For Love of Team™ | Winston Faircloth

085: Charting a New Path following a Founder | J.R. Howard | UPIC Solutions

June 07, 2021 Winston Faircloth Season 2 Episode 85
For Love of Team™ | Winston Faircloth
085: Charting a New Path following a Founder | J.R. Howard | UPIC Solutions
Chapters
For Love of Team™ | Winston Faircloth
085: Charting a New Path following a Founder | J.R. Howard | UPIC Solutions
Jun 07, 2021 Season 2 Episode 85
Winston Faircloth

Six years ago, Winston Faircloth stepped down from the technology organization he helped to build over a 15 year period.  As a founder, one of the hardest things you can do is to “let your baby go”. 

Yet, the prior 12 months had been filled with turmoil and internal discord -- it was no longer fun, senior leaders were at odds with one another, and the organization was experiencing higher than normal turnover. 

After an extensive search process, UPIC Solutions found their new leader from within. J.R. Howard had a front-row seat to the chaos and decided in advance there was a better way to lead.  A people-first way.  

In this revealing interview, Winston sits down with his successor J.R. Howard to talk about the amazing transformation UPIC has experienced over the past six years. 

  • Taking a founder's vision, enhanced by a culture that loves the team 
  • Leading with positivity and how the team reflects the leader 
  • Importance of the leader as a storyteller 
  • Building a culture of accountability and consistency 
  • How building raving fans is an inside job first 
  • Keeping a remote team together with Virtual Coffees with the CEO 

Connect with J.R. Howard at:

****

When you’re ready to Multiply your Impact, your Income, and your Freedom in business...
The Team Map™ Method is your roadmap to a perfect-fit, big enough business.  

We believe that every business is as unique as fingerprints.  It’s not the product or the clients that make you unique.  It’s your people: the collection of unique talent, experience, perspectives all working together towards a compelling why.  The WHY you started your business in the first place.  

Yet, for most founders, our teams are an afterthought or worse, an expense.  What if your team was your key differentiator in the marketplace?  Find out how.  Text Winston at 1-754-800-9461 to begin your Team Map™ journey.  

***
Connect with Winston






Show Notes Transcript

Six years ago, Winston Faircloth stepped down from the technology organization he helped to build over a 15 year period.  As a founder, one of the hardest things you can do is to “let your baby go”. 

Yet, the prior 12 months had been filled with turmoil and internal discord -- it was no longer fun, senior leaders were at odds with one another, and the organization was experiencing higher than normal turnover. 

After an extensive search process, UPIC Solutions found their new leader from within. J.R. Howard had a front-row seat to the chaos and decided in advance there was a better way to lead.  A people-first way.  

In this revealing interview, Winston sits down with his successor J.R. Howard to talk about the amazing transformation UPIC has experienced over the past six years. 

  • Taking a founder's vision, enhanced by a culture that loves the team 
  • Leading with positivity and how the team reflects the leader 
  • Importance of the leader as a storyteller 
  • Building a culture of accountability and consistency 
  • How building raving fans is an inside job first 
  • Keeping a remote team together with Virtual Coffees with the CEO 

Connect with J.R. Howard at:

****

When you’re ready to Multiply your Impact, your Income, and your Freedom in business...
The Team Map™ Method is your roadmap to a perfect-fit, big enough business.  

We believe that every business is as unique as fingerprints.  It’s not the product or the clients that make you unique.  It’s your people: the collection of unique talent, experience, perspectives all working together towards a compelling why.  The WHY you started your business in the first place.  

Yet, for most founders, our teams are an afterthought or worse, an expense.  What if your team was your key differentiator in the marketplace?  Find out how.  Text Winston at 1-754-800-9461 to begin your Team Map™ journey.  

***
Connect with Winston






J.R. Howard:

I'm as transparent with the team as I can be probably overly transparent at times with them. I want everyone to know where we are and where we stand at all times. Part of what keeps us going is you know, we want raving fans, and have raving fans. They want that transparency and again in a nonprofit space.

