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#040 – Intentional Leadership (with Ryan Townend)

Podcast Summary

 Welcome to episode 40 of The Working Well Podcast, the show that explores the rapidly changing landscape of work and wellbeing. Each episode, we dive into the hottest topics in leadership, employee wellbeing, and the future of work. I’m your host, Tim Borys. Today my special guest is Ryan Townend. CEO of William Joseph Communications.

Throughout our conversation, Ryan shares the lessons he’s learned about creating a vibrant corporate culture, hiring the right people, managing personal wellbeing, and how the values we curate and communicate each day are integral to each of these areas. Ryan is an accomplished entrepreneur and CEO with a growing agency that supports a global client list.

In fact, his business career began at the age of three in rural Saskatchewan when he began adding price tags to his coloring book pictures and hanging on the wall of his self-proclaimed gallery. In 2002, after earning a commerce degree from the University of Saskatchewan, Ryan moved to Calgary and co-founded William Joseph Communications.

Aside from their work with global businesses, the RPM and brand aid programs at William Joseph, help fellow entrepreneurs and not-for-profit organizations more effectively tell their story. 

Episode Links & Resources

Podcast Transcript

Ryan, it’s so great to have you on the Working Well Podcast. We’re gonna talk a little bit today about, well few things, corporate culture.

We’re gonna talk about your own wellbeing journey as this is the Working Well Podcast. I always try and tie it back to workplace wellbeing. But let’s talk about the, the bigger picture first, what is your definition of wellbeing? 

What is your definition of “wellbeing”

Wellbeing? Well, thank you for having me. My definition of wellbeing would be able to be able to sleep at night in peace.

I honestly think that when all aspects of your life are in harmony, you, you can fully throttle up, but when you go to sleep, you can sleep sleep well. So that’s when I know things are in alignment. Is that when you can Yeah. Close your eyes and, and, and just be able to, to, to relax? I think it’s, Our, our worlds are very complex.

We have so many demands on us, whether it’s at work or at home, or fitness in life. And trying to keep all the balls in the air is definitely a challenging thing. But when you’ve mastered the art and science of, of the juggle and everything is thriving, that’s, that’s when you’re doing well. Excellent.

Well,  I agree with that. Yeah. And, and wellbeing means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. What do you think that looks like within your organization? Yeah. Like, you know what, like at WJ we have this ecosystem of like such diverse, talented folks. We’ve got strategists and we’ve got researchers, and we’ve got social media folks and creative folks and all different types of people.

The Power of Diversity

And we always say at wj, like, we really celebrate diversity and, you know, With diversity comes different opinions and with different opinions comes like dialogue and conversation and, and conflict. And you know, we really want people to, to thrive. And so, you know, wellbeing at WJ is, is creating an environment and a culture where everyone can be themselves, showcase their opinions leave their ego at the door and contribute.

I think you want to contribute. With the clients that you work on, you wanna contribute to the agency and at the end of the week you wanna walk out and go, wow, I made a difference. Well, and you bring up a great point, especially in a agency environment. I said lots of creatives, but there’s also this performance aspect that, you know, you have to drive results.

Deliver results, and I think that’s something that gets lost a bit with. Wellbeing and their wellness in the workplace is, people think it’s this fufu thing that doesn’t have any business driving or business driver to it. And you know, yoga classes at lunch and, you know, the, yeah. All kinds of just random little things that aren’t driving the business from an organizational standpoint and CFOs are looking at it and saying, Why is this important?

It’s just a expense on the, on the p and l. Yeah, you know what, like it’s interesting, all of our William Joseph offices have like fitness facilities in the building. Like we encourage people to live healthy and, you know, healthy to one person might be hitting the gym healthy to another person might be going for walks.

Create your individual definition of health and wellness

I’m not really here to say what I think wellness and healthy is cuz I think it’s really different from each person and each friend that I have. But I do know that when you do live like a lifestyle that is healthy, however you deem that. You definitely are able to perform, and I’ve personally experienced this and you know, we just encourage, like, like mental downtime.

I, I think in our world it’s so intense, honestly, like the thinking, thinking, thinking clients deadlines that you will burn out. You absolutely need to rest. You need to play so that you can work hard. And you know, I learned early on. From a client. I showed up for a meeting once and she said to me, how was your weekend?

