Core values take center stage on this heartfelt episode of Gratitude Through Hard Times, featuring a highly successful entrepreneur whose accomplishments reflect his commitment to creating human connection. Rich Balot, CEO at Victra (the largest authorized retailer of Verizon products in the nation), is all about fostering innovation, collaboration and integrity – at home, on the job and in his community. That passion for doing the right thing infuses the ethic you’ll encounter at any of his 1,700 locations across all 50 states and in the dedication his 7,500 employees bring to their work. Host Chris Schembra gives us a window into what drives Rich – from his reverence for family to his belief in offering kids alternatives to traditional four-year college educations; from thoughts on how to build a great and growing company to why celebration is critical to making a meaningful life. “If you get a really well-functioning group of people together, you can get way more out of them and they can accomplish much more than they would individually,” says Rich, whose leadership and vision have secured for Victra a place on Inc. Magazine’s list of top 5,000 fastest growing U.S. companies every year over the past decade. Most of all, you’ll come away with the strong sense that – no matter the current economic, technological or political climate – we’re not meant to be in isolation or make the journey all on our own!
Don’t miss the far-ranging and fascinating topics that Rich and his team tackle in the Victra Blog. You may also be interested in supporting Haven at Blue Creek, an amazing nonprofit run by Rich’s wife, Colleen, that provides residential support for women in recovery.
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- If you could give credit or thanks to one person in your life that you don’t give enough credit or thanks to – that you’ve never thought to thank – who would that be and why? Mom! Marlene is on the quieter side and not in the business, but she’s the heart of Rich’s family-oriented company!
- The Quiet One: How listening is a skill that Rich has cultivated (with assists from his mom and wife) as part of a bigger philanthropic mission to give back on a daily basis.
- The Hitchhiker Rule: Why it’s important to recognize those who are trying to help themselves. It’s about giving a “hand up” not a “hand-out.”
- Critical Skill: How a desire to reach, give effort, try to do better shows up in outcomes.
- Big-Picture Education: About Rich’s belief that traditional four-year colleges aren’t for everyone and that trade schools are a great, financially viable alternative.
- An Entrepreneur is an Entrepreneur: Anyone who founds their own business – no matter its size – represents independence, innovation and opportunity.
- The Pursuit of Happiness: How challenging, meaningful work intertwines with and serves our sense of purpose, quality of life, mental, physical and emotional well-being.
- Renewable Resources: Why it’s important to cultivate practices and hobbies that nourish us and recharge our batteries so we can be of service to others.
- Brand Identity: How a sense of belonging is woven into the culture at Victra, where customers are considered “guests” and given the attention and help they deserve.
- Rich Cultivates Human Connection in the Workplace By:
- Recognizing that humans need social interaction.
- Looking for ways to replicate things that work.
- Sharing notes about what works – and doesn’t!
- Promoting collaboration as the secret sauce!
- What Drives Victra's Success: A good model, a good team. It’s not just a J-O-B.
- What Excites Rich Most? Learning! And inspiring curiosity and drive among younger generations as well. (Also: catching fish – including a recent 500-pound blue marlin!)
- In Closing: We aren’t meant to be alone or isolated on our journeys – and we don’t have to be when we persevere, keep faith, seek connection and hold space for one another!
- “One of the goals of our giving has been to not tell people what we’re doing … because we’re not doing it to get credit.” (Rich)
- “When you can give, you do. When you can do, you do. And you’re not doing it because you need credit for it. You’re doing it because it’s the right thing and needs to be done.” (Rich)
- “There are some people out there who say they want help but don’t do anything about it.” (Rich)
- “I can’t make someone hungry – and I’m not talking about food but about wanting that next thing.” (Rich)
- “Not everyone needs to go to college. Not everyone needs a college degree … Kids need to be exposed to more than technology and books. Technology is very important but they need to be exposed to other opportunities.” (Rich)
- “Not everyone was designed for college and, by the way, in our work force we need tradespeople to keep the world moving forward day by day.” (Rich)
- “An entrepreneur is an entrepreneur. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running a huge company or a small company.” (Rich)
- “I’m in business to make money for both myself and my employees but we’re not going to just cram things down people’s throats.” (Rich)
- “If you get a really well-functioning group of people together, you can get way more out of them and they can accomplish much more than they would individually.” (Rich)
- “Your people are your secret sauce for human connection and that leads to outsized business results.” (Chris)
- “Do the hard stuff you need to do to get ahead in life, but celebrate it all thoroughly – with your family, amongst community. Do things that are good for the heart at the same time that you’re doing things that are good for others.” (Chris)
- “We are suffering under the agitation of uncertain times. But the good news is that we can get through these tough times if we go through it together. Don’t go through it alone!” (Chris)
ABOUT OUR GUEST:
Rich Balot is a serial entrepreneur with a demonstrated history of building successful teams and businesses. Skilled in Business Planning, he also provides coaching expertise in sales and retail strategy as well as how to build a winning culture.
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ABOUT OUR HOST:
Chris Schembra is a philosopher, question asker and facilitator. He's a columnist at Rolling Stone magazine, USA Today calls him their "Gratitude Guru" and he's spent the last six years traveling around the world helping people connect in meaningful ways. As the offshoot of his #1 Wall Street Journal bestselling book, "Gratitude Through Hard Times: Finding Positive Benefits Through Our Darkest Hours,"he uses this podcast to blend ancient stoic philosophy and modern-day science to teach how the principles of gratitude can be used to help people get through their hard times.
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