S9E07: Aligning a diversified group of businesses, with Richard Rankin (CEO, H&H Group)

An episode of The Impact Multiplier CEO Podcast

S9E07: Aligning a diversified group of businesses, with Richard Rankin (CEO, H&H Group)

Richard Rankin (CEO of H&H Group, a diversified group delivering services mainly to rural communities) speaks with Xquadrant's Founder Richard Medcalf.

We're continuing our season "Mission-Driven CEOs". Top Chief Execs talk about the impact they want to make beyond just the financials - in terms of the company mission and their personal leadership legacy - and how they put that into practice on a daily basis. 

In this conversation, you’ll discover:

  • How a corporate finance professional ended up as CEO of an unlikely business, and how Richard got the 'top job'
  • Why it's not enough just to know and live your personal values...
  • How Richard build a sense of shared purpose across some very different and historically independent companies

"I realised I can do better if I stop trying to fit in."

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You can watch this episode and discover more videos on strategy, leadership and purpose over on the Xquadrant YouTube channel.

Transcript

Richard Medcalf
So Richard, hi, and welcome to the show.

Richard Rankin
Thank you very much. Good to be here.

Richard Medcalf
Hey, this is gonna be a fun one because this is a little bit different, right you, the chief executive of H&H Group. So first of all, it's a group there's you have multiple businesses that you run. I know you had a background in corporate finance. And now you find yourself as the chief executive of a group, which includes digital marketing businesses, printing businesses and, and livestock auction. auctioneering businesses, right. So very rural sense. But not everything by the digital marketing is again, very different. So I'm really curious to find out a little bit about what what got you into this? What drives you as a leader? And what is the endorsement, some of your learnings over the last four or five years when you're even more since you've been in the role? So I'm looking to dive in? So why don't you tell us in your own words, what is H and H group? How do you how do you explain that when you're talking to people?

Richard Rankin
Not easily is probably the answer. Yeah. And take a deep breath is a group of companies. I guess the other unusual thing, which I didn't mention is it's not a non courted PLC. So we have some original 1100 shareholders in on the group. Inside the group. There are four key trading companies but they're probably several trading divisions with inside of those. The key the biggest one as it were born out of was livestock auctioneer and so that is the Mr. Harrison and Mr. Hetherington H&H, they formed this auctioneering business and that has been hugely successful in its time out of that spawn related industries related to revenue streams. So things like land agency, advising the farmer around applications for grants, protection of land, etc, etc. That's grown alongside that kind of state agency and then on top of that, again, we're linked to that rural sectors protecting that customer, so our insurance broking arm was born as well and that's that's grown. It's now not solely rural. It's also just commercial and other aspects of insurance broking and then finally, and probably a little bit of an outlier is a printing company what used to be just a printing company and that's why it was acquired around about 10 years ago, because I think engineers were his biggest customer and I think these two did have an in house printing business, they scrapped that used reads, and then became his biggest customer and said to buy them and bring it back in house and that's grown into me signage, make a very successful one and now more recently into the digital area. Well, web development, app development and digital marketing and creative.

Richard Medcalf
Okay, so that last bit is a little bit more my comfort zone, because, you know, I don't do a lot of work with people in tech, not exclusively, exclusively but it's fascinating, right? You have this this range and so I'll be provocative, right? You know, you had a corporate finance background. You probably never, you know, grew up, you know, you've never daydreamed as a child, when you will grow up, you wanted to remember the livestock auctioneering business, right? So like, I'll be provocative. Did you just go into this? Because you saw that there was a big fat check to make, right? Which is fine, or is there? Like, you know, is there something else that's driving you, or that drove you decided this is this is something I really want to engage in? So I was just wondering what's going on there? And obviously, any answers fine, but I wanted to kind of explore what's, you know, what's the? What's the relationship here between mission and, and profit, right? And how do you see those playing out?

