For anyone with assets to protect, Garrett Sutton is your go-to person. Start your own corporation with his help. He is an attorney, a bestselling author, and one of Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad advisors. In a highly contentious and disruptive world, growing your wealth means constantly keeping your guard up. Garrett educates us on an action plan to protect your assets and limit liability, as well as how to select between corporations and LLCs. With the information overload we’re faced with today, as we tackle business problems that require more than one-dimensional solutions, having clarity is a big challenge. Brad Deutser emphasizes the importance of leading with clarity in today’s environment as a business tool, even more so than strategy, culture, and innovation. He teaches that designing something with a very purposeful intent makes people connect with it.
We’ve got Garrett Sutton and Brad Deutser. Garrett is an attorney and bestselling author. He’s one of Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Advisors. Brad is the Founder, President, and CEO of Deutser, which is an award-winning management consulting firm.
Listen to the podcast here:
Start Your Own Corporation with Garrett Sutton
I am with Garrett Sutton who is an attorney, bestselling author, and one of Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Advisors. He founded Corporate Direct in 1988 to assist entrepreneurs and investors in protecting their assets, maintaining their privacy, and advancing their financial goals. Since then, he’s learned that there are far too many charlatans and promoters pretending to be business advisors but only seeking to separate you from your money. He’s the author of Start Your Own Corporation which reveals the legal secrets and strategies that the rich have used for generations to run their businesses and protect their assets. It’s so nice to have you here, Garrett.
It’s a pleasure to be with you.
Robert Kiyosaki said that Start Your Own Corporation is a must read for anyone with assets to protect. I’m fascinated by what you do. Can you give a little background on your education and your work for people who are interested?
I attended the University of California Berkeley and I got my degree in business. Then went across the bay to Hastings Law School in San Francisco and got my law degree and practiced law. I’d always liked corporations and the idea of helping people protect themselves. I moved to Nevada in 1989 to pursue corporate law. Nevada is a great state to be located in for that, as well as Wyoming. It’s been great to be able to educate people about the benefits of corporations and LLCs because they don’t teach this in school. They should teach it in school, but they don’t. You have to get this information yourself.
A lot of times, people learn the hard way about the necessity of a corporation or an LLC. They operate as a sole proprietorship or a general partnership and learn the hard way that you’re personally responsible for all claims brought against your business. We want people to understand that the legal system does provide these protections for you, the ability to set up a corporation and LLC, to limit your liability, to advance your goals in business. We have to remember that they don’t teach this in school so you have to get the information yourself.
I do teach a lot of different schools where they touch on some of this stuff, but they don’t teach it to the point where you get it. It gets very confusing when you got corporations, you got Cs, you got Ss, you got LLCs, partnership, sole proprietorships. I have a real estate license and I was the MBA Program Chair at the Forbes School of Business and I know enough to be dangerous. I do know, especially when I buy real estate, to buy it and put in an LLC just for certain protection. Let’s start with LLCs because a lot of the audience are either entrepreneurs or C-level executives so that they’re dealing with working with corporations. Who’s the perfect candidate for an LLC? There’s so many ways to use it. How about a little LLC refresher?
The LLC is a fairly new entity. It started in Wyoming in the late ‘70s. The flexibility and the protection were so great that every state followed suit. By the 1990s, every state had an LLC law and they’re the most popular entity to use nowadays. They’re great for holding real estate because you can move the property in and out of an LLC at its basis, meaning what you paid for it with a corporation to move a property out, you have to refinance to move the property out as a taxable event. We don’t want to hold real estate in a corporation. The LLC offers a lot of flexibility. In a corporation, if you and I are 50/50 owners, we have to pay each other according to a 50/50 split. In an LLC, you and I could be 50/50, but if you did more work this year, if there’s an economic reason for it, we could do the split 70/30. You have a lot of flexibility with the LLC.
