Hey brand builder, Rory Vaden here. Thank you so much for taking the time to check out this interview as always, it’s our honor to provide it to you for free and wanted to let you know there’s no big sales pitch or anything coming at the end. However, if you are someone who is looking to build and monetize your personal brand, we would love to talk to you and get to know you a little bit and hear about some of your dreams and visions and share with you a little bit about what we’re up to to see if we might be a fit. So if you’re interested in a free strategy call with someone from our team, we would love to hear from you. You can do that at brand builders, group.com/pod call brand builders, group.com/pod call. We hope to talk to you soon.
Hey everyone. And welcome to another episode on the influential personal brand. This is a J Vaden here. I’m one of your co-hosts. And today is super special. I always love it when I get to interview people that I actually work with. And so let me introduce you to Matt white. I’m gonna give you a little bit of his formal bio in just a second, but Matt and I have been friends for a really long time, but I became a client of Matt’s like what, three years ago? Mm-Hmm
And so that’s actually the coolest thing that you need to know about Matt is that he is dad of Salla, but okay, let me give you a little bit of his professional bio. Matt is a trusted advisor and a culture index consultant to CEOs at fast growing companies around the world. So if you’ve never heard of culture index one, you’re gonna learn a lot about it today. But you might be familiar with programs out there like engram or disk or Myers Briggs, and there’s a lot of things out there, but I think can be somewhat confusing. And here’s why our company brand builders group decided to partner up with Matt and use the culture index is it’s not a personality profile. And I think sometimes for me, at least culture index can be a little bit. What would I say?
Not as well of a description as what it is, cuz it’s not about culture in your company, right? This is about finding the right culture of the position that you’re looking for and matching it with what is someone’s natural skill sets like their God-given talents, like who they are and how can you fit that to match the actual needs, the requirements of a position. And so Matt has been leading this endeavor at brain builders group. He does it with tons of clients around the.
country. He happens to be located here in our hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. But today as a business leader, an entrepreneur, a leader of any kind or even if you’re just trying to lead a person of one this is the conversation for you. So you wanna stick around, we’re gonna talk about the culture index assessment, the profile but more importantly, how do you find higher and retain the best talent for your company? So that was the longest introduction ever, ever
Excited. Yeah. I’m excited. Thanks for the opportunity.
Yeah, I’m so happy about this, so, okay. So tell people a little bit about how did you get into this? Cause you did not start as a culture index consultant working with CEOs. That’s not where you started. So I give our audience just a little bit of background about how you got to where you are.
Yeah. So I’ll act, I’ll go all the way back to college. So I was, I came outta college with a finance degree and I went straight into college ministry. And so a lot of people don’t know that, but I was actually in college ministry until I was 31. And so when I was 30, the first few years, and this is important to one of the things that you touched on about leading yourself was especially in your late twenties and or twenties and thirties, like it’s really about self discovery. And so early on in ministry, I was doing things that were right in my gifting and wiring and it was really fun. But then as it changed, I got kind of bored over time. And when I was 30, I realized my future was not vocational ministry. So then I was like, well, I’m behind the eight ball because I’ll be competing for jobs with people who are six and seven years younger than me.
So cuz I have no business experience. And so thankfully I been a member of a gym in Birmingham, Alabama that had just started one of my teammates from college kept recruiting me to come there and try it out. And I ended up going on staff with that startup and because it just really provided the, what I thought was the best opportunity for me to get a crash course in business because I had no business acumen. I just been doing whatever I wanted to do in ministry. And so I joined that when I turned 31 and then a year later became a partner, we franchised it. And so it was a fantastic environment to really learn like the ins and outs of business. I was studying under some great leaders and just cut my teeth in business that way.
And then in that process we scaled rapidly. And a few years in, we just didn’t see the growth that we thought we should have out of some of the other partners in the business, long story short, we were introduced to culture index. And so we actually became a client my last year there. And so, and it was kind of the same thing too with ministry. Like when I was starting out with the fitness, a lot of the things that I were, I was doing like opening gyms and leadership were really fun. And then some of my role changed by the nature of the growth of the business. And I just became less and less fulfilled in it. And so you know, as AJ mentioned, when we bring a client on, we train them for two days in how to interpret this data and mobilize it to fix the issues in the business and scale.