Stress and Burnout at Work

And I was like, oh, I’m so burnt out. And I worked all weekend and she literally closed her book and said, well, when you are rested and ready for this conversation, let’s talk. And she walked out and I was like, oh my God, what, what just happened here? And so it really reminded me about the importance of balance so that you can be present when, when you need to be on.

I love that, that story that is, that must have been shocking to you in the moment. And I, I see that in so many organizations, and a lot of times, particularly leaders don’t even realize they’re in that moment. It’s just because that’s the norm. They’re just go, go, go. You know, the weekends are catching up on work that they missed throughout the week, and then it just becomes this spiral.

Well, you’re on the hamster wheel, right? Yeah. And then the hamster wheel becomes the norm, and you’re just, you’re, you’re, you’re busy, but you’re not necessarily productive. And that’s something that I really take, take into consideration in my own life is it’s all about adding value. And so being busy isn’t always, Success.

And I hate that when people are like, oh, Ryan, I see you’re so busy. Ugh. It’s like that term just does not resonate with me. I’m very mindful and I’m very productive and where I put my energy and time, it’s either to, to drive our business, to drive personal goals, to spend time with friends. Like I, I don’t sit around and watch tv.

That’s true. But I’m very thoughtful where I put my time and energy. Yeah. And you know, we, we can talk a bit about your personal journey in a, in a little bit, but you’ve, you’ve gone through this health, fitness, wellbeing journey in your life. How has that changed how you see that in other people and in your organization?

Commitment and Discipline

Yeah. You know, like, again, I think like for me it came down to discipline. I think that was the one word. I was just always too busy to be healthy cuz I was on the hamster wheel. And when I started to realize things like discipline, boundaries, what’s appropriate, like, those were things that my personal journey taught me to bring into the workplace.

And so then I was like, okay, Ryan. Sometimes eating your veggies aren’t the best thing, but sometimes doing this report isn’t either, so let’s get that report done and clean it off. Oh, it’s done. Oh, I feel better now. You know? So, and then it was like, oh, I’ll do that tomorrow. I’ll do that tomorrow. No, you’ll do that today.

We’re gonna get that done today. So there’s just some life principles that I think I, I shifted at this point in my career and in my life that just affected health, wellness, worked right across the board.

I like how you said it’s putting it there are things that you, people often put off health and wellness being one of them, but tying it to the work environment, I think is a shift that a lot of people don’t make. They think wellness and wellbeing is separate from work. What insights do you have on that over, and I guess how that’s evolved for you?

Mm-hmm. Like, you know, I personally believe that you have one life to live. Just one life. Some of it you spend at home, some of it you spend during a career, some of it you spend doing different things, like you only have one life to live. And I think what happens is, is we get fall into this trap of doing what’s like urgent, not what’s important cuz it’s what’s screaming at you today.

Engineering Your Own Personal “Reset”

So then you just go and put all of your attention there. But when you’re very mindful and you step step back and you go, okay, I really want to reset my life to get the most value out of it. What does that look like? And it’s a bit of an like an engineering process where you literally start saying, okay, I’m gonna dedicate this much time to my career and these are the results I’m gonna look for, and I’m gonna dedicate this much time to my personal life and health and wellness, and this is what I’m looking for.

And it’s just a bit of a reset. So you sometimes you just have to stop the hamster wheel and you need to yeah, you have to come up with a new plan. Yeah. And, and I agree completely. Seeing that in the moment is easier said than done. When you are on the hamster wheel mm-hmm. All you’re seeing is the next rung from that hamster wheel coming around and to be able to step off it requires some self-reflection.

I’ve, I’ve found a lot of people don’t actually get there until there’s a, a major incident or they do burn out or. Someone else helps pull them out of that by saying, whoa, hey, we need to, we need to step back here. Well, and I think that’s why podcasts like this are so like, important because I think what it does is it gives people that sense to reflect and see what’s going on in somebody else’s life and then kind of go, oh gee, wait, that, that’s me.

Maybe there’s something in this nugget or this, this conversation that’s so relevant to me that’s gonna cause me to change. Yes, people are good at seeing it and other people maybe not as good at looking in the mirror and seeing it in themselves, but if they see it in someone else, it helps them.

Reflect on that. But you know what? I think it comes down to, it does come down to excuses. Like honestly, there’s always a reason why. There’s a reason why I don’t wanna do this. There’s a reason why I’m too busy. And you know, it, it’s so funny because whether it’s finances, fitness, work, whatever, I see a pattern.