The LLC, along with the LP, the limited partnership, offers what’s called the charging order protection in certain states. The charging order is a lien on distributions. If someone is suing you and they want to get in your real estate, in a good state like Nevada or Wyoming and other states, the person suing you can’t go in like they can in California and barge into the LLC and force a sale of your real estate. They have to wait for distributions to be made. That’s the lien on distributions, the charging order. That’s a good a way to limit people from trying to reach your real estate with frivolous lawsuits. We like using the LLC for those purposes. There’s great flexibility. It’s a great way to hold real estate and we have the charging order protection. In Wyoming, the Secretary of State there doesn’t list your name on the state website as being an owner of the LLC, so you have privacy when you use it right off.
I’ve worked with the company and they did that for that reason. It is a nice extra benefit. My husband’s a physician. I know a lot of physicians run as corporations. Can you run a private practice as an LLC? I’ve never seen anybody do that, and why wouldn’t you?
The good lawyer answer is, “It depends on the state.” For example, in California, you can’t operate as a real estate broker or a lawyer through an LLC. You have to operate through a corporation. In that situation, you’re probably going to be an S corp which offers flow through taxation. It varies state to state. Some states allow professionals to operate through the LLC, others don’t.
We’re in Arizona. I don’t know what that is here. It’s always interesting to me, the advantages of the LLC. That’s why I’m always curious why you wouldn’t want an LLC. The main reason is because the state doesn’t allow it.
That would be the main reason. Most people will set up an LLC. As to the flexibility of the LLC, you can choose how you want to be taxed. You can be taxed as a partnership, that may make sense. You can be taxed as an S corporate or C corp. You get to choose how you’re taxed with the LLC and that gives more flexibility. There are reasons to be an S corp. There are good reasons now to be a C corp. With the LLC, you can choose which way you want to be taxed.
What’s the big difference between a C and an S corp?
Let’s start with a C corp. That’s the original corporation. It started 500 years ago. You had to get a charter from the kings, so only the people in the know were able to get corporations. They did provide limited liability. It was so popular and it helped economies evolve that they opened it up to everybody. We do want to encourage people to take risks and employ people but not lose everything in the process. The corporation helped with economic development. The C corp is the original corporation. The difference between the C and the S is the taxation. They’re both corporations. You both file articles of incorporation with the state. The state corporate law applies to both of them. It’s just they’re taxed differently.
With the C corp, you’ll pay a tax at the corporate level. Money comes into the corporation, you pay your salaries, your expenses, and the profits that are leftover are now taxed at 21%. That used to be 35%,but with the new tax law, they dropped it all the way to 21%,so that’s a pretty big change. If you want to distribute the money out to the shareholders, you’ve paid your 21%, the remaining 79% can flow through to the shareholders, but you have to pay tax on that. The shareholders then pay tax at their individual level, so you have a double tax on that.
The S corp is like the partnership taxation where everything flows through. You don’t have that 21% tax at the corporate level. The tax obligation flows through the shareholders. Even under the new tax law with the reduction of the C corporation tax, it’s cheaper. You pay less in taxes if you’re the S corp because you still have the double tax at the C corp level. With the S corp taxation, you only have one tax and it’s cheaper than the C corp by about two percentage points.
Is there an advantage for a C corp?
If you’re going to go public, you pretty much have to be a C corp. If you want to have the corporation pay for your health premiums, your medical premiums, that’s a right of a C corp. In an S corp or an LLC, the company can write it off, but that $5,000 premium per year shows up on your personal return as income. With the S corp and the LLC, you do pay tax on the benefit of receiving the health premiums. In the C corp, you don’t.
How about limited partnerships? It seems like there’s such a pain to get out of it. Why would you want a limited partnership?
If you’re the general partner and you have absolute control, you would want the limited partnership. If you’re in control, the LP is great. If you’re the limited partner where you have no control, that’s not a great position to be in. With LP, if you’re going to be the general partner, as an individual, you’re personally liable for everything that happens. You have to set up a corporation or an LLC to be the general partner. If you want that control, you have to set up two entities instead of one with an LLC.