And so on the way out of the, the workshop that I was in as a client, I called the founder of culture index and said, Hey, my name’s Matt white. I wanna become your next licensee. What do I need to do? And so I became a licensee on the side while I was still doing fitness and you know, cause all of my eggs were in the basket of the fitness business, but then over time I just saw and I was just wrestling internally. I was working with my best friends in the business, but the actual work I was doing just wasn’t out of my skill. It wasn’t in my skillset. I wasn’t passionate about it. And I’d been reading the book of Ecclesiastes and six times in 12 chapters, Solomon says there’s nothing better for a person than that. He or she should eat, drink and find enjoyment in their toil. And it just hit me. And I was like, so I don’t care how much money I make. If I don’t enjoy what I’m doing, I don’t wanna do it. You know, the reality is we spend 70,000 hours of our lives at work. And so I decided to take a leap and move to Nashville and start culture index. And that’s how I got started.
Ugh. I love that. And I think there’s so much brilliance in some of this for everyone listening of just remembering it’s like your path is gonna take different journeys and leaning into that and realizing I’m I know this is where I started, but that’s not where I wanna go. And that’s okay. I think so many of us try to like stick it out and make it work. And it’s like, why punish yourself? Like why punish yourself? Because you’re too afraid to go out and do something that you feel called to do. And I mean, it’s like, I mean, I think you’re probably the happiest now you’ve ever been. I don’t know. That’s just saying as an outsider looking in, but
100%, 100%, because again, we spend so much of our lives at work, especially as entrepreneurs and business owners, and this is your baby and this is your passion. And I’m, I, it doesn’t feel like work to me. And sometimes people like, you know, my friends and I’m hanging out at like nine o’clock at night and they’re like, Hey, let’s look at this profile and I’m sorry, I’m you’re talking about profile. I’m like, no, I love this stuff. And I also believe like, you know, in any business, I believe the most important thing in any business is your human capital. Yeah. Right. Like the greatest leading indicator of P and L performance in the business is your human capital. And so that’s where I get passionate about. It’s like not to mention the fact that as leaders, you, you will have massive amounts of opportunity to influence for better or worse the lives of the people that work for you. Yeah. And in my opinion, our cap depends on our ability to lead other people.
Hmm that’s so
I just always wanna be a you know, a student of the game of leadership.
I love that. And this is such a great transition too. And before we, we hit record, we were having just a brief, you know, conversation. And I know there’s so much discussion right now, out in the marketplace, around the topic of the great resignation. Right. And if you’re not watching, I’m doing funny ears when I say the great resignation because I, I don’t really know if that’s what it is. And then I read this article a couple of weeks ago by Ariana Huffington. And I thought this was a great re explanation of that. And I love what she said. And she said, it’s not so much, this is the great resignation. It’s more of a great reevaluation and people are taking a step back and going, man, I don’t love what I’m doing. Why not? And how do I get to do something that I love?
And maybe it’s people environment, culture, environment, but what if it’s just the job itself? It’s like, you feel like you’re not wired to be doing what you’re doing and you’re pushing, right. Instead of like having that natural pull that’s easier. Mm-Hmm
We don’t even have the skills for it. And it just it’s mindboggling to me sometimes of going, why are people trying to do this when they don’t, they’re not gonna be good at it. And mm-hmm
Okay, I’m gonna keep it really simple. So if you’re a business owner or, or not a business owner, you’re leading a team and you you’re part of a business. If your business is not using psychometrics, you’re behind the eight ball because most people are. And so when I say psychometrics, basically, we’ve got the technology now in the research with psychometric, all psychometrics is, is you’ve got psychology and math and they get together and have a baby. And now we actually have data on what will this human being do when nobody’s looking. And when they’re under pressure, in other words, you naturally do who you are, right? And you you’ve talked about the interview process. It’s like when you’re, when you’re interviewing people, it’s simply a sales pitch. And if I need a job, I can convince you, certain profiles are better at convincing others, right?
