Introducing theTifosi Workforce Design Studio
Friends and colleagues,
To say that I am excited to be writing this to you today would be a huge understatement. Most of you have known me for several years and been a part of my unique career as it evolved from labor attorney into business executive and culture advocate. Now we take another turn on the evolutionary path. One where I use those past experiences and skills to help organizations address what is the biggest challenge of the modern workforce—attracting, building, and retaining innovative and engaged talent.
To put it bluntly, in today’s contemporary business environment superior human strategy is the competitive advantage. Expectations of the customer and employee have changed, as has the speed of the business world in which we live. The influence of technology and the vast availability of information to the current generation worker has significantly enhanced the expectations of the entire workforce.
As many of you know, for nearly a year now I have embedded myself in the startup world researching what makes this culture so attractive to innovative talent. Along with this research, we have used my experience in building an innovative large enterprise HR function to develop comprehensive models that can help organizations properly structure their human capital function and culture to appeal and engage the next generation worker. These strategic models define a service we call “Workforce Design”.
I’m also pleased to announce that my wife, Nikki, will be joining me as the brand and creative expert in the studio. More importantly, she is our lead Millennial, ensuring generational relevancy in the services we provide. Along with our immediate team, we have used our vast network of professionals and partners to develop a consortium of service providers that can deliver modern, unique, culturally relevant and compliant services.
So what does all this mean?
1) We help high growth companies scale tactical human capital and compliance functions while maintaining their unique culture.
2) We also help large enterprise organizations design and implement strategies to be relevant, attractive, and engaging to the next generation workforce.
While we have already taken on clients, we are now officially opening our doors for the full flight of services.
We will also continue to conduct and publish our research around the next generation workforce. We will also be hosting unique knowledge share events focused on all aspects of experience design; from brand to product design, and ultimately, the influence of cultural workforce design.
Oh, and lastly, what in the world is a “tifosi”? It’s actually a who, not a what. It’s an Italian expression referring to passionate fans of sport. In my lifelong participation (“obsession”?) with the sport of cycling, it’s commonly used to describe the MOST passionate fans of a team. Those fans that would do anything for the team because they believe in them with all their heart. That’s what we believe every organization should have in its employees—raving fans. And it’s what every employee wants in their place of employment, a team they believe in.
As always, thank you for your time, and please check out our website thetifosi.co for more information and sign up for knowledge share updates.
Pleasing Everyone is No Laughing Matter
- Published on October 28, 2016
This is a series of articles exploring the differences between big corporate culture and the start-up world.
Being an only child for most of my life and usually on a farm far away from other kids, I was left with few options for entertainment. One was playing in ditches and roaming about with my dogs (and a goat that thought he was a dog). The other was reading the classics. One in particular that intrigued me was an old copy of Aesop’s fables. I loved skipping around through this book, trying to figure out the meaning or lesson delivered in each fable (many, I never figured out). It wasn’t until I was recently reading Walter Isaacson’s biography of Benjamin Franklin that one of my favorites came rushing back to the front of my noggin.
While Isaacson never mentions that the story referenced by Franklin was an Aesop fable (perhaps he didn’t know? doubtful), it most certainly is and provides a clear lesson to remember: If you try to make everyone happy, you will make no one happy.
It’s a lesson that all leaders of people should hold close to their decision-making process. So many times I have seen leaders attempt to fulfill the holy grail of decision making, “I’ll just make everyone happy.” It will never happen. It’s simply human nature. It’s not a bad thing either, it’s what makes us a unique species. Otherwise, imagine how boring we would be if everyone agreed on everything. A monotonous and calculated world of blandness, no thanks.
