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59
Published on
July 21, 2020

059 | Taking Career Management to the Next Level with Eric Herrenkohl of AchieveNEXT

Summary

Eric Herrenkohl is a Managing Director at AchieveNEXT in the Career Management Services Practice with a focus on human capital and executive coaching. Eric brings 30 years of experience and retained executive search and consulting to his executive coaching work. Eric sits down with Chris to discuss how both corporations and executives can take their career management to the next level while exceeding performance goals.

Highlights

  • How Eric's experience at seminary created a foundation for motivating executives and business professionals
  • What working for a nonprofit can teach you about business leadership and influencing stakeholders
  • The easiest and hardest things about being an entrepreneur
  • What spurred Eric's decision to write his book, How to Hire A-Players
  • How Kelleher Associates and AchieveNEXT joined forces
  • The impact and benefits of the CFO Alliance and CHRO Alliance
  • The differences between the retained and contingent hiring in the recruiting process
  • The impact LinkedIn has had on the executive recruiting industry and the advantages of working with executive recruiters
  • Common obstacles that seeded executives face when recruiting with board considerations
  • How AchieveNEXT specializes in supporting mid-market recruiting needs
  • Why CFOs are some of the best leaders in the C-suite

Mentioned Resources

Episode Sponsors

This episode is sponsored by Juhll. They are a full service digital marketing consultancy that has over 20 years of experience helping your business grow sales online. They've helped most of their clients grow more than 50% year over year by helping them meet their digital marketing goals.

Juhll Digital Agency works with companies who are doing $50 million in top line revenue that have a marketing budget of $2 million. They build your company from the ground up and they also help you in creating a strategy that will work best for your team.

You can email Chris Snyder, President of Juhll Digital Agency, at chris@juhll.com, or contact their team today and find out which of their services will work best for your success story.

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Tweetable Quotes

"Respectfully, there's nothing like a crisis from a business standpoint to have you cast aside secondary and tertiary things and get focused on what really matters." - Eric Herrenkohl

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"When you hang out with CFOs, as you pretty quickly realize, they spend at least 70 percent of their time talking about people." - Eric Herrenkohl

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"Entrepreneurs... the #1 thing they're motivated by is independence, even more than money. I mean, they're money-motivated. But they're really motivated by autonomy." - Eric Herrenkohl

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Eric Herrenkohl

Managing Director, AchieveNEXT

Eric Herrenkohl is a Managing Director at AchieveNEXT in the Career Management Services Practice with a focus on human capital and executive coaching. Eric brings 30 years of experience and retained executive search and consulting to his executive coaching work.

Episode Transcript

Chris Snyder [00:00:43] Hello, everyone, Chris Snyder here, host of the Snyder Showdown, president at Juhll Agency, and founder of FinTech Startup Banks.com. As you know on this show, we take a no B.S. approach to business success and failure told through the stories of the top executives who have lived them. Join us today as we get unfiltered backstories behind successful brands. A quick message from our sponsor, Juhll is a full service digital consultancy, and we focus on helping executives solve their toughest digital growth problems while working as an extension of the executive team. We focus on three things. We identify the biggest problems impeding your growth. We propose solutions that give you the best opportunity for success. Finally, all the work has to get done. So we bring together a private marketplace, a vetted world class talent to execute that plan. Of course, we manage that whole process. To learn more. You can go to Juhll.com where you can email me directly. It's Chris@juhll.com. OK, without further ado, today's guest is Eric Herrenkohl, he is a Managing Director at AchieveNEXT in the Career Management Services Practice. His focus is on human capital and executive coaching. AchieveNEXT provides a unique combination of peer advisory networks and specialized human capital performance solutions to enterprise leaders and their teams. Eric brings 30 years of experience and retained executive search and consulting to his executive coaching work. He has worked with leaders from Aramark, Bank of America, Nestle, New Balance, and many others. He even does mid-sized businesses across 50 different industries. Eric's book, How to Hire a Players, is an Amazon bestseller named for the top 10 recruiting books of all time by recruiter dot com. Eric has previously shared his expertise with the likes of Business Week, FOX News, MSNBC, and NBC News. Welcome, Eric.


Eric Herrenkohl [00:02:48] Thank you very much. Great to be with you, Chris.


Chris Snyder [00:02:50] Great to have you here. So we always kick off this show. We want to learn a little bit more about your upbringing, where you grew up, and how you got to where you are today. Why don't you let us know a little bit about yourself, Eric?


Eric Herrenkohl [00:03:02] Yeah, absolutely. So, again, Eric Herrenkohl - I live in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Yeah, right outside of Philly. I am the child of psychologists in the town. So I had some inherent issues from the very beginning. But I grew up in Bethlehem, you know, kind of a normal kid. But an interesting it's an interesting place because a particular and I was growing up I mean, Bethlehem Steel really dominated that town. And it was really was a little bit like the outsiders and now everybody's dad except for mine. Bethlehem Steel. And it was a question as to what's being worked in the negative offices. Interesting place. And I went to Michigan undergrad. Enjoyed that, ended up moving to St. Louis because I had friends who had moved there, you know how it is when you graduate from college, like, wow, got to do this for a semester or two. And sixteen years later, my wife and I packed our van and our then three children and moved to Philadelphia. But in the interim, I did a number of different things. We talk about some of those ended up starting my own firm to focus really on executive coaching. That was my passion. As I said, I had psychologists as parents. So now how people were wired and how they operated and what made them tick. Always really interested me. And I was really interested in business. So I figured coaching was a good way to bring those together. Ended up moving. Well, basically, when I ended, I say - on the one hand, I think I'm one of the only executive coaches whoever sold their first two big engagements off of cold calls and cold contacts, which now, you know, doesn't ever happen. But on the other hand, you know, drive for show, putt for dough. I mean, while I sold two big ones, it wasn't enough to pay the bills at that point in my life and career. So I pivoted back. I did a bunch of consulting management development, particularly for mid-sized businesses, and then ultimately went back to my recruiting roots, got into retained executive search. I had a recruiting background. Did that for a number of years. And now we can talk about much more of the Segway that I made back into coaching. But in a sense, in a nutshell, that's me.


Chris Snyder [00:05:26] Yeah, no, that's pretty interesting. Also, notice you went to a theological seminary.


Eric Herrenkohl [00:05:31] I did. Yes.


Chris Snyder [00:05:32] Tell us a little bit about - so you've got you're an economics and history guy, which is interesting. I'm a history undergrad myself, but I have a Poli-Sci degree. So that makes a little bit. You got economics, history and seminary. Yeah. Tell us about that.