Richard Rankin
Yeah, it's the former, I'm still waiting for that check, because it hasn't happened yet. As all these things is, it's very rarely a financial aspect that drives you and it wasn't certainly for me, it was it was an unusual set of circumstances, actually, I was approached because my predecessor, had advised him on a few deals and transactions in the past and when he was moving on, he put my name into the hat and I was contacted by the recruitment people who were fulfilling this post and at the time, I was busy having a monumental fallout in my, in my past business with their managing partner who did not share my values, really and this looked extremely interesting to me for the first time, I was my interest was piqued to move out of the profession and I understand the company into the group because I'd advise it in the past. In fact, I sold them REITs, interestingly, back in the day, so I was the person who sold that company to them after two years earlier, doing a management buyout with that business, and then soldered on to h&h. So I had a bit of history with the business, I understood the business. I had never set foot in an auction Mart in my life. I had nothing, no relation to farming ever at all either but I was invited to come on to an interview and I decided at the time I would turn up just purely as myself not an advisor, not trying to be chief exec, just turn up and really sort of wear my values on my sleeve. and give them who I wasn't and how I would look to run a business and talk to the chairman afterwards, post appointments and he said he knew immediately he was the kind of person I wanted in the business very, very different from my predecessor a complete change in personality type and to me the the interest was the challenge, it was going to bring a new it wasn't a one trick pony and you had had a quite a few companies and revenue streams in its in its its armory and that will keep you interested, I'd like you've been around long enough to figure out what you enjoy and I enjoy challenge and I knew this was going to bring some challenge, because it's such a diverse set of companies. It's such a diverse set of people, it's roughly around 300 people in the business and I could see it had steeped in heritage, but it had an embrace the future. So I saw that as my challenge, really.

Richard Medcalf
Right. Yeah, it's yeah, it's interesting. I'm curious, your what were the values? Right? What did what you said with the way my values on my sleeve? What are you...

Richard Rankin
I don't even have to read a word we're talking about genuineness. It's a real word but it's, it's absolutely being you bringing yourself all the time and we all go through an early part of our career trying to fit in and wearing the right mask and behaving in the right way and it's still quite in the last sort of, you know, 510 years, I figured out actually, I can do better if I stop trying to fit in and just be me and just decide, actually, you know what, I stand up for what I believe for, let's let me drive a business or lead an office on that offices before in the past and what I found out, the more I relaxed into my style, the better that office did, the more people related to me, the better the team got behind me and then then it starts building with a self belief anything, actually, maybe I do know what I'm talking about, because it's been mostly the same thing that you're just pretending the whole imposter syndrome going on. That that that sense, that's essentially drives my maximum mean value really to be to be genuine to be upfront and like people know, I ask difficult questions, people. No, I like all of the truth, no matter how oblique on the table, because only then can you sort of start thinking about how to solve the problem. You've got everything on it.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, yeah. That's nice. I think what I hear from this story is you are recommended for this role by the founder, or

Richard Rankin
Just outgoing Chief Exec. Yeah.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, and so what was it about you that he had spotted that made him say we should get this guy in won't work with him in the past? It's really interesting, right? Because it's often as we're doing the things which we sow the seeds of our future in all these interactions that we don't even realize often. So I'm wondering what seeds for you sowing as you went through that?

Richard Rankin
Interesting, I never asked him that question and that is I didn't dare I don't know. But it just the the way we grew a bit closer was when I saw him reads, I was obviously on the other side of the transaction and selling it to him and he had his advisors and it was it got a bit heated towards the end of the transaction as these things always do a little bit of Argy bargy, especially around the competition table, which was unexpected and they tried to throw in a few curveballs, which I resisted and after the deal, a couple of days, he rang me up to congratulate me on the deal and then he just said, Okay, next time I want to do a transaction, you will you will you advise me, will you be on my side, I took that as a huge compliment, actually. So it says apps, of course, it would, wasn't very long. It wasn't it was only a couple of years later, two, three years later, they had a quite a sizable transaction, first company, buying another non quarter PLC and other auction business up in South Scotland and in Northumberland, as well and so I got involved in the, during the course of that deal, and helped him along, throughout that deal, really, in various elements of it's quite a complex deal at the time and we sort of just, I think, he grew to trust me, you could do trust my judgment, I sort of wear my heart on my sleeve a little bit, and I see it how it is. So don't do, I'm not maybe not your typical corporate finance adviser. I don't really bullshit very much. I just say how it is, and you like it, or lump it, to be honest and I prefer all my transactions say that it is I'll be very honest, good or bad. I'll be honest about how great it is and I won't try and hide that but also be honest, that I find this problems, I'll get them out on the table straightaway.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, there's something here about positioning, often people talk about, you know, positioning, and this this, they can be useful to think in those terms, but there's actually a sense of like, does bring the real deal or like, you know, bring does contribute to your maximum, and people will get the value. You know, sometimes we I think we can overcome worry about how it's going to be perceived and what are we saying and how we positioning ourselves and there's a moment for some of that, but actually, you know, the sort of the contribution that you're making the you know, the trustworthiness and all the rest of it. That's what I'm picking up so.

