S13E17: How to ensure your organisation is purpose-driven, with Brad Stevens (CEO, Outsource Access)

An episode of The Impact Multiplier CEO Podcast

S13E17: How to ensure your organisation is purpose-driven, with Brad Stevens (CEO, Outsource Access)

We're continuing our season on "business as a force for good". Richard speaks with Brad Stevens, CEO of Outsource Access.

Brad is a lifetime entrepreneur having built multiple businesses. He is currently the Founder & CEO of Outsource Access (OA), an offshore virtual services firm he has grown to 500 employees in just 3.5 years, which received the Inc Magazine Best in Business Award for firms making the biggest impact on society as a whole in alignment with their commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. He's also a 2023 Real Leaders Impact Award winner.

In this conversation, you’ll learn:

  • What business Brad started when he was in 4th grade
  • The experience that led him to found Outsource Access as a "force for good"
  • The framework Brad uses to ensure his business is purpose-driven
  • The specific question Brad asks every employee each quarter, to kick off a purpose-driven initiative
  • What Brad's personal mission statement is, and why it matters
  • What "mental expansion" looks like when you're on a quest to multiply your impact

"Treating people well and creating a career path are key factors in our company's success."

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Transcript

Brad Stevend
Yeah, it's been a crazy journey. If you went back to me back in in high school with my little tutoring business and said, hey. One day, you're gonna be the CEO of a company on the other side of the world. It's gonna be five hundred people never would have guessed, but, you know, that's the the interesting aspect of the entrepreneurial journey. You know, you never know where where the path will, you know, will take you.

Richard Medcalf
Welcome to the impact multiplier CEO podcast. I'm Richard Medcalfe, founder of X Xquadrant, and my mission is to help the world's top CEOs and entrepreneurs shift from incremental to exponential progress and create a huge positive impact on our world. Now that requires you to reinvent yourself and transform your business. So if you're ready to play a bigger game than ever before, I invite you to join us and become an impact multiplier CEO.

Richard Medcalf
Brad, welcome to the show. It's so great to have you here today.

Brad Stevend
Thanks, Richard. Super excited here. It's an early morning here in Atlanta, but, excited to, kick it off with a couple cups of coffee and talk the topics.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. Well, let's do this. So what I know about you is that you've built your your your business, outsource access, amongst other things with impact at the heart, you're a real leader's impact award winner. I know you've orientated your business around the UN Sustainable Development Goals. and I also know that you're a you're an Syrian entrepreneur. You've built businesses since you were practically, you know, in the cradle from what I understand. So when did purpose and impact become front and center to how you wanted to build businesses. And what was the pivotal moment? Perhaps we decided, yeah, this is important.

Brad Stevend
Sure. well, thanks again for having me and and, love to speak on this topic. And I think you see a lot of entrepreneurs kind of wanting to pursue more of this path and look for a direction. Hopefully, some of our conversation here will will help, them find that path. yeah, for me, you know, it I grew up in entrepreneurial family, had a whiteboard hanging over the the the fireplace growing ups. There was always ideas flying around. So I kinda was, was, engaged in it early on and had a, yeah, had a toy rental business in 3rd grade and a tutoring company in in high school. actually came over your direction in the UK and high school. We actually had a a business where we did partner with a with a company in London and the UK to, to trade trade products back and forth. But, I mean, I'll say purpose and impact. It's it's I mean, part of it that was just brought up around it in in in my family and kind of giving back and having an impact in a community was, you know, something that always saw kind of around me and in my family. And, and I'd say maybe the one of the first specific initiatives that we did, I did around as a young entrepreneur, was, around breast cancer. And, and so, a buddy of mine, we we enjoy skeet shooting. you know, shooting, you know, clays and and also enjoy good barbecue. And so he and I, just had a had a connection with a local, organization in our city, that helped provide prosthetics, for women that were going through, breast cancer and different elements, related to the disease. It's just significant and and a big issue. A lot of women navigate And, and so we ended up, you know, taking this annual event we were doing and turned this big skeet shooting event into a major fundraising effort, for for breast cancer we did for 5 years, in a row. And it was just I think that was a a first thing that I did. I mean, I was I was a growing entrepreneur, and we can talk about that kind of where all that started after after college and began my first company. But was in my twenties, you know, had an opportunity to do that. And, and so it just really was really impactful in seeing the impact we were making for that organization and being able to give that check to that woman and all of our friends and our community rallying around that initiative, to raise money. And so they would come and be a all day barbecue and skeet shooting event and so forth. We were raising funds. So it can speak more tau. It kinda translated, but I would say that's one of the big first initiatives I personally took on with a good buddy of mine, Kyle, kinda early on and saw the taste of it. It wanted a ton of by more ways to to drive that forward.

Richard Medcalf
Okay. So what I'm hearing is you just kind of got started. There are some initiatives, some of opportunity you're able to get involved with, and you just got the bug because of that, you'd felt good. You were getting support from people and I wanted to double down on that kind of stuff.

Brad Stevend
Yeah. And, I mean, it was mean, I say out of out of family that it was it was always top of mind within our within our family of of doing and having, you know, efforts to get back in the in the community and to support. And, and, yeah, this is the first initiative that I I was able to personally take on, you know, with with my friend, Kyle, to actually put on develop see it kinda start to finish and see the impact and to really see a whole community rally around that common topic and wanting to help support. so yeah, it was a great kind of kicking off point that led to a lot of other things.