Eric Herrenkohl [00:05:50] Absolutely. So I was both in high school and then after college, I was very involved with a group called Young Life. So it's a non-denominational Christian group, works with high school students. Meant a lot to me. And when I got out when I graduated from Michigan, I really moved to St. Louis because a friend of mine was a leader, you know, staff person for Young Life there. I wanted to be involved. So I worked for a couple years for in business for a sales incentive sales motivation company and volunteered the Young Life. And I thought sales incentives was going to be about motivating people because that's always been my interest. And in fact, it was. How do you design reward programs to motivate salespeople to sell, you know, more widgets and gidgets. And you ended up learning a lot about independent distribution, but a great experience. I then went full time on Young Life staff. And when I did that, I went to seminary as part of that process. And a master of divinity degree at that point, by the way, was one hundred and two credits. One hundred two credits. Yeah, it is ridiculous.


Chris Snyder [00:06:54] That's like a four-year degree or more.


Eric Herrenkohl [00:06:56] That's exactly. Yeah. So that's another conversation. That's basically exactly what it used to be. And I will actually I learned tremendous things at seminary pretty. I have a great story about interviewing for a youth pastor's job if you want to talk about it. Yeah. Let's do it. But one of the things that seminary and everything I learned there, actually I still use today. One of the really amazing things was there were four semesters of preaching classes, either four semesters of public speaking classes. That's right. And I use those. I use what I learned in those classes pretty much every day of my life. It was there was some great stuff that came out of it. So, yeah.


Chris Snyder [00:07:36] Yeah, that's really interesting. I love to hear the backstories. And so you bounce around a little bit. You wound up being this staff member of Young Life. That was a full-time gig, right? You went to seminary, right? Yeah. And then how did you get in? How did you make this transition? Because in my view, you went to the University of Michigan. You're a smart guy. You got all you've got all this stuff. And then you go to this Young Life thing, which is awesome, give back almost. And then you got into the business world. So what? Why did you make the transition from more of what I would consider to be a maybe social in services and giving back in, you know, what are they? What do they call it in organizations now, like, you know, vision or mission-driven? Right. And not that being an executive coach or an executive search consultant or going down that hardcore business path, you can't be mission-driven yet, but it's certainly a different thing. So how did you make that leap or what did you make that leap?


Eric Herrenkohl [00:08:42] So, you know, I worked, Chris, for a couple of years and volunteer, so I was very heavily involved with Young Life. And then I just really felt like that was what God was calling me to do. Made the move as I got into it when I wear it in my school, there were big posters around the gym on lifetime sports. They're always trying to sell different concepts there. But like, you know, golf and tennis and things, sports that you can play your whole life. And at that point, I think I was 20 for some, you know, twenty-five. And I realized, you know, working with high school students at this level, this level of involvement is not a lifetime sport for me. You know, at the farthest I had I could see at that time was 40. That seemed to be like, you know, you're at 40 and you die. And I thought, I'm just not going to be working with high school kids. And then that really led me not in terms of my faith, but in terms of my, you know my work that led me back into the world of work. And then I did some interesting things. You know, I worked for a recruiting firm that was a contingent search for a CFO and controllers and other financial leaders. I did the requisite Internet startup for a year and learned how founders can burn through their 401K and ended up going actually back to the sales incentive firm that I had fought for initially and did another stint there on consumer loyalty programs. But I'll tell you one thing on, not for profit. Without question, pretty much everything that I know that really means something about leadership I learned in Young Life. I didn't learn it in business because it's not for profit. You don't have a choice. You have to be able to influence people to do what you want to do because they don't work for you. And in fact, they may be your donors. They make, you know. So it really teaches you about influence and communication and gathering support, creating momentum, why people do what they do, how to build groups. There's actually a tremendous amount that I learned as really as a high school student and as a staff person that I, I leverage all the time.


Chris Snyder [00:10:55] Yeah. Now, that's an interesting perspective. I think if you take a look at the world we live in today, this notion of of of service. I'll just make a blanket statement. It's completely unquantifiable, probably. I think this notion of service is lost. I think that, you know, if you think about the great generation or you think about, you know, some of you know, your mom and dad, which to be your kids, grandparents, these guys, they did a lot of stuff like that. They participated. I remember my grandfather was a Gideon. And he would go to prisons on Wednesday nights or whatever night it was. And he would literally hand out Gideon Bibles and read, you know, read the New Testament, the little I don't know if you remember the little New Testaments that you'd find in a hotel room drawers. He'd go to prisons and do that. He didn't get paid for that. Right. Like. And so it's it sort of feels like in even based on what you said. It helps ground you later on in life and it gives you tools to do bigger things later on in life. I just think that's real. Giving back is important. And I think the fabric of our society kind of depends on that. We might see a little bit of that unraveling right now as we go through the date on this episode is Friday, June 5th. Of course, there's a bit of social unrest in we're in the midst of this covered pandemic. So just so you know, 10 years from now, if you're listening to this, that's why I threw that in there. But so you move on to corporate, you know, quote-unquote. Let's talk about how you moved out of there and became an entrepreneur. At what point did you realize working for someone else at this juncture in Young Life? Like when did you realize that really wasn't for you and you really wanted to do it yourself?


Eric Herrenkohl [00:12:48] I had been thinking about it and I got to a point in my second run with this marketing sales set a firm of just realizing. I just wanted to give it a shot. I had a pretty clear picture of what it was that I wanted to do in terms of executive coaching. I actually had a conversation with a good friend of mine who I'm still friends with, who gave me some of the advice that I've never forgotten because he had already started his advertising firm about six months, twelve months before I had started my firm. And I was scared to death of starting my company. I was scared to death. And he said, well, listen, Eric, let me ask you a question. You're going to when you do make this chapter, you're going to contract. You're going to sell your services to business owners. Right. You're going to advise them on what to do. I said, yeah. I said, well, listen, why don't you hire yourself? Why don't you hire yourself right now and advise yourself on what it is that you would, what you know, what you ought to do. And I tell you, it's a real it's an interesting mind trick. I use it all the time because you remove yourself from the emotion of them and the fear of the moment. And you look at your situation objectively and you give yourself some advice and you can see it. I mean, I don't think that negates the need to get advice from others, but it is an interesting way to see things. And I just - I made the jump and never look back.


Chris Snyder [00:14:12] So you did that for 20 years. And I think the interesting, you know, 17 and a half or 20 years, whatever it was, but a long time. That is a long time to be on the grind, especially for yourself. The one point that you just made that I found really interesting is. You step outside of yourself and give advice to yourself, and I think you and I both are in the business of coaching, consulting, giving people advice, I give people advice on marketing and in advertising and growth, you know, fronts. You give advice on the career and an executive front in other areas. But sometimes it's difficult to step back and give her, you know, give ourselves advice. I've never, never really thought of it that way. Can you tell me the hardest part? Maybe two things. The hardest part about being an entrepreneur and working for yourself in the industry you are working in and then maybe what the easiest parts were, the most rewarding parts were while you're running your own firm. Sure.


Eric Herrenkohl [00:15:11] I mean, the easiest parts are the independence. You don't have a boss. You set your own schedule. You do what you want to do and you're as described driving in traffic. I mean, you know, s go in that direction the other.