Let’s look at a situation where mom and dad have real estate and it’s in an LP or it’s in LLCs that are owned by the LP and they’re gifting it to their kids. They want to get the real estate or the entities that hold the real estate into their kids’ names so it’s not going to be taxed when they die. You’ve already transferred it to the kids, but the kids may want to try and sell the real estate. They want to get the band back together again, go on the road, so they want to sell the real estate to do that.
Mom and dad don’t want that. With the LP, mom and dad, as general partners, with as little as 2% ownership, have absolute control. The kids can’t tell them to sell the property. The kids can’t say, “We want money to go on the road with the band.” The parents, even with only owning 2% as general partners, have absolute control. That’s why you will see some people continue to use limited partnerships.
What happens when mom and dad die? It goes over to their name?
At best, they would transfer the general partnership interest to the kids and then they’re in control. Also, what can happen is the kids are now in their 40s and the parents may transfer it at that time. If the general partner is a C corp, mom and dad can pay their health premiums for as long as they live through that C corp.
Why would anybody want to be a sole proprietor then? Is there any advantage?
They’ll say the advantage is you don’t have to do a filing with the state to be a corporation or an LLC. If you make a mistake in your business and someone sues you personally, which they can if you’re a sole proprietor, they can reach not only the assets of the business, but all your personal assets, the equity in your home, your bank accounts. Some people would say, “I’m just starting out. I don’t have any assets,” but the person who has a judgment against you that lasts for seven years can renew it every seven years until they get paid. You have this thing hanging over you and perhaps you could dispose of it in a bankruptcy, but fraud doesn’t go away in a bankruptcy. It’s just so inexpensive to form a corporation or an LLC. Why not have the protection now and into the future?
I form an LLC for each property in case something happens. If you bought a lot of houses, for example, does it make sense to have a different LLC for each house or would you put it all in one big LLC?
It’s a judgment call. I like your strategy of one property per LLC. Let’s say you had ten properties in one LLC. A tenant sues over one property. They have a claim against the LLC that owns that property. That LLC owns nine other properties. The tenant sues, the insurance doesn’t cover for whatever reason, the tenant can then reach the equity in all ten properties. Whereas if you only had one property in that LLC, they could reach the equity in just one.
They can’t get beyond the LLC they rented from to your nine other properties in different LLCs. I have some clients that are buying mobile homes and let’s say they’re worth $10,000 each. Some of the tenants are a little rough, but they may put three mobile homes in one LLC, so the most they’re going to lose as $30,000. It’s a judgment call. You wouldn’t put a duplex that you rent to the Hells Angels in the same LLC with a million-dollar house you own free and clear. That’s not a good mix of anything.
Do you need an umbrella policy? Should your umbrella policy cover things that are in an LLC if you have a personal umbrella policy?
I like the personal umbrella policy because the big claim against you is going to be that horrific car wreck or someone falling at your personal residence. That’s what the personal umbrella policy protects. Then you can have a commercial umbrella policy. Say you have ten properties in ten LLCs. You can have an umbrella policy over those ten LLCs. You’re going to have regular insurance on those properties, but you can get the umbrella coverage for the ten properties. I have found that that insurance is quite expensive and so a lot of my clients will not get the commercial umbrella policy. They’ll have the regular general commercial and fire insurance and everything else, but the personal umbrella policy, for a million of extra coverage, it’s only $300 or $400 a year. It’s pretty inexpensive insurance. That will cover you if you get in that horrific car wreck. That’s where I’m worried about someone trying to come after you.
It’s just so hard to know how to protect yourself. A lot of companies are started with, like you say, you don’t think you have much. Maybe they’re going through crowdfunding to get money at the beginning and they think, “I don’t have to worry about all this.”It’s important you brought up the seven-year thing because that’s a huge point. We hear a lot about crowdfunding. In fact, I teach a lot of courses where we talk about crowdfunding and how people are getting venture capital in different ways. You write about that in your book. Can you explain crowdfunding and how would you start if you’re trying to be a new company? Would you start with by creating an LLC and then get the funding? What’s the procedure?