Richard Medcalf
Well, let me go back a bit because, similarly, as you did those early businesses, I guess, what I'm trying to dig into is Did you always have that same intentionality around purpose and making an impact? Because I can kinda get it when you're younger one, you might say, I just need to make some money at this point. Well, that the focus of what you where you're always trying to weave this in from day 1, or has it something which has been evolving in your own consciousness over the last few years?

Brad Stevend
Well, I'd say they go, I mean, look back at it and go hand in hand. I mean, I I I up to my my my first business, technically, was 3rd, 4th grade, where I was born in 1979, and one of the toys were called micro machines. These little tiny toys and cars. And, and so would always ask for them for Christmas and birthdays and so forth in a master collection of 100 of of them. And for for the audience knows, you know, a Crown Royal that come in the little purple velvet bags some reason, my parents enjoyed that beverage. They had some extra ones sitting around. So that's what I put all of my toys in. I would carry them into 3rd, 4th grade and rent them to my friends. And I actually saw the the the the the whole playbook that I ran at a VP of Marketing, a VP of Sales. I had a a newsletter. I did it on a typewriter. So I wouldn't say there was quite as much purpose and impact related to that initiative. That was sort of just, generating. I think I was making a penny a night that we would rent them out to people, but I That was my my first kind of, initiative, but but I and enjoyed the the sense of involving others. I mean, literally my my best friend, I remember her name, Win winter Hawkins was my VP of marketing, you know, VP of Sales in 3rd, 4th grade, and I enjoyed the camarader of building and growing together. But then when I got into high school, one of the ways that I And then my second business, I guess, the way I would kinda make money during the summers was very, I guess, tied to impact as well as I would I would go to all the middle school counselors and say, hey. Which children, you know, struggling with with math, either needed to have tutoring or or ones that are, you know, they're trying to maybe skip, you know, a level. And then I would get all my teachers and say, hey. Can you give me all your work and and work sheets and so forth. And so I started tutoring business, where I would help and support those kids, and work with them through the summers, to help them get you know, get up to speed or to kinda be able to progress as they stepped into the to the next year. And I loved that. I mean, I loved, and I I've always had a passion for education and ended up marrying a a teacher. He was a teacher for 13 years as well, but just working with youth and and children and that that translates into a lot of things I'm doing still as well. So there was It was a a a for profit entity. My my my tutoring little business there during the summers, but it was also, an opportunity of making impact on these young kids and and helping them navigate through when see in their eyes that they connect, or you can share it with them an idea or perspective differently to that and seen before, you know, it's pretty, you know, pretty rewarding.

Richard Medcalf
Beautiful. So let's fast forward, to, outsource access, which is a virtual, offshore virtual services firm that I know you set up, probably 5 or 6 years ago now, if if if I remember correctly. I believe if you scaled it during middle of COVID, whatever, to be 500 employees, And the way you wanna go is get it to, I think you said 40,000 employees in 10 years. So kind of what I'm interested about is why is that goal So important to you. Right? What why is why is it getting to 40,000? I think you wanna double it this year to a 1000. So why is that kind of growth in employee, headcount? so important.

Brad Stevend
Sure. Well, yeah, it's been a crazy journey. If you went back to me back in in high school with my little tutoring business and said, hey. One day, you're gonna be the CEO of a company on the other side of the world. gonna be 500 people, never would have guessed, but, you know, that's the the interesting aspect of the entrepreneurial journey. You know, you never know where where the path will, you know, will take you. And so, yeah, this current company, outsourced access, you know, to tie to sort of what my goal and objective is, kind of, is tied back to sort of the you know, brief beginnings of it and and to briefly share, you know, I before I started this company, my last business, we we manufactured and distributed teeth whitening products all over the world, we've had ended up having a product disaster happen. One of our products that we had done thousands of units, one of our manufacturers changed a component, and we ended up sending about 10,000 kind of defective products all over the world. And cash got tight. Things got lean, and I had to learn about this whole offshore outsourcing gig economy world. to really help save the business. And so, in that journey, I ended up being educated about it and learning about working with these resources and individuals And, in the process end of, you know, working with this young woman named J cell over in the Philippines and, twenty two, twenty three years old and grew up in a, you know, small, just very Humble Village, and, and I found her on this job board and started working with her. And I just had all my doubt fears and concerns about it. And, and the young woman just blew blew me away. I mean, she came from such humble beginnings. I mean, she did have a, you know, college degree, but just in a very small town, literally, dirt floors, and just saw her ability to support me. And here, I was a small to medium business owner in the United States trying to grow and make my business work and was able to get an affordable resource, and then she was making more money she'd ever made before about what I was paying her. So it was kind of this win win experience.