[00:15:29] And I think that's cool. And entrepreneurs if you look at even on a leadership assessment of most entrepreneurs. The number one thing they're motivated by is independence, even more than money. I mean, their money motivated, but they're really motivated by autonomy. So having your autonomy, that's the easiest thing. In terms of the hardest thing. That was a real education for me over the years. I remember very early on I had a friend who owned an architectural firm in St. Louis and I did a lot of work with that firm on management, development, different things. Its name is Dave Mastin. And Dave, you know, several couple, two or three years into my company said, why are you know, you're doing well, you've got things going on. So you're going to need to hire people. You're gonna need to put this and this and this in place. And I just in my mind, I'm set. In my mind, I completely dismissed it. I said I thought to myself. Dave runs an architectural firm and I have this cool executive coaching practice. What I do has nothing to do with what he would do.


Chris Snyder [00:16:32] I'm Unique. I'm different.


Eric Herrenkohl [00:16:33] Right. Which is really like one of the dumbest things I've ever thought to myself. Because every business at some level is exactly alike. Yeah, absolutely right. You have to sell stuff. You've got to deliver it. You've got to do it at a low enough cost where you can make money. You have to know how to scale. You have to know how to expand. I mean, there are of course, there are differences in the services that you provide. But business is business and you really learn that as you move forward.


Chris Snyder [00:17:03] Yeah. Why do you - so you're doing this work. Autonomy sound, by the way. Autonomy sounds great until you throw that risk in there. I'd like to go jerk around at the beach all day, but unfortunately, it doesn't. It's great to be your own boss, but unless you're capable of literally working twelve hours a day for 10 years, at least 10 years to build your own business. Yeah, you have to have the stomach for this. It is really, really hard. And every entrepreneur that I have on this show that has run their own business, I just have the utmost of respect for because I sit in it and you can't explain this to people, by the way. You can say, oh, it's really hard and it's risky. And probably what they'll say back is what I said is, well, I'm as smart as I can work as hard as you. I'm as smart as you. I can do it. Then you get in and you're like, holy shit, this is hard. Yeah, it's really hard. Yeah. So you're doing this work. How many people were on the team? Large team. Small team.


Eric Herrenkohl [00:18:04] It was small. So I would, I would have had a couple of employees and then a team of probably three to five 

1099 folks who I did a lot of work with. Yeah. Yeah.


Chris Snyder [00:18:18] What. Why did you decide to write the book? I mean I can imagine you're coming in every day. This is 17 years and expanse recoded every day and then maybe someday you wake up, you're like I keep saying the same thing over and over again. Like, why did you write the book?


Eric Herrenkohl [00:18:33] So, you know, on the one hand, I mean for a consultant to write a book. Not that surprising, but it was actually an eye-opening. It was one of those eye-opening experiences for me. I was probably seven years into my business and I felt like I've really got to ramp up my sales abilities. You know, I need to you know, at the end of the day, the sales make the business world go round it.  I've got to continue to get stronger at selling. I got involved with Alan Weiss and, you know, Alan is a consulting guru and he may have done his last one, but he's done it for a number of years. He did consulting colleges and I did one of those up in Rhode Island. And my big takeaway from that week was that I was trying to solve a marketing problem with a sales solution. You know, we all tend to do what we've seen done even more than what we've learned intellectually. Whatever we've been, whatever we've seen done in the business environments in which we've grown up. And that could be a family business or could be the first business that you worked for. Without knowing yet we do what we see done. And I had seen sales pick up the phone call, people cold calling. That's what I had seen. So I just yeah, that's what I was doing. And it dawned on me that I was not positioned right in their minds so that they would take my calls or call me. Yeah. And so that was the strategy, that was the impetus to write the book.


Chris Snyder [00:20:04] Yeah. And I kind of came up the same way if you made 100 phone calls a day. Exactly. You could win. It didn't matter. Pick up the phone, make 100 hundred phone calls a day. And if you make, you know, ten thousand phone calls or twenty thousand phone calls or thirty thousand phone calls over the course of the next six or eight months, you will win and everything will work itself out. Yeah, I think 20 years ago or twenty-five years ago, that was fine. Now, the ability to get online and extend yourself through distribution networks, technology. You better be more than just. Able to bang your head against the wall on a telephone? Because I honestly I mean, you might have a comment on this, but I don't feel like anybody's picking up the phone anymore. It'd be difficult even unless you have a relationship or a private network that you have access to. And it comes on referral. But I get cold outreaches all day long. People on LinkedIn, which is no different than a cold call, by the way. Phone calls to my phone, which I've now just block, block, block so much that I think Apple's figured out that if I don't have the number in my address book, I'm not going to take the call. Right. So I think we all have to figure out how to transition into this sales arena. And it's got to be combined with some marketing. So you wrote the book. Was this something that you were trying to do? Just from a marketing standpoint, to tide your sales standpoint, was this something you felt like, you know what, I can make some real money doing this and I could be a New York Times bestseller? Like, how did that come across? And by the way. Writing books. It's really hard. Yeah, I've talked to quite a few people that wrote books. They said it's the hardest thing I've ever done in their life. So you did it for marketing. So describe was it really hard to do this? How long did it take? And then were you trying to be New York Times bestseller guy? Were you literally just trying to do this for your business?


Eric Herrenkohl [00:22:06] So everybody on their first book really thinks in the back of their mind that they're going to be The New York Times bestseller. And if they tell you that they don't. They're lying. Everybody thinks somehow, somehow the inherent brilliance of my book is going to skyrocket me to the top. I mean, the story of how I got my book deal with Wiley is funny because I said that you don't win when they teach you. When you get low, when you start to read up. I had. Ah. How am I going to write a book? And if you're a first-time author, it's very helpful to have an agent. So the way you find agents is you look in the acknowledgments of competitive books. I found a few agents set out some called solicitations with a book proposal. Nowhere friend of mine down in Richmond actually knew an entertainment attorney whose partner was an agent. I got introduced to him and I really think this guy had just done a deal with Wiley. He was like, why not, you know? So he took my proposal and he said, you know, barely looked at it. And then he said, you know, I'll shop it around. I think he said it to Wiley. I really don't think he said today. And once went by, didn't get anything. And all of a sudden my phone rings and it's Kirk, my agent. He says, hey, I just heard from Wiley. They are very excited. And by the way, at least when I was dealing with publishing companies, everybody's very excited all the time. But you don't. Very excited. Very excited, very excited. And so he's like: can you, like, get on the phone and let's talk to these guys in, like, an hour. I haven't looked at my book proposal in six months. I've been to your earlier point. Right? We are. You're working. And I didn't really know exactly how to go about shopping it. So I said, listen, you got to buy me some time. I hustle back to my home office, same home office I'm in right now, by the way. And I get on the phone and it's Kurk and then it's my to be agent. And everybody we're all very excited.  I took like three minutes before the the the discussion and I thought I better, like, refresh myself on the contents of this book proposal. This is like a 50-page document. I just better, like, thumbed through it and have some idea what I'm talking about. And I don't know how this happened, but I happened to look at the tip table of contents. So when you're gonna write a book, you're gonna write a business book. You typically don't write the book. You put a proposal together. And one of the things that you put in that proposal is a table of contents. Here's the table of contents, brief, pithy description. And in that table of contents, I say definitively, I'm going to tell the three most important questions to ask in an interview because I'm the renowned expert in this topic. I mean, you know? And I come across that in the book. And I'm like, what are those questions? I don't even I don't remember meeting. I give up. And you do this for a living. You do you know, are you you know, you have to know. And so I thought if I were, you know, I'd be of course, I know what there are the three most important questions in a job interview. If I'm if you're if I'm interviewing you, three most important questions are: Tell me a little bit about each job. I want to walk through the entire resume. So tell me about that job and just give me some context, because I can't understand it. If you don't, then what were your most significant accomplishments in those roles? And then any and every follow-up question I can possibly ask you, because that's where you crack the program to answer open the door and figure out if somebody is actually done what they say they can do. And most interviewers do a pretty bad job of that. Actually, they stay kind of, you know, glide across the top as opposed to really digging in. So I go, right, I get that three minutes. Get on the phone with Wiley. And I'm telling you, Chris, I'm not. Thirty seconds in. And Dan, the editor said, Eric, great to speak. Hey, listen, by the way, I happened to see the three most important questions to ask you in the interview. What are they? And I was like, you know, well, of course. I mean, any fool knows that I dodged the Bullet man. I think if I had messed that up, I don't think I would have gotten the contract.