I would start with an entity, be it a corporation or an LLC, before you do the crowdfunding. You’re asking people to give you the money personally and then you’re personally responsible. You always want to operate through an entity. Crowdfunding is interesting because back in the day. You had to only talk to people that you knew. You had to have a pre-existing relationship with some. It made it difficult for capital formation. Crowdfunding allows you to put together an offering on one of the crowdfunding portals where accredited investors can see what’s being offered.
You don’t have to have a pre-existing relationship with these people. They’re coming online, they’re saying that they have the ability to invest, and it’s become much more efficient. However, I’ve done a couple of crowdfunding offerings for some clients and it’s not that simple. People think, “I’ll put together the offering. I’ll throw it up on the internet and people would just flock to invest with me.”It just doesn’t work that way. You’ve got to be able to sell the offering. You’ve got to have people that are interested in you. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
I’m teaching a course with technology students and they all say, “I’ll just put it on Kickstarter and make money.” I’m like, “Good luck.” Some of these sites, you have to get all of the funding for it or none. Explain that.
It’s prudent. If you’re going to put money into a crowdfunding offering and you’re going to put the first $1,000 in and the deal requires $500,000, you don’t want your $1,000 released to the person. If they don’t get the remaining $499,000, obviously the deal’s not going forward. To require that all the money be raised before it’s released protects the people who come in first and guarantees that all the monies raised, you can move forward with all the money instead of allowing someone to take $1,000 and maybe nothing else follows that money. Then the person who put up the $1,000 is out.
Do you happen to know what percentage of Kickstarter campaigns actually fund 100%?
I don’t. That would be interesting to know.
I’m also curious about Angel investors in general. What’s the draw for Angel investors?
The Angel investors that I deal with, they’re getting outdated without the internet. There’s enough deal flow for them. The Angel investors I’ve dealt with, they were only going to give you the money when you don’t need it. If you’re going to get started, it’s going to be friends and family. I wrote another book which I co-authored with credit expert Gerri Detweiler called Finance Your Own Business and we go into all of this. You’ve got to be able to get that first money in, and it’s going to be friends and family for the most part to get started.
A lot of people don’t want to go to their friends and family. It could be the end of your friends and family if it doesn’t work out. I’m curious how you got involved with Robert Kiyosaki. Are you in Arizona too?
No, I’m in Reno. I became acquainted with Robert through a friend of mine. She was a CPA that lived in Reno and moved to Arizona and met him. They needed a Nevada attorney and she was nice enough to refer me. It’s been great because I’ve been working with Robert for eighteen years now. We travel the world. We’ve been in South America. I’m going to Australia this summer with him. His message is so popular and it resonates around the world. It’s been fun traveling with him.
There are so many people that think they know some of this stuff, but when you ask somebody to explain it, it’s a little more complicated than you realize. A lot of my students specifically think they got a good idea. They will just have to have a corporation and that’s the end of that, but they don’t understand the taxation. The tax law changed and we’re going to see some changes there. Does that change your idea of which one of these is better than before the tax law as far as a C corp, S corp, and LLC?
When the law first came out, I was worried, “Are we going to have to change everybody’s entities because of this tax law?”It took about two weeks for the reports to come out and I was relieved when they finally did. We don’t have to change things around. LLCs are still the best way to hold real estate. LLCs can still be taxed as S corp or C corp. The C corp reduction from 35% to 21% tax is great. People moving forward in business will consider using the C corp. If you do, Nevada is the only state in the union that protects the corporate shares with the charging order like other states do LLC interests. If you are going to set up a corporation, consider Nevada because they have the best asset protection. It’s the only state that offers the charging order protection for corporate shares. After the whole tax law itself, fortunately we don’t have to do any entity changes. It still makes sense to hold assets and real estate the way we did before.
A lot of people would want to know how they can get your book and how they could reach you. Can you share that?