So you, most people are going into interviews and they’re making these very expensive decisions off of subjective information, which is their experience with that person or their track record, which the assumption is what you did over here at this company is the exact same thing with the exact same leadership as what you would be getting here in my company, which is hardly ever the case back to culture index. So there’s really two things you gotta look at when you’re looking at psych psychometrics is what’s the statistical reliability of that instrument. So in other words, how, if we go back to human capital, if that’s the greatest leading indicator of P and L performance in your business, how accurate and valid do you want the data to be that you’re using to make these decisions that will influence the P and L statement? Yeah. So you gotta look at statistical reliability.
I can’t speak for any of Graham and all of those others because I, I’m not a practitioner of those. I do know that culture index has an internal or a statistical reliability of 0.9. So 90% of the time it is spot on. Now we can get into why that is part of it has to do with the design. This is a free choice checklist versus a versus a forced choice. So anytime you force a human being to choose one of four or one of six options, it will negatively impact the reliability of it. Mm. So one it’s, it’s, whatever you’re using, you gotta look at, does it really measure what it says? It measures the second thing though, and I think it’s actually the bigger draw is there’s only about 65 culture index licensees in the country and what we hang our hat on is radical candor and the strategic ability of the advisor to lean into CEO.
When I understand where your three and five year goals are and give you very candid, blunt feedback about the people you’ve chosen to bring around you and whether or not you will hit those top and bottom line goals in the next three to five years. I mean, I’ve, I’ve been on multiple demos this morning with client, with prospects in Alabama and Georgia, and we’re pulling up and we’re talking about for one example, a construction company, you know, 150 employees and they have their, their linchpin in their business is the project manager overseeing these construction. And they had eight of them. And I’m literally able to say, okay, this one’s worth $2 million. And this one is costing you $2 million. Interesting. And I don’t have to, I don’t have to guess, cuz I ask them, what do they need outta that role? And they say, I need X, X, X, X. And I say, okay, well, how much of your time do you spend telling this person what to do and having to follow up with them because they don’t follow through? Hmm. I spend a lot of time and I say, okay, how much is that worth? Cause for the CEO, the two biggest problems I fix for our CEOs time and money.
Yeah. You know, it’s I love that you say that, cause you’ve done this we’ve had this conversation many times and you just go, horrible idea. Never hire this person.
Candidate. Well, and, and, and I I’ll say this too. You, you talked about culture index, so we don’t measure character values, integrity. We also don’t. We also don’t want measure what somebody’s passionate about. Okay. And so we don’t measure good. Is this a good or a bad human, but it’s like this. And we talk about culture because that’s a buzzword, right. Everybody wants a strong culture. And then if I said to one of you owners or entrepreneurs on this call, if you ever, ever seen the movie Rudy, right. If you haven’t, you ought watch it. It’s, it’s a classic, but it’s about a guy who is just passionate about Notre Dame football. And he believes Irish and he played football in college. So he studied it. He had a lot of experience. He knew the ins and outs. And then he got to walk on at Notre Dame and he had more grit, more passion, more drive, more work ethic than probably every other athlete on the team. But Rudy was five foot 10. And if you started Rudy with all the grit and passion and heart and experience at five foot 10 going against a six foot five competitor, statistically he’ll lose nine out of 10 times. And then when you put a square peg in a round hole, I don’t care. What values are up on the wall when your team loses eventually a losing program has a terrible culture regardless of the values.
Yeah. You know, I, what, I, I think one of the things that both as a entrepreneur CEO, but then also as a, as a client, one of the things that I’ve gotten really in tune with is that a lot of people can do the job. It’s just, how quickly are they gonna burn out doing it? Hmm. And that was like a really good insight that I picked up from our work together and using this is, yeah. I mean, you could force someone into doing this and they could probably do it, but for how long before they go, I’m exhausted. This is so hard. I’m not happy. And the, what I love about this as a business owner is I know what I need out of these positions. And it’s so hard to determine that by looking at a resume or social media, or even doing an interview, I, I mean, we do shadow days.