Chris Snyder [00:26:07] Yeah, you know, that's so funny to hear, though, because I feel like as an entrepreneur, it's actually it's funny to hear. It's reassuring to know that I'm not the only one that gets caught. Right. Just you have so much you're doing. And you never know when opportunity is going to strike. But you hustle back. You knew you had to do your homework. There wasn't a bit of arrogance in there. That's that. I know this. I'm an expert. I'll just tell these guys what's up. Right. So that's a great story of success. So, you know, I was listening to someone else who wrote a book. I think they said that selling six or seven thousand copies was like. Supernova. Right. And so I don't know, a lot of these guys won't take won't take it unless they feel like they can sell seven, eight, 10, 20 thousand copies of this stuff. So how many copies did you sell of this book?


Eric Herrenkohl [00:27:03] You know, it continues to sell. That's one of the things that is interesting about recruiting, is it is truly an evergreen topic. I think it's sold around 10000 copies. That supernova. That's awesome. Yeah, it's good. I mean, and the book I'm proud of the book and the book has a lot of content in it that I continue to leverage. I will say that one of the things that has happened in publishing is every social media has really changed a lot. And so, you know, the marketing platforms that publishers are looking for, they're looking for very extensive social media forms. And it's just, you know, think things change and you've got to be able to evolve with it. But, yeah, you know, I'm proud of the book.


Chris Snyder [00:27:47] That's. Yeah, that's great. So let's talk about AchieveNEXT. So you're cranking along. You've been doing this thing for, you know, 18 to 20 years here and call consulting. Tell me about the transition to AchieveNEXT. When did you start there? Why did you do that? And then let's talk a little bit about it, AchieveNEXT and figure out what they're up to.


Eric Herrenkohl [00:28:10] So I made several and this is a whole other entrepreneurial topic, but I pivoted several times within my own business. As I said, I started in executive coaching. Then I moved into management, development, and management coaching for mid-sized businesses. And then ultimately I. I pivoted into retained executive search. So BP level and above search, leveraging my prior recruiting background. And I did that for a number of years. I always said, about retained search, about being a headhunter that I loved every part of the job except for the parts that I really hated. And the things I loved were I'm a coach at heart. I mean, I loved working with people. I was and am very good at popping the hood and understanding who somebody is understanding fit, developing a slate of candidates, and doing everything else. All is selling out. You know, there's a lot that goes into being a really good recruiter. But I got to a point in my life where I transparently I wasn't doing very well personally. I mean, I just didn't feel good. And you combine that with the pressures of running a business and then you do that for a lot of years. And I recognized and if I hadn't recognized on my own, I think my wife would have made sure that I recognized I had to step back. And I need to do another assessment. And I really wanted to get back to doing what I had started doing, which is not a surprise, right? You don't jump out of your full-time employment to go start a business unless you're passionate about something. I was passionate about coaching. And so what I decided to do at that point was to pivot again, focus on executive coaching. And I knew that part of what I could bring and bring at a very high level was executive career coaching. So outplacement, but also just working with executives, senior people, one on one who were paying me to guide them through the job search process. And I did that on my own for two and a half years. Enjoyed it. Then I got reconnected to Mitch Wienick, who's now my colleague within AchieveNEXT, Mitch reconnected me to Nick Araco, who I also knew, and ultimately I decided to join AchieveNEXT. And I'll tell you some about the business. But back to the entrepreneurial theme that we've been developing. Once you have a business for a while, you appreciate the truth of that cliche, that everything takes twice as much, cost twice as much, and takes twice as long dead. And entrepreneurs would tell you at least three things take time and they take money. And I recognize that if I was going to make this pivot into some back into something, I was really passionate about the time and the money to Rick to really build it out at the scale and scope that I wanted to do it. If I could find the right platform. It would be worth it to connect myself with it. And fortunately for me, AchieveNEXT is really that.


Chris Snyder [00:31:15] Yeah. And if you didn't do that, it would be nice what people call is a lifestyle business. And I remember a couple of times in my career when someone said that to me, it actually irritated me a little bit. It's like, what're you talking about? This isn't my lifestyle sucks. But that's not what they were talking about. But then, you know, as I've done some different entrepreneurial things and I've looked at the services side of the business, it really you don't build one hundred, two hundred, three hundred million dollar services business. I mean, don't get me wrong, they're out there. But it is you're talking about thousands of employees to do something. There's no asset value. There's no leverage in it. You're pulled by your clients. You're kind of an employee, candidly. I mean, you're kind of told this is how we're gonna do it. And, Chris, I appreciate your advice, but I'm going to kind of do it my way. It's not like Google or Facebook or some of these other companies that kind of do their thing. They have their own brand, they have their own products. They do their own thing. So so you pulled the trigger so you could scale and actually make it what it could be that you could make it bigger and you can make it bigger, faster surrounding yourself with a platform. They probably already have some girth and some base. And then you surround yourself with talented peers and colleagues who probably aren't sitting right next to you at your home office. Right. So that's got to feel good. So you've made this transition. So let's talk about, you know, the I'm assuming the Herrenkohl brand was transition now to AchieveNEXT. And then, you know, on your Web site, there's another brand called Kelleher. Can you talk about, OK, what it is that you do and what services these guys provide and how you can help executives? And if you want to weave in the Kellers story in there, they'll be good to talk to.