So instead of considering what could make everyone happy, leaders should focus on what aligns with their organization’s purpose, guiding principles, and vision for the future. If those things are focused on providing your associates with meaningful work and providing the world with a valuable product or service, then it’s easy. Where it gets tricky is when the vision becomes clouded with concepts of shareholder return, strategy based on finance, and ultimately, not about the employee or customer. These former concepts are dated leftovers of a bygone era, one in which employees didn’t have access to information, weren’t as educated, and before the influence of technology provided everyone in the world with an idea of how they could do better. Like start their own business. be
As I’ve spent more and more time with startup founders and entrepreneurs, one pattern has been almost universally consistent. It’s the notion that there needs to be an intense focus on one or two really important concepts or goals. That focus, time and time again, tends to be on providing a great place to work for really smart and engaged people. For they know that if they have amazingly talented associates who truly care about what they are doing to make the organization successful then the customers, shareholders and community will also be satisfied. It’s the ultimate virtuous cycle and it always starts with talent.
Æsop. (Sixth century B.C.) Fables. The Harvard Classics. 1909–14. The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey
A MAN and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: “You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?”
So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: “See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.”
So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.”
Well, the Man didn’t know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor Donkey of yours—you and your hulking son?”
The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the Donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the Donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.
“That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them:
“PLEASE ALL, AND YOU WILL PLEASE NONE.”
Engagement in the Startup World; an Unconscious Experience
LinkedIn Blog Post October 16, 2016
This is a series of articles exploring the differences between big corporate culture and the startup world.
Every man is the creature of the age in which he lives; very few are able to raise themselves above the ideas of the times.
I recently had lunch with a friend. Well, really, he’s someone my millennial wife calls one of my “old bike friends”. We are on the same master’s bike racing team, which makes us a different kind of friend. It’s a connection made through suffering (and I mean really suffering, strange I know). You don’t really get a chance to chat while training, so you try to do that off the bike. What’s interesting about this teammate is that he also happens to be a mid-40’s CEO of a multi-billion dollar organization and a generally good dude. As our conversation flowed from bikes to “kits” and then ultimately, to work. Mainly bikes and kits though. (FYI, kits are those tight uniforms, that only cyclists think are cool)
We were speaking about the research I’ve been doing around start-up culture and what I’m calling the “new ideology workforce” and he expressed concerns around having engaged talent in his organization. That’s not that surprising, as every smart CEO should be concerned with acquiring and engaging top talent. What was surprising though was his disclosure that he had spent time visiting one of the local start-up hubs, Atlanta Tech Village, attending their events and observing. Why? Because he’s interested in what makes that start-up world attractive to talented and engaged young people. Here’s what I told him I have seen so far.
In the employees and founders that I have interviewed, regardless of location or industry, all appear to represent a high level of what I classify as “unconscious engagement.” When asked specifically about the concept of engagement or whether it’s even on their radar, they simply stare back at me in a way similar to my Belgian Malinois dog (is he confused, annoyed, or going to bite me?). This reaction reflects the fact that in the start-up world, “engagement” is not a conscious initiative because it’s a natural phenomena. It’s a natural thing that just happens, like breathing. As one interviewee best summed it up, “Belief is why we are here. Otherwise, why would I be in this environment? Despite the cool factor, it’s is really unstable, which can be super stressful.”
So with that in mind, here’s three of the sources of unconscious engagement I identified so far:
I’m a Part of “This Thing”
Universally, everyone interviewed from 22 year old developers to Gen X founders have an unwavering belief that this culture they are a part of is what will drive progress and innovation in the future, not large enterprise (and I exclude Google and it’s cousins from “large enterprise”). While there are certainly very large organizations driving significant innovation today, it’s simply not getting credit or cool points. These fantastic commercials from GE pretty much sum it up.
This perception appears to drive an earnest feeling that by being a part of this world, or this culture, no matter how successful or relevant your organization actually is or will be, you are a part of what will make the future a better place. Imagine 40 years from now living in a much different world and telling your grandkids, “yeah, I worked for a tech start-up during the great days of innovation.” That would be pretty cool. No one has actually said that to me, but I’m certain had I proposed it, their would have been agreement. It’s quite refreshing and totally understandable how this could be a motivating factor. Even more so, it’s correct.
Because, the Purpose
Large enterprise is now starting to catch on to the concept of “Purpose”, whereas in startup culture it’s a universally understood concept. For large entities, this means transitioning from a mantra of Mission (i.e. take that hill, be the market leader, crush our competitors, etc.) to a deeper, more self-reflecting contemplation of why they exist. And “shareholder value” can’t be that purpose, at least if you want to be attractive to today’s innovative workforce. I can tell you from experience, when you tell your employees that they are working in order to increase shareholder value, you can literally see them lose belief in what they are doing.