Richard Rankin
Yeah, Yeah, I like to think so. Yeah, absolutely.

Richard Medcalf
So let's, let's jump in. So now you're in the business, you've been there for a few years. What's the mission that you're on within that business?

Richard Rankin
So that's a good one. I think, personally, you I don't think of this personally, I'm very much about testing myself a little bit really and I had other opportunities in front of me before I took this role, which will be challenging and interesting but there were steeped in actually what I knew. So I had an element of comfort zone to it, there's jumping into a chief exec role with no past experience of chief exec being was very much a leap into the unknown, I took lots of advice or friends and talks to a lot of people, but then the guests sought advice and everyone seemed appointed to me this, this, this has got my name I've written all over it and I would, I would set out settle into it and I would, it would suit me and bizarrely, it has that all been raised. I didn't believe them at the time, but there won't be right at this very much feels like home to me, now this position anywhere and I really would very much enjoy this sort of position, which is trying to train to drive the best out of people and I see that is, my mission is to make people fly, really take out roadblocks take out perceived roadblocks and real ones, and give them permission to experiment as well. Give them permission to jump a little bit higher, a little bit further and create, there's obviously always gonna be a safety net beneath them but yeah, it's really trying to, I enjoyed coaching and pushing people. That's the thing, it's always driven me. So I guess my mission is to lead from the heart be the very best I can be and see what I'm capable of, in an organization like this or any other organization. So you want to keep a log in what what kind of team could I possibly create?

Richard Medcalf
Right. Here and that's what wanted to go next to about the legacy right? So like, imagine you Li You know, in, I don't know, pick a period here a few years time, for some reason, you, you know, you move on? What would you love to look back and say, That's what I managed to create.

Richard Rankin
It's to me absolutely goes back to creating that high performing team that can fly without me and I said this to my executive when I within the first a year or so of being here, and I started bringing them together as a team that hadn't really been done that before. So, you know, my personal mission here is that you all become better than me. If you're all better than me, my job here is done and I can move on happy. I guess I feel a little bit of if I had a legacy, that would be it that saying walk away, and the board has such an easier job to look at someone for replacement, or the other half have a high performing executive team.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, we I love it. It's a subject close to my heart. You know, I spend a lot of my time working with exec teams and it's really interesting, because many of them, you know, starts off as what I call them, teams of high performers, right and groups of high performers. They're each a great functional manager. They know that they know their line of business, they know their their competency zone, but actually creating this cohesion and strategic focus and a sense of having a shared objective and running the business rather than running their function is quite a shift for people. So I'm wondering what's been your experience on that journey?

