostic. Like you're kind of like, even if your culture is what I would perceive to be stayed and kind of aggressive and workaholics, uhhuh, I can help you build that if that's what you

Mark:

want. Yes, that is true. I was like, where are we going with the agnostic part, but I get it. Yeah. I don't believe there are that many companies that are toxic. There's a few. Yeah. Um, for the most part, when somebody feels that the environment's toxic, it's just foreign to them. Right. Um, and they've landed in a place. That they feel deceived by. Right. Because you advertise this way, you know, and I get here and it feels this way. Ugh. I feel right. You know, whatever. And, and I can take just one issue pace. So if you advertise a job to say that we take time and we're very thorough, and I hire somebody who takes time and is very thorough, and they come in and you're wanting, you know, Right, right. Speed. They're feeling like, ah, you know, everybody's like on my back. You know? That feels toxic. It's not toxic, It's just foreign. Same thing. True and reverse. If you, you know, hire the fast-paced thing and, and then the fast-paced person comes in and we can move, you know, and they're like, drag my fingernails across the chalkboard kind of thing. Yeah, yeah. You know, it's, uh,

Curt:

you know, um, my buddy got a job, uh, working for the city of Fort Collins mm-hmm. In their like HVAC maintenance kind of thing after working in private industry for a long time. Yeah. But then he, his wife got pregnant and they were gonna have a baby. He needed health insurance and a little better job and whatever. And he couldn't stand it. Like when he worked even kind of hard, like all of his coworkers were like, Dude, you're making us look bad. you know, their culture was take it easy most of the time. And so he ended up working for New Belgium and found a much more Yeah. You know, he actually took a slight benefits cut in the same pay to go to New Belgium. Cuz he is like, I just can't stand it there, like tapping my brakes all the time. Yeah. So I has to fit in with the crew. Yeah. And, and that, that's,

Mark:

that's kind of what I mean bad. Yeah. Um, now again, that probably didn't feel toxic to him. It wasn't that bad. Yeah. But it wasn't right for him. Right. And so what I prefer is, To see people know who they are, stay true to who they are, and be picky and have companies know who they are, stay true to they are, and be picky. Cuz when we both do that, everybody's gonna be

Curt:

happier. I've been using, uh, person descriptions at local think tank even actually ever since Ellie, uh, that intern I mention Uhhuh. And so like trying to describe the person that they are and the culture that we are and if they see a match, then it's a better chance that there's a match. Then I'm gonna be a bank teller at a bank or whatever. Yeah. So, but there's danger in that too, because you might eliminated a lot of candidates because you missed somebody because of how you described

Mark:

that. Yeah. See that doesn't bother me at all. No. Um, and it's funny, I have an account with Indeed, of course I help some clients find people. Yeah. Um, I have an applicant tracking system that is white labeled to look like the client and so I care about all. But, um, indeed will constantly, Oh, we need to discuss the way you've got jobs posted. You might be turning off some people who might be otherwise qualified. And I'm like, Good, good. Exactly. Just why sort through them if they don't like it. Terrific. So on a lot of ads, and I don't do this all the time, but on a lot of ads at the bottom of the, of the posting, um, I'll actually say this will not be the right opportunity for those who Right. That's awesome. And have five or so self-identify there and just about, and I mean all the way to executive C-suite level people. When I ask, what is it about the job that got your attention? Ooh, the bottom of that that advertisement. Oh, like, don't like any of that stuff. Like, Perfect. And the reason that is, it's the same reason there's political attack ads. Our brains tend to think what we don't like and, and unite around that probably more than they do what we do like. And so, um, So it's just, it is what it is. It's negative. I guess That

Curt:

pain thing is definitely stronger. Sometimes it is pain. Yeah. Fear is also stronger than hate even kinda. Yeah. Um, so I think this has been great. I've learned so much about what it really means to check that out. Um, we usually tell me anything more you would like to about open door or otherwise we're gonna transition into some of the closing segments.