Winston Faircloth:

Hey there multipliers it's Winston Faircloth, and welcome back to the for love of team. This is the podcast where leaders simplify teamwork, helping you surround yourself with teammates doing the work they love, simplifying business processes so that you can serve more focused on the work you love. Today, a very special episode, the best, most inspired ideas often come out of left field. A few months ago, I was reflecting upon my 40 year career leading teams, both the VISTAs and the valleys times when our team rocked it, and other times where I wrecked it. And if you've lived long enough, it becomes easy to spot both trends. I'm never going to hold myself up as a shiny, perfect example of leadership as a mentor, and a leader, coach, friend, that would not be truthful. And I found that the best lessons in life and business are often drawn from the experiences you want to help others avoid. Well, a few months ago, I was reading my journal. And I flipped to a passage from six years ago. And what was startling to me was the chaos that was going on at both my work and in my life. My identity was so wrapped up in my work. Yet the office was not a very fun place to be. I was distant, aloof, focused on strategy. And several of my direct reports were literally at one another's throats in conflict. My ego had once again gotten the best of me. And I was at that time sideways was several of my board members. And by the way, they were right, the organization at often dreamed about running was becoming a nightmare. 15 years of my life, my career was falling apart, and for good or for bad. Internal culture often reflects the leader and I was not leading well. And also, at that time, deep down, I felt like the best thing for all concerned was a fresh start. So at the February board meeting that year, offered to step away. And in the intervening months after my resignation, I worked to clean up some situations that I had allowed as the board began their process of selecting a new leader. Well, fast forward to today. hindsight is so clarifying. You know, at this moment a few months ago, it hit me like a ton of bricks, my downfall. My lesson. I love my product and clients way more than I love my team. Hence, this became a new mission a new purpose for me, helping founders and leaders like you understand that client experience will never exceed that of your team. Now fortunately, airboard there selected a leader who already believed and embodied this, and he's my guest here today. My successor, Jr. Howard was named yupik Solutions CEO in the summer of 2015, and has led the organization to phenomenal success. It's been amazing, so much fun to watch the organization blossom and come back to life under his leadership. We're going to learn a lot together in this interview. I'm so thankful to my friend, Jr, for joining me on today's podcast. Jay R. Howard, CEO of yupik solutions. Welcome to the love of team podcast. Thanks, Winston. Thanks for having me. Great to be here today. Well, Jr, as I as I share with the audience in the beginning, we have a connection that goes back 10 years, I guess, right in terms of Yeah, you first came to work with me at you pack. And now here you are six years later, almost right as CEO of yupik. And you've done such an amazing job turning around the mess that I left behind when I stepped and as in just for folks on the podcast, you know, go back to episode a few back road have True Confessions of how, as a leader, I really fell in love with the product that we had. I fell in love with the clients that we had, but really did not love the team as much as I loved either the products or the clients and you have done that and more in your 10 years. So why don't you give everyone a little bit of your background, what you did before you pick and what you've been doing at the helm of you pack

J.R. Howard:

Sure, so we still have to start a little bit the background there. But you know, I came to yupik 10 years ago now, I guess this is once a mentioned hard to believe it's been 10 years already. But before that I came out of private industry, mostly focused around managing offshore development for E RP and CRM projects. Most of it based out of India was a set of teams I ran on the development side. So focus there in the manufacturing space for a company that did a large thing, civil engineering, pipe type situations and bridges and other things. So a lot of civil engineering type applications, a lot of things on the manufacturing shop floor, I was in charge of those from broken the DRP and the shop floor manufacturing things and things along those lines. So prior to that I was really an IT generalist have lots of different sorts, a whole lot of different things I did that kind of led me up to that point before jumping on board with yupik. And taking over the CRM team at that point in time, and you picked history. So started out there with with Winston, as you mentioned, hired me on the run at that time, which was a couple of large CRM implementations that were going on for some of our customers that you pick, since then, took over a CEO and 2015. So almost six years now, at the helm, you pick, really charged with taking what was a great innovative product at the time, I mean, for those that don't know, you pick was the cloud. And once they invented the cloud for United Way's before there was a cloud, and anyone talked about the cloud and putting everything up, it's wild. So what what was there, at the beginning of you pick was really something that was very innovative, and very agile, got bogged down along the way, and became a little less innovative and a whole lot less agile. So you know, we what I did was we re envisioned how that work. And we took everything from what was our private data center at that point in time up into the public cloud. So now all of our technologies hosted on Amazon Web Services, as well as we get stuff across from Microsoft and a few other places. But for the most part, everything sets up and Amazon Web Services and really one of the first of our kind, and especially in the nonprofit space to put everything in the cloud and not have a hybrid of some stuff local and some stuff in the cloud. You know, in some ways, it was great foreshadowing on our part, who knew a pandemic would come upon us, what, 15 months ago, I guess now at this point in time, but it really enabled our customers the transition pretty seamlessly from working in an office to work from home environment that many of them weren't used to. So the things we've done and how we're able to scale and move quickly, play great there from that side. So that's something you pick, it always provided it's I think it was something that was in the founders vision of what you pick was obviously, I don't think a pandemic was the reason they had in mind for that. But nonetheless, it played very well. So I mean, that was, you know, part of what's really kept you pick, shining and running these last 15 months has been that that foundation that was laid and set there. On top of that. The other part that that, that we're pretty proud of that you picked is really the culture we built. So you know, I came in and took a culture that that needed some love, and attention. And we did that through really, you know, commitment and transparency to the team, empowering them to go out and do what they do best then, and just listening and being agile and, and leading with positivity. I'm a big believer and the organization takes on you as a leader, you as a CEO, it will take on your personality. If I come to the office, having a bad day, the office is gonna have a bad day. And I can't do that. So you got to come in and be positive and not always an easy thing to do. There's always things we're carrying on her pack and hearing on our sleeve. But you know, that team, you know, you got to know what buttons to push, and I need to see that positivity come through every day.

Winston Faircloth:

Yeah, that that's what I've observed to Jr. in terms of you taking over the helm. And and and bringing not only that positivity, but insider's perspective. You know, having been in the seat and watching kind of some of the dysfunction that was going on inside the organization beforehand. And, you know, it's not often and by the way, for folks who don't know about you pick, how would you describe you pick two folks who maybe don't work in the nonprofit space. Let's start with there.

J.R. Howard:

Sure. So you picked 501 c three nonprofit. More specifically, we're actually a service organization dedicated to serving the United Way's so by charter 51% of our board is actually United Way members and asked to stay that way. And the keep our nonprofit status we also have to work primarily for United Way's although we do have a few customers outside of that space but we're really a technology and shared service provider to United Way's so we provide them with everything from you know their software they use every day and it's hosted to their campaign software to their online giving software to things to much more staff augmentation as you would typically think of staff augmentation. So we did processing for United Way's we have helped us that that answers your questions. We do HR services now we just signed our first HR contract few weeks ago. So now we're providing HR services out to these United Way's as well as we just launched. On the first of May our first official accounting and finance partner we're doing all their outsourced accounting and finance, not just the pledge processing piece. So you know, the original vision of epic was always to do all this back office services for United Way's and, and we just carried that forward and executed and started doing it.

Winston Faircloth:

That's amazing. It's, it's been such a progression to watch this happen over the years and to cheer on from afar. And for folks who don't know, it's it's pretty rare when you have a transition in leadership, especially when you go from a founder to the next leader to have somebody from within get promoted. So walk us through that process Jr. One applying and to getting into the seat. I mean, that's that's a testament to your leadership.

J.R. Howard:

Yeah, so you know, I mean, that that is unusual. Uh, you're absolutely right, once then. And the more the further I get into business, and the more CEOs and people I connect to, I'm not only in the United Way network, but out there and just the workplace in general. It really is pretty unusual. You're right. So, you know, I took a leap of faith myself when I when I applied, and I kind of knew at that point, I was either going to get this job, or I was going to be looking for another job because I knew it really doesn't work both ways, once you make that decision to apply for a role like that. So I knew either there'd be a whole new leadership team coming in, and I'd probably be going out, or, or I'd get the job, I was always pretty confident that I'd get the job, I thought I had a pretty fantastic story to tell the board at that point in time. And, you know, I think what I've what I've learned, especially in the nonprofit and United Way space, and it's probably true outside of that space, too, is my job is really to be a storyteller. I have a lot of stories I tell a lot of different people. And, you know, I, I think the board saw that I had a great story to tell them. You know, I told him the story of what kind of brought me to the nonprofit space in that business. And I'll give you the short abbreviated version not to keep your your readers or listeners wondering. But you know, so for me, what brought me here is my great grandmother, down in southeastern Kentucky, she owned 100 acre farm, and a small general store, which you know, in that part of Appalachia, there wasn't anything around, you couldn't just go around the corner to your Kroger or Publix or whatever your major grocery store brand is. So she she ran that that general store for as long as I can remember, I was fortunate enough to go down and see a lot of that, in my you know, early in teen years and was fortunate to know her for the first 21 years of my life, a lot of people don't get to meet their, their great grandparents and spend that amount of time with them. But you know, the one thing I didn't realize, and I watched as a child that I now reflecting back I know is that store was her way of giving back to the community. There was never anyone that would leave that store hungry. So she'd watch people come in and say, I can't afford to pay for this loaf of bread just like you know, just take it well, we'll figure it out later. So as I look back and start to think and remember those things I could see the philanthropy she had and how she was helping her community. So that kind of things, then kind of then inspired me to come to UK and give back and get out of that kind of corporate grind and get something into that nonprofit space.

Winston Faircloth:

Yeah. And that was evident from the moment that you came into our culture. Right that you had that spark you had that. I mean, you were one of the things that most of my about people in tech, especially not for profit tech, is that they find a way to Yes. And, and especially if they're a home grown, you know that they've learned it from the ground up. And you were always one of those kind of personalities in the group that you found a way to get there. You know, you found a way to Yes, but also appreciated how you didn't do that at the expense of your team. You know, that's a hard that's hard about I really struggle with that in my time that you pick, especially last five or six years, but you've got Always navigated that well.

J.R. Howard:

Yeah, no, I appreciate that. And it's not easy to navigate, right. I mean, especially sitting up here at the top and watching I mean, with with tech, in particular, people are always expecting the prices to go down and to keep decreasing. And that's ever more pressing and hard to do in the not for profit space where, you know, honestly, donations on the United Way side and the way they do their campaigns around them keep decreasing, and I've been for a while, that's not to say donations in the nonprofit space are decreasing, it's it's going up. It's not a bad trend across the whole industry. But you know, the United Way's business models undergoing an evolution much like epochs undergone an evolution. So it's interesting to watch. But yeah, you know, we've led through this whole pandemic, and really, since I've been in charge, even before the pandemic is putting that team first. And that's really what matters to me. And what's what's matter to the leaders I have here now is, let's take care of the team, we'll figure out how to work the rest of it out, let's grow intentional and be sometimes slow about it, although the growth has been slow these last few years. But you know, it's just something we were very intentional about how we did it. And where we're launching this new business lines. And we looked at you pick as a business too. I mean, that's the other side that I think is a little different that you put was always a great nonprofit still is a great nonprofit still does a lot of great things there. But you know, nonprofits attack status, and we look at it and run it as a business. If the lines not profitable, then then we can't help get back innovate and do the things that are united way partners need.

Winston Faircloth:

So talk about how you build that culture of team First, take us back to you know, coming into the seat, what you were experiencing, you know, in the months coming up to the transition and, and maybe go back to that first year. So in your, in your tenure.

J.R. Howard:

Sure. So I think that, you know, coming in the door, I knew we needed a cultural Renaissance. You know, we had some great things going on, and you pick a lot of great things going on it up. But the culture needed a little bit of a Renaissance and a reboot. So you know, one of the first things I did was, you know, we set a monthly team meeting. And I keep that meeting to this day. And although we've increased it with the cadence to twice a month now with the pandemic, but you know, going back to the beginning, you know, that was a meeting, I didn't cancel, the team felt that those meetings are always canceled or moved around too much and didn't feel a commitment to them. So my first step, and my first charge, still to this day is I keep that monthly team meeting come hell or high water, and make sure I keep that commitment to the team, so that they can hear and see and know what's going on with our organization. So that really kind of led him to the second thing that was important to me was transparency, I was transparent with the team as I can be probably overly transparent at times with them. But I want everyone to know where we are, and where we stand at all times. You know, you pics, you know, part of what keeps us going is, you know, we want raving fans, and have raving fans, they want that transparency, and even being in a nonprofit space, it's even more so that they want transparency. So that you know, in order to create those raving fans, you got to have raving, raving team members internally. And part of that was let's start there with this commitment to them. Let's have this monthly team meeting that that we don't miss that it is this time every month. And they can count on that and something they put in their calendars look forward to. And they have and that transparency to help them help them open up and communicate more. So you know, on top of that now we've got additional communications that go out and other things. So that evolved in the we now have a employee engagement Committee, which has been running strong for the last four years now. And that was a big part of that too. And part of what came out of all that is so we started four years ago, I guess now what we call you pick week. So every year we bring the whole team together, which I don't know that I can that we did that a whole lot worse than in my first.