We do call audit. We do all these things to help other people get to know like, this is what the business is gonna be about. But at the end of the day, those are really high level samples. And to what you said earlier, it’s like, I need to know, is this person gonna love doing it and be good at doing it when I’m not around? And I think that is a really important thing. And so I’d love to hear your perspective of, you know, this great resignation or great reevaluation in terms of, for business owners. It’s like, how do we get around this? Mm-Hmm
Hmm. Okay. Couple of thoughts. With two case studies from different clients here in Nashville, one is in a service business construction, and one is a
You know, like, and you can’t tell from the dots whether or not somebody’s gonna like cheat or steal
Although we measure these, this is from another article I read by Harvard it’s, every human being has a need to achieve the need for relationship and the need. For some level of knowledge and expertise, we just happen to measure. Those are our three primary motivational drives. And so when you can get the talent or not talking about how to go find it, but like the talent’s coming to you where you’re getting applicants like that, you have an advantage when I already know what makes that person tick. And I help them see their future in my company. The other one though, is from the client with a social enterprise. And they, they have, they are inundated with applicants, like just so many that is because of the mission and the cause of the business. Right. And so I think there’s multiple things in there as one, when you talk about the great resignation, I agree with that. It’s a reevaluation because people are gonna have to work. Yeah. Right. They can’t sit at home forever, but like when we, as leaders can learn how to take the talent and inspire and motivate and more importantly, put them in roles that they’re naturally gifted for. I mean, you think about like, Chick-fil-A versus McDonald’s, that’s the same business, but it seems like McDonald’s struggles a little bit more than Chick-fil-A to find talent and it’s fast food.
So that has to do with leadership development and culture and vision. And I actually know quite a few Chick-fil-A’s that use culture index.
Hmm. So, so much of it is about that pairing. Right? So one of the things that I have found really difficult is even knowing what you need out of, of a position, right. Like I know that seems kind of silly, but it’s actually quite challenging to go, like, what do I actually need out of this position? So any thoughts around that and how to help business owners and leaders be like, what do I want out of this position? I know what needs to get done, but like, what do I actually need this person to do in terms of what skill sets and what traits and what drivers I’m like, mm-hmm
Right. And that’s like, that has nothing to do with the position itself. That’s just knowing myself as the leader business owner. It’s like, I want people who, who see it and who can create it for themselves. But if you’re gonna wait around and you’re gonna make, wait for me to build that for you, I’m not gonna do it. Mm-Hmm
Yeah. So let’s go back to the first part about the actual job where I see I wouldn’t say most, but I have clients that have struggled with being able to define what do I really need in this role. Mm-Hmm
If it’s on, but it’s on the leader to, to define here’s what you do in your job. Okay. So, but that, that we struggle with that when there’s a lack of clear direction. Yeah. And a lack of a strategy. But the second thing is, is because what you mentioned, you know, is we have a different piece of the program where we actually design so that you can answer questions about the job. And then it says, okay, this is the pattern. Or these are the patterns that will produce the ideal behavior, where 80 to 90% of the day, this is how you need to behave. Mm-Hmm,
And you’re basically saying, look, I want somebody who’s equally good at playing offense and defense at the same time. And so that’s where, you know, I, I challenge my clients, push back and say like, at the end of the day, is it more important for this person to win and innovate or not make mistakes? And usually when you put a straight edge on it like that, they’re able to say, yeah, but I can’t have everything. But if this is what is ultimately gonna make this position successful, they need to be detailed. Let’s say we can measure that. Mm-Hmm
So you can’t have everything.
I think that’s a good reminder to all of us. You can’t have everything. So if someone out there is going, okay, like something you just said clicked, but I’m not currently using culture index. It’s like, what would be like the, the first step advice that you would give to a leader who’s going, this is how you get clear of what you need out of a position. Would you say it’s like, start with the KPIs, like start with the end result in mind? Like, what would you say?
Hmm. I go back to the fitness business experience where I learned there and, you know, our CEO was a fantastic strategic thinking visionary. And so we just had this vision for five years out of what we wanted to be. And there was 300 fitness communities and, and it was, and we could clearly define it. And it actually took us four days as a leadership team to come up with that. It’s like, where do we wanna be in the next three to five? Or I think it was five years. And then once we got that end goal, then we backed into how do we get there? And we broke it down. What are the metrics that need to be measured? And then what’s feasible year four, year, three, year two, and year one. And so you take the big picture, but then you break it down to bite size.