Richard Rankin
That's a great one and it's been I wouldn't say difficult because it makes it sound like you really had to push quite hard because I haven't but it's been quite a long, long journey, because you come into it. One of the biggest challenges I found I got here was there how wildly different style of leadership I brought here than my predecessor, I'm not going to argue what's better, or what's worse, their culture was very much that command and control and that and that worked for them. Absolutely. That's absolutely not my way of doing things I could the opposite side of the coin, really and I'm all about freedom and empowerment and make your own mistakes and learn from them. Keep it being learn from them. Everyone makes mistakes to have to be Everyone makes mistakes. It's what you do next, that defines you and that's kind of one of the phrases I carry around with me. So in that journey, I hate using that word, but the progression they've made is exhibit been quite long from where they're from the starting point and again, this is not their fault. It's just if the culture that was there. So to take that beginning in people who said easy analogy that fly in the sky and once it once that would have been in there long enough, you take the lid off the jar, they suddenly jumped out of the jar, because that's all they've been entrained to do. So I walked in and took all the lids off went gone and everyone just didn't know I just looked lost in headlights a little bit. So I had to rethink and go Why is everybody not jumping high? I don't understand. So I thought well hang on a minute. I need to go back to basics and start talking about what does leadership mean to them? Let's let's take it back to actually to sit down in a room and talk about what does leadership mean? What do they feel a good at? What are they not so good at? What would it look like to say I'm a good leader leading their business, a good leader in mind in my shoes, what would that look like as well? How would that relationship work? That's, that's not something that happened over a period a few months is an evolution and it's absolutely taken two or three years to get there.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, well, first of all, it's great to make the point that it's over a period. Right? It definitely is and I think your point around learning from mistakes is worth picking up on because sometimes we talked about failing fast and you know, celebrating failure, and actually, it's not celebrating failure is celebrating learning. Yeah, and I'd say you either have either have a performance culture, or learning culture, you can't actually have both, because performance means that you've got a rulebook, it's very clear, it's static, and you know, the game you're playing, exactly, you measuring against that but actually, learning culture means that the world is changing, we're changing is the game, the game is how fast can we learn and create value in that changing context? And it's a nice way of looking at it because it messes with people's thinking because they want to, they want to be high performing. Right? But I'd say more passive, high value creating, you know, it's highly interactive. There's always other ways of looking at it. Obviously, the goal is performance in some long term way. But it takes the pressure off, did you perform in this week, you know, in this moment in this decision? Yeah. Or did you do the best you could? And you know, that's, that's fine, right?

Richard Rankin
Yeah, I've very much I know, but that very well, actually and this fits in a book and one of my ethos as well, as, you know, Simon Sinek, infinite game. That's something I carry around a lot and it's not about your age, not about how you do in month one, or month seven, or even Quarter Three, it's actually let's look at the long term is bigger picture as you possibly can I always talk about heading in the right direction, because I'm trying to in the right direction and I'm, I'm less bothered about ultimate goals. It's all about direction, because those are always forces pushing you on Reynosa. Trying to define a goal, I think, could potentially lead to the wrong behaviors that you're just gonna achieve the goal. And by the wrong, the wrong methods, actually just moving in the right direction, and listening to what's going on around you. That's more important.

Richard Medcalf
It's really interesting, actually. There's a book that I've stumbled across recently, I haven't read it, but I read like the first chapter at this point but it basically is the case against objectives.

Richard Rankin
Yeah.

Richard Medcalf
And all the reasons you said, when you have objectives, first of all, if people's compensation is tied to those objectives, well, that is now the game, whether that might that might not be the real game, right? Perhaps we don't care about this year's revenues, as much as we care about the long term success of this business, right, and we might undershoot this year only to have 10x, next year, is a different thing and again, if people feel that they can only set goals that are achievable, perhaps they won't go for the inspiring things that could really be done and so on, and so forth. It's quite interesting that goals are great. When you're looking for incremental things like what you want to get done, by the end of the week, they're great but if you're talking about what you really want to achieve, and what's really important, they might not actually be all they're cracked up to, which is kind of countercultural, right and in the in the business world, and it's funny, I'm exploring a little bit to see.

Richard Rankin
Yeah, I totally agree. I really agree with that concept and it's, it's very hard to describe and explain as a business concept to a board, but very much describes that actually, you know, the window you look at needs to be as wide as he physically America, but it shouldn't be a year it should be sort of four to five year Windows you're looking at and then what difference Have you made? And where have you gone in that period? Absolutely.

Richard Medcalf
So what are your energy you found a very interesting person, but what drains what excites you and what drains you won't be the top biggest thing in your working week that gives you energy and what sucks it out of you?

Richard Rankin
Easily the one that gives you energy is probably falls into two camps is one the number of opportunities out there in terms of the areas we touch as a business and the environment and the environment out there and the macroeconomic environments that influence as a sort of, it's, it's seeing the direction we might take because there's lots of factors that went into it obviously, what the hell did governments do? What is food strategy, their environmental strategy? Do we do we are we are we asking everyone to grow hedgerows and butterflies? Are we trying to protect secure food in the country it is there's those kind of things going on. opportunities around that as a business to be part of that bigger environment. I see my role is not standing looking inwards, I see it standing looking out which shouldn't be too accessible, really. So that that element, just the multitude of opportunities out there and saying

Richard Medcalf
I'm gonna interrupt. I want to just catch that before you lose it. Yeah, roll is looking outwards. I think it's so simple. wouldn't because many chief execs have come up from an operational view and I think over rotating, it's a fine balance. Right but I think you can over rotate to the root of concerns and actually often say, you have a chief operations officer let them do it. Part of your job is actually joining the dots seeing beyond seeing where the rest of the organization can't see. Yes. Being in conversations that the rest of the organization can't be in.

