Jim Roddy is an inspirational story in and of himself. Like a great coach life and business lessons go far beyond our chosen sports. In his latest book “The Walk on Method” Jim shares Life and Business Lessons Learned by 31 College Athletes who made their teams the hard way; by walking on.
Since 1999, Jim Roddy has educated business leaders through national magazine articles, online columns, webinars, podcasts, video interviews, and presentations at national conferences.
Jim is author of the books Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer and The Walk-On Method To Career & Business Success. He has been a guest on the Read To Lead podcast and has been published by Entrepreneur and Nasdaq. Jim has interviewed best-selling business authors Chip Heath (Made To Stick, Switch, Decisive, The Power of Moments) and Michael Gerber (The E-Myth, Awakening The Entrepreneur Within), hosting with Mr. Gerber a series of webinars and podcasts that attracted 1,000+ executives.
Learn more @ http://www.jimroddycba.com/
Show Transcript from Life and Business Lessons
Tim Kubiak 0:01
Thanks for listening to Botez in business. I’m your host Tim Kubiak. He’s always you can find us on our socials at both ties in business on Facebook and Instagram and bow ties and be IZ on Twitter. You can find me at Tim Kubiak on LinkedIn, Twitter and Kubiak today. We’re talking with Jim Ross. He’s a coaching business advisor since 1999. Jim has educated business leaders through the national magazine articles, online columns, webinars, podcasts, video interviews and presentations at national conferences. He’s the author of a new book, The walk on method to career in business success. His story goes that he walked on to college basketball team, and the lessons he learned there has served him well through his business career. We’re going to talk about some of the key takeaways from the book have some amazing and inspirational stories. And for me and him since we went to the same university at the same time, we’re going to compare a couple of notes about athletic programs and our time there. So with that, please, if you haven’t already done so subscribe to the show. We’d love to have you leave us a review on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen. And as always, you can reach out to us on our socials or email me. As we mentioned in the intro, we’re going to talk about power and the benefits people get from being walkon college athletes. And with that, I’d like to welcome Jim Roddy this show. Good. Can you tell the audience a little bit about yourself? Sure,
Jim Roddy 1:37
I happy to do that. So Jim Roddy. My full time gig is I work now for retail Technology Association where we work with a solution providers who serve restaurants, grocery stores, retail establishments. And so I work for them as Vice President of Sales and Marketing, and then also as a business advisor for those members. And so that ties in with what I’ve been doing before that. So I’ve been a business coach for about five years now. And then prior to that, I worked in the technology space, publishing websites, conferences, shows for the technology sector company in Erie, Pennsylvania, called Jamison publishing. And so I was there for 18 years, started as managing editor moved up to operations manager. last 11 years, I was company president. And so that’s kind of my quick path to get to where I am today. And then I also always looking to help other folks and pass along any knowledge that I’ve acquired or lessons that I’ve learned. And so I’ve published two books. The first one was a hiring best practices book called hire like you just beat cancer. So I am an 18 year cancer survivor so typically kept all the doctors and nurses that helped me be able to make that statement. And then I recently published a book called The walk on method to career and business success. And that ties in with I am a former walk on student athlete at our Mama, where you and I both went to school for a while, again in university in Erie, Pennsylvania. So I was the shortest member of the men’s basketball team there for four years, a small college powerhouses, as you well know.
Tim Kubiak 3:20
So as close as I got to the basketball court, other than watching the games from the top rose, was I got to be Gumby in one of the games.
Jim Roddy 3:28
See, he really
Tim Kubiak 3:29
I did. I did? Yeah, sophomore year. So I got the slide down the stairs is gonna be
Jim Roddy 3:35
now that is an accomplishment. So people have to understand sliding down the stairs doesn’t mean you went down four or five steps. No, these were cement stairs all the way at the second level. And Gumby would run up to the top get the crowd all riled up and then dive down headfirst and actually slide as far as he could. Wow, I’m I’m impressed. I’m in on now talking with a former Gumby
Tim Kubiak 3:56
only got to do it once. He never asked me back.
Jim Roddy 4:00
What at once is more than a lot of people did. There are a lot of folks who were looking to put on that Gumby uniform and and do that. All right. Very cool.
Tim Kubiak 4:06
Yeah. So yeah, I figured it I figured I’d surprise you with that one. And most people go Why did you have a Gumby? And the answer is we didn’t have a real mascot, even though we had one on the logo,
Jim Roddy 4:15
but just just the one Gumby star I do remember seeing him preparing this wasn’t you but preparing for the game. And he had to tall coat 40 fives that he was chugging before the game like that gives you the courage to be able to to go face first down the steps or you don’t have to confess if that’s what you did or not, but it was certainly not. Okay. It was a fun position in college. No
Tim Kubiak 4:34
doubt. It was. So you were in the publishing business for a while and we were talking beforehand, you would work at the school newspaper. Was that a logical progression for you then?