The main website is CorporateDirect.com. We provide a fifteen-minute free consult with an incorporating specialist. You can call 800-600-1760.We sell the books at Corporate Direct, but they’re also available on Amazon and Kindle in audio and every other format available.
Thank you. This was great information. So many people need to know more about this and you did such a nice job of explaining it in a way that we can wrap our minds around.
It’s a pleasure to have been with you and your audience, Diane.
Leading Clarity with Brad Deutser
I am with Brad Deutser who’s the Founder, President and CEO of Deutser, an award-winning management consulting firm that works with leaders to create great companies inside and out. Comprised of social scientists, artists, and business consultant, Deutser restores organizational clarity through a unique and customized approach starting at the core and working out to the exterior face of the brand. Informed by in-depth research and acute awareness of leadership and culture, Deutser creates unconventional solutions with world-class design that improves organizational performance. Brad is the author of Leading Clarity: The Breakthrough Strategy to Unleash People, Profit, and Performance. Thank you for being here.
Thanks so much for having me. I’m excited to share about clarity.
I’m writing a book about curiosity. I am an expert in leadership and culture and some of the stuff that you talk about. I’m fascinated when you say you have social scientists. What do you mean by that exactly and what background do they have?
Our team is a diverse team. We put this team together because today’s business problems require more than a one-dimensional solution. The construct of our company and how we approach problem solving is to bring diverse perspectives. We have a team of organizational psychologists, anthropologists, strategists, creative people, community experts, variety of skill sets that come together and bring very diverse perspectives to solve problems.
When I was getting my doctoral dissertation, I studied emotional intelligence. That was my research and I thought that it would be important to add more psychology in the business courses. They don’t cover enough of that in my opinion. Now that we’re seeing so much focus on emotional intelligence and some of those factors, do you think that leaders need more training in that area?
Clarity is all about people, and people make organizations. A leader’s ability to connect with, to understand, to empathize to and propel people forward is fundamental to today’s business environment. Any help we can give leaders to help them with their people in understanding and moving them forward is fundamental to what we believe as long-term performance.
You say you give unconventional solutions. Can you give me an example?
We look at organization. Our unconventional approach starts from the very beginning. Most of the world look and say, “We prize outside-the-box thinking. That’s where innovation and creativity come from.” We take the opposite approach. We believe and have proven through our years of work that is actually the opposite. It’s inside-the-box thinking that drives real creativity, real innovation, and real performance. That’s fundamental to how we see things. When we operate, we define an organization’s box from which they can work and create. We’re able to create solutions. Some unconventional solutions have to do with how we approach strategy. Some have to do with how we approach culture and bringing people together. Others have to do with engagement piece. How do we engage either our internal constituents or external?
We were given a great project by a client who had a very small booth at a trade show and said, “We have to get noticed.” I said, “You have a small trade show booth that’s ten feet wide by fifteen feet long and your competitors are all 50 X50, 100 X100 sized booth.” They said, “We have to get noticed,” so I decided to create an unconventional solution, which was to bring an ambulance, wrap every bit of it in bubble wrap, put a little sign on it that say, “Some people think we’re a little obsessed with safety. We are winners of the X, Y, Z safety award for the industry.” That’s an unconventional solution that was the talk of the show.
How’d you get an ambulance?
Our client’s in the healthcare industry, and so we took that piece of it and try to try to do something fun with it and it made an impact. It’s emblematic of so many of the different solutions that we’re able to create. We believe that once you design something with a very purposeful intent, you find ways to make it interesting through design and how people connect with it.
Would you consider that outside-the-box thinking though?
No, it would just the opposite. It’s very much inside-the-box. When we think about the box, most people think about the box as being one-dimensional, it’s flat. Our view, and as people will learn in Leading Clarity, is the box has dimensionality to it. The four sides of the box are direction, operation, people, engagement. The bottom of the box is identity and the top of the boxes is the environment in which we work. When you think about this three-dimensional construct of a box, all organizations are different sizes, different shapes. It’s what’s inside that allows you to create and imagine things that are appropriate for that organization. This was absolutely inside-the-box. It just was to the far edges of the box.