Mark:

Okay. Well, let's see. Uh, as I mentioned, I do very different things for different clients. Yeah. Most of my clients are in Northern Colorado. Not all. I've got some out of state. Yeah. Um, I. Absolutely love doing things live. I can do virtual meetings and I did the whole covid thing. I was doing Google Meet before there was a covid, you know, So it's not like that's, that's new or strange, but, uh, people first

Curt:

and well, yeah, this is better than,

Mark:

but I also feel like I get a better understanding when I can be on site. Yeah. And so I joke about with my clients being about as inside as an outsider can be. And I feel like if I get invited to the Christmas party as an employee, then I'm doing well

Curt:

Yeah. Yeah. So, well you were mentioning you go to trade shows sometimes and represent the organizations and different things like that. And so I think you're. From the people that you've introduced me to that are mutual acquaintances, Uhhuh you're part of the team. Uhhuh. So, uh, I appreciate that. That's a different thing than most consultants.

Mark:

I, I love that part.

Curt:

Um, oh, and do you ever work with people, individuals to find their SuperDuper fit or not really? That's too Okay. So only if they're good friends.

Mark:

No, I, um, I do career coaching as a give back. So I do it as, you know, free. Okay. I don't mean, you know, this long protected thing like a real career coach would do. Yeah. Yeah. Um, but. I've worked in a company where I've gotten laid off, um, with a non-computer on my neck. Um, I've worked for a company that went belly up and, um, you know, now what? So I do know what that feels like to not be in control of the decision and to not actually know what the next decision is. Yeah. And, um, I know how important it is to get closure and move on. Yeah. So I started doing it. Um, you know, I don't advertise it. It's just, you know, somebody will hear about somebody and they'll say, Can you help my friend if I can? Um, but I started just doing it for people who were, who were, um, you know, separated from employment, surprisingly, something they weren't expecting. Yeah. Um, and again, I only meet with people once. I'll grab coffee, I'll leave 'em, buy the coffee, you know, and I'll tell 'em what's wrong with their resume. tell 'em what they should think of doing in terms of networking and what they need to be visible at or what they need to be doing with LinkedIn and blah, blah, blah, blah. Just advice. Um, But I also tell them that same thing. Know who you are, stay tuned who you are and be picky. But, um, so I do that is just something I offer. I've, it's expanded to include vets. That's hard, you know, coming, you know, from the armed forces where you have a, some trauma there some time.

Curt:

Yeah. But clarity about what you're supposed to

Mark:

do. You have a job that's so precise in humongous organization and there's no big organizations in this town, you know, so, so it's a little different. Um, but it's also included the stay-at-home parent who's decided to go back to work. Right. And occasionally, The kid who's out of college whose parents says, Can you help my son landed And so I do. So I do that just as an informal thing. That's cool. And, um,

Curt:

try to, I've been doing that as well actually because people saw me bounce around so much and wondering where I was gonna land. And so I've probably, you know, maybe a dozen people-ish tend me only that I've kind of just met with I I was asking myself as you were chatting there, do you use any tools, like do you use disk or Myers Briggs or some of those kinds of tools to help you help people know who they are in this journey and help teams connect? Or is that puffing smoking mirrors?

Mark:

No, I don't think it's puffing smoking mirrors and I've been licensed at one time or another with a whole lot of those. Okay. Um, and there's a lot of similarities between disc and predictive index and the colors thing and, uh, psycho geometrics. Right. And the animals, I mean, they're all, all got four parts and you can line 'em up pretty well. Um, so there's. Cheap versions of those that are easy to do that don't give you as much information. But I have not retained, um, any involvement with all any of those products. And there are some that I like more than others. Yeah. But I don't offer them. I think you can get a lot of that at the Workforce Center, you know, honestly. Yeah. And, uh, probably free, if I were doing it, I'd be having to join

Curt:

free tools. Fair enough. Yeah. Well, I'll tell you more about the HAIs relational intelligence tool that we've been using. Uhhuh. One of the reasons I've invested in it is cuz it's affordable, uhhuh, and super useful and simple. Right. Great. And easy to remember. I was just at a chapter meeting this morning and they, they challenged me. I was like, I got this new employee. And they're like, well, You guys need more orange on your team, if I remember right. The achiever entrepreneur. I was like, well, yeah. For a sales role. So just from a one workshop, they're already kind of incorporating in the way that they think about things. So anyway, I'll, I'll do that commercial in a time. Um, we always talk about faith, family, and politics in this podcast because we are because we are, uh, politically incorrect. Um, which would you like to start with?