Health and Wellbeing Impact EVERYTHING…Silos Don’t Exist in Health

I just see like, you know what? It’s easy to just have like to go crazy and go wild. Then you go, oh God, my bank account is low. Oh God, my waist is tight. Oh God, the company’s slipping. Like it’s the same behaviors and habits that you have, and when you start changing those core values and those core behaviors and habits and you apply it to all aspects of your life, then you start saying, wait a second, I’m no longer letting my life run me.

I’m in control of my life. Absolutely. Yeah. And that is, Irrelevant of work versus personal. And I still see a lot of leaders with the mindset that, hey, people, you know, well, yes, health is important, but people need to take care of it on their own. And they think that people somehow show up at work, highly functioning and high performing, even though they’re not in the rest of their life.

And it’s, mm-hmm. That whole person that shows up to work. Well, and you know what’s so funny? Like if you follow me on LinkedIn, you see my life and it looks insane. Like honestly. Well, some days I think it’s quite crazy myself, like you said, we’re on planes, we’re at events, we’re doing work, but like I don’t burn out because of this balance.

Like when you’re healthy, you have a little bit more fuel in the, your, your engine. You’re running at a higher octane when you work super hard, play super hard. But I also am so mindful of rest, downtime and just solitude and, and being by myself. Right. So I have a bit of a pattern here that’s creating this high efficiency without creating burnout.

Absolutely. Yeah. And I, I like, I like how you said that is, When you’re fit and healthy, you have more fuel in the tank. A lot of people are, you know, if we use the analogy of the gym, they’re walking in on day one and trying to lift deadlift 500 pounds or a thousand pounds, and they’re not realizing that, that takes some consistency and building up to that level.

You don’t just start performing rocking every area of your life on day one. The self-discipline, the finding your core values are things that take time to build and it becomes a flywheel that starts to, to accelerate. Let’s let’s go a little bit into what your personal journey has been, and tell me where the point you realized that things need to change.

Ryan’s Transformation…The Moment & The Action Steps!

Yeah, like, you know what I, I honestly. I’m just not like a fitness guy at all. I am it’s just not in my nature to be like, oh, I wanna run out and work out. So over my years as I built my career and company at William Joseph, I’ve added two pounds this year, five pounds that year. Covid hit, I added a few more pounds, so it was nothing crazy.

I think I’m just pretty typical like everybody else out there. But over the last number of years, the pounds packed on and during Covid. Just a few things hit. I went for I went for a walk with my partner and we did a K and I ended up on crutches for three days, which probably should have been a wheelchair cuz neither leg worked.

And after being walking for five minutes, I just needed to sit on a bench. So zero physical stamina. Then I went to my doctor and she’s like, Ryan, you’re not really healthy. You’re sliding into diabetes. I am going to give you some time here to reset this. We need to get this under control. Then another friend went and had weight loss surgery and lost over a hundred pounds, and everyone’s like, oh my God, you look amazing.

And then I was feeling like the, the fat blob of a friend. So it was like a hundred different things that kind of lined up perfectly. And I said, you know, I think it’s my time. And I just kind of like, I never thought I could ever be thin or lose weight cuz I’ve tried before and it’s never really worked.

Cause I’d never had staying power. Like it’s, I started hard on Monday. By Thursday I was wavering and by Friday it was all done. And then I would re redo the, the circle right. So with Covid, it was the perfect time because I thought, well, nothing’s opened, restaurants aren’t opened. Like, I’m just gonna sit at home here.

And I just made up this game in my head, I called it Fat Camp, and I told my friends, I’m signing into Fat Camp for 90 days. Don’t come get me. I’m going to eat 1500 calories a day. I’m gonna start doing some walks and just do some simple things. And I, there’s a few other things. I cut out social media.

I did X, Y, Z and drank water. And it worked like it truly worked. I was over 250 pounds when I started this journey, and within a few months I was at 2 25, which was the lowest as being an adult. And it’s so funny, like if I would’ve said my goal was 2 25, I would’ve stopped there cuz that’s the lowest I was as an adult.

But because I didn’t use it as a number, I used it as a time duration. I thought, well, I’m not at 90 days, let’s keep going. And I just zoomed past 2 25 and then I hit like 200 and I was like, Where is this gonna stop? Like, am I gonna just erase myself? Like wh I, where, what number will this be? And literally it just came smashing down and I lost 45 pounds in three months.