Richard Rankin
Yeah, exactly.

Richard Medcalf
The new things, right?

Richard Rankin
Yeah, absolutely. I see my role is securing the future for my successor. Really, that's kind of CSR, I see my role as is actually things I want to set in place I'll probably never benefit from that's, that's cool. That's fine. I can I can leave or do whatever and safe and the knowledge that I know, I've set up that company, the business, the group, that it can continue for as long as possible, your ad infinitum. That's my, that's my role of looking at what's absolutely in in spotting opportunities and that's really exciting spotting opportunities, business ideas, maybe you do an acquisition here or expansion over there, or selling a new core inside a company, a new revenue streams at a company there. That's great and exciting. That energizes me a lot and the other side absolutely is the people. So what will make me go home smiling and the first thing I'll tell my wife, when I get there is another great conversation, a great coaching conversation with somebody and watch a spark ignites in their eyes. There's nothing more satisfying than seeing someone just go and get it. Or as soon as idea creation come out, I have seen understand how good they are, how good they could be. That that is hugely energizing and that's the kind of moments I live for. Really.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. Love it. Yeah. Why I do what I do as well, because you've been Yeah, beautiful and what drains you? What are the things which drain you slows you down?

Richard Rankin
Don't think, probably back to the first one, the endless opportunities exist, there aren't too many and as I sit here and scratch my head and go, am I just a busy fool? Sometimes, you know, and juggling too many opportunities and potential and add for interesting I challenge the board on this strategy there. We had just a few months ago, that, you know, board, I'm looking to you for some focus, yeah, I've got I've got a multitude of possibilities we've gotten for a diverse CEO and pass we could go down, we had a good long discussion, and they added two or three extra. So like, thanks for that. Nothing is draining it that can be sometimes wearing and I'm very conscious that I do not want to skim the surface on anything, I want to do proper, a proper job, really you want to do you want to do a good job. And if you think a project is going to be done, right and I quite like your friends before, and I use it a bit of a fail fast. If it's not going to work, give it a go. Don't be too big or too proud to say that hasn't worked. Actually, you know what I'm going to drop it, I'm going to move on to this one over here instead of because when I try this, but you never would have known if you hadn't tried. So I was believer of actually, this is not procrastinate. Let's go out there and try things and if you made a couple mistakes, well, back to the whole thing, as long as we learn from it, then that's fine, you know, and this makes it a learning culture. So that that in itself is just nothing much in terms of a daily drain that can support the long term, need to get that right as a chief exec and to do my job, right, really. But I guess a small minor thing was interesting is internal bickering between companies charging other companies How much for a piece of their service. So if someone comes charging something for the to help them out with something, and they start having arguments over internal pricing, and my response to that is you could charge them a million pounds, it's not going to change the number in my consolidated p&l and the bottom right hand corner. It's not going to change that number at all. So just stop.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, that's yeah, it's, it feels important to them but that's, as far as it goes. I want to just stay back to that point around doing a proper job. I mean, I get it. I mean, I get the idea of too many opportunities. It's the entrepreneurial dilemma often right, we can see. The proper job. I understand what you're saying from that my push back a little bit would be to say sometimes, if things worth doing, it's worth doing badly. Okay. Because it's still worth doing. You know, sometimes it's like, just doing it. Yeah and not and seeing what happens. Yeah. Which because it you know, somebody else will said to me, you can't say to them, you can't say the right thing to the wrong person and you can't say the wrong thing to the right person, which is quite helpful when you're in customer conversation. This is not the person you should be working with. No matter what you say is never going to be great and actually if they are, you can fluff you can I get it all wrong, but they're gonna still resonate. Yeah. And in the same way with with that, with the good things doing well doing it badly. I knew for example, when I started the podcasts, like the first episodes are probably going to be really bad, right? And probably when I'm on my millions or my, my 1000s episode, right? I'm gonna look back at this one and go, That was shocking, right? But yeah, yeah, you have to get going and create value as you can and then work from there. So listen, put it out there because sometimes it's interesting to hear the words that we use and when we start to say things like, I want to do a proper job do it right. This is worth checking. But limit me does that make things harder than it could be?