So then we took it and we said, okay, so this year we’re only gonna, here’s our one year goal. And we had what we, we drew this mountain and we had base camps up to the top of the mountain. And the cool thing was, it was like, I forget who wrote the book, making vision stick. But we did, we, we really focused as leaders in the organization of communicating that vision of where we’re going down to everybody who was even a part-time employee. So they knew what the vision was. And then they knew how, what they do every day ties in to helping us achieve that mission. Mm. I love that. So I would say that, and then some kind of operational system, like traction or scaling up with ver Harnish where there’s, there’s so many resources out there on how to scale a business mm-hmm
Yeah. We implemented traction here at brand builders group, the book traction by Gina Wickman. It was mandatory reading for all of our leaders three years ago. And it’s like, we, we put in place traction simultaneously as we started doing culture index. So okay. So I know I’m, I’m watching the clock. I know we only have a few more minutes left here, but I’ve got like two other, like, kinda like big questions. So one of the things that I find fascinating, and I know if I find it fascinating, all of the other people out there listening also find it fascinating. So help give people some insight into some of these profiles that you have at culture index, cuz there’s a lot of them. There’s a lot. Right. And I know my profile as I’m a persuader. Right. And it’s a heck of a lot easier for me to work with other persuaders than it is some others. It’s just, there’s like a natural ease in it. So give us some, like, what are some like just inside behind the scenes knowledge, if no one, no one’s ever taken this, I don’t know what this is. Mm-Hmm
Yeah. So let’s go back to some, you know, probably something that’s really familiar for a lot of people is like a disk profile, right? The D I S C it’s been around for a long time reasonably accurate, but it, it, it lumps people into one of four categor categories. Right. So if I know I’m communicating with a high D that’s about 25% of the world, according to disk, the problem with that is it’s kinda like looking at a mountain. If I’m, if I’m a mile away from a mountain, I can tell that’s a tall mountain, but, and I can, I, I can go climb that. But then when I get up really close and I can see the precise, like there, here’s a big crevice, here’s a ma major like overhang that changes how I approach that. And so what you’re really looking at and where I think what I love about culture index is that it is precise in that.
And so to, you mentioned profiles, think of it. Like if I’m, if I’ve got, let’s say you’ve got the disc and you’ve got four tools for people, right. Well, how much more precise and accurate can I be? And confident if I were to say, Hey, actually I have 19 different tools and here’s how you use each one of those different tools. And so we’ve broken it down into 19 different patterns. So for example, within the high D for disk, where they have one profile for that, they actually have five. And so that changes and there’s a lot of nuances there. And the big thing too is I, I try to train my clients. So there’s two things that are really important when it comes to motivation and communication. One is that person naturally off playing offense or defense, and then how do they think learn and problem solve.
Hmm. And so we call that deductive and inductive reasoning or thinking. And so that changes how we communicate. If, if I’m talking with you as a persuader with a higher B trait, I know that you’re actually going to need some personal interaction. If I’m working with you pretty consistently, because that’s a motivational drive. Whereas if I’m working with Rory, he wants to come to work. And that B is low, even though you guys have the same, a trait, essentially your B is very different. And so you guys are radically different just on that one data point and we’ve got seven mm-hmm
And I remember this, I don’t know if you remember this conversation. But we were talking about one of our key employees and I remember this conversation and you said you have shrink, trapped and Eagle
She enjoys it. She loves it versus man, she was stressy, you know what out? Because she was in spreadsheets and she does not like spreadsheets. It’s not good at spreadsheets. And it’s like it was like, it’s like, you know, you, you’re looking on the outside going, why is like what in the world? And you’re like, I gotta help this person be more organized. They need more accountability. And it’s like, no, they’re never gonna be successful in that role. Mm-Hmm
I, I just had this thought, you know, you mentioned my daughter. I take every Monday off and we just play together. And so much of the play is actually like work. Like she wants to build things or she wants to fix something or she wants to go explore or she wants to start something, but it actually has a lot to do with work. She wants to cook. She wants to make something. And it’s like, that stuff is effortless and fun to her. So what happens between when we’re kids and then we have to go get a job and then at work has a negative context to it. Yeah. The reason why I think it is, is because it feels like work. If I show up and I have to do things I’m not naturally wired up to do. Right. But the, and that’s where stress comes honestly. And that’s why work takes longer. You know, people say like work will expand to the time allotted for it. I, I don’t think that’s necessarily true because if you have somebody doing something that’s natural for them, doesn’t feel like work they’re more efficient. Yeah. It doesn’t feel like work and they’ve got better morale.