And I was like, wow. Did I did I get a unique situation here and that hired a second and a third. And I found that you treat people well and you create a career path and opportunity, you know, for them that it,  you know, it can be replicated. And so, and so funny enough that young woman we started with, I mean, the business is is four years old as of couple months ago, we've grown to 500 employees in 4 years, and that young woman who is 22 23 is is is now my COO president of the entire organization. So I I share all that in that seeing that the career path and opportunities created for her. I mean, went to I mean, she actually just, you know, got married not too long ago, was able to build a home, build a home from scratch, which is kind of unheard of, and a lot of times, you know, and actually bought an investment property. And we've seen that with other employees that we've ended up hiring. I got a picture from one of our managers that you know, showed a picture of a car. He was actually by able to now he didn't buy one for himself, and this is how humble and forward thinking the Filipinos already bought a car for his parents. And he said, you know, this is the first time I'm, you know, any any me or any of my friends have been kinda do this. So seen that journey in in about 2 months after I started working with J cell in the very beginning. she sent me a picture of this village and these young children with a set of shoes in a circle. And she said, Brad, I just want you to know because of the money I'm making with you, in the opportunity, I'm able to go buy all these shoes for these children who have to go walk, you know, an an hour a half back and forth to school every single day. And it just, for me, it just connected the dots, and it was just a win win win win for for me, for her, and then she was even put, you know, giving back into her community. said, Jess, I don't know where this whole business is gonna go. And at that point, we had 3 or 4 people, but I wanna create something, you know, harking back to sort of my give back things that I did with the breast cancer initiative. And forth is, how can we weave that into this business? I don't know where we're gonna grow this business. Chase said, but I wanna do something around that. And so we ended up making that a big part of our initiative going forward. is investing in the community. And at about the same time, I got a chance to do a think tank at the, headquarters of the United Nations. So I'm a part of a group called Entrepreneurs Organization and brought about 200 to the headquarters of United Nations to understand about the sustainable development goals, which I don't even know anything about before beginning this process. just realized it was a framework, these 17 sustainable development goals that touch everything related to our planet and humanity. it creates a framework of how you can have purpose and impact. So, took that framework, brought it back to our team, and, and I said, hey. As we grow, so we hired a full time person. So every quarter, We interview our employees and ask them what do they care most about? actually, my last trip to the Philippines, you know, they chose life on land, so we went and planted over a 150 trees together, to off at carbon emissions. So it was leaving in a for profit business of what we're doing, but also giving back in the community. And when I got a chance to go there recently, and I interviewed probably 20 or 25 of our employees asked about their life, their journey, what brought them to us, and just hearing the incredible stories, life changing stories of these individuals That's why this is the most passion I've ever been of anything I've done as an entrepreneur. So to go back to your original question, why that goal is because it is a massive, to your point, a multiplier when we when we provide a job for 1 of 1 of our Filipino staff because we hire them as full time employees. We pay their health insurance, pay their benefits. It's providing support for their families. It impacts them. It impacts their children. It impacts, you know, everybody in their ecosystem. And then for our clients, you know, I mean, small to medium businesses, you know, a lot of people think this is about, you know, shipping jobs overseas in reality. You got a a business that's growing. You know, maybe they can't even afford, an employee locally. So that owner ends up burning out where working 80, 90 hours a week and so forth. Well, we create a release valve of a a more affordable option for them that's still equally as as competent that they can support them that journey. So we're We're seeing big wins on the client side, and and then on the employee side, seeing the impact it's making for them. So we get to forty thousand people. That's a lot of multiplication.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. Amazing. I I love this, this point you said that every quarter you would actually survey your staff. and ask them what do they care about? I mean, so what I heard is you then turn that into an initiative. You actually turn that into something that you can do to make difference in the community or in the world. So just tell me a bit about that. Like, what gave you that idea? because, you know, you're building a business this new business with just a couple of people to start with, it might not be the first thing on your mind to do that kind of thing. Right? You first thing might be, I need to get to scale. I need to get to certain run rate. I need to kind of stabilize the cash flow. So was this something that came immediately early on? You know, why did you decide, or when did you decide? You know what? This is something I really wanna build in. to the way that we built this culture.