It’s creative. I’ve been in sales for decades so I always appreciate a good idea like that. Some of these terms like outside-the-box and inside-the-box created new paradigm. All the different things that you hear throughout the years, is it like putting an old wine in a new bottle or are there new ideas?
I’m not sure I have the perfect answer for it. To some, it’s putting something back at an old bottle. Clarity is a different business tool. It’s more powerful than strategy, culture, innovation. People think about clarity in an old way. They think that they understand clearly. They think of it as a moment, an arrival point, a lightning strike, but it is not that. It’s a space that’s created from information, insights, experiences, and energy that influences something. When we rethink the definition of something, whether you want to consider it repackaged or not, it’s how it’s applied in a modern way and that’s what we try to do in Leading Clarity. It redefines the hierarchy of business tools. Is it new? Is it old? It’s new in where it fits and it is something that is reliable. It can be replicated over and over again.
How challenging is it to have clarity with information overload? There’s so much content and knowledge to be had. How do you have a state of clarity?
That is the reason why clarity is so important in today’s environment. We’re overloaded from a technological perspective and the societal changes and social changes that are happening. The world in which we operate is constantly moving. It’s constantly changing and because of that overload, if we can identify the bonds in which we operate, if we can define where our organization fits, it not only helps us as leaders, but it’s critical for the people who work for and with us to understand. It gives them a grounding point. It gives them an anchor from which to operate.
You say there’s a lot of ambiguity and uncertainty in the world. What do you think causes so much of that? Is it technology?
Technology is at the root of so much of the things that are happening. If we think about the technological shifts and the innovations that are happening on a daily basis, it’s creating a dislocation in some way. There’s this, “Try this over here, try this over here.” There’s a shift in how consumers experience organizations. There’s a shift in how people who work for organizations are experiencing inside their organization. I don’t know if there’s one thing, but when we look at it and say technology is a major driver, but the social and societal changes that are happening around us are just as quickly evolving as the technological platform is.
You say it’s important to find out what’s critical and enduring about our businesses. Do you think that that’s clear to most leaders out there?
When we have conversations with leaders, they will invariably say, “We got it. We understand our identity. We’ve been operating a long time.” Even the most sophisticated businesses, when they get into the process, and we call it our Foundations of Clarity workshop, they invariably have this moment where they say, “We had clarity, but we each have our own view of clarity.”This is about creating alignment. It’s so powerful to go back and look and understand and revisit the foundation of any organization. We look at purpose. Why are we in business? We look at organizational characteristics.
What was true ten years ago? What’s true today and what has to be true as we look forward ten years? We look at values. What do we value as a company? We look at traditions. Some of those things are part of the identity that all organizations rest on. When you are able to bring people together to distill the answers to those questions in a very simple way, you are able to grab hold and articulate a very purposeful culture. As you read in the book, it’s being purposeful and intentional in a time that things were moving around us so quickly. The intentionality is fundamental to driving long-term sustainable performance.
You say the starting point is always positive psychology. What if it’s not at the top? What do you do?
In our company, positive psychology underlies how we approach things. Is that how all organizations approach it? Absolutely not. We see organizations that take a deficit-based approach to a lot of things. Can we work with them and help them? Absolutely. Our view is we take a positive approach in terms of how we engage and how we see a future of an organization, but culture does begin at the top of an organization. Culture is as purposeful as anything that an organization attempts. People think about strategy. We have a very clearly articulated strategy, and these are the objectives and these are the tactics which we’re going to go to achieve that strategy. We do culture in the exact same way. Culture is a very purposeful area that an organization needs to work and focus on, and it does start at the top.
We see so much problems with engagement because of cultural problems. You say that you got to identify impact drivers that keep employees happier, more engaged in performing at their peak. How do you do that?