Mark:

Boy, pick one. I don't care. I don't know.

Curt:

Let's talk about your family more. Uh, I don't think we even caught your wife's name along the way and Kathy and the Crk. See, Okay. Not that it matters. I probably won't write her name in the podcast description. Uh, do you guys have children together? We do. We have three

Mark:

grandchildrens. Okay. Uh, we have Lindsay, who just turned 29, a son, Danny, who's 26. Okay. And, and a daughter named Annie, who's 23. Danny and Annie. I like that. Right. You know, it was a crazy year. Um, he was Dan Daniel. She was Ann. She was actually gonna be named Abby. But some friends of ours adopted a baby three months before Annie was born. And that became Abby and came and we went to their house to welcome 'em home. Andre, like we decided to name her Abigail. We're gonna call her a and they're like, Great We should've, It would've been fine to stick with it, but, But this one really isn't Annie. It works. Yeah. But, but we weren't even thinking about rhyming names and it morphed and it's like, yes, we have rhyming kid names. How

Curt:

weird you guys were very, uh, consistent there. Like three years. Three years. Three years.

Mark:

Uh, it's actually two years and then we think we're done. And then four years and a bonus baby Gotcha. And I've always been very honest with any year the bonus baby kid That's awesome.

Curt:

She knows it. So one of the things I ask my guests is to do one word descriptions of their children. Are you up for that? Ooh. Okay. You wanna start with Lindsay Kind? Oh, I like it. And, uh, Danny. Intense, Intense. And Annie fun. I love you Annie. I'm the fun guy too. And tell me more about Cathy. What was the romance? Was this a college thing? Oh, no. Was this is a workplace romance at Crosby?

Mark:

No, it was actually before Crosby. Okay. Um, we met at General Mills. Okay. Um, what had happened was less than a year before I left, General Mills started divesting themselves of things and they divested themselves of restaurants that I was working with that we had acquired. Mm-hmm. Um, and ultimately, of course you probably know they divested themselves a Red Lobster and Olive Garden. There is no restaurant division of General Mills. But anyway, so it's all shrinking. Um, Yeah. And. I got moved to a different office. Not one I wanted to be in, but mine disappeared. I mean, the whole thing

Curt:

was gone right? We're not thinking about buying new restaurants, so we're gonna quit doing analysis on buying

Mark:

new restaurants. Anyway, I was like, That's gone. So I ended up in this division called Creative Dining. Okay. Working for somebody that I didn't really respect a lot. Mm-hmm. Um, and this was really no fun, but I told my boss, um, who had been my boss before that, um, give it about six months and. Six months, the offer from Crosby came through. So, so the timing was kind of funny. Like, I, Wow, that was good. Um, but anyway, there's this, um, young woman named Kathy working there. She doesn't work for me. Um, but we talked a lot. She was very sweet, very nice. Um, we look back, actually even back at the time, we didn't think we were each other's type, if you will. Yeah. Um, I, uh, she was kind of the girl next door and I was like, I went the one off the cover of Vogue and I had actually was dating somebody who looked like that, who was so stuck on herself. It was Right, Right. I wasn't having fun. So meanwhile, I have this woman named Sherry who's working for me. Um, and interestingly enough she was Jewish and uh, she's like, Look, I'll be your Jewish mom. You should go out with Kathy. She, she's a nice Christian girl. Yeah. Whatever, you know, she's dating somebody too, and blah, blah, blah, blah. And unbeknownst to me, somebody else in the department is telling Kathy, you should go out and work. And she's, you know, I wasn't her type either. She went for the football, you know, player guy, and I'm not that. Um, and so, uh, so anyway, we both left and it was actually later that we, you know, I heard she had gotten laid off. I'd actually quit, gotten to Crosby and, and, uh, she got laid off, which of course was happening Sure. And said, Oh, you wanna get together? And we got together and, and I had so much fun. I was not having fun. Yeah. And my, the relationship I was in. And so, uh, so I was like, Wow, that's how it should be. And

Curt:

you started talking about the fact that your Jewish mom was trying to set you up with her and her coworker was trying to set her up with

Mark:

you. Not yet, but I did have a time where, um, a roommate of mine and his girlfriend, and she was a good friend of mine too, and I, and somebody were gonna go to a concert. And so, um, The person I was actually dating wasn't available. So I was like, Hmm, I know what I can ask this girl Kathy, right? And so we go and we have a blast and go to the beach and you know, come back to drive. Really, If I think back on it now, it really sounds bad, but we get back to her house, walk Kathy the door, get back in the car, and, and the two of them, my roommate and his girlfriend are like, Dump

Curt:

Susan, Dump Susan.