Brad Stevend
I'll tell you honest, it was it was from the very beginning. I mean, as I shared, you know, 2 months after I first started working with JSL way back a number of years ago, back before we even launched outsource access, and I was just doing a lot of speaking and consulting. And that's a lot of what I've done is just bringing this message to you know, the the small to medium business community in the US and and beyond is, you know, 2 months after hiring her, and I saw she shared with me that those those shoes she bought for those children and so forth. And I we and so we started immediately building that into our business. And so I said, hey. How can we do this at a larger scale? and this is before I even did the United stuff. And I saw her do that. I said, how can we do this shoe buying initiative at a much larger scale? And so we ended up going, to another local village it was so far away. Actually, we had the children actually put their feet down on paper and draw their feet. So we knew their shoe their feet sizes. our team, and we went ahead and funded us. So we're gonna allocate funds from the very beginning that we're just we're just gonna invest in the in in in the community. And so we ended up buying, you know, tons of really nice night's sneaker shoes, and we bought, these journals, as well, about putting together their their hopes and dreams kind of going forward. So it was something we did early on. And then after that, I got a chance to do the United Nations initiative, which then created a framework, So we were already doing initiatives early on, and and we were we were investing in the community in different capacities. You know, we bought shoes and educational supplies for these young, people in village. I actually have documentary video I can share with the audience around. It's kinda cool. It kinda shows my whole journey when we know over there the, back in 2019. But, you know, in the Philippines, they they tend to have some typhoons. They have some earthquakes, and so a an earthquake hit about 8 hours south of where our offices are. And our team doubt dedicated all of our effort when we put together a 1000 sanitary kits and drove our team and and their own vehicles drove 8 hours south, to give out and provide sanitary kits. So it just became a fabric of what we did. just because it's the it's the right thing to do. And, and and our employees, I want them to see, you know, a lot of people in these countries that that provide offshore outsourcing services know, unfortunately, a lot of companies, in some cases, don't pay them really well, don't treat them really well, and they don't they don't show how much they appreciate their local community. And so it was important for me, for our employees to see that, hey. you know, we're we're not, you know, taking advantage. You know, we're we're actually wanting to double down and invest in in your local community. And so I got a chance to do the United Nations initiative. I'm like, okay. Well, here's framework that we can bring to even do this even more, you know, even a more structured way. And then J cell and I got together, and I said, hey. Can we hire a full time consultant? Cause I wanna wanna get our employees even more directly involved. We were kinda choosing different things we wanted to do, and the the kinda came up. But I said, I want to intentionally survey our employees to ask them and say, hey. Here's what the sustainable development goals are. Here's the 17 categories. What do you care most about? That, you know, not my personal passion project or what I care about or Jay sell cares about, what do all of you care about, and would have them evaluate and and submit. And so she would help collate all those results, and then we would then choose a major project based on that. and so zero hunger is one of the sustainable development goals. So during COVID, that was one of the things chosen. And so we did we participate in initiative called bags of hope where we bought bags of rice and so forth for the trike drivers, that were really impacted during during COVID, in the Philippines. And as I mentioned earlier, you know, life on land was one that, it was very important. It's very important to Filipinos in terms of their their land and the beauty, the beautiful country that they have. And so we've planted, I think now on the last trip, we did a bunch. And then I think over, we've done over 3 or 400 trees that we planted in the main groves to offset carbon emissions. So So that's where it started. Our very first relationship, she's showing me that picture and seeing that she cared, and and it was important to her. And it's always been important to me, and it'll give us a framework. So we started doing grassroots work. learned the United Nations, learned the framework, came back. And now every single quarter, it's something that we do in our in our staff volunteer their time, to go out and do these, you know, do these initiatives.

Richard Medcalf
So if we turn our attention to the business side for a second, obviously, to to do this initiative, you need this critical mass. You know, you've got these 100 of employees now. And I think you said that scaling at the start was quite a challenge already. I think it was COVID was hitting and and so forth as you were going through this. So what was the secret to growth? to get to 500 employees, you know, in 3 and a bit years, doing it during the pandemic and everything else. You know, how did you actually go about to multiply the reach of the business at that point.

Brad Stevend
Sure. and, yeah, it was an interesting we we we launched in, you know, in 20,021,019 then the pandemic obviously came in the 1st part of, you know, 2020. So I'll speak to both two parts. One part is, you know, we have to get more clients and businesses that wanna engage our services but then on the other side of it, we have to get more virtual assistance out of the Philippines and wanna work for us. So we kinda have to have 2. We have 2 customers really that we're serving because we hire them as full time employees and bring them together and then manage and manage the whole experience. As far as the the business side, you know, very similar to what you're doing here with this podcast and education is I just I just did tons and tons of education about this world. You know, a lot of people had read, you know, Tim Ferris, 4 hour work week back, you know, 10, 15 plus years ago. This the the the touched on this concept of you can work with these resort, you know, individuals in in in other parts of the world, and it's very cost effective and creative things. But it was more like this novelty concept versus a a fundamental way that truly, you know, a concrete manufacturing business in in Iowa, can actually use somebody in the Philippines to to do their project management coordination, if if need be. Or, you know, a a marketing agency in you know, LA could use, you know, 3 Filipinos, to actually do project management coordination. So the the small to medium business marketing, large companies have been doing this for years. you know, the and and most people, when they think of offshore and outsourcing, first of all, they group all of Southeast Asia together, right, which is their different elements there in India and others that people have had different experiences, which you which unique about the Philippines, which I did a lot of education on, in my speaking, is is that you know, the US controlled it, you know, up until, you know, around 1947, 1950 or so. So it's completely Americanized, completely English speaking, and there's not a the the culture gap. If someone's gonna work side by side in your in your business, and that's what our our staff do. I mean, our staff literally feel like they're, you know, part of the team within our within our clients. So I don't have that culture gap, to preconceived notions that people have and understand why the Philippines is different in terms of language and so forth. But then the other education is just everything that people have about. What about time zones? What about competency? What about currency? What about security? What about all these things? So I just had to do a big education, you know, roadshow on it and just explain in my own journey of how I found Jaycel, and I had all those same doubt fears and concerns. And then I started working with her and investing in her growth and and seeing her grow and develop and how it kind of evolved. So that's that's the beginning of us. A lot of our growth was me just doing a massive amount speaking, thought leadership. I have moaned podcast called automatedelegate.com, where I kinda interview people on how they're, you know, automating and delegating. And so that kinda create a lot of ground mass. And then once clients came on board, I mean, once an entrepreneur finds that someone's figured this, how outsourcing thing out, that it's quality and it's reliable and it's affordable. They wanted to tell other entrepreneurs. And so, you know, we got tons of referrals. And then the growth from our existing clients was a big part that I wasn't to be honest, Richard, we we we would bring people on. You know, they'd start with 1, maybe 2 VAs. And then once they saw the experience, the quality they were getting from us, they're like, you told me how great all this stuff was, but I honestly had a lot of doubts about it. Now I've got confidence in it. Yeah. I'll take a third or 4th or 5th. I mean, one of our largest clients has close to 80 to 90 staff with us now. So existing client growth was a big part that we weren't, you know, weren't expecting. But we're driving all this demand.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. It's it's It's a great catch because it's not all not every business has that ability. And perhaps when you started, you probably were imagining that you might get that extra lever, but it's fantastic. Right? You get to expand within your client base as well as bring on new clients, which is obviously extremely, fluid and, profitable, I'm sure. 