Winston Faircloth:

No, not at all. No.

J.R. Howard:

So so we have you pick week, and we come and celebrate because that was the other thing is we weren't celebrating our victories and the things we were doing great. So we have you pick week gets, you know, we set out that vision and direction for the next year for the organization as well as we celebrate our successes and wins from that past year. And that's been a big part of our culture. We had you quickly virtually last year, which was a little bit of a disappointment, but it was necessary given where we are all in the world. But you know that you pick we that's our time to come together, set that direction for that, that next year and just spend time with each other and engage. It's not all it's not all business sitting in you know, a meeting for eight hours that day, we do a little bit of everything in that. So we, every week, we'll every year there, we have a volunteer event. So we'll go out and give back to the community. And everything from partnering with the free freestore Foodbank here in Cincinnati to Habitat for Humanity we've done as well as Matthew 25. We've done some great charities and organizations and work that let us go out and get back together as a team. Our teams really, you know, committed to their communities. And, you know, part of that it's just been that we don't get to do it together very often, because we're all spread out and across the US. So just come together and be able to get back together. Is this something we all enjoy? And is a great time for us?

Winston Faircloth:

Well, that's I was going there to Jr. in terms of for folks who may not know, your your headquarters is in Cincinnati. But what what percentage of your team are outside the Cincinnati metro area? would you guess

J.R. Howard:

80 plus percent at this point in time. So we're up to almost 45 team members, and honestly, the majority of them are outside of the Cincinnati metro area anymore, especially with the so we did an acquisition as well. Last February, on February 2020, putting on time flies, what's going on now. But we we acquired a company and brought in another 10 employees that are all West Coast based at this point in time. So

Winston Faircloth:

yeah, so I think building a culture when the team is so spread all over the country adds an extra level of complexity in terms of building that that culture, how have you attack that?

J.R. Howard:

It does add an extra complexity, because you're not all in the same place. You all have different things that matter. I think the engagement committee has been one way we've tackled that, and it's helped a lot. So we find, you know, priorities and things to get back to together that that our team cares about. So, you know, we've got people submit, what do you care about? What what's important to you? And can we all get behind some of those, you know, one of our things that we're all behind right now is on, you know, as food insecurity. So every community, whether you realize it or not probably as a food insecurity somewhere in your community. So that's one thing that kind of transcends all of our employees across everywhere they live. So that's something we can all rally behind together. I've always been a big proponent of video and chat and your in person meetings. So especially during the pandemic, now, all of our not that it wasn't before. We were using video well before that, but now all of our meetings mostly involves video on face to face like this. So people are a whole lot more used to being on a screen now than maybe they ever were before. And you know, honestly, we have all the team doing it now. So before there's probably some hesitancy even before the pandemic, I saw people that were a little hesitant to be on video. But now it's almost at a point where sometimes I feel like God declared we need a video break. And be and be off video so much because I think there's a little fatigue from that throughout the pandemic, but that was you know, just a result of the pandemic and and how life is right now. But you know that that videos made a difference, it still gives you some of that personal connection. We also are watercooler we use slack right now. So slack is our water cooler so people can post and chat and you know, we have channels in there dedicated to stuff that's not work. As well as we have a coffee twice a week right now one, one on our west coast time one on East Coast time. That's just coffee with jr for 30 minutes. The only rule in that meaning is can't talk about anything work. So we have personal conversations or whatever conversation you want to have as long as it's not related to work. So that's really the only rule in those meetings. So we do that and make sure we're connected and have time to chat with everyone. You know, some weeks, there's nobody on those coffees, and it's just me, and that's okay. But those they're there for when the team wants to jump on. And that's something I want to talk about and have a conversation that's outside of these walls, I think it's important to remember that, especially in this pandemic, and the screentime we're all in that we are still you know, three dimensional people four dimensional in some cases. You know, we all have a whole lot of dimensions to see out there. And we forget that sometimes looking flatly at each other for a screen so it helps to connect on that personal level and remember that you know, and really, I think the other thing is just that we try to stress it you pick in to get through some of that remoteness is and people felt it before was that they couldn't fail. I'm a big proponent that it's okay to fail. And I think it's an important part in your learning cycle. But people don't fail, they don't grow. So, you know, we encourage the team to try things and then you know Hopefully they can fail forward and fail fast. doesn't always work that way. But but we try to go in those principles, and it's okay to try something. And, you know, honestly, we've had a lot of great innovation and things that have resulted in that. And I don't think your team can truly feel empowered, because we want all of our team members empowered, if they don't have that flexibility to fail. So I think that that's been important, as we move through this journey that I'm teaching him, it's okay to fail. And it's gonna happen. So that that's been some learning experiences for us all. And I think it's helped us grow and be agile and do the things we're doing. And, you know, I mean, you pick as I look over the numbers, but we've grown really, since, you know, 2018, really 2017 no less than 12% a year. You know, the last year, you know, for us, we grew 33%. And that was partially during a pandemic, which is part of that because of the acquisition, but part of it's just we've been, we've been that, that fortunate and had that much foresight, that to grow this team and keep them moving in the right direction. You know, people ask me, sometimes, you know, what's your secret? What's your success. And, you know, to me, it's, I build a team that will run through a wall for me, if I asked them to, not that I would ever ask them to run through a wall. But it's my team, I can't you know, there's other strategies out there, there's probably other people that are more innovative and more creative things than we do. But But I'll put this team up against anyone out there. And we're gonna succeed and execute and, and really, that's the difference is how you build that team.

Winston Faircloth:

Yeah, Jr, as I've watched from afar, and been a cheerleader from afar, for what you guys have done. It's actually one of the reasons I named the podcast what I did, because I saw the contrast between my leadership and yours. And so for love of team is really a lot of what you're about. And so it's real honor to have you here, and, and introduce you to this audience. Yeah, one of the things I want to just bring up too, is, you know, you all have, historically, and especially during this pandemic, you have reinvented, what it means to have a very tight culture. So distributed. And so as you think about people in the audience who have gone remote, but now, you know, or maybe more centrally housed in terms of a community, what kind of things are you? Are you wrestling with? Or do you hit your your customers are wrestling with in terms of how do you re integrate and have more connection in a remote world?

J.R. Howard:

You know, I mean, I think that's, that's the challenge for coming to get ready to come into is the world starts to open back up as people get vaccinated. You know, that, you know, for us, my leadership team, we haven't been together in person since February of 2020. And we got a, we were doing some strategic planning in June, where we're actually going to be together in person. And that's, you can tell the relief, a little bit on people's faces, as we plan that, and the feeling that excitement, that we're all gonna be able to be together in a room and plan something. It hasn't, it's been tough, honestly, over this time to figure that out and be at this far apart. Because, historically, we haven't been I mean, my leadership team has been together pretty consistently, before that, and even out to our customers and seeing even that side of it, we haven't seen our customers, although we see them a lot more on video now than we ever did before, which is actually kind of nice. How we re integrate all this, I don't know, it's gonna be interesting. I think the office for us is going to be used differently. I think it's going to be used more as a collaboration in a meeting space. And the bringing people together that way versus getting work done. I think getting worked on it's worked great remotely and and people to get work done, we're gonna send them home and get the work done. But you know, for that innovation and those ideas where we're, it just pays to be in person sometimes. I think that's what's happening. That's how our office will transform. I think you're gonna see a whole lot more collaboration, and people just need to get together. I think we'll see more smaller team meetings, I think we'll bring some cross functional teams together, you'll bring individual teams together, not all at the same time, as we've typically tried to do and done. So I think we're gonna see that a little bit differently. I think before this pandemic started, we all thought we were going to expand our office space and add some more there because we thought we needed it. Now we're not thinking we need that space. I think our footprint Luckily for us, we weren't in too big of a footprint start with will, will stay the same where we are now. So You know, and may change a little bit because we have more conference room space into it, unless that space. So I think it's gonna be interesting as we all come back together because and the other part that really makes it interesting and it's still the most important factor to us into my leadership team. And to me is we want people to feel safe, and to be safe in that environment. And safety has always meant a lot of things. But But right now, it's, you know, it's physical safety. And I don't want you to travel, if you're not comfortable traveling, we don't want people to come into the office, if they have a health risk or an exposure or something that, that they're not comfortable with. So while we've always put the team First, we really during this pandemic, and we led through it was every decision we made was, was to put the team first, you know, we stopped travel before everyone else did, we did a lot of things we closed the office before everyone else to because we just weren't sure we didn't know. And but and we want it to be saved, our team was more important to us than then putting us all together and in one enclosed space. And, you know, fortunately, the team's been pretty healthy throughout the pandemic, they've been able, that the stay through that. But you know, as we lead out of this, that that'll be what it is. I mean, as we open travel back up, you know, for us, it hasn't been an easy decision to reopen it back up and bring people together. But, you know, now we've kind of opened it back up. But one of our criteria is you have to be vaccinated, and we're not forcing people to be vaccinated, that's a very personal choice, I won't come into the politics of that side. Unfortunately, it is political. But you know, I mean, that's just something that we feel, we can't ask our team to go out travel and potentially bring something back to their family or their home life so that that's not fair to them. It's not fair to their families. So, you know, as we travel and come together, if they want to and are vaccinated and can abide by all the local rules and all the regulations out there, because there's plenty of them, then then we're opening back up, but I mean, that's, that's one that for us, we're listening to our team and what they need, and what they feel comfortable doing. We love all being together in person, but their safety and, and what they're comfortable with is more important to us than than putting everyone in a room right now. You know, the one thing I have to hit and today more important than ever is one of the things that was important to me, to you pics that came in was the diversity of our team. So, you know, that means something different to everyone out there. But But what it meant to us was that we want it to be representative of our community and a leader in the tech space. So as we go forward, and part of what's made us so innovative is the diversity we've added to the team. You know, today I'm happy to say you pics 52% female in the tech space, that's unheard of that that that is a huge leader. So you know, for us to be able to go in and do things like that and be representative of our community and be a leader in the tech space. On the diversity equity inclusion front is something that that I didn't fully grasp. I don't think first coming in the door. But But I do now. And I think in this world, it's one thing I have to hit before the end here. But you know, I think it's I think it's part of what's made us a great team to be I didn't hit that I think that would have been a fail on our part.

Winston Faircloth:

No, it's a great point and finding those other voices and getting them into the room for perspective in terms of what's needed. But also just it's so critical in terms of just being able to serve people and have people be heard. You got to have them in the room, you got to have them in the room for decision making and for input.

J.R. Howard:

And you know, we could we could go on forever Winston and hit a whole another one on the board side. Because that's a whole nother story we can tell. And you pick it and my learnings and things we've done there too. But but we'll leave that one for another time. But the best way to reach me, as you asked is, you can always email me at Jay AR dot Howard at yupik solutions with an s.org You can also visit our website at you pick solutions.org You can also find me on LinkedIn, Jr. Howard one is my tag, they're gonna find me through LinkedIn then that way, be happy to connect that and talk with you. shoot me an email, I'll be happy to set something up and talk with with any of your listeners or anyone else out there that wants a little more information.

Winston Faircloth:

Excellent Jr. Again, thank you so much for being on the for love team podcast. Thank you once. Well, I hope that you got a lot of great takeaways from that interview with Jr. It just it makes my heart sing to see how he is prioritized culture and really begun to get the best out of the people that he works with such a great lesson for me as a leader and I hope that it's useful for you as well. And so imagine having a business you Love, supported by a team you love what could be better than that. And if you'd like to get started on your own for love of team journey, reach out to me via text 1-754-800-9461 that's my personal text number 1-754-800-9461 I'd love to support you on building a team that you love, so that your mission, your impact, your income and freedom and business can really grow and blossom like Jr's team. And finally, as I say at the end of each podcast, leaders simplify teamwork multiplying your impact, income and freedom and business. Be blessed friends. I'll catch y'all next episode.