Now while it’s a commonly understood concept, I have found that many who operate in the startup world fail to articulate the entity’s purpose beyond “making the world a better place” or “creating something beautiful" (but don’t market it!). It’s a hard sell for a member of a fintech company to simply state they are out to make the world a better place than it is today. Now maybe their purpose is to provide individuals with access to financing at a much more desirable rate so they can afford the necessities of life, but that kind of clear articulation hasn't always been hammered out yet. Although, with purpose on the forefront of so many individual’s mind, I’m certain that it will be. Sometimes it’s as simple as “We just are trying too solve a really difficult problem and everyone wants to do it badly”, as one founder articulated.
In it Together
When I entered the workforce in the late 90’s as a Gen Xer there were very few people my age in my company (which had ~5,000 employees). The population of Gen X is very small and even more so, older Gen Xer’s have very little in common with those at the end of that generation. It’s like the difference between listening to Def Leppard versus Nirvana in high school. A LOT changed from ’88 to ‘94. So with that in mind, there was virtually no generational bonding in the workplace. That’s basically the opposite of what has happened with the Millennial generation. They are an extremely large group (population wise) and regardless of the expanse of years, the experiences have been amazingly consistent, primarily due to the influence of technology in their life.
So what this means in the start-up world, you are working with a majority (if not all) people close to your own age, who care about the same things as you, and share the relatively same belief system (Kanye is bad, T Swift is good - no matter what she does!). Your parents did a lot of awesome things for you, like your laundry, but didn’t explain things like “mortgages” and let you graduate college with zero credit history. From what I’ve observed, having this level of connection in the workforce fosters a special kind of team chemistry. One that typically takes years and years for teams to foster in traditional large enterprise organizations.
That connection and the team chemistry that comes along with it, lends itself to an environment where effort is not “expected”. Instead, it just happens because you care about others you work with there. When you care about them, you care about the organization because it’s in everyone’s best interest that we all succeed. That in turn fosters trusting relationships, because “we are all in it together.”
The issue and element of trust is very important and the lynchpin to what makes this culture so successful. How trust is developed, how it’s used and nurtured is a topic all in itself that I’ll address in a separate post.
In the mean time, I’ll keep chipping away at what makes this world a special place to work right now. And keep an eye out for skinny guys in their mid-40’s hanging around your startup hub. You should introduce yourself, you never know when you might meet the CEO of big company who just wants to chat. If so, make sure you ask him about his kit.
A (not so scientifically valid) Observation of “The StartUp World”
LinkedIn Blog Post September 17, 2016
This is the first in a series of articles exploring the differences between big corporate culture and the start-up world.
In the Spring of 1994, my sophomore year at Florida State University, I was enrolled in a Cultural Anthropology class which was a prerequisite for what I thought would be a Anthropology minor. Held in the main anthropology building with its artifacts and grittiness, we spent much of the semester listening to our professor (I really wish I remembered her name) provide us with detailed accounts of indigenous tribes of Africa, Australia, New Guinea, and South America. She had actually participated in many of the field study’s we discussed. It was fascinating and I loved the idea of comparing seemingly dissimilar cultures in a effort to identify what components of their behavior were on point.
Looking toward to our final, I was not totally confident, as I had not really studied and kept up throughout the semester other than listening to her lectures. I had also not done very well on the mid-term. (It was football season at FSU, so cut me some slack). We sat in the lecture hall where the professor walked in and calmly told us that the Final was one question, which she was going to provide us verbally: “What is the meaning behind the Counting Crow’s song, Mr. Jones?” She then walked out.
Being smack dab in the middle of Generation X, I was extremely familiar with the song, which was at the top of the charts. I provided her with a detailed and eloquent account of my interpretation of the lyrics, which included an assessment of someone observing what they wish they could be, but know they never will because they missed their opportunity. Some others in the class simply packed up and walked out. I was confused, but “delusionally confident” (sic) that I did well.