Brad Stevend
So, I'm a one strategic thing I did for the per listeners, Richard, who have one pivot decision is we were we were launching and growing. We were about we were about 80 or 90 staff in 2019. and I was about to sign on an office space in the Philippines. And I actually was me with my mastermind group. I'm a part of it. I said, hey. Is this COVID thing real? Should I not sign on this office space? We're gonna have an issue? I chose not to thank goodness. And one of the biggest things to our scale as well is that we allow our staff for the most part to work virtually from home. We we have to make sure they have the proper technology and intermittent and so forth. but that was a huge critical decision that honestly COVID was a was a gift in a way that it forced us to be able to build a distributed workforce where I could work from home so we could build a culture have a distributed virtual culture with a lot of companies that that require people to come into offices or struggling massively over there. So that was a big critical decision for us And then on the VA side, back to the point of purpose and impact, we're growing all this demand, but then we needed more virtual assistance to kinda supply it. And all of a sudden, all this demand's coming, But because of how we were treating our people and supporting our people, we have people bringing their friends and family to come work for us. I mean, we some where we literally have 9 or 10 family members that are all working for us that are cousins and and so forth. we've been launched a magazine called virtual magazine where we would showcase our employees and do whole, like, full magazine write ups on them and and share those at local universities and so forth. A lot of the purpose and impact stuff we were doing help that process.

Richard Medcalf
I hope you're enjoying this conversation. This is just a quick interlude to introduce you to 2 transformative programs that we run. The first is Rivendell, my exclusive group of top CEO who are committed to transforming themselves, their businesses, and the world. It's an incredible peer group and a deep coaching experience that will push you to new heights no matter how successful you've already been. The second is Impact Accelerator, a coaching program for executives who are ready to make a big leap forward in their own leadership. It's regularly described as life changing and no other program provides such personal strategic clarity, a measurable shift in stakeholder perceptions, and a world class leadership development environment. Find out about both of these programs and xquadrant.com/services. Now back to the conversation.

Brad, let me just interrupt there because I think it's it's a really key point. many clients I work with speak to people I speak to had this problem, like, I just can't get enough applicants. Right? I just can't get a good talent. And I suppose the question that's coming out from this is, well, how do you actually incentivize create that word-of-mouth referral with your existing employees? Right? They know, tons of people, are you doing such a great job with your existing employee experience? Do they want to bring their friends and family? And I think for anyone listening, you know, there's the whole question of virtual assistance in using that, you know, and I I I use virtual, you know, have a virtual team, which is which is great. But no matter what your employee base looks like, if you wanna recruit great people, are your people really your best ambassadors? Or are they a bit disgruntled, a bit, meh, you know, and then that's the first place to fix rather than just trying to find it even better.

Brad Stevend
Yeah. No. No doubt. It's a I mean, we are certainly not perfect, and I wanna say we're not providing means as we were growing and growing so rapidly during COVID and just you know, it was a it was definitely a a challenging, you know, challenging time, you know, just to to be able to support what what we tried to continue to do the right thing in supporting the, you know, The Philippines being a big Catholic country as well. You know, Christmas is a massive thing there. and, you know, we are usually having a big Christmas parties always a big thing in the Philippines that you that they always look forward to as, you know, as a company, companies throw these big Christmas parties. And, you know, we couldn't, because of COVID, But what we did was our team and our managers put together at that time, 20 or so, we were around 200 employees and put together 200 Christmas baskets and then we rented vans and personally de delivered to all the homes directly of our employees. So it was trying to do those right things into your point. Right? People see that see that we're making an effort and we genuinely want to show that we we care and appreciate what they're doing, and, you know, word-of-mouth's gonna come from that.

Richard Medcalf
One thing you said ahead of this recording is that your ambition is to live, I'll quote you a disciplined life of creation, connection, and learning. to help you and others realize their full potential. So that that seems a very specific phrase, right, just in light of create creation, connection, and learning. kind of wondering, you know, why those specific words, you know, how do that come about? And and how do you actually implement that in your daily existence?