Mark:

I'm like, Oh guys. But um, But anyway, just, you know, she's so

Curt:

hot. Your 22 year old self is saying. But anyway, yeah. So God bless of

Mark:

Kathy. But yeah, that's kind of how we ultimately got together. It took us a while to figure out that neither one was involved in the relationship that we had been in. Oh. And um, and so we actually became friends first. Yeah. Cool. And so that was neat. And I had a ski boat and so every weekend everybody's going skiing with me. Everybody like her and Right, right. Didn't like the other one. The social

Curt:

pressures we're building when something like

Mark:

that.

Curt:

Yeah. So that's awesome. Yeah. So, um, and any grandkids yet? Any of the kids married? Lindsay

Mark:

and her husband have one kid. Okay.

Curt:

Who is three. Awesome. That is Addison. Addison. And would you like to try on a one word description for Addison too? Ooh,

Mark:

Hmm. No. Hard to

Curt:

tell yet. Not yet. Too early.

Mark:

Not yet. Fair enough. She's, she's, she's not intense like my son, but she's pretty intense. Yeah. So there's probably a slightly. Less sounding word, but I don't know. Well, sometimes

Curt:

it doesn't come out strongly yet. By three years old. Yeah. Well

Mark:

she does Fair enough. Which by the way, so did our youngest. Thank

Curt:

you. So anyway. That's cool. So, um, faith or politics, Uh, what's your pleasure,

Mark:

Faith? How about that? Okay, let's talk about that. So, I am a Christian. Okay. I, um,

Curt:

I You don't have to say that apologetically. Oh, did I say that about? No, not really. I'm teasing you a little bit. Oh, I, I, a Christian Um, well, I remember the old Jewish mom saying, or Jewish mom saying, Hey, she's a good Christian girl. Yeah. So I'm guessing perhaps. Yeah. Was that all the, always that way?

Mark:

Um, no. I actually grew up in kind of a different religion, uh, called Christian Science. Oh, interesting. You know, metaphysical stuff. Yeah. Um, Christian science,

Curt:

all the Christian science reading rooms around every

Mark:

community. Yeah, every community. Yeah. It used to be a bigger thing than it is now, but you know, it's kind of stuck. Time warp, you know? Um, whereas the founder of at Mary Baker Ready was also the founder of the American Metaphysical Society that puts on, you know, what's called the new age fairs and stuff like that. Oh wow. So anyway, so that kind of evolved in Christian science. Kind of didn't, but anyway, um, but now I became a Christian in, in high school and so, Okay. Um, that's

Curt:

all been And was there anybody influential in that? It wasn't in your family, it sounds like, necessarily and it was No, no. Pre pre Kathy. So, can't give her credit necessarily.

Mark:

No. It was just a friend named Holly. Yeah. You

Curt:

know who Yeah. Invited to church one day

Mark:

with a, No, I didn't get to go to church for a while cuz I still had to go there. Oh

Curt:

wow. To the other thing. So you had an individual person witnessed to you about the Christian faith and that was. Led

Mark:

your, you know, she was just different. Um, I had had Christians Yeah. You know, condemn me for, you know, and, and, uh, I didn't, there was nothing I liked about that. Yeah. Um, she, I think that's common. Yeah. Um, she wasn't like that. She just, uh, she just loved Jesus. And so it was a and love people too. It was a different kind of person. Cause that's what he did. So, anyways. That's really cool. You know, I mean, there a whole, I mean, you could do a podcast on that whole story, but but anyway, but that's, that's

kind

Curt:

of who I am. Um, how do you practice your faith in northern Colorado here? Do you, you, Well,

Mark:

um, we're where you go to Antioch Oh, cool. Church, if you're familiar with them. Yeah. Um, one of the things I really like about them is, um, I like about us, I could claim myself there. It's not, uh, it's not really focused on politics. Yeah. So much. Yeah. And a lot of the things that seem very dogmatic, um, are, you know, they. I don't know. They, they just kind of focus back on

Curt:

Jesus. Yeah. They're, they're a faith in action kind of an organization would be one thing I'd say from observation. Yeah.