And then I thought, I’m just gonna go one more month. And at four months I lost almost 60, but it literally came smashing down a hit 180 9, went up to 1 91 and sat there. And that was my number. It was like, based on what I was doing, that program, that phase of my life, I lost 60 pounds in four months.

Just having a extreme discipline, consistency, showed up every day, put in the, the effort, and then it got easier. Like when I tried to run at two 50, it was hard. I couldn’t run, but at one 90 I could run. I wasn’t very good at it. And you know, but it took a little bit of trying and stamina and I got there.

And then it just kind of just really empowered me cuz I was like, holy shit. Like if I could do this, what else could I do? I could take on this thing with my company. And I, I just had, I felt so empowered cause I was like, that is one thing I’ve never been able to accomplish was like extreme weight loss and now I can do it.

And yeah, it was, it was kind of game changing. And so after that four month period, You talked a little bit about how your mindset shifted, how, and that was during Covid, so it’s been a, what, a couple years since then? Mm-hmm. Well, how, how have things maintained? Yeah, so you know what, like, after that happened, I honestly had a bit of a, like a, an identity crisis because I dressed a certain way at my body size and then I lost all this weight, and then I was like, wait, well, who am I?

Like I, I didn’t know who I, I felt like I kind of turned back time cuz everyone’s like, oh, you look so much younger. And I was like, wait, I feel younger. Like, I don’t know. So that kind of messed me up, and then I totally changed my style. So whether it was a midlife crisis, I don’t know, but I, I reinvented myself and I came out as the person I authentically felt I was, but I never could have been at that other weight.

And as much as people were like, well, you could dress any way at any weight, yeah, kind of, not really. It just, it worked. It was just right for me at that time. So yeah, so I reinvented myself. And yeah, it, it was, it was amazing. The first six months after all the weight loss was kind of easy. I coasted cause I had all those good habits, right?

I kept those habits going and now it’s tough because it’s, it’s a daily conscious d. Conversation I have to have because I give myself like a five to eight pound fluctuation zone, right? You’re never gonna be perfect all the time. And honestly, when we fly somewhere and we go on holidays or Easter hits, there is that chocolate.

And I’m not depriving myself of anything because if I, if I do that, I’ll probably totally tank, but I, I allow myself to indulge and then get back on the wagon. The one thing I do know about me though is when I have something, I want more of it. So it’s easy for me to be super disciplined. I love like extreme discipline, and then I can just stay on track.

Taming Your Internal Saboteur…and Strengthening Your Internal Sage!

But yeah, it’s a, it’s, it’s a conversation I have with myself every day about, okay, let’s be mindful, let’s be intentional, let’s be focused.

And how have you adapted that? Or I guess, what lessons are you bringing from that to other areas of your life? Yeah, well, it’s, it’s those exact words. Let’s be mindful, let’s be intentional, and let’s be focused, right? So even in my company, so then I’m like, okay, Ryan, what exactly are we trying to achieve today?

Here’s the thing. No, there is no big, big magic answer. It’s a whole bunch of little things every day that make it happen, right? It was me not doing social media as much, going for a little walk, drinking a little bit of water, not eating quite as much. All those little things added up to get me a result.

And at WJ I see this too. It’s not one magic thing that we do every day. It’s like a hundred little things all pointing in the same direction that gives us momentum. Right. So I don’t, I think sometimes people look for the magic bullet, and I’m like, the magic bullet is having a plan of 20 little things that add up to make it happen.

I, I love to hear you say that because Yeah. I start having, with my history in the fitness industry, that’s something we hear all day. What’s the, what’s the one thing I need to do that’s gonna make all the difference? And I guess if I had to say that it’s consistency of the little things. It is. And you know what I think too, like again It’s what works for you.

Like I’ve seen different people go on these journeys and they’ve all come out and they look, they, they have amazing health after. And one person might do it one way. Another person hits the gym, another person’s calorie counting. You know, you kind of take what, like, I love learning from other people, but I kind of go, this works for me.

That doesn’t work for me. You plug and play, but you know, at the end of the day you have to say, what are the results that you want and what’s the program to get you there? Because I’d love to be like, just built, but I, I’m not really willing to work out. There’s probably, it’s not gonna happen. So you either have to change your goal or change your actions.

Right. But it’s, it’s all about just what’s your plan and being reasonable about it. I love it. Yeah, and people say all the time, I want to get fit. I’m like, well, what does fit mean to you? Is it, you know, being able to run a two hour 20 minute marathon? Or is it being able to do a five hour marathon, six hour marathon?