I got an A on that Final and in the class. And realizing that sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, I promptly changed my minor to History. So take that into consideration; my formal cultural anthropology training is limited to mid-90’s pop music lyrical interpretation (which apparently, I’m good at!). While not formally trained, I am fortunate that I have had a career that has exposed me to thousands (tens of thousands) of interesting people in the working world. I’ve seen those who have been successful and those who have not. I’ve seen how the power of culture, belief and communication can impact the psyche of a workforce. Most, if not all of this exposure has been limited to viewing though the lens of a large and growing corporation. Until now. Recently I have been fortunate to look at working culture through another interesting lens.
As many well know by now, I left an amazing job earlier this year at a great company that I helped build over the course of 14 years. The decision, shrouded in not so much mystery, was based on many different personal reasons, one of which was to spend time with my beautiful and intelligent wife Nikki Ticknor (now Strickland). More specifically, to spend time with Nikki helping her fulfill her dream of creating a business from scratch. It’s something that she had talked about since the day I met her and quite frankly, I think she has a great idea and is fully capable of doing amazing things. So why not, let’s do it, I said. You can check out ZELO here.
What I did not anticipate was how this decision would provide me with an amazing opportunity to participate in a phenomenon that’s happening right now in the world. It’s an experience that I would have otherwise had virtually no exposure to as a senior executive in a $4B company. What I’m talking about is the world of the “start-up.” It’s a subculture within a subculture within a subculture, just like amateur master’s aged competitive cycling (another one I cal tell you all about, just ask).
Like a sandpiper at the watering hole on the Serengeti (or more like a fly or a beetle), I’ve had a front line view of this world. And more so, what dawned on me immediately, was how significantly different this work culture is than that which millions and millions experience every day in corporate america.
The dynamics are significantly polar opposite in so many ways, both positive and negative (depending on your perspective). In particular, what I’d like to examine here, are the differences relevant to the people working in these two different worlds.
For some baseline knowledge, my completely unscientific anthropology evaluation is based entirely on the Atlanta startup ecosystem. Doesn’t sound that impressive? Well, as we used tosay back in the day, you better check yourself…As you can see here, Atlanta is considered one of the hottest start-up scenes in the country right now. Think of it this way, if Silicon Valley is Elvis (the OG) then Atlanta is Biebs. Maybe he hasn't been around that long and no one gave him much credibility, but now everyone’s singing his songs because the little guy just pumps out the hits.
So Atlanta has some street cred in the start-up world, but where do you find everyone? Well, there’s four primary places: Atlanta Tech Village, Atlanta Technology Development Center (ATDC), Tech Square Labs and Switchyards. There are other places, like a new accelerator program, Techstars, smaller specialty hubs and numerous co-working spaces. But those four are mainly where it goes down. ATV is the big daddy of the bunch, ATDC and Tech Square Lab are GaTech related and then there’s Switchyards, which is downtown and the only start-up hub focused on consumer based companies. Being consumer based, along with the location itself, leads it to be gritty, hard and a bit hipsterish (just made that up). So, it’s the coolest and that’s where we landed.
Being in Switchyards has given me exposure to many great observations. From their programming of insightful content to just daily interaction with other co-founders and the other peripheral characters in this world that range from investors, former successful founders now acting as mentors and then service providers supporting the industry (designers, developers, photographers, etc). Through this journey I also got the opportunity to meet several other founders at ATV, VC’s, angel investors, and successful start-up CEO’s who have always been great with some helpful advice.
I’m continuing to gather relevant data from all the wonderfully positive characters in this space. Especially now that I’ve told them about this little “side project” of mine, I’ve been pleasantly surprised about the willingness (eagerness) of folks to participate in my study.
I’ll explore each of these topics in full detail, but for now here’s the highlights so far:
- Engagement? Oh, you mean existing.
- You can do it, I believe in you! (~Founders)
- Eh, someone already tried, you’re going to fail. (~Advisors)
- I’m not sure I understand, I’m intrigued, let’s chat in a few months. (~Investors)
- Good news: Success = Failure.
- Real ping pong tournaments and coffee addictions.
- Working smart and hard, but maybe not that long.