Richard Rankin
I probably want to meaning is committed to it rather than do it half heartedly but I totally agree that someone once said to me, 80% is good enough? It's right actually, because then I use the phrase diminishing returns a loss, you know, that isn't even anything, the graph starts to flatten out, doesn't it? And you can put all that extra effort in for very marginal again, you've got to recognize that sometimes. Do you say to do something 80%? is good enough?

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, very often, very often. Yeah. Hey, let's talk about the talk about how you mobilize people, right? Because you've got a complex setup, you've got multiple different companies, you're, I guess, you're trying to have some kind of vision for the group, as well as probably subdivisions with individual companies. How do you go about communicating that or getting people aligned on that? And generally kind of standing for something? Because as you come in as the Group Chief Executive? How do you connect to somebody who's actually in one of those businesses, mobilize them?

Richard Rankin
I think that was a huge challenge to step into a business, where, first of all, the individual companies didn't really work didn't work together at all, that weren't really aware of each other's challenges are rare, wouldn't really were who they were, and then didn't have any sort of close connection, and there's no connection there, you know, that it's, you've got quite an uphill task. So first of all, I've built that exact team and created some connection and a sense of belonging with them, and they genuinely character there, which is fantastic, what they've created there, then, we tried to look at the group button and that's quite hard when you've got a group during different with different companies doing different things to have a common vision but we did get somewhere with a little bit of a commonality of themes and actually what we're trying to do this step, keep stepping up and up until you really are quite high, looking down. What are we here for? Well, actually, what we do, and what helps me in sort of decisions I make that this vision and mission really is about adding value in protecting the economies we serve in predominantly rural economies. So if what I'm doing in Amsterdam, looking at the business, if they're meetings, I'm having a conversation I'm having the decisions I'm making are looking at protecting or adding value to that economy, then that sets me in the right direction and that keeps them back and that keeps me in our direction and it's loose enough that every one of the companies inside the group can pick up on that and go okay, now, is my my company vision. Does that still aligned with sort of the group overall arching? Is it are we doing the right thing for the world out there? So that that that sort of group mission vision there took a long time to get there. It took us probably a couple of years to get there to it but it was worth it was worth the journey. That word again, but it was worth going through that to come up with something everyone was you know what, actually, yeah and now I can sort of figure my company objectives, my company goals around, does it slot in with an overall group, overarching objective? So there's, there's that side of it. I mean, the other side of it, you just want to just briefly touch on it a little bit about I found one of the big channels walking in Yeah, how do I then relate to everybody? How do I have impact across the joint diverse group, you know, from people who literally herd animals in pans into a ring? For people, we have people with a cafe, on site and public facing ones whether it is internal one and two people who are fully qualified Chartered Surveyors. So you've got professional people do the manufacturing in the print sector, through to animal welfare in the farming farm stock sector. So I find that an interesting challenge I decided to do just just a thought I always would when it first took over the role is just to be myself, but let me just make an extra effort to display my values. So to really talk about not seeing my office hidden here to walk around have conversations, be me be what I normally do, just ask questions. squat there and ask hundreds and hundreds of questions with lots of people, customers and our people as well in the business and we're very much a bit of a culture shock, resonated within the first month or maybe a year and heard whisperings of our host Richard walking around. Why is Richard asking me this wise? Richard asked you that as critical as he visited those people that was, and there was a lot of that going on and it was great. One of the best feedback was some of the girls in the cafe turn me a phone don't appear at the time as, Wow, he's a real person because I went down and asked how the kids were and then, obviously, after the talk, talking about the family, and while I wait, what you know what he gets to do, and what the state of the art, just because I'm curious all the time, and that, that no one has ever asked them that question before.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, yeah, what I hear is you really turned up the dial, you know, on your buddy's word, but you have to have to be seen, right? And you have to go turn up the intensity a bit, actually, and really over communicate that so people get the message.