There’s a big difference. Or is it being able to lift a certain amount of weight or to hike up a mountain or whatever it is your goal is? A lot of people don’t actually get to that point. They just say, I wanna get fit. Mm-hmm. And I always make the joke. I’m like, that’s why Ironman started is the, the runners, the swimmers and the cyclists were all arguing with each other who was fittest.

And so they said, we’re gonna do all of them, and whoever wins wins. But then there’s still many, many other aspects outside of that. So what does it mean to you Exactly. That goes back to the values and the. The core values and beliefs that, that people have, and how are you living into them? You know what’s so funny though?

Like when I was heavier, people are like, oh. Or like, now that I’m lighter, people are like, oh, you must feel so much better. I didn’t feel bad. I didn’t know I was getting diabetes. Like I didn’t know that. Like I was just, I was just me. So I think the thing is I was very lucky not to really experience like health issues because of weight and stuff.

And, and 60 pounds is enough to, to cause some, some like impact on your body. But I think my confidence level has gone up. That’s the thing I, I was confident before, but I feel more confident now because I’m like, I did it, not because of how I look, but because of the accomplishment I have. It’s like a little badge I have every day where I go, I did it.

And you know, that’s why when I start seeing it creep up, I’m like, I don’t wanna lose my badge, I wanna put it back on. So I’m just so mindful of it and, and it’s that confidence of if I can do this, you know, like I’m not really an an adventure guy. And the other, A few months ago, I had the opportunity to go to, I fly like at a heavier weight.

I don’t think I would’ve done it. That just wouldn’t, that wouldn’t have been me. But I was like, of course I can fly. If I can lose weight and I can do this in my company, of course I can fly. And I jumped in the thing and my friends are like, are, that’s crazy. Like, you did it. And I was like, well, why wouldn’t I?

You know? So it’s just, it’s all kind of fits together. Like, I’m not gonna jump out of a plane, like let’s be se serious here. But that was crazy enough. I have jumped out of a plane. I think it’s awesome. I love it. We all have limits. So with let, let’s bring it back to the organizational side a little bit.

And you’re coming in with renewed confidence. You know, you probably a bit of renewed energy, the ability to sustain those habits. What shifts have you made in your company based on that, if any? Yeah, you know what, like I always brought my A game to the team. I think maybe my team saw me do something that was a challenge I put myself to.

So I hope that would like, like inspire them or give them like, like, wow, Ron, really? He said he was gonna do it and he did it. So it’s a proof point, right? So I always say, okay, we can do this. Like, I’m in this with you guys. So I feel like I just demonstrated that like my, my. When I put my mind to something, I can do it.

I think like, you know, I, I’ve tried to really lead by example, so that’s just one of those examples of, okay, guys, look, look what I did. I don’t like, I think as far as renewed energy I think I was always passionate, but it’s, yeah, it’s, let’s go full throttle. And I’ve been, you know, I’ve had a brief tour of your, your company and one thing that stuck out right away was the, the corporate culture.

The, I just, the word I could use is the vibe, the energy in the, in the building was, was great. You know? Yeah. You were walking around with me and introducing me to people, but. Even without that, I’ve been at lots of other offices and walked around with CEOs and there’s different vibe. So I, I was really blown away by the energy and the enthusiasm and the casual yet driven, if that’s the word, vibe.

Curating a Great Corporate Culture

So what, what do you do as a leader to curate that type of culture? Well, you know what I always believe is that like each of our offices feel like a bit of a home. So, there’s comfy meeting spaces. It should feel very inviting. I allow each person to customize their own office so that it’s, it’s a unique expression of who they are.

So there’s, there’s a collection. Remember, like, we embrace individuality, be yourself. So each office tells that it feels like a family. I can’t explain it. Like you’d go to my grandma’s house and she’d have food on the table, no matter who walked in. Well, we always have cookies or something on the table like, It’s just like a little family and it’s that we work hard, we play hard, we challenge each other’s thinking.

But you know, that was the intent. Like, come, come and hang out with us at our family. Some, some staff like stay for a, a brief moment in their life and others stay for a long period. But for whatever moment that they spend with us, we just really want it to be a special time that they can contribute and, you know, it helps advance them going forward.

So, I don’t know. I think it’s. It’s just like a big family and we have our dogs in the office on Tuesdays and you know, there’s always C corporate events going on and it’s that balance between really like we have to get work done, but we do know how to like take that moment of time to breathe. And you know, honestly, I think sometimes it’s like Dilly Bar Tuesdays, I don’t know.

It’s hot. Like you guys, let’s have some dilly bars. It’s just everybody. Everybody contributes in their own way and yeah, I, I can’t use another word, but family. And here you’ve got offices in different locations and coming outta covid, how do you, how did you see the shift of, I guess, changes in that culture or mm-hmm.

During Covid. Yeah, I leaned on my team a lot, like, honestly, cuz I would’ve probably been more old school like, oh, we have to get back to the office. But then they were like, no, Ryan Hybrid is the way. Then I was like, wait, I don’t wanna go back to the office. I like wearing my shorts on Mondays and doing podcasts from home.

So I don’t wanna go in, I. And so we just took that balance, right? Where we have, like Tuesdays are our in-office day. Everyone’s there. We build team meetings that around that day we, we s we hang out with our, our colleagues and our friends, and then we all can go home. So some people work in the office five days a week, some people work in the office one day a week.

How long’s that been going on for? Yeah, so like after Covid, like even during Covid, we really wanted to be mindful as to what, what our staff wanted. Some people wanted to get out of their house and they wanted to get away, so we had the office open. Others were like, we’ll see once the pandemic is done.

And we ever saw them for two years. But when everyone came back, we did say like, Tuesdays are in office days where we want to all collaborate, hang out with each other, bring in your dogs and your pets. It’s just, it’s just our day of togetherness. And then again, yeah, some people hang out at the office every day.

Other people just the one day a week. And it’s great. Like, again, initially I wasn’t sure I was a fan of that cuz I wanted to be together all the time. But now it’s yeah, I love the, the variety. And from a, from a culture standpoint, what are, I guess what are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in, in building a vibrant corporate culture?

Culture Starts at the Top…and What Behaviours Get Rewarded

Yeah, you know what? I think it, it does start at the top, like I think the tone of leadership is really what dictates the tone of the team and the behaviors that you tolerate and the behaviors that you celebrate are really also under the microscope. So, you know, we try to praise positive behaviors to get people in alignment with what we, we stand for.

Like one value at William Joseph is make the client feel like they’re the only one. They should. They should never feel like there’s other clients in our firm that they should feel special and we’re only there for them. Well, we can all get behind that. What does that look like from each level of the company, right.

So when we see our staff demonstrating that, that’s an accolade, right? So there’s lots of positive reinforcement. I think again, it’s just we try to be good community sponsors. We try to go to events where we’ll take different team members out to the different events. It’s not always an executive team going out to, to the core events.

We try to have invite different people to a attend. Everyone has a stake in the game here with having offices in different provinces. H how is, how does that work on the corporate culture side? Yeah. Honestly, it feels very similar. Like we’ve been hybrid and virtual for like well over a decade. This is normal for us is that, you know, we’ve had different offices.

Again, I think before Covid, some clients weren’t so comfortable having big meetings over a screen, which is now the name, the, the norm. But we, we bring people together at WJ once a year for innovation day, where the entire company comes together and we learn and we collaborate. We have our teams moving back and forth, meeting each you know, hanging out in person.

But again, I think it’s really, you hire for that. Skillset that you value. And like, we just are very, very mindful of who, who we are at William Joseph, the brand we’ve created, the culture we want and the people that fit that well. And I know walking around your office, I, that came across loud and clear, and I love what you said about values and that’s something I’ve had conversations with on other podcasts in, in different contexts.

But it, it really fits. So well is that as, as the companies get larger, it’s easy to lose sight of those values. And a huge part of that comes back to creating the corporate culture. And you know, companies have a culture whether they like it or not, but curating what culture you want is extremely important.

So I love the fact that you say, yeah, we reward those positive behaviors based on the values that we’re looking to. Cultivate and like to like, we should be good at it cuz that’s what we do as a core job here. I think what’s really important is, so like how we work at William Joseph is we help clients create brands and marketing programs, and that’s an external voice out to your key stakeholders.

But then we say, okay, well we now need to live up to that brand promise. So you’re, what is the culture that’s gonna support it? So we always say your people. Define your culture and your culture defines your brand. Because when people see the ads, they see the website, they see all the social posts, and then they call you and they meet you.

They’re going to have an expectation as to who’s gonna answer the phone. So your brand and your culture have to be in alignment. And so it’s not done haphazardly, it’s done by design. And so your brand can dictate your culture or your culture could be so great. People will say, make our brand look like our culture.

It can go either way. So it’s, it’s definitely a, an intentional process that we go through to define brands and cultures to make sure that they are in alignment. And it’s, there’s nothing more rewarding than hearing people like you say. I walked into William Joseph. Oh my God, your culture was amazing.

The vibe was good. It matches your brand. It’s like, okay, that’s what we do. But again, it’s, it’s just getting the right people on the bus, the right person on the right seat, believing in the things that you believe in. Adding value and creating momentum when, and to tie that back to wellbeing. I’ve yet to go into a company that has that great corporate culture that didn’t have healthy, happy people.

Obviously, you know, there’s always percentages, but in in general, employees that work in an environment where they know it’s expected, they get rewarded based on that, and there’s clear communication. Are healthier, happier, more productive, just flat out. Well, and you know what, I think we each push, push each other.

Like I’ll hear about, one of my staff went away for the weekend and they went to this cool city, and I was like, oh, they just did that on the weekend. That’s super cool. I should do that. Or somebody else will be like, oh, I did this in the mountains, or I went to this cool restaurant. Like, our team is always doing such cool stuff that I’m always like, oh, whoa, Ryan, what did you do that was cool?

Like it just, it, it creates this momentum and then, you know, I don’t know, it’s, it’s. We have a really talented group of people that do really amazing things in the office and outside. Well, and they, again, that, that shines through. And the, one of the values that so many companies have is integrity. It’s like, wow.

Living and Behaving True to Your VALUES

Like, but when you see someone living into what they say they’re gonna live into, that’s really the definition of integrity. But, So many people just have it on this plaque on the wall, and there’s never any. Action towards that. So that was a long way when we created our values at William Joseph, we did them as action statements versus words, cuz I think too many people just take a whole bunch of like expected values, like honesty, transparency, authenticity.

Well like how do you live up to that? Like when we say, Do the right thing every day. Make like that’s a value at wj. Like, be yourself, celebrate differences, make your clients feel like they’re the only one. There’s a list of things that we live our lives by, and so it’s easy to kind of get behind that.

It’s e easy to like acknowledge it. It’s easy to be like, oh, in this case we didn’t do that. How could have we did that better? Right? So we use more action statements than words at WJ to define our culture and our brand. Love that. Yeah. And that, that’s that process, that sh that shift of perspective makes an incredible difference.

And it’s something that few companies actually do. You know, again, they have these list of words, but even if you do words, what does that mean for you? How does that show, show up exactly on a day-to-day basis? What. Are, how is that a, a deal breaker in terms of if, if something’s not going according to that, how does that impact the decisions you make on a day-to-day basis?

Mm-hmm. And yeah, I think most companies don’t go the extra mile in terms of defining that and then making it crystal clear for everyone in the organization. Mm-hmm. What that means. Mm-hmm. No. Understood. And, and, and I think when you have clarity around your values, it helps you really live your brand, right?

So everything’s in harmony and it feels in alignment. Yeah. Well, yeah, I, well, one of my questions was how you do marketing and you already said you turned it inward on your own business and looked at, okay, how are we, how is our brand impacting our culture and vice versa, and are we living into that? And when clients come into.

Organizations and to your organization, they, they, you want them to see that. What advice or tips do you have for other organizations to start to do that in theirs? Yeah. You know what? I think like the biggest thing is, is get off the hamster wheel. Like if you want different results, don’t keep doing what you’re doing, right?

And so many people call, call us. Sometimes they’re like, oh, we need marketing help, but we’re happy with what we’re doing. I’m like, If you’re happy with what you’re doing, keep doing it. But if you wanna see a different outcome and a different result, you have to be willing to change. And, you know, I, I feel like it’s always about being relevant.

It’s, it’s interesting. So I’ve had WJ for 20 years now, and you know, I have staff that are significantly younger than me, and I have staff that are older than me. And it’s, as we continue to grow, it’s always trying to just be relevant. And my team always reminds me what works for this generation is not gonna work for this generation or it’s not gonna work for this generation.

So you have to just be super, super mindful about here’s where we’re going, how we’re gonna get there is gonna be different depending on who you are. So being open-minded but like you have to evolve and change what once work doesn’t. And like, especially in marketing, what work three years ago does not work today.

I remember this gentleman I met not that long ago that still embraced like like yellow pages, like buying full page ads. And I was like, oh, wow. Like I said, that’s interesting. Like I personally haven’t had a Yellow Pages book for like 10 years. I don’t know. I, I tend to Google now and he’s like, oh, well that’s how we do it.

But I thought, is it, or is that how you do it? You know, are you embracing change? Has the world changed? So, you know, I think at WJ we always help clients see, like, based on the world today and who you’re talking to, here’s the best way to get in front of them. And sometimes you get stuck in old habits. I got stuck in old habits, and that’s just a constant reminder.

Ryan, remove your own filter. You ha that’s your filter. That’s not maybe the reality of the world. Mm-hmm. You know, here’s a line I always tell my staff, don’t let me do something stupid. Like, honestly, I might have an executive title, but if you see me doing something stupid, you need to stop me because I have blinders on and it’s not, I’m, I’m not doing something stupid out of intent.

I just can’t see what you see. So if there’s a car coming that’s gonna hit me, please stop this. So, so we don’t get into a situation, but I think that’s just being like, I don’t know, that’s the no ego side of me. Well that’s, and I love that every leader should have that approach, and that’s what, in order to have that approach, because leaders can say that, but in order to have that be true where people will actually come up with it, you have to have psychological safety in the organization.

People have to know that, hey, we’re everyone can contribute without fear of retribution. Those creative voices can come out. And even contrary opinions, we want that, you know, positive conflict. To make sure that we’re, we are not getting hit, blindsided by a car or, but do you know what it also comes down to?

It’s, it’s how you get feedback to do it respectfully. Because again, let’s be honest, I do have ego and I, but if somebody comes to me respectfully and is like, Ryan, I see something. You don’t, you just need to be mindful of this. I’m like, I have all the time in the world for that. If somebody was to throw like a really disrespectful comment, I’d be like, Hmm.

And I think that even goes into social media. Like again, having a, a profile, like a, a high visibility profile on LinkedIn and other platforms. I. Everybody’s always commenting, and so I have all the time in the world to listen to somebody that completely disagrees with me. If you do it respectfully, but as soon as you become an idiot and you’re just flapping off, and I’m like, okay, like this is just not even a valid comment at this point.

I do shut it down. Right. Yeah. Well I sadly that’s a big part of our world over the last, call it five to 10 years, is that there, there’s very little. Respect for debate anymore, and people have trouble having conversations, especially south of the border, but it’s getting similar in Canada and, and that’s sad to see.

Be True to Yourself…and Unapologetically YOU!

You know what, and like this honestly should probably be a podcast of its own, is that I have a global TV segment that I do monthly, and it got to the spot that the last segment I did was so politically charged that every word had to be perfect because everyone’s gonna have a voice and they’re gonna criticize you.

And you know, I’ll take it full circle, is that you’re always under the microscope, whether it’s as a leader. Whether you’re living in a fitness lifestyle, everybody’s got a comment about what you just said or what you did, and you’re under the microscope. And you know, I do feel, as a business leader I have a role to play.

So my job is always to educate, never to offend. And I always say, if I did, it was not the intent. It’s to, sometimes you cannot control every person’s view of what comes out of your mouth, but you know, I think. That’s the one thing is that I try to do is try to be a good role model for people, for my staff, for my clients.

We have so many clients that work with William Joseph. I would want them to always be like really proud to be a part of our, our family as a client and to be like, oh, I respect that Ryan Guy. I respect that he does bold things, but he always does it with pure intent. Yeah. And I think that’s a, a great approach that leaders can.

Look to as a, I guess, litmus test for their actions. Mm-hmm. What’s the intent you’re taking towards this, whether it’s internal, one-on-one conversations or external facing client communications? Exactly. Fantastic. Well, Ryan, I know we could chat for ages and perhaps the, the other podcast option with the.

On the politics side would be another one to explore in the future. That’s another day. That’s another day. Yes. Yes. Well, thank you so much for your time and where can people find you? Yeah, well you can find me on LinkedIn or go to, check out our website. Yeah, I will put the links up in the show notes and thank you again.

Have a fantastic week. We’ll see you soon. Perfect, and thanks for having me.

That wraps up another episode of the Working Well Podcast. If you enjoyed the show, please rate, review and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Which guests or topics would you like to see featured on the show? Message me through LinkedIn or on the contact page of tim Thank you for tuning in.

I’m Tim Borys with Fresh Wellness Group and look forward to seeing you on the next episode.


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