Eric Herrenkohl [00:33:14] Sure. So here's what I had. So I've been with AchieveNEXT since November of 19. Here's what I have really gained from love and appreciate about the company is it's a very unique combination of on the one side, we have these specialized professional services, and that is the kind of executive coaching, executive career coaching, sales training, leadership training, management, development, diversity, equity, inclusion. We've got that on one side. But on the other side we have an executive peer advisory group. So Nick Araco and Greg Wood, you are two of the three primary partners in the firm, started the CFO alliance a number of years ago, and they were all part of other professional service firms and they really developed it initially for marketing purposes. But it's a peer advisory group. So CFOs get together both in person and virtually serve as kind of informal board of advisors for one another. We have industry groups and there are 9000 CFO was involved in the CFO alliance across North America. Wow. Yeah. I mean, it's really significant. And then the CHRO alliance is about 6000 CHROs who are plugged into us. That's primarily focused eastern seaboard, New York, Philly, D.C.


Chris Snyder [00:34:39] So that's how you scale a services firm. You create a private network. Right. You allow it to have network effects. Why didn't I think of that?


Eric Herrenkohl [00:34:49] And you talked about I've heard you talk about network effects in, you know, in other businesses, in other contexts. But it's really powerful and it's really fun because what happens when you bring the professional services together with the networks is the professional service providers. You know, we obviously have our deep expertize so we can bring that to the benefit of the members of the CFO alliance and the CHRO alliance. And then we also can help our clients tap in appropriately, tap into that extent, those extensive networks of professionals. So, you know, one of the things that we do is a lot of executive career transition. So companies will hire us to do senior-level outplacement for them. And senior executives also hire us to help them navigate their job search. And, you know, we've got these incredible networks that we can tap them into and say, listen, you know, for many people who do the kind of coaching that we do, they say, well, yeah, well, you make some introductions, but that's not it's not part of it's not really the core of the process for us. It's really the core of the process for like, listen, we're gonna do a very deep dove, really get to know who you are. What what are your passions? What are your talents? Is your market value where to get your packaged up? And then we're going to help you get out there and get access and introductions. It's very compelling. And I've really been enjoying it.


Chris Snyder [00:36:14] Well, I've seen recruiting evolve and I've also seen these career services or executive coaching. Services evolve. I feel like everyone's a god damn coach, right? I honestly feel like in a lot of these coaches are four hundred fifty bucks an hour. So I think that both those businesses talk to me a little bit about since you have a lot of experience in this. Talk to me a little bit about how the executive recruiting business may have changed or a more Forsys than is something good or bad. I don't know what it really is. I kind of feel like a lot of the times at different levels. Some of those folks are kind of just throwing paper at people. And really, as an employer, what we want or as an executive, what we want is we actually want the right people. So someone could take care of all that in advance of you bringing them to me. That would be awesome. Right. So talk a little bit about how you think recruiting, executive, executive recruiting or any of that has changed maybe over the last 20 years. Maybe you're that's headed now. And I also want to talk about your new spot, this transition into the new spot, maybe how that's changing where you guys think that's headed. Sure.


Eric Herrenkohl [00:37:27] So on the recruiting side, you know, one of the fundamental distinctions that you're probably aware of is the distinction between retained recruiting or retained search and contingent. So retained is typically, you know, I'd say used to be V.P. level and above. I think that's actually probably becoming C-suite really and board and then contingent is everything else. So retained as you get hired, you know, you're going to pay me to run a search for you contingent is if you hire the person that I sent you, then I get paid. Otherwise, I don't. So that's a first fundamental distinction in there. Let's just focus on the retained side. That's where I spent the most time, you know, more recently. It's been a dramatic change in routine search, as there has been in a lot of other industries. And I would say simply that was driven by LinkedIn. It was driven by LinkedIn in this way that... Linkedin is making millions from internal recruiting departments and from third party search firms that are paying tens of thousands of dollars every month to have very, very broad access through tools like LinkedIn Recruiter into the LinkedIn database.


Chris Snyder [00:38:45] They decentralized it. They basically took your network that you worked 20 years on. They said, fuck it, we're putting everyone in this box and everyone has access to everyone. And it's happening to your earlier point across multiple industries. There's a complete fragmentation of talent networks. Anyone can know anyone, anyone is available to anyone as we speak. So that's great. So retained is retained is gone away because it's been given to these platforms that believe they can have access to the same talent as Eric does.


Eric Herrenkohl [00:39:22] So what has happened is that corporations for certainly every Fortune 500 company and I think if it drops below that, maybe like, you know, Fortune 1000. Has an interim recruiting department and some of them are quite sophisticated and fairly well-staffed out. And while this is simplistic, but basically they're all built on LinkedIn recruiter, because to your point, those internal recruiters have as much access to everybody as Spencer Stuart. So what has happened is 50 percent of retained executive searches that used to go to out to third party firms, even, let's say, 50 years ago, have gone away all within sight. So the most, most retained searches that you see still in the C suite, there's definitely still a lot of outside search. It by no means has gone away, but it's definitely become constrained. It's a much tougher business. And then you see the publicly traded firms like Korn Ferry, for example, who did an initial pivot by acquiring the Hay Group so that they really do professional services basically. So they're trying to round out the revenue streams by bringing in those additional billable hours. And now my understanding is this is pretty early, but they are actually cutting a lot of the Hagger personnel and really trying to move to more of a digital subscription strategy. So there's an ongoing you know, there's an ongoing development in retained search that in many ways, at least at a 30000-foot level, maps to a lot of the changes that are happening and a lot of different industries.


Chris Snyder [00:40:58] Let me bounce something off. You know, I'll just make a broad statement about these networks. When you move things into supersonic speed and you move things into what I believe to be a commodity, even human capital, you know, let's say human capital management, you know, recruiting some of these things. I think you lose a shitload of quality, and I don't believe and I've said this across a lot of different industries. There's no possible way that you can replace someone like an Eric, right. Like, there's no possible way that just because you have the same access to the people that Eric has the same access to, that you're gonna get the same results. So what do you think about, OK. Access is one end, result is actually the other end. So what kind of results are these folks getting even though they have the same access? You think it's as good as it used to be?


Eric Herrenkohl [00:41:58] You know, probably not. And I don't know. You know, Chris, me, you've been there and done that. I have a principle, which is I really do not like getting into an argument with the market.


Chris Snyder [00:42:12] That's a good point.


Eric Herrenkohl [00:42:13] So that is what it is. So I used to do a lot of cycling. So my latest passion, which except it's going to be the absolute last thing to reopen in this koban environment is jujitsu. Did you just continue to do it? I love it. But before that, I did a lot of cycling. So anybody who has any kind of cycle knows. And if you go to Wal-Mart and buy your kid a bike, I mean, you're basically buying like a death trap. No, they're terrible. Those bikes are terrible. So. Wal-Mart, as you know, sells out of bikes, kids bikes, and that's where ninety-nine percent of people go to get their kids bikes. Why? Because it costs $59.95 versus going to a bike shop or you're going to spend 300 bucks. I think the market has decided by and large in many situations, not all, but many situations it's good enough. You know, they're going to go out, they're going to go take searches outside for C-level CEO searches. They're going to go outside for diversity at the board level in the C Suite. And they're going to go outside for selected technical competencies and a few other things.