Richard Rankin
I'm a big believer that you cannot force people to follow you. They need to follow their own freewill and then just follow something that they that means something to them and resonate something to them that oh, well, I can, all I can do here is be me and I can't I'm never going to pretend to be something I'm not. So I will just be me. I'll tie that up a little better for the first few months. Absolutely. But I'll just knee and then it's up to them to make that decision whether they feel comfortable or not.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. It's beautiful. So let me let me let me move on. I'm gonna I'm gonna I'm just we have time. Yeah, let's get on to our quickfire questions. So what's a favorite quote that you live by, or that you draw upon often.

Richard Rankin
And you carry it with me, but one one that resonates with you all the time and I couldn't tell you who said it but it was one of my best friends and quartered it back at me or call talking 2030 years ago, now. It's all around that whole thing. You always get what you always got but I just like the simplicity of nothing changes, nothing changes. Very much like that and indeed, all that links to your definition of insanity. Doing the same things perfect, you didn't outcome etc. But I just like the simplicity of nothing changes, nothing changes. So you can apply that and throw that in, in a lot of aspects of conversations coaching that you're doing. Yeah.

Richard Medcalf
What's the favorite app that you turn to on your phone for productivity or whatever?

Richard Rankin
For productivity? There's nothing really to be fair, I'm not a huge, I'm not addicted to my mobile phone. The alternative the most is WhatsApp because it's my only connection with kids who live or live with their mom and I'm a big user of Strava. I'll do like Strava, and all my fitness stuff but other than that, no, I don't, I don't tend to try and get tied to apps, or dip dip in and out and I'm very much. I do know, as you get older, and you can recognize that I have a short attention span. So I can I can jump on something. This is amazing and two months later, never use it again.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah. I get it. What about a book? Is there a book that's really influenced you as a leader?

Richard Rankin
You know, I've talked about this a lot, actually and again, a bit like what I just said there, the short attention span object in and out a lot of books and I like my information and snippets. Social media works well for me in that respect, is that you can you can jump into little snippets and little, little podcasts, little YouTubes, etc and I have read a lot of good books in terms of the Good to Great and that kind of stuff, but one that really sticks with me and it's not a business book at all, but it's the written by a guy called Rich Roll American Ultra runner and he wrote a book called Finding Ultra and it's really that it starts with a guy in his 40s All the way it had an alcohol problem and he certainly had a blinding insight of what his future life was going to look like. So he went from that to only a few years later being classed as one of the fittest men on the planet and it's amazing story of you know, all about what the the power and he has, really what you can achieve, and what you believe you can achieve with versus versus what you really can achieve. If you start taking away those mental roadblocks and continue listen to his podcast to this day. I've seen as a really inspirational figure and I use the lessons in that way. It's not strictly about business. It's not really about business at all, actually, when you look at it that way but all of the lessons in there you can absolutely apply to your life and business and I'm all about leading from the heart and I think well I need to sort of embody this sort of how best to describe it really just kind of live how you want to live and that that that should be then translated into how you lead your business. You carry the way you want to carry out your personal idea your email, your your close intimate relationships, your family relationships, and then your colleagues. In business relationships, there really shouldn't be too much of a distinction between the long.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, that's how people follow you, because they see that they see how you're living your life actually, in. Many of our best guests on the show come from referral. So I'm always curious Is there somebody who's who's impacted you, certainly the CEO who's inspired you, who you see is really up to big things in the world?

Richard Rankin
I give this a lot of thoughts actually beforehand, and there isn't a single person I can say is absolutely there my inspiration and that's hugely influential people in my life, my ex boss at Deloitte, a guy called Paul Kaiser, who, perhaps the first person I worked for, and moved into corporate finance and I've never, never lost touch with them. Because he's inspirational guides and angels, he opened my eyes to the difference in the impact you can make on people in business really, compared to when you're an audit and I think it's audit, but he's very, sort of very narrow in what it's trying to achieve. Absolutely. In corporate finance, all of a sudden, it's really wide. So that was huge on me. Because the other guy, though, I have huge amount of respect for and is now starting in financial probably haven't told him, this guy called Frank Miller, he sits inside my peer group, and is the Chief Exec of a company called CPI. Basically, NE is a laboratory type business and you create, you know, helps other companies, you know, gives them an environment to do some testing, etc, who's involved in, you know, the antiviral drug testing, that kind of thing and he's moved into that role in the last couple of years, we sort of helped him move a transition into that role as part of the peer group and he's got to be the deepest thinker I've ever come across. Now, we're all good in our positions of Chief Executive cetera of peeling layers back, you know, very good asking, your questions aren't new, we can delve into people quite easy. I find it easy, I find it good fun. He can go to another level and he is he's inspirational when you listen to him and he's such a calming a very calm person as well. I find him enjoyable to talk to you and listen to him. I asked him to come away thinking I've learned something.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, that's a great, thank you for celebrating him in this moment. It's, yeah, I've got a couple of clients in there. The deep thinkers, something, I think I think I'm quite intense intellectual and then these people are seeing the future of their industry, right. 10 years out, and it's gonna set it's great.