Mark:

They, uh, are for sure the, uh, there are more antiox around the world than they are in the us even though started Oh, is that right? Yeah. So it's very much a mission kind of movement.

Curt:

I was on a group with, uh, Stan Everett invited me to be on a group, like to relaunch NOCO kind of thing. And so we like bought gift cards and put cash infusions into local businesses various ways. And, and your guys had already kind of started working that program and kind of merged it in with Stan's thing. And there was a, a gal and her wife I met through that engagement. That was really inspiring to me. So for what it's worth, and I know, uh, Noah Hutchinson is one of our members and he was a big part of the anac. He he was that correct group, or maybe he still is. I don't really know. I think he is. Yeah. Yeah. Cool. So, well God, speed on that. And, uh, when's, when's the services if anybody wants to check it out?

Mark:

Oh golly. 10 o'clock on Sunday. But we're probably moving to more than one survey. Oh, getting full.

Curt:

It's, it's getting full. Yeah. And you guys were over in our lo old location, I think, uh, a Stover and Drake. That's where, That's where it is. Okay. Yeah. I went to the Crossing Church, um, back in the day and then like four weeks later they're like, Hey, we got a new building at Shields and Horse Tooth. And so I only went like four times to this thing, but, uh, we had merged with another church that had lost their pastor and stuff, and Okay. They were like trying to rent us their building a little bit and stuff. And ultimately they were like, Hey, can you just actually adopt us and we'll fold our church into your, and give us our building. Huh? And we said, Yeah. That's cool. Yeah. Um, so is that the church you're Yeah. The crossing? Uh, yeah. Just not too far from where you guys, but yeah. The previous tenant of your building was our church.

Mark:

Wild. Yeah. Um, gee, and I can't even think of her name. I have a niece named Ellen, and she's married So her name isn't Weaver anymore. Um, I'll have to look it up, but she goes there. She and her husband do. Okay, cool. Awesome. So, Oh, I'll

Curt:

tell you who it is later. We'll compare notes sometime. Yeah. Um, Anything more that you would care to share about your faith? Like what was, I guess, was it an intellectual decision or was it an emotional decision when you made that turn?

Mark:

Um, not trying to bash what I came out of, but yeah. Um, you, there are certain things you believe in, in that religion that are the way that they wrote or interpreted things

Curt:

that just ain't so really, or whatever. Well,

Mark:

it's from your perspective, just different it's say. Yeah. Um, but I grew up in it and thought it was all legit. And, um, this girl, Holly was like, Well, you gotta read the Bible and find out what it says for yourself. Well, I've never done that, so I. Reading the Bible as a senior in high school, or, or you, it's like, Wow, I can't actually say I believe Jesus in this So that was my conviction. Interesting. So that's, you know, where it really came down too. Cool. Yeah. Very good. But, but a lot of it had to do with her story. It got, it got me. Yeah.

Curt:

It kind of impact in her life and this and that or whatever. Yeah. Very cool. Well, let's move on to everybody's favorite. Politics. Politics, Oh. What do you wanna say about politics?

Mark:

I don't wanna say it's crazy and outta control. Yeah. And I don't know, I, I kind of feel like there's probably 90% of the population are moderate and then you get these extremes that are driving a whole lot of the dialogue and the discussion. And I would love to see that changed. Um, having been on the board of NCAA for five years Sure. Since been several years since that was the case, but, um, but I know a lot of politicians sat down with some of them hadn't had coffee. Yeah. And, uh, and you know, And they're good folks. Yeah. Even though I might not vote for them or agree with them, um, John Kals is actually one of my favorite politicians. Yeah. And the reasons is, well, he'll meet with you and talk about things and you can disagree and you don't have to hate each other, you know? And I, uh, so he puts himself out there as a representative. It's like, I think there's a lot of politicians who forget that they're actually supposed to be represented. I heard

Curt:

him say something one time in a, a North Fort Collins Business Association meeting Uhhuh where it was basically, my personal opinion is kind of this, but my district and those I represent don't agree with me. And so I'm representing them by taking this stance on it. Yeah. And I thought that was

Mark:

pretty cool. I have seen him do that. Um, back in the day when I was at ncaa, um, there were. There are a couple things that he did that, that went against his party. Yeah. I'm like, that just doesn't happen hardly ever Right. And, uh, so, you know, he's, he's, uh, he has some views that I don't agree with. Same. But I can share what I think and why, and he can share what he thinks and we can respect each other for that. So, so I love that.