Engagement is critical in today’s time. Our whole conversation speaks to how do you create an aligned workforce where the workforce sees the same things, believe the same things? When they’re able to, then they’re able to engage. We often talk in organizations that leaders say, “We need more communication. We need to communicate more.” Our view is, “No, not necessarily. We need to engage more. We need to engage deeper with our employees, create those connections.”Impact drivers are things that many organizations do naturally. We identify eleven impact drivers in Leading Clarity and it’s everything from how we align behaviors in an organization. What are the behavioral expectations in the organization? When we’re able to give those, until they create those parameters and create the so-called box around our culture and the behaviors, people are able to engage. They’re able to connect with that.
When we talk about our impact drivers, whether it’s behavioral alignment, how we structure an organization, employee, performance management, how we reward and recognize employees, there’s different ways to engage. One of the things we’re finding in organizations today is that leaders often are simply compliant. They’re check-the-box. We have that program. We’re doing this, but what we offer in our book is a pathway to committed leadership. We talk a lot about being compliant versus committed. Committed organizations are the ones that have the highest level of engagement and the highest level of performance.
There’s a lot of issues with culture engagement. That was what led to my interest in writing about curiosity because a lot of leaders are naturally curious. That’s how they got to the top. They’re managing, leading people who maybe aren’t. Part of the problem with engagement is they’re not getting enough feedback. They want to know how well they’re doing. They want to know how their jobs tie into the overall goals of the company. How can we get our employees to be more a curious? Can you develop that in other people?
I do agree with you that leaders are naturally curious, and they have a desire to explore, to push the boundaries, to identify new ways of doing things. I don’t believe that employees are not curious. I believe that there is a curiosity that is in all of us at different levels, different places. Maybe there are some differences there. If it’s set up from the top of an organization, we talk about identity. If it’s part of the DNA of the organization, that curiosity, then that filters down through the organization. We find that many organizations aren’t structured and don’t prize or value that same level of curiosity. That’s why going back to the box that we construct is so critical because if that’s part of who we are, then employees know they can live within that space, have that curiosity, and still thrive in that organization.
You’ve talked about infusing more positivity in the organization’s DNA and that’s a good piece of it. I have a lot of people request that I give certain talks and I’m probably similar to the ones that you probably give about engagement and culture and soft skills, but we also get a lot of requests for generational issues. How much do you deal with that?
We deal with it all the time. Organizations today are comprised of all different generational mindsets. While we recognize there are different generational components to an organization, if you create the box and you define who you are and set those expectations and create the things that you need to create as an organization, if you do the right things, then people, regardless of their age or where they come from, will have a place to latch on to the organization and become connected to it.
I see a lot more people realizing the importance of that. Some of the things that you focus on are important. In addition to culture and all the things we’ve talked about, I noticed in your blog that you focused on well-being. What do you think the current state is on companies focusing on well-being and work-life balance?
It goes back to understanding the environment that we’re all living in and understanding that when we’re out of the work environment, there is so much swirling around. There are so many pressures and challenges that the workforce has. Inside of the workplace, that pressure is increased because of the accountability, the balance of wellness in work is critical. We go to great lengths to devise programs to help organizations understand how to create that balance, how to create a work environment where people want to be there where they understand that they are recognized as people, not just employees.
I’ve worked in sales for many decades and I can remember working in the last place. They did a lot of special things just for the salespeople because they looked at that job as so stressful. We had a ping pong table and sometimes they’d send somebody in to do neck massages and different things. It was a problem for people who weren’t in sales. They found that to be unfair. How do you help the people that need it, the stressful jobs, without making other people feel that there’s an imbalance? Do you think that’s challenging?
It is, but our view of organizations is we don’t believe that there’s a front of the house or the back of the house. We try not to separate organizations and say, “We’re going to do something in a visible way to support the sales organization and have everyone else not have those same benefits.”There are things that you do to incentivize a salesforce and support because there are different pressures and there are different things that they have to deal with. We try to take a more holistic view of the organization, and sometimes that starts with the overall environment.