Chris Snyder [00:43:22] It is what it is, I guess, right this. That's right. Well, that's a great point. And honestly, that's a good attitude to have about it. I mean, I think that everything goes in cycles and technology, really all technology's done to speed up the cycle. So if we're as good as we think we are and I think we are, we just need to recognize when these cycles come and probably just try to reposition ourselves within these cycles to get out of it what we need and continue to do what we are passionate about doing. And in your case, it's helping people, it feels like.


Eric Herrenkohl [00:43:55] Yeah. And I'll tell you what's. Is that when you work, as I do with senior executives in navigating a job search. One of the very myths is that, well, I need to find a good recruiter. Can you help me find a good recruiter? I said, well, I know all kinds of good recruiters, but they're not going to talk to you unless a) they have an open job, and B) you're right on spec. Not in this to help people. Recruiters are in business to successfully find A-players for their enterprise clients. And so one of the ironic things is that's become even more so. I tell a story of a good friend who is a partner at a top 10 search firm based here in Philadelphia. But, I cannot. -This is a friend of mine. I cannot reach him by email. I can't send a mini firewall, will not let me call him.  can't reach him. So the point is that even in this incredible technologically accelerated environment, as you've described, the relationships become even more important. I can get to Andrew because I've got a cell phone. And if I've got somebody who we ought to be seeing and knows I'm not going to waste this, then he'll take my call and I'll introduce him to a candidate. Even with all the other technology, you can't get through because the search consultants are so inundated and have so many demands placed upon them, because now their firms are private equity-backed. They're never gonna get to anybody. So that's where firms like ours doing the kind of very specialized. I think this is also relevant to what we're discussing, very specialized executive career coaching. Executive career transition is one of the niches that we do because we're so good at it and we know so many people, then we're able to connect people and help them. As I said, make those introductions and get there not. And I don't care how much they pay for their LinkedIn account.


Chris Snyder [00:46:03] Yeah, no, that's a great point. Let's talk about the difference between, you know, the kind of help that you provide, whether it be seeded or whether it be placement help. What's the difference between helping executives that are seeded? What are some of the problems they face? And how can you help them? How can AchieveNEXT help them? What are some of the other problems that your placement based that you guys can help with?


Eric Herrenkohl [00:46:32] Sure. So on the seated executives, you know, there's we work with CEOs who are under pressure, need to adapt, need to change, need to grow from the leadership and development standpoint in order to take the business forward and not have the board push them out. We work with who are aspiring to the C suite. And we also do a fair amount of work with executives who maybe have some serrated edges that need to be smoothed out. One of the things that in terms of senior executives that I have a real passion for is this and how to work with high potential leaders in those areas who often haven't had the depth development. They didn't start out at GE necessarily. Or they didn't start out a Google or they didn't start out at Facebook. Or they're a CFO and they're moving into a COO role and they know how do they navigate that and how do you do that in one hundred million dollar business rather than a five billion-dollar business? I love working with executives like that. There's a lot In our mid-market. So we have the relationships and all have many of us have backgrounds with much larger clients, but we really are, especially in the middle. As you know, the mid-market companies, they look big, but they still have the heart of a small business. It's a different deal than working with New York Stock Exchange-traded companies. So that's on the seated side. That's that would be kind of my quick hit there.


Chris Snyder [00:48:09] Yeah. No, that's excellent. And that's a real service that. You know, small, medium businesses, I guess, is what your market is referred to specifically, which I believe is between 10 million and a billion. Right.


Eric Herrenkohl [00:48:24] Just a huge span. But yeah, I think that's right.


Chris Snyder [00:48:27] Not not your definition, right. I think it's the medium-sized business dot.com corporation of whatever that defines that. Right. So that is a very valuable service, because even though to your point, you didn't go to some, you know, maybe some top-notch business school or you didn't get traditionally trained in a Jack Welch training program or whatever, you guys are gonna bring that to bear. How do you do that? How many programs do you have in and how much does something like that cost? In general, because it seems like that could get really expensive. But since your target's on the mid you know, the mid-enterprise, maybe you've made it affordable for anyone to participate in career advancement and career development.


Eric Herrenkohl [00:49:12] Yeah, well, we have a range of different programs that we also have a range of different personnel. We've got my colleague Mitch Wienick is a former - was CEO of a New York Stock Exchange company. We've got very deep seasoned coaches. I've run my own business for a number of years and half my recruiting background. So it starts there is to have very deep seasoned coaches. We've got a great coaching process. And then, as I've mentioned, you know, the introductory that's tap even for our senior executives, where the goal is not to have them move out to help establish in the network, particularly a C level network that's really going to help them get to the next level with their organization is really valuable. And then the programs are all tailored. And we typically will do a purpose test. And it's scalable. So an organization can maybe do an initial program. You know, we deliver a lot of value. We work with them. We always do kind of upfront and talin measurement. So do some benchmarking. Figure out what we want to hit, make sure that we measure the results at the end, tweak and continue to go. So it's - we're able to do it in an affordable way, but really bring some very strong expertise to bear. But again, I think one of things I always like to emphasize is it's like the practicality of it. These mid-market businesses and the people who run them have zero tolerance for the academic and the theoretical. It's just that they're not going to spend money on that. And that's not what we do know. What we bring is very well-grounded stuff, but really tangible, measurable things that are going to move the business forward. That's fine. Right. And it is a way of really not only helping businesses but helping people because when you give them those kinds of skills, those are the skills that you really need to thrive in our economy.


Chris Snyder [00:51:09] One of the things I talked to Nick about three weeks ago, Nick Araco, who's the CEO of AchieveNEXT. One of the things that we talked in length about is this ability to measure yourselves and how the initiation of the business was on the CFO network I believe in because you initiated a lot of this on the CFO network. Well, what a CFO is like to do. They like to measure everything. So, you know, I find it refreshing that, you know, you're helping these companies. And even as a small business, you know, medium business myself, you know, it's it's good to know that there's a service out there with folks that only want to cater to this space. To your point, they don't necessarily want to cater to the New York Stock Exchange companies, they are focused on this group of people that need help in this area. And it feels like you're also how big would you consider your CHRO network? I believe that's the other prate you have a lot of CFO is in your network. Thousands. The CHRO alliance, are you e you now have your clients now have access to not only the advisory services that you personally provide, probably tools, benchmarking programs, all that stuff, but they also have the H.R. component with probably thousands of peers that they can reach out to. Does that is that part of the program as well?