- Hustle muscle.
So bear with me as I gather more data and dive these topics over the next few posts. My anticipation is that if you have spent your career in a traditional working environment you will find this both interesting and possibly surprising. I know that I have been surprised by many of the false assumptions I had walking in here months ago.
The questions I’m pondering and perhaps will get to an answer:
Can we identify common components of the start-up world that lead to expedient and innovative success?
Can large enterprise replicate these components? Or perhaps, is large enterprise willing to replicate these components of start-up culture in order to experience the potential upside? or perhaps, is it even possible to replicate?
You Never Walk Alone
LinkedIn Blog Post May 10, 2016
It isn't what you've got it's who you know
We take that with us wherever we go
We stick together and we have our fun
You know we're taking our days one by one
And when there's trouble in my face
I'm a tired runner in the human race
It's so good to see a familiar face
I never walk alone, I never walk alone
~ Huey Lewis and the News, Fore! 1986
Just over a month after leaving my amazing career at Aaron’s, it’s still doesn’t seem real. What’s the hardest part? That’s easy, missing the constant, daily (hourly, by the minute?) interaction with my team and the other great associates. To go from being so connected that we start communicating in various forms at 6:30AM (5:00AM if there’s inclement weather) until I went to bed to effectively… nothing, is quite a shock to the system.
So, I’m working on my promised explanation for the departure and the master plan for the future, but in the mean time, I’d really like to share some the promised “Lesson’s Learned” that I received from my team. These are my completely edited and hand selected picks. If I included all of them, well, there would be around 200 in total. All were great insights and a joy to read (and a few tears to the eye). The selections provided below are the lessons that individuals said they learned while working at Aaron’s, building it’s human capital function (from scratch). Contributors included all levels within the organization, even including an Operational VP (wow!).
I’d be remiss without sharing these great insights from these amazing and talented teammates before moving on to the next chapter. They are a group of characters that I think about everyday and am thankful that so many continue to stay in touch. Although, I don’t miss the 5:00AM inclement weather calls…
Lessons Learned Part 2:
- Be patient while new associates learn how to navigate.
- Give opportunities to others that might not ever have had elsewhere.
- Be a fearless leader, strive for relentless perfectionism, and don’t forget the “Block and Tackling”.
- Provide friendship and remind everyone what is important in life.
- Provide a reason to laugh a little every day….
- Lead from the back and inspire others to be creative and think outside the box.
- Those who dismiss a loud voice will strain to hear a whisper.
- The very best I have to offer, is only as good as the best that I bring out of my team.
- Always fess up when you make a mistake. It shows that we are human, and not perfect. Apologize, and correct it immediately.
- Pay isn’t the most important part of the job. Great leaders, culture, benefits, meaningful work is.
- You don¹t always get what you wish for; you get what you work for.
- The failure to find good talent is not the result of talent being hard to find, but rather the result of a failure to provide an environment where people understand what value, productivity and true worth are all about.
- Explaining the “why” is far more impactful than explaining a process or procedure.
- Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
- Empathy and understanding go a lot farther than anger and rudeness.
- It doesn't matter how much you know or how much success you think you have had, if people don't trust you, they will never follow you or allow you to influence them.
- Ultimately, people are more loyal to people than they are to a company.
- Building strong relationships, no matter the position of the associate or where he/she is located, we are given the opportunity to learn from each other and whether it’s a large lesson or an insignificant one, they are all valuable.
- Your voice matters; so have a point of view and participate!
- Dream big; write down ideas; and before someone says you can’t, show them you can. AND YOU DID.
- Taking what we do seriously by not taking ourselves too seriously and not overreacting, it’s all about balance and perspective.
- A leader sets vision, trusts his team, and keeps calm.
- How do you create something out of nothing? Vision, Courage, and Value.
- GSD BABY.
- It takes an extreme amount of courage to embark on a new adventure when you are at the top of your game.
- Seek continual growth opportunities for yourself and others. Aim to advance yourself and your career as well as aim to advance others and their careers. Refer your friends and colleagues for those openings, apply for that opening aim to advance.
- Find a Great Team, and Become a Part of It.
- It’s great to find your stride and confidence within a role and a team and once you do, don’t be afraid to use your voice. But, always be mindful that others deserve the floor, too. The lessons you¹ll learn from those who found their voice before you are what will help shape your voice moving forward. Take the time to listen to those lessons you’ll be glad you did.
- The difference truly is personal
- Whatever you do and where ever you end up, just remember, “DON’T - STOP BELIEVING”.
LinkedIn blog post from February 26, 2016
Lessons Learned from a Team of Believers
There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.
Last week I did one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my professional career. We gathered our entire HR team, almost all of which had come on board within the past five years to join us on a great mission to create & inspire believers and I announced that I was leaving Aaron’s, Inc. after an amazing 14-year career. It was quite a shocker.
I thought the emotional process that led me to this decision would be the hardest thing I would endure. I was wrong. By far, the hardest thing was standing in front of that team of amazing professionals and telling them that they had a new challenge ahead of them: continuing to do their great work without me. It was actually surreal for me to even hear the words come out of my mouth. I knew at that moment, everything would change. The entire trajectory of all our careers was suddenly going where no one had considered or planned.
The reasons for my decision are long, complicated, and diverse. This can be the subject of an entirely different post.
Instead, I’m sharing one of the things I reviewed with my team at the time of my announcement. You see, making a decision like this caused me to do quite a bit of reflection on all that we had accomplished together. I started writing down these “lessons learned” while building the HR function at Aaron’s. The list started to get long, but luckily it ended on 21 (one of our favorite numbers).
So at this meeting, after dropping the bomb on everyone, I read this list to the team and added commentary to many of the items. Some are obvious, some are not. Some are lessons passed down to me through mentors and leaders. Most are invaluable lessons given to me from the great associates that worked for me or with me everyday. I consider them all gifts.
1. The right person doing the right job is more valuable than any program, product, or business plan.
2. If one great person is equivalent to three good people, then one great person who believes in what they are doing is worth 1,000 great people who don’t.
3. Belief starts with interviewing, hiring, and onboarding – screw this up and it’s really hard to get fixed.
4. Great people know others just like them, and if your culture is right, they will build the team with like-minded individuals.
5. Look for individuals with high emotional intelligence, then let them run with great autonomy and responsibility.
6. A sign you have great culture: loyalty and “boomerangs.”
7. One non-believer, no matter the position, can significantly impact the motivation of large groups of those who do believe.
8. Great culture and meaningful work can overcome any brand deficiency.
9. Always be available and accessible to everyone in your organization – answer the phone, return e-mails and say hello in the lunchroom.
10. Having an amazing culture also includes business partners and vendors – they should work like you work and be treated as a member of the team (because they are!).
11. Set audacious and inspiring goals – amazing people don’t like average goals. (Oh, and make the deadline ASAP!)
12. Hire to elevate, not to delegate.
13. Don’t be afraid of first-time managers.
14. Simplicity and belief are the solution, not technology, which is the tool.
15. Some people really, really, REALLY love to wear jeans to work.
16. Lifetime learning keeps the individual sharp and motivated, and can also have significant business impact.
17. The greatest thing a control-freak can do: relinquish control.
18. You can’t burnout unless you’ve been on fire – keep a hose handy.
19. Perspective is critical to consider, but easy to forget.
20. Nothing and I mean nothing, matters more than TRUST regardless of the relationship (family, friendship or professional).
21. Life is short, don’t stop believing.
Afterwards, I asked the team to do the same: send me their lessons learned while building the HR function at Aaron’s. The response has been amazing and they are still coming in. My plan is to continue to collect them and share with the entire team before my last day on April 1.
In the meantime, as I mentioned last week, we have a lot to do between now and that last day. Primarily, we are responsible for producing the seminal event of the year, our annual National Manager’s Meeting in Washington DC. I hear there are plans to make it the best ever.
 Long story short, we were tasked with building a first class human capital function for a specialty retailer with 2,000+ locations and along the way guide a culture back to its founding roots, focusing on relationship building between our associates and customers. It’s not over, but the accomplishments are borderline unbelievable when you see them on paper.