Richard Rankin
Exactly the same but yeah, I think I'm quite good at what I do and then I meet him and talk to him and things he's dealing with and I've got a lot to learn.

Richard Medcalf
So finally, no matter how much you've achieved, is always the next level to get to so what do you what are you going to have to do differently as, as chief executive, for the each age group to continue to expand and develop in all these different ways.

Richard Rankin
I always talk about when it when you think about in the business arena, I always talk about legs on the stool, as I was referred to that isn't just like that analogy, and it sticks with me that I need to both strengthen and maybe increase the number of legs on the stool. When we got here, it was quite, it was accepted that really, we had one strong leg. That's all we had and my sole purpose given to me by the board and absolutely right was I need to strengthen your legs. So we're getting there that with that one, but we're not by no means finished with that, that, that task. So I need to continue to strengthen those legs on the stool and potentially create new ones. When you think about what's going on the world and the future, what's going to change, I need to make sure that h and h are in a position that it remains relevant for the future. That's the phrase I use a lot that it remains relevant and to do that, I think for me, it to me, it's all about I need to continue learning, you know, I can only do that if I can be the best version of me I can and I think I'm a long way from that I think I've got a lot to learn. I've been in this position for four years, and thoroughly enjoyed it and I feel like I've just scratched the surface of learning how to be a chief exec, I think I've got a long way to go to be, you know, what I would consider a high performing or high learning chief exec and actually enjoy that I find that element really good fun and a huge thing about what I carry with me is that element of fun and I use it a lot with my executives who use a lot in the entire business, we're not having fun, then I need a leader or do something wrong. So I need to continue working on creating that environment where you work hard, where you can have some fun. So I guess to me is like keeping learning and learning through experience. I'm not a huge believer of you can learn just through reading books. I think you need to have experience you need to have conversations with people who are better than you some interesting people, coaches chief execs, exit all those kind of people to be exposed to lots of stuff and ask how to have conversations and be humble and it isn't, isn't well.

Richard Medcalf
Yeah, I love that. Yeah, I think it's, some people will see, they get to a certain role and they've made it right but I always think that's the jumping off position for the next, the next, next curve, right, the next 10x, whatever that's going to be. What's that exponential future that's going to, that you can't even imagine now. In fact, I say I got my co community together last week, and we were really pushing each other on that, like, we all know, we have a probable future we can possibly imagine our possible future but what's impossible, you know what right now doesn't even feel even on the map.

Richard Rankin
Yes, I love that. I love that conversation and I would have never done this here five years back six years ago, without it being in this role, and do go and kind of get the sort of journey I've been on, it adds a little bit of self belief in there. Now that actually, obviously, you should be thinking of the impossible and I love that actually, I tried to teach that instill that intimate team. Where could you go? Well, where can you possibly go on your wildest dreams? Where could you go?

Richard Medcalf
Let's do it. Well, it's a great moment to a great place to leave it. I think, Richard, hey, this has been a fun conversation, you know, dive into this really interesting business that you have. I think, you know, your, your love for, for learning for people, you know, the scanning, finding new opportunities. I think there's this real perspective you have that your role is securing the future for your successor is I think it's a beautiful definition of leadership in so many ways, right? And it often gets overlooked. So thank you for sharing these and all the other insights. It's been a lot of fun.

Richard Rankin
Enjoyed it. Thank you very much.

Richard Medcalf
Okay, Richard. Well, let's stay in touch. I'd love to hear how this journey progresses and sounds like you're just at the beginning.

Richard Rankin
Absolutely. Will do.

Richard Medcalf
Take care. Bye bye now.

Richard Rankin
Thank you.

**Note: This transcript is automatically generated.
Please excuse any errors.

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