Brad Stevend
Sure. That was, you know, I I've always heard people, you know, always had their own personal mission statements and what have you. And I'd never had one, for, you know, a number of years. I kinda just sort of do doing doing what I do and and and, you know, do the right things, the right leading indicators, and, you know, the lagging things to, you know, tend to happen, but I had an opportunity, within a an organization, I'm part of EO Entrepreneurs organization where we have before and we meet with every single month for 4 hours and discuss our, you know, 8 other business owners all in different industries. And we meet monthly and and locally, but then we take retreats twice per year. And one of the treats we took, we took out to Aspen, Colorado, and there's a man named, Finian Kelly, that has a program called the intentionality compass. And so we engaged him to support us in that retreat. And one of the things he has in the intentionality compass is a is a whole kind of workbook. You answer a bunch of really challenging questions that he wanted all of us to do before we went to that retreat And, and I put a ton of time into it. I'll probably spend a couple hours every morning for several weeks and just answering hard questions about who you are, what you care about. what would others say about you? just a lot of just thoughtful writing. And, and out of that whole effort was to come your own personal mission statement. I mean, literally, you know, write a list of 200 words that you that that when you reflect back on who you are and what others say about you and, what you feel that is meaningful for you. And, literally going through that whole journey ended up distilling it down to, you know, to that to that phrase. And so to to break it down, it's disciplined and disciplined to me. You know, a lot of people think a discipline is a sometimes an a negative word or, you know, this in the in the but discipline is just is just being committed and consistent. And, and so I've certainly fallen short myself every time, but but trying to live a disciplined you know, life and whatever you're doing, whether it's your health, whether it's parenting, whether it's growing a business, being consistent and committed. so discipline life of creation, connection, and learning. And I just realized, and during that that that process, that reflective is I I just I I do love love creating Rivendell. you know, creating crummy is obviously, creating content, creating ideas. I mean, I'm one of those that, like, I can just sit in a room for 10 hours with a bunch of books and just think with a blank piece of paper in front of me. Like, I just love using my brain and seeing where it goes and and what comes out of it. So, I've had a history of just creating innovative, you know, things and enjoy doing that with with others, connection. I mean, I absolutely love connecting myself with other people, and I love connecting other people together, actually. Another whole business I haven't talked about that I started with with a partner during COVID is this, this platform that for any member based organization, it collides members together at scale. because any member based organization, the values of members knowing themselves, and, you know, a lot of member based organizations, people don't know in another, whether it's Chambers of Commerce or Big Mastermind group, They know a fraction of people. And so this intentionally would introduce members at scale on every 2 weeks monthly basis. And we found us doing it for the EO organization I'm a part of, and we've created over 15,000 connections globally from New Zealand to Africa. It's, Australia. So it's it's a business that it's it's, and it's infancy, but, but we're gonna be taking globally, called one on one connections. So I've it's just an outcrop of what I naturally like doing. and then learning. I mean, it goes without saying, one of my favorite phrases from the movie, Shawshank redemption is get busy living or get busy dying. And, if you're not you're not learning, I don't like to what the other side of that is. And it it's not just learning, you know, for learning's sake. It's constant growth. I mean, my wife and I are constantly doing content together on parenting, which is, woof, that is an interesting journey in today's today's world. growing my business leadership. I even have a leadership learning corner. I do. We have a company chat with all 500 employees. And once or twice a week, I just do sharing. I have a a series on my social media called learning on the run. When I go run, I run 2 to 3 miles every day, and I listen to a podcast. And when I'm done, I take a few minutes and I share the top takeaways. called learning on the run. I have Sunrise root Sunrise reading. it's a series I do. Whatever I'm reading in content, just take a few pictures of it, my key takeaways, and I post it on social. So It keeps me accountable, and it just continues to bring new ideas. So discipline live creation connection learning to help myself and others realize our full potential. know, and I was very intentional about that phrase. And and I and I know a lot of people when they talk about being having impact and purpose, it's always about putting everybody else you know, first. Right? And I know it's can be contradictory, but at the end of the day, if you don't have yourself right and you're not dialed in, then then you're not really good to anybody else, whether it's your children, whether it's your employees or or otherwise. And so I know a lot of people that keep their bucket empty all the time trying to fill others but it's a disservice, and they're not ultimately realizing their full potential. So, you know, I go back to the old, you'd own the airplane and they tell you the the rule whenever the oxygen falls, right, put it on yourself. and put it on others beside you. So I I've gotta be on a path of realizing my full potential in me and being fulfilled because I know that's when I'm best for others because I the other relationships in my life when I know that they are not fulfilled that they're they're ultimately into service those around us. So it's it's a journey together. It's helping others and myself together realize our our full potential, and it becomes a a win win.

Richard Medcalf
So, Brad, thank you for that. It's a great explanation of of a phrase I've obviously thought a lot about, and I read not resonate a lot with it. I mean, in my own similar phrase includes connect creation and connection in actually very similar. here's my question for you. I'm gonna slow you down a little bit in this moment just to really think about what's this the answer to this question because I know when I speak with my CEO clients, They're always fasting with their answer because they're spending their entire life responding to all these stakeholders. So I'll give you just the spaces to think about this question, which is in a nutshell, It's gonna be about what's holding you back from your full potential. as you know, might know on the podcast, I'm always asking, like, how do you wanna multiply the business my favorite impact. I think we've talked a bit about that getting to 40,000 employees and the impact that's gonna make, you know, in the Philippines and also for the from the client side as well. But I suppose my question would be, what might be the stretch for you as you transition from the leader of a company with 500 people that's to a thousand people to becoming the leader of business that's multiple many times bigger than that. What are the things that you might need to work on change. What are things getting in your way from from creating that, would you say? What's your own in the journey gonna be, would you say, over the next few years?