Eric Herrenkohl [00:52:45] It is. And one of the really cool things that has happened over the last year is bringing together CFOs and CHROs into an alliance where they gather on benchmarking, on best practices, on just sharing of information. And that has been that is really exciting because tell you it's really interesting when you hang out with CFO, as you pretty quickly realize, they spend at least 70 percent of their time talking about people.


Chris Snyder [00:53:14] Really?


Eric Herrenkohl [00:53:15] Yeah. and it's been it's very, very consistent.


Chris Snyder [00:53:19] Because it's a big part of the budget, right? Is that why?


Eric Herrenkohl [00:53:22] You know what? Sure. But The payroll is typically number one or two expense for most businesses. But it isn't just that. People in the CFO people - these are C suite leaders who got there because they are leaders and the best ones. They're leaders, as well as numbers people. So they understand that their job is to influence and they fluence people and to do and this is kind of just talks about sort of the future of the role of the CFO as this growth of technology enables the measurement of all so many granular capacities within an organization. CFO is really increasingly being looked to by the other pieces of business to say what how do we measure things, but what do we do and how do we actually act on and how do we connect the dots between operating, you know, the operational metrics and the financials. So CFOs are leaders and they spend 70 percent of their time focused on connecting those dots. And conversely, the best CHROs really do our business people, the best business people. And they understand, listen, this is about moving the business forward, but it's about make sense in the people's business. So when you bring those parties together, that's a really compelling conversation.


Chris Snyder [00:54:54] Yeah, no, that makes perfect sense. I mean, if you think about a kind of a. You know, I think you put them into categories, as you know, leaders, managers, and maybe, you know, practitioners or people that execute them. And if you also tie in your thesis on a player's well, of course, it would make perfect sense that it doesn't matter if you're a CFO or you're an H.R. executive or your CMO, chief marketing officer or chief revenue officer. If you're in a leadership position, you most certainly should be focused on people. Which brings me to what you might believe the most important part of any organization is. I mean, maybe you can tell me it's probably people. I mean, you wrote a book on hiring A-players and the impact of what people have on an organization. What is the most important part of any business, in your opinion?


Eric Herrenkohl [00:55:53] Well, I think the most important part of any business is to be solving a problem that the market actually cares about and will pay meaningfully for you to solve. And, you know, we all recognize that and understand that the ability to sell profitable revenue without that, you're not the greatest people in the world. But if you're in the wrong direction, that doesn't help you. Got it. I do believe that in the context of that kind of business, in the context of a strongly, well-branded business that has a competitive mode, has the ability to scale all those fundamental business things that, again, we all recognize anybody who's led a business, knows the people is everything and the people is the hardest piece. It's the hardest is the technology you can plug and play on the technology. You know, the Web site's not right. It may be painful, but you go get another Web site, the people that's hard and that that that dynamic as to be able to move into a leadership role and know how to build a team of A-players that really is going to work well together and has the ability to execute, just, you know, implement and execute and get it done and take that business to the next level with all those other things are in place. I mean, that is what I do. That's what I find exciting. So but I mean, that's how I would articulate it. Kind of a fitting.


Chris Snyder [00:57:18] Yeah, I love that. I mean, if you don't have a good problem, solve it. It really doesn't matter. So that's a great point. Let's talk about the war for talent. We've got. You know, 44 million people unemployed right now are actually the jobs report just came out, so maybe it's 40 to now. Who knows? But a lot. I'm assuming that there's a portion of those that, you know, got caught up in the riff because maybe they didn't have an executive, you know, advisory program that allowed them to shift through and really measure who they're A-players are and maybe some of the folks that still remain or are not A-players. But Where do you see the war for talent going? Given the new environment, because you're probably actively speaking with this network of thousands of H.R., CFO and executives. What are they saying about talent?


Eric Herrenkohl [00:58:14] So here's what we've seen. And depending upon when this segment airs on in the initial stages of the Kobe crisis, you saw lots of furloughs, lower-level employees being furloughed, actually technically furloughed, not laid off. Meaning companies wanted the option of being able to bring them back. What we're gonna see now as we move into the summer or twenty, I think just July one, I would say is a demarcation. And we're going to see significantly more executive-level Clevel reductions in force. I mean, you know, the actual separations. So part of what's going to happen in the executive labor market, I think moving into the rest of 2020 is that there's going to be more talent out there and it is going to be a more talent-rich environment. And companies that have a strong balance sheet and are going to be in a place to be able to upgrade, I think are going to be looking at that. One of the things I think in terms of as an executive, you know, it's beats being able to look at this environment and say what's staying the same? What's not changing? And then what's different? There's something in humans the way we all think and how human beings think that wants to say everything's different now, everything's different because of code. And, well, everything is not different because of it, because businesses are still around to generate a profit. That hasn't changed. The fundamentals of how businesses operate remains the same. I do think that businesses are going to be looking at their markets and are already looking at their markets in different ways. I think revenue right now is king. I think crisis leadership and the ability to take organizations and lead them out of a trough is important. Private equity firms are quietly because they don't even like to talk about it, but they're quietly looking at their portfolio companies and they've already made decisions about, you know, management teams that they don't think are right. We just didn't perform well in the early parts of this crisis, did making changes. So there's going to be a lot of volatility. There's going to be I think it's going to be a more talent-rich environment, but there's still never a ton of big players out there. So if you're really good and for some reason, you get caught up in that, you know, that's a further conversation. But there's no question that there are opportunities out there. You just have to know how to go about it.


Chris Snyder [01:00:34] But, you know, one thing I heard in one of your other interviews, and it struck me and it's an honest statement and I think it's something that should be shared is, you know, I think we do put a lot of focus on here. My employees. Good enough for my employees. Good enough. Are you guys A-players or are you guys A-players? But I remember a comment you made about well, candidly, I don't think there's that many great companies out there. Right. So can you. Can you talk about that a little bit? And I don't even know if you can quantify or put any numbers around you. I'm sure we can say, hey, the top 10 percent of S&P 500 companies look like this. And because they report and they have metrics around how they behave and how they act, and there's good to Great is a great book on studies of the top-performing companies of all time. And we're talking about people on one end. So if you had to guess and you don't have to, maybe I'm not asking the right question. You're the professional. If you had to guess what percentage of our work population is are A-players. And by the way, what percentage of our employer population are A-players? I don't know if you classify them as at.


