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Standing on the Shoulders of (Small) Giants

by in culture club, friends of rc

Standing-on-the-Shoulders-of-Small-GiantsAs I outlined in a previous post, values and culture are the foundation of who we are at Red Caffeine. We knew that focusing on culture and values as our foundation was the key to RC’s success, and so did Tom Walter, a friend of RC’s. Kathy and Tom had a conversation about the importance of culture and values, and he insisted that Kathy attend the Inc. Small Giants summit in San Diego, which was less than one month away.

The Inc. Small Giants community is a global membership organization focused on the promotion, implementation and advancement of running a successful values-driven business. Kathy went to the summit (and we all felt really bad that she had to take a last-minute trip to San Diego – insert sarcastic font) and fell in love with the organization.  We were in the right place at the right time. She came back from the summit and was determined to take the momentum from the conference and help Red Caffeine find its business mojo.

When she told me about Small Giants, I knew I had to be a part of it. Kathy brought me into the SG fold, and we began immersing ourselves in the community right away. Here’s a flavor of some of the things we’ve done and learned with SG:

Passport Events (in-depth company visits and workshops with peers):

Coaching and Communication Skills – Nick’s Pizza and Pub (Crystal Lake, IL and Elgin, IL)

  • Nick’s is a very successful pizza restaurant that is staffed predominantly by high school and college students. Most places of this nature are filled with drama and poor communication, which yields poor results. Not Nick’s. Founder Nick Sarillo built an organization based on clear communication, coaching and respect. We learned a lot at Nick’s that helped us improve our communication at RC.

Great Game of BusinessSRC Holdings (Springfield, MO)

  • Going to SRC is essentially a pilgrimage to the holy land for those who participate in the Great Game of Business (GGOB), which is widely considered the origin of open book management. The Small Giants community is a huge advocate of GGOB and its principles. We’ve implemented GGOB at RC and are using it as a tool to allow all RC employees to understand how our business operates and affect change to drive the business.

Online Fishbowl Discussion Series:

These are virtual events that take place via webinar and are limited to eight participants, a facilitator and a featured guest.  These intimate events are a great forum for like-minded Small Giants to deep dive on a topic and bounce concepts off of each other on how to improve their business. Topics range from Design Thinking to Energy & Leadership. My recent favorite was a discussion on the Return on Energy ideology with its author, R. Michael Rose.


Summit 2014 (we’re becoming the mentors!)

The student has become the teacher… not really. But we’re excited to open our doors during the 2014 SG Summit to host a tour of our business and host an executive discussion about how the SG community and values-driven leadership has helped us build our business!

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