Yeah. And it’s, I think it’s so important. It’s like one of our big commitments in our company and it’s like, we’re definitely not perfect at this. Got a long way to go. But it’s like, if we know it’s the right person, it’s like, let’s find the role that you’re naturally gonna succeed in. Because otherwise we’re doing each other, a disservice, like we’re trying to make it work. You’re trying to make it work when it’s like, you could go out and find a position that you love. And you know, it’s interesting, cuz we’ve all heard that old saying is like people don’t leave companies, people leave people. I really believe that there’s a middle step in there. It’s like people leave jobs. Mm-Hmm
Yeah. And there there’s some structures and organizations where there are limitations and it’s like, you may have been really enjoying this and good here, but then we don’t have another opportunity to leverage those strengths. And so they may have to leave. That’s not on the leader, but then a lot of it is in on the leader of if I don’t understand my talent and therefore I’m not optimizing them, then that really is on the leadership.
Yeah. I’m so good. I love discussions like this. I love learning just about people and it’s like, I love all these. I love culture index, fascinate, engram disc. I do all of them. I’m just fascinated with learning about like human nature in general. Mm-Hmm
You me too?
I’m an eight go figure. I’m a di and disk. Right? I’m the Maro and fascinate, I’m the persuader. And it’s like, but they’re all complimentary. And it’s like, okay. I should probably like take my own advice here. It’s like, I know myself well enough, but yet like even in this conversation, it’s like, I have like this checklist of things that feel like work to me and it’s because I’m not naturally gifted in ’em. So I have to, it takes me longer. It’s it’s harder for me. I don’t enjoy it at the end of those days where I’m doing that. I feel stressed and overwhelmed because it’s, it’s not fun. And then I have other days where it’s like, man, it was a great day and I’m always asking myself what makes a great day for me as a business owner. And I think that’s a good question for everyone to ask.
It’s like get really in tune with like what makes a great day. And I’ve just found like for me, it’s like, I, my cup is full when I get to spend time with our clients and with team members that, you know, are positive and happy. Like I love that. And been on days where I’m just like sitting behind a computer screen all by myself, crunching numbers, I’m like, Ugh, this is so hard. Like why does this feel like work? And so I think you just gotta get in tune with that for yourself too. And mm-hmm,
Hmm, man, that’s a tough one. The first thing that comes to mind is humility, but then I had to check myself cause I, I think I’m a good leader and I wouldn’t necessarily call myself humility or humble. I’d like, I’d like to think that, but I think because I also see this, like I, I do, I engaged with visionary leaders all day long and some of them with same identical culture, next profiles have very different results because you could be a leader, but if nobody wants to follow you, it really doesn’t matter how strategic you are. And it really doesn’t matter how much vision you have or how you can hold team accountable. It’s like at the end of the day, if people don’t trust you and you’re not approachable and open for feedback as a leader, I think it’s gonna be very difficult to build a team around you because every good leader, I know they really believe like I couldn’t have gotten here without the team that helped me get there. And so, and maybe that’s just the, the other thing too, is like, I want to aspire more of that because the twenties and my thirties, it was like crash course in humility, especially the thirties. And I think I’m at a better place because I’ve gotten a little less ego.
Hmm. That’s so good. I love that. Such a good conversation. If people wanna connect with you online social media, what’s the best platform for them to go to?
Well, I, I am not great with social media. I think it’s Instagram is Matt white, 3 21, LinkedIn is, is there. And then you know, like we said, if you guys take that survey, then my assistant will reach out and schedule a few minutes to review the data with you, either with me. One of my colleagues and well
Since you’re self proclaimed, so Instagram, Matt white 3, 2, 1,
It’s Matt white, 3 21,
Matt white 3 21. Or
It’s basically just pictures of sale though.
Pictures, basical, pretty much all I want. Well that that’ll be an offline conversation for me and you, we, I can help you with this. You help me with the people I’ll help you with social media. So
Yeah, I have no brand. So I’m, I’m your next client? I have no brand
Note to sell note to sell Matt, so awesome. Thank you. So for being on here everyone be sure to stay tuned for the episode and we’ll you next time on the influential personal brand.