Jim Roddy 4:45
I in a way? Yes. So, you know, the, I’d say some of the best education that he got again and didn’t actually occur in the classroom. That’s not a slap at the University by any means. But it was what I learned as a walk on basketball player and then And also what I learned working for the student newspaper for three years, I did that my freshman through my junior year. And then actually my senior year, I work I was a full time student, I played basketball. And I was also the Public Relations Director for the Erie wave, a minor league pro basketball team that had a summer season. So I was able to, to work around, things like that. And so I’ve always been in the communication space, typically the publishing space, but it kind of branched out over the years is we all have in terms of getting into digital media, in person events, podcasts, webinars, things of that nature. So always been in the communications realm since as far as as I can remember.
Tim Kubiak 5:42
So let’s talk about the walk on piece. Right? That’s, can you for folks that haven’t read your book, haven’t seen an excerpt yet? Can you explain the premise of the book and really what you took away from the experience?
Jim Roddy 5:55
Sure. So first, to sort of find what a walk on is, in case anybody listening doesn’t understand what that is. This is somebody who is a non scholarship, not they don’t have an athletic scholarship. And they want to play on a team where everybody else has either a partial or full, full, athletic scholarship. So what they have to do in order to scramble to make the team scramble to stay on that team, they typically get no playing time, they might get no uniform, they might get a uniform that doesn’t fit whatsoever, they don’t get respect, they don’t get the attention. They’re really focused to on Team goals. They’re kind of forced to serve other people, even at a very young age. That’s kind of what a walk on, is, is all about. And so where the book comes from is, I had that experience myself that I saw, the attitude, the experience that I had, as a walk on, I applied it to my career actually applied it to beating cancer, as well. And it really worked for me. And so I thought to myself, boy, that could be an interesting book, because I figured out the blueprint to professional success. But then I thought, who really is going to want to listen to my stories, like they’re going to say, Oh, yeah, great. I want to hear about Jim Roddy, that game against Queens College, like, people are not going to want those details. And so I thought, I really have to broaden this out and see, can I expand this philosophy? Can I find out if this actually worked for other walk ons? And so I thought, what if I interview 10? Or 15? Or 20? Or 30? Walk ons? Will the walk on method apply to them as well? And so I can tell you, Tim, after more than five years of internet searches, and hundreds of emails and phone calls and interviews and all sorts of walk ons, the answer to my premise to my hypothesis was an under 100%. Yes. Overwhelming screaming at the top of the lungs. Yes, that the walk on experience, the the path of doing something difficult going outside of your comfort zone, having the perseverance to do that. And everything that goes along with it. That really pays off for you in the long run. It doesn’t matter what sport, you know, you played and quite frankly, from a business perspective, it doesn’t matter what obstacle you’re overcoming What dream that you’re pursuing, or what market that you’re in, because we talk with business owners, engineers, coaches, lawyers, doctors, salespeople, but the mindset, the skills and the behaviors developed. That’s really what matters. And so the whole Gist, the book is ordinary people, even underdogs, and maybe especially underdogs, ordinary people will accomplish extraordinary feats when their energies properly channeled. And so the way that these walk ons behave now is second nature, because they were forced to behave that way to survive as a walk on. So that might be a way longer answer than what you’re looking for, like, why did you write the book, but it really goes that deep in terms of why I started going into going down that path, and really what the gist of the book is what can mean for for anybody who’s gonna read it, or is listening to us today.
Tim Kubiak 9:00
So it’s interesting because I draw a lot of my own success from the fact that I was a hockey player, right? And I learned from an early age that you have to do the things before the normal things, right? So you’re on the ice five to 6:30am. before school, you go to school, and then you skated again that night, you still do your homework, keep your grades up and all that stuff, right. So often, we hear the negatives of sports and use sports. There’s a lot of positives here and I love that you’re tying in on that. And you talked about you know, being the odd man in and trying to work yourself into a situation right. Um, one of the things that I think most people don’t recognize and I had a young man on it was a d3 College quarterback a little while back, talks about it is a full time job on top of a full time job on top of a full time job, and is a walk on, that’s probably even harder. Is that a fair assessment? Because, right, your point, you might not get a uniform that fits, you’re probably not getting prime training time either. You’re correct.
Jim Roddy 10:09
So the way one person explained it is, you know, from a football standpoint, not only do you not get the scholarship, you’re not even getting training table, right? Like they’re all getting their specialized meals and things like that. And you’ve got to go, you know, fetch the food on your own is essentially what it is. So, being an athlete will teach you a lot. But