Brad Stevend
It's just mental, you know, mental ex expansion. I'm actually in the middle of a book right now, but that is at the heart of that topic called 10 x is easier than 2x, how world class entrepreneurs do more with less. and, and it's It's I mean, it was very cliche and people talk about my mindset, but but it truly is in in in in how you go about your day to day behaviors in life. And and this book by Dan Sullivan, which a lot of people may be familiar with, the founder of strategic coach, but it's done in con in in in conjunction with, a PhD, Benjamin Hardy, PhD who's an organizational psychologist. You have this, like, brilliant business, you know, icon and this brilliant PhD psychologist doing these books together. And, really, the essence of the message is what is the 80%, right? It's back to the El Pareto rule really auditing who you are.

Richard Medcalf
What's the trend? Yeah. What's the 20% that create 80% of your results? So even it's more like, what's the 1% that reates
50% of your results even even more? It's a good book. Yeah.

Brad Stevend
And it's and it's like it's like a lot of topics. It's, you know, it's clean. And this is a struggle. I think a lot of entrepreneurs and a lot of business owners, they get a lot of endorphin hits from con content consumption. Right? And so it's a lot easier to consume the next podcast, the next book, the next piece of information to get those endorphin hits, while they just leave a whole litany of things of unexecuted things behind them. Right? It's because it's a lot easier to go to that next conference, go to that next podcast, go listen to that next speaker, versus doing the hard work of, like, implementing what they've already got in in in front of them. And so, you know, a lot of people know about the 80, 20 rule, and, yeah, I gotta change the 80, but but they don't take time to really you know, do it. And so I'm really trying to force myself. And I even have a a a Google spreadsheet going and actually an app on my phone that's called the 80% I'm changing. and it's trying to really audit and say, okay. Here at forty three years old, about to be forty 4. What is the 80% that that that has served me well up until this point? But, you know, where I want to go next and what I want to accomplish from a business standpoint, from a from a father standpoint, from a spouse standpoint, example on stuff my children alone we talked about at the beginning before the podcast started is just how critical it is with young people, to have an awareness about purpose and impact and and humility so I'm really taking a list, and I'm just looking at what are my daily behaviors? What are the things that I've that I've done? Everything from my my my workout routine, allow myself to skip sometimes, not being system of every single morning. We'll do 10 minutes of reading and 10 minutes of foot sitting on that. That way, you can see it there. I upside down and do my breathing exercises. that I just haven't done, but it's like, no. The 80% me allowed myself to skip on some of that stuff. Right? The new, right, that the 20% I'm gonna double down on are are the things that are gonna serve me well and leave those other things behind and the new mental frameworks. And it and it's hard as human beings. I mean, we we we default to homeostasis and wanting to stay. So I, you know, it's this isn't a new concept by any means, but the execution of it, I think a lot of don't take time to do. They just want to read the next book. They read this book. It's like, yeah. That's a great concept to move on. I'm trying to marinate in it and really audit myself and take extreme ownership of what are the things I need to to change and adjust? And what are some things that that I wanna keep? that that that have served me well, but what are the things I need to change that have been my blockers kinda moving forward. So I'm in the middle of that journey right now. And, actually, there's 3 books, and I I I would recommend to any entrepreneur. If I could go back to myself in my twenties, it is one of the best psychological foundations for any entrepreneur that the three books, the 2 that the 2 of them did together, the gap in the game, who not how, and 10 x is easier than 2 x. those 3 are gonna be three that I'm just I'm listening to them in rotation on my runs every morning. I as I get through, I go back through it, and I'm just a I'm keeping it pounding in my head. and thinking through that framework because all three of those are super powerful, especially to who not, how. As you get older, like, it's not about the how. It's who the who's, the relation equity that I've built in my life over the last 43 years. I've got I'm with them one message of a who that can pretty much get anything done in any direction. I just have the discipline to need to focus, you know, to focus on it.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. Beautiful. Yeah. Thank you for showing those things. Yeah. I actually wrote a quite in-depth review on that, the, that book of the 80 20, the 10 x is easily in 2 x book because it just speaks so much. It's the impact multiplier podcast, multiplication, it's it's at the heart of of what I'm, you know, what I'm about and what ex quadrant is about. It's the x and the x quadrant actually stands for multiplication, right, amongst other things.

Brad Stevend
What about the execution side? I'm curious, Richard, to to flip it back to you since done such a deep resignation on that is it is and this is the thing I I you know, even an organization, I'm a part of, like, yo, and we have tons of speakers and tons of content and so forth, It's just the ongoing consumption. Right? And honestly feel like it ends up being you get a lot of entrepreneurs that just they they they they don't get on the execution train. They they continue on the consumption train of things. So in your re re review of it, what have you observed? And even with your clients that you work with as well, that that that's been that trigger point that actually causes those that actually execute and do it versus just consuming the content moving on to the next piece.