We do a lot of work in designing space and in creating experiences in the office, not just for the C level, not just for the salesforce, but for the whole of the organization. That goes to our way of how we look at how energy flows in an organization. It doesn’t flow just through part of the organization. It goes through the whole of the organization, whether the person is the person that’s greeting someone at the front, answering phones, a part of the support staff or interfacing with clients. We believe that everybody has a critical function, a critical role. We support and acknowledge each of those people as being equally important to the ultimate outcome.
It’s fun to see what they’re doing with these companies now. When I was first entering the workplace, it was mad men world. It wasn’t at all like it is now. My one daughter worked at Apple. The other one works at Reallium. These are companies that are high-tech, companies that are cool. You walk around at Reallium and they’ve got beanbag chairs and pool tables and cool stuff for people to relax it between. It’s like Google. They take it and they bring it to a new level. It’s fun to go visit them. When I was at Apple, it felt almost like you were at a college campus. It’s just a different work environment. Are you seeing a lot of unique environments with different companies with which you work?
We create those environments all the time. That’s part of the magic of what we get to do with clarity. Our office is an unusual space. How we’ve created it is very similar to those but with our own twist. We have collaboration stations. One is called Color My World for colorful conversations. One is filled with sticky notes for sticky conversations. We have Zen rooms for people to get their own clarity at whatever moment they are in the day. For the Barbara Bush Literacy Foundation, we created their space and took the former first lady’s photos and created Andy Warhol-esque pictures and said to Mrs. Bush, “Do you mind your hair being yellow, orange, and green?”
We’re trying to create an environment. We’re trying to create an experience for people that when they walk in they know that they are important, that they are valued, that this is not a factory. Even where we do work with giant factories, we find ways inside those factories to create personality and intentionality insight to bring those to life as well. Everyone deserves a place to work that can inspire them, that can help them achieve and know that they are important.
Are you naturally creative person?
I am. I love what I do. I love to create. I love to imagine and I’m as curious as anyone out there. If this is something that’s been done before, how can we do it differently? How can we see the world differently and still be within the box?
Have you ever taken your Myers-Briggs type? Do you know what it is by chance?
I don’t remember the letters, but I’m squarely enough in one of those quadrants.
I’m sure a lot of people would want to know about your company and also your book. Congratulations on your new book. It sounds exciting. I can’t wait to hear more about how it does. Clarity is so important, so can you share that with everybody?
We’re super excited about Leading Clarity and it’s available wherever books are sold. If they want to visit my website, it’s www.BradDeutser.com. We’ve had such great response from people who’ve read early copies of the book in different industries across the whole country. We’re excited to share what we believe is a bold proposal that will change the trajectory of leadership, business, and people who work for and with you.
Thank you so much for being here. This was a lot of fun.
Thank you. I’m excited to be here and I am curious to read your work coming up.
I want to thank both Garrett and Brad. If you’ve missed any of our past episodes, please go to DrDianeHamilton.com. If you go to the radio section, you can listen to the show. You can sign up to read new episodes on the site. I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
About Garrett Sutton
Garrett Sutton is an attorney, best-selling author and one of Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad’s Advisors. He founded Corporate Direct in 1988 to assist entrepreneurs and investors in protecting their assets, maintaining their privacy and advancing their financial goals. Since then he has learned that there are far too many charlatans and promoters pretending to be business advisors, but only seeking to separate you from your money. He is the author of Start Your Own Corporation, which reveals the legal secrets and strategies that the rich have used for generations to run their businesses and protect their assets.
About Brad Deutser
Brad Deutser is the founder, President and CEO of Deutser (www.deutser.com), an award-winning management consulting firm that works with leaders to create great companies inside and out. Comprised of social scientists, artists and business consultants, Deutser restores organizational clarity through a unique and customized approach, starting at the core and working out to the exterior face of the brand. Informed by in-depth research and an acute awareness of leadership and culture, Deutser creates unconventional solutions with world-class design that improve organizational performance. He is the author of Leading Clarity: The Breakthrough Strategy to Unleash People, Profit, and Performance.