Curt:

I think what I'm hearing there is that we should put people and representation of the people that we are supposed to represent ahead of the politics and the party. The strength of the parties is so extreme right now on both sides. Yeah. It's, And if you don't fall in line Right. Look at your reelection chances as being not so great. Yeah. Or getting out primaried. Yeah. You know, We'll, primary you if you don't fucking tow the line. Excuse my French. Yeah, it's true. And it's local too. It's not just national scale or even state scale sometimes in those realms. So kudos on the free thinkers out there.

Mark:

No, If I could, you know, poof and have something go away, it would be our two parties, Is

Curt:

that right? You'd make it six instead or something like that? You know, I would've loved it.

Mark:

Or no parties at all. No, no. it would be fun. Well, you know, there are things that we can't do, um, because for instance, um, we can't limit the amount of, of, uh, advertising or when it starts, right. Because of free speech. And so we choose free speech, but therefore it gets exploited like crazy. Yeah, yeah. Um, you know, in some cases it's just, I mean, it's just ads. It's not necessarily true and it's not the candidate saying it's at some group, you know, or whatever. Um, so I don't like that. I don't like. The fact that person status has been given to organizations. Mm-hmm. And yeah. A lot of times people will talk about businesses. I'm like, well, same thing's true of unions, by the way, Right? Something's true of of, of packs and all kind of different things. And so, you know, we grant person status to things that aren't a person, right. We don't really even represent the people. So if you, if General Mills is trying to lobby, for instance, their views probably don't represent the people who work there. Right. And they probably don't represent the stockholders shareholders, or you're in pension plans or whatever. And so whose voice are they? But yet they can carry a lot of clout. Same things. Exactly. True of a labor union, you know. They are way more political than they are actually representative of their groups. And so all of a sudden they can take a stance on something that could be very contrary to their members who are paying dues. Yeah. But there's, you know, so anyway, so I don't like, I don't like that I like people being persons instead of things being persons, but Fair enough, Fair enough, Fair enough. But I, I don't like how divisive it is and how polarized it is. Um, there was, I've been a democrat before. I've been a Republican before. I'm actually very happy to be an independent. Yeah. I've been one for several years, and. And, you know, and I've, I've lobbied, you know, and did some Right.

Curt:

NCAA and different things and before and after probably.

Mark:

Yep. And I've done some other things with other organizations I've, uh, lobbied related to comprehensive immigration reform, um, in Denver as well as in DC. Oh, cool. So, um, you know, so, and it

Curt:

like to make it easier to get across legally so that we don't have so much illegal, Is that kinda your

Mark:

sense? Our focus was more on the fact that there's 20 million people here. Right. What are we gonna do with 'em? Right. You know, from a humane thing. Right. From a way that, you know, and this was actually a Christian based organization was saying, you know, um, you know, the, these are people, these are, you know, you know, we, we've gotta think for humanity. You can't, you can't just say, get rid of 20 million people for one. Our whole economy would fall apart if we did that. But, but two, you know, we're, we're not treating them.

Curt:

Did you see the amazing way that, uh, Martha's Vineyard embraced and wrapped themselves around the, the planes full of migrants up there?

Mark:

You know, I actually saw multiple stories pop up on my news feed and I read none of them because they thought it's all playing politics, play all politics. It really is. Honestly, I've gotten to, to that where, you know, I, I have a newsfeed. Well, they're playing games.