Richard Medcalf
There's always identity shift. that has to happen if you're gonna radically shift the way that we operate. I see that all the time with my clients. Right? and that's why to some degree, actually, I think it's okay for a while to be reading books. We just need to podcasts. if it's basically marinating you, immersing you in a different world. Just as you do on your runs, listen to those books, whatever, on on repeat, And I think there is that's why, again, one of the things I think is quite unique about Rivendell, my own CEO community is because everybody there has committed to that 10 x journey before they arrive. Right? So that's a world, again, where you're there you know, not every entrepreneur in the world wants to pay that game needs to pay that game. But if your entrepreneur wants to modify their impact in different directions financially, but also socially and, you know, a relation and everything else. So I think part of it is getting yourself in an environment, both the content that you consume and the people that you're with, and then the deeper work is, like, actually, we gotta look at what, you know, how do we see ourselves? What's the fear? what's the payoff we've been looking for all our life. So for example, many, in many ways, we're high achievers. We get the buzz of ticking things off, hitting the numbers, you know, getting a better result this quarter than we got lost last quarter. All those are good things, but when they become the drivers suddenly, okay, am I prepared to actually go beyond that, even possibly failing in the short term, not hitting my numbers because I'm on a big admission. I do it repeatedly in my business. It's damn scary. Right? So I could stay here and have this impact, and everyone be, like, that's really impressive Richard already. You know, why would you wanna do any more? I'm like, yeah, I wanna change the world. And so I wanna work with the leaders who are changing the world. And so even more, Right? And and therefore, reinventing myself and doing that, I have to leave behind revenue streams that are profitable, ways of enrolling clients that worked at one level, but might not be the thing if I'm gonna serve at my highest. So I think pursuing contribution is really important. and getting really clear. I think there's always the comfort zone, and there is the greatness zone, I call it. Right? And the point is it only gets the greatness zone actually, 1st of all, if we really get clear about who are we trying to impact, because it was just about ourselves. at some point, we run out of that we run out of of fuel on that journey. She asked me.

Brad Stevend
No. Thanks for that reflection. And I think, and I think that the essence of really making it happen, you know, you shared at the beginning of that is I think you have to do it with other people. I think even even the most driven, motivated, disciplined individuals, which I consider myself to to to be one, you know, pretty disciplined. can certainly, without having accountability, without having others, you're doing it with to hold each other accountable, you know, can be distracted in a, you know, zillion different ways. I mean, attention is the number one, you know, valuable thing these days that can be distracted. So, like, what you're doing with your Rivendell community, which is is fantastic. And, like, what I'm doing with the O and others are part of is, and that's the main message is talk about what all needs to happen, but unless you're doing with someone else and have an accountability partner, you know, it's it's likely to not not happen.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. Absolutely. So rather it's been a great conversation. Let me ask you, if people wanna get in touch with you or you find out more about about your business, you know, where do they go to do that?

Brad Stevend
Sure. Lots of channels where we exist out there. we actually create a a for new podcasts and all the speaking and stuff that I do. We actually created an an email address. It's called tools at outsourceaccess.com. people just send an email. You don't have to write a message or anything. Just write an email to tools at outsourceaccess.com and just put a multiplier and the subject line, kinda know where's where where we came from, and we'll send you just a whole bunch of resources on on the whole world of how does outsourcing work? I mean, the biggest thing is a lot of people know that it exists. We're beyond top of funnel. The next question is just how does actually work. And so I can send you send an email to that. We'll send you a link to a bunch of, resources, a recorded webinar where I'd go through about 30 different case studies, you know, a of how to get started. actually a whole mini curriculum I created based on Jim Collins, and Jim Collins fans that are out there. So just a bunch of resources we can we can send your way. But aside from that, just go to outsourceaccess.com. You can if you find me on on Facebook or LinkedIn, I'm posting constantly on on content under Brad Brad Stevens. I'm sure we'll put it in the show notes as well. and then automate delegate.com. If you wanna check out a podcast, you know, very, very tactical focus and I interview guests on exactly, give you 3 ways you're automating and delegating in your life. exactly how you're doing and which tools you're using. love to to spread the word on that as well.

Richard Medcalf
That's perfect. really enjoyed that conversation today. I think we've There's been a lot of things which we've looked at, you know, from your early days, selling your toy renting out your toys, in 4th grade, you know, all the way through to this a moment of seeing the impact of outsourcing, you know, with a one life in the Philippines and then building out from there with the United Nations goals, with very intention tensionality. And then his last part here where we've been talking about, well, what's it like to live that 10 x journey. that whole idea of when you're on that exponential curve behind you looks flat and ahead of you looks vertical. And so it really requires some very different ways of thinking and and operating and leading. And I think, to be honest, that, you know, you are on that journey as well. Right? You there's expansion, and shedding of our old self that we we have to do at any stage along that process and that you, you know, you're on that journey along with the rest of us. So Appreciate your time and look forward to, following along as the journey evolves for you.

Brad Stevend
Well, thanks so much, and thanks for for making the effort to do the subject matter for your for your podcast. And I know lot of fellow, entrepreneurs and CEOs, I'd love to, to send your way to have the same experience. I appreciate the work that you're doing and continue to spread the word.

Richard Medcalf
Thanks, man. Take care. Bye bye.

Well, that's a wrap. If you received value from this conversation, please do leave us a review. on your favorite podcast platform. We deeply appreciate it. And if you'd like to check out the show notes from this episode, head to expodrant.com/podcast where you'll find all the details. Now finally, when you're in top leader who supports and challenges you at a deep level to help you multiply your impact. Discover more about the different ways we can support you atxquadrant.com.

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