Eric Herrenkohl [01:01:44] It's a great question. So give me by definition, we've put everything we do if we do it, standard distribution. And you want to take, you know, the top 10 percent, the bottom 10 percent, then you get everybody in between. You have 10 percent of employees and 10 percent of companies that are true A-players. You've got everybody else distributed in between. I mean, Chris, here, here's what's funny. Any head on their salt been doing that kind of rechange search for a while and they may not say it on your podcast, but over drinks, they'll tell you. Oh, yeah. The biggest thing that they do is end up managing clients because every client wants to hire an A-player but are not good enough to be able to take that, to actually be able to handle that person. If you place them. I mean, that's kind of a truth. But it's there's some reality to it. Here's the converse that I think if you flip it around, it is really important. It's about A-player teams. So and I really do believe this, there's a funny note in my on my book, How to Hire a Players. I as I told you, I got that contract with Wiley and Michael Gerber, who's the author of the legendary book The E Myth. Myth, right. I just moved to Wiley. So I have a principle, which is you always got to elephant hunt. I mean, in any setting and any sales setting, any recruiting setting you always have that you always have to figure out who is a big name. What's the worst they can do is ignore me. They're not going to say no, just ignore you. So I reach out to Michael Gerber to ask if he'll give me a blurb on my book. And he does. He agrees. And I'd later figure it out because he had just moved to Wiley as well. And he figured the publisher had said, well, you know, go ask Grover if he'll give you. You know, he wasn't doing it for me. He was doing it for a while. That's great. But what's even funnier is I don't think Michael Gerber agrees with the premise of the book, How to Hire a Player, because the blurb he wrote. Let me grab it here. So here's your shameless plug, here's my book. So it's How to Hire A-Players. And here is what Michael Gerber said about the book: "It takes A-players to conceive, design, and build a world-class business system so C players can produce A-player results." Otherwise known as I don't agree with the premise of this book. But I just moved Wiley and I'm not going to make a mad. So here's your blurb. However, I love it. But you know what? There's a first two. I love the myth. Second of all, and the longer I've done this, there's a lot of wisdom to that. I still believe in the power of A-players. And actually, the way I define A-players is job-specific. I don't know. It just most people say, A, for somebody who's just, you know, a rock star. Best bet. It's not about that. It's about somebody who excels at a particular role and ideally has the bandwidth to move into a next role or two. But it's about teams. And if you can put together good people and two great teams, that is among other things, that is an advantage. And that is today snapshots of the danger of where I am in my life and career. That actually is what I try to start appropriate rockstars in every job. But if you can hire good people and have the right leadership and systems and process the tournament of phenomenal teams, you're going to win more times than not.


Chris Snyder [01:05:14] Yeah, I agree with that 100 percent, because you start it's contagious when you and I've been on some winning teams and I suspect you have to both from an athletic standpoint growing up and through college and then also from a business standpoint. And one of the things that we used to say is winners always win because that's what winners do. And when you start surrounding yourself with winners. It's amazing how everyone else just kind of goes away. Everything else goes away. And it's super contagious and it's like a snowball. It picks up. It carries. It rolls. People come to work with a smile on their face. We're kicking ass. It just. And then you throw one sideways component in there. We'll call it a bad apple. Right. Whether it be in the locker room or whether it be in the boardroom, it does not matter. These people exist. They can ruin the whole goddamn thing fast. So I couldn't agree with you more on teams. I'm a big believer in teams. Yeah. So let's wrap it up with a few of the obstacles that you might be hearing from your network, which is a big network over at AchieveNEXT wit. You know, mid-enterprise companies saying, hey, here are the problems, whether from an executive coaching standpoint or, you know, recruiting standpoint, whichever frame you want to use. What are the top one or two or three things that they're really focused on right now?


Eric Herrenkohl [01:06:45] Most of the businesses with which we work are focused on revenue. Got a snapshot, June 20 20. This is about revenue. Rebound is equal to revenue. And how do we get this business system back and cranking? Some of the employment numbers that came out today were actually encouraging, which is terrific. So, you know, you've got to have revenue. I would say from there there's a host of different issues. One thing as Chris, as you and I talked earlier, some things are really different, something stays the same. One of the things that stays the same is really leadership development and the ability to know how to is as a leader. If you're a CFO or a CHRO. Say you're a CFO in one hundred million dollar, seventy-five million dollar business, chances are H.R. reports to you, I.T. probably reports to you. You know, you're as much COO as CFO. If you can't figure out how to get the right people in those positions that directly report to you and you can't figure out how to get leverage out of your team, then you can't actually be in a player. You can at least you can't operate like one. You do not have any time to focus forward-looking. Being an adviser to the CEO, advisor to the management team, advisor to the board, looking around corners, you don't have any time to do that because you're stuck in the minutia trying to close your books because, you know, because you're five days behind just on closing the books every month.


Chris Snyder [01:08:17] Because you have an unreliable team that you have not been capable of managing effectively or understanding that they're not capable of doing their work. So now your leadership work is toast and that creates a snowball.


Eric Herrenkohl [01:08:29] Exactly. And so to me, it within the immediate revenue context, the cycle and this pandemic. That's a constant. That's something that stays the same. Those competencies, knowing how to build those competencies. I have to get the right people right seats and then doing training and knowing knowledgeable to do the right things. That always pays. You know, that always that works, that works and pays off in any environment.


Chris Snyder [01:08:57] Got it. OK, last question. I always leave with this because we only have people on the show that have kind of been there, done that. Their serial entrepreneurs, founders, or executives. And they've done a lot of stuff. So last question here. I'm wondering if you had to give any advice to anyone listening to the show. And we have a large executive audience and obviously, there's some other senior, you know, mid senior-level folks as well that might be able to learn from this. Yes, but if you had to give us all some advice, what would it be?


Eric Herrenkohl [01:09:33] So I'll tell you, I've been working on myself and specifically, in this crazy period of time in which we've been operating is a question which is: what ground have I taken that I don't want to give up? nd I asked that of myself and asked that of my clients now, because, listen, there are people in there, many, many families, that this has been a tragedy. If they've lost people, people have died way too early. We have the death of George Floyd and all the agony that goes along with that. So that's the most important and the overarching environment within that context. Respectfully, there's nothing like a crisis from a business standpoint to have you cast aside secondary and tertiary things and get focused on what really matters. And I actually think that many people have taken ground and sharpened up and gotten focused on things that really matter. And it's gonna be very tempting because it's just human nature to go back to the old ways of doing business, both individually and organizationally as things start to loosen up. So I would I think my advice would be a question, which is what are you doing now that you weren't doing March one that's good, that's better, that you're going to keep doing as opposed to just drifting back into what you were doing before?


Eric Herrenkohl [01:10:53] Yeah, that's excellent advice. What ground have you taken that you're not willing to give up? And what are some of the things you've learned? Because in crisis comes growth, like would you show up every single day and you're not being challenged or you don't have a big problem to solve or you don't have a flat tire? There's no need to look at your tires. They just don't make any sense. If your car is not knocking, you don't have to take it to the shop. And then you just wake up one day and it's all gone. And then you're forced into what I believe is a good spot. It's pain, creating this creativity and creating this progress. I think someone on the show said, you know, enjoy the pain because pain creates progress. And it feels like, you know, you're you know, I get a lot of similar signals from all the founders and executives that come on the show. So I appreciate that word of advice. Eric Herrenkohl is a managing director at AchieveNEXT in the Career Management Services Practice. His focus is on human capital and executive coaching. Eric, thanks so much for being on the show. We will have to do this again sometime very soon.


Eric Herrenkohl [01:12:03] Have a good day. Awesome. Thank you.

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