Curt:

Yeah. Almost like real games. Did you get your tab refund yet? Uh, the cash from the state of Colorado. Like that's a political game right there. Mm-hmm. Of moving the tab refund up five months to be ahead of the election. Mm-hmm. After s and the Democrats try to kill Tabor and take it away, and Heidi fought to defend it, and then they're gonna get her own tool back to

Mark:

Bitr and it comes back looking like it's something that

Curt:

covers Right. It's signed by Jared Poz. Here you go. Just cause I love you Uncle Jar

Mark:

Yeah. I thought I laughed when I saw that. I'm like, why

Curt:

get this? Well, I laughed except for the fact that it's probably bought himself a quarter million votes with that. Unintentionally, maybe. Yeah, because people just don't know, They're not

Mark:

informed. Well, Trump did that with, you know, every made before too. So I think it got started. That's what always happens, is like somebody wants to say something about what one side did. Well guess what the other side did too. Oh, well, I, I talked to, and this is back awhile, but, um, when Obama was running the first time, I had an Obama staffer say something to me. And of course, like I said, I was in NCAA and all that. But my response was, um, you know what, I would probably be willing to vote just on principle for the person who did not go into the negative attack ads. And her reaction to that was, well, they started it right? It's like, uh, you all play in this nasty space. I don't like it.

Curt:

It's pretty gross. Well, and the bad thing is, is it keeps people. Um, my, I had a podcast with Tom Lucero actually just recently, and I was amusing on the notion of becoming a city council person in Fort Collins or something. Ooh. And I don't think I want to, It's not, it's not attractive, Um, both from a, from a work standpoint. In, in, you know, frankly, the thing he said was either your work, your relationships, or your politics or your political thing, one of 'em is not gonna be done well. Mm. And I was like, Well, is it okay if I get elected to be in city council? And then half it, cuz I don't want my work or my family to suffer Yeah. Anyway, I digress. Um, let's move on to the closing segment and, uh, that is the Loco experience, the craziest experience of your lifetime or moment or week or year that you're willing to share with our listeners. Oh, craziest

Mark:

experience. Wow.

Curt:

It may or may not involved tequila. It's up to you. if you wanna tell that story.

Mark:

No, but I got a funny story. I love it when, um, I'm in a group that you have to play, uh, true truth, truths and a lie, or whatever that is. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Um, because one of the ones I put in was that I, uh, placed in a national qualifying bodybuilders contest. Oh. And I did so

Curt:

Wow. Interesting. Yeah. So I didn't mean pretty well. You, I mean, you're built kind of like me, but you have muscles where some people have muscles, but like our bones were kind of bird men. Yes. But we, I bet you're kind of like me also in that, when I was in college, I, I had one semester and a weightlifting class. Ooh. And I went from 1 42 to 1 67 Uhhuh in a semester lifting two days a week. Yeah. And so all of a sudden I was like, ripped. And then, you know, so I quit working out after that. I didn't wanna have to buy those

Mark:

clothes. That's into Right. Great. I've been working out since I was probably 20, but, um, what happened was, Do you have time for it? Sure. This is a funny story. Yeah. So, At the time, my, this is like 10 years ago, um, the start of a story. My son was, um, you know, in high school playing basketball and he's was this tall, skinny kid and get, you know, getting tossed around and getting mad and hating it and all this. And I told him, If you will work out with me every day over the summer, you will go back to school in the fall with 15 pounds of muscle on. And I pulled that totally outta the air Right, right. You can guess it. I mean, I know when I started working out, I beefed up some, but, uh, but he did it. He worked out every day and, um, Everything changed. Yeah. He goes back to school and the football coach wants to talk to him. Um, the new cheerleader girl who moved into town, who the, who the cool jock was trying to get to go, said, No, I wanna go with, I wanna go with Danny And, um, you know, she, she was, she was pretty, she was smooth. They had superhero day and she wore a t-shirt that said, Danny's my superhero. And so he's feeling like, Wow. Right. His life is so good. Anyway, so then, I dunno, sometime next year, he is like, Hey dad, I wanna be a bodybuilder. And I'm thinking, Arnold Schwartz, nigger, and, you know, steroids. And they're like, Oh, no, no, no, no. Um, it's like, no, not that. There's a part of it called physique and you wear, you know, basically board shorts and you're not, you're not flexing, you're just posing. And, uh, I wanna try that. You know, will you help me? Sure. You know, will you do whatever? Um, so

Curt:

yeah. And you had worked out within that previous summer and put on 10 pounds yourself. Probably, even though you're an older guy by now's already working out. Oh, right on.

Mark:

Yeah. You know, I'd pretty much say the same, but I, um, anyway, so I, I, he finally competes and in the teen division at the Warrior Classic, which is a national qualifying event, he places fourth. So it's really good for his first show. Yeah. And there's, you know, a bunch of kids in that. And so, um, but you have to be in the top two to go to, to a national event. Okay. And so he, uh, you know, the next year he is like, Dad, will you do it with me? Right. And I'm like, Oh, Cru I never saw myself being on a runway, you know, um, let alone the spray tan and all that, so. Right, right. But I was like, Yes.

Curt:

So I did. So we love

Mark:

two So, but it actually was a really good father son experience. Um, he got into the super diet stuff and I'm just like, I am going to disappear if I eat this way. I'm not doing that. So I didn't go as wholehearted as as, uh, I could have. Um, the sad part was he was expected to place first or second, but his girlfriend of a little over a year decided that would be a good day to break up with him. And so his brain was so not into it. Mm-hmm. you know, I'm like standing off on side. He's

Curt:

the same girl that put the Danny's my super girl.

Mark:

No, I was a different girl. But anyway, so he was totally out of it. Same place, placed third and never competed again. Meanwhile, I placed fourth in the old fort division That's awesome. So it's like, well, I have a little,

Curt:

little plaque that is most suddenly old guy. That's pretty cool. Yeah. Was Kathy super proud?

Mark:

Um, I think she was probably super embarrassed actually.

Curt:

She didn't tell all her

Mark:

friends. I doubt it. Uh, I thought it was funny. I thought it was funny that here I am with orange skin. Right, Right. So, like, Donald Trump's got nothing on me, man.

Curt:

he doesn't, anyway, he doesn't know nearly as much about culture or he wouldn't have nearly as much turnover at the White House. Oh, okay. Hey, uh, if people wanna look. Open door and snoop you out. Maybe, uh, have you, uh, be some culture guru with them or, Sure. Or even just tell them stories about your body building days, how could they

Mark:

find you? That's all the stories. Actually, I shouldn't say that because the, I did a Ignite presentation for the Chamber and they videoed it, so it is

Curt:

really, Oh, it's baked in to digital history there somewhere. Somewhere. Yeah.

Mark:

it's fun. Um, no, if they wanna reach me, it's mark@opendoorculture.com. But also, you know, since we got into talking about higher values and that assessment culture, you know, I'd be willing to just, you know, have somebody take it and then better do it

Curt:

on me. Huh, Let's do it on me next. You bet. Soon.

Mark:

You bet. It's easy. So anyway, if anybody drops me an email market, open door culture.com. Cool. Um, I can send them the link

Curt:

to Also easy to find on LinkedIn and you get any, uh, social handles? Are you on the Instas or the Facebooks? Nothing, not so much. Market Open door culture.com.

Mark:

You can find me on, on LinkedIn more. Um, Sounds good. My younger daughter, um, was like, You ought be, you wanna have a Facebook page and, you know, all this stuff. So she set stuff up and did it for a while, but I, you know, I just, You might be a little out of date Yeah. But I, I really, you know, I haven't kept up with it. Yeah. Cool. Um,

Curt:

this has been fun. Yeah, Good time. Thanks for being here. And, uh, you know, welcome to the local experience, by the way.

Mark:

Yes. We're both speakers

Curt:

tomorrow night we are at the Disrupt hr. Hr. Yeah, we are. Which this will go out in like three weeks or four, and so this will be old news for them. Yeah. But yeah, it's cool that I, I, I've never really felt like an HR person myself, but this Halo system is really, Well, you'll see my commercial tomorrow, so I

Mark:

will more about it. Yeah. Well, and I think of, uh, what are you talking about tomorrow? I call it generational generalization, which is hard to say. And I gotta get that down before

Curt:

I was just in a conversation today talking about millennials and Gen G Zs and things like that, so yeah. That'll be

Mark:

fun. Well, hopefully I will blow up all your

Curt:

ideas. I hope so. So that's be good, sir. Good to have you here. All

Mark:

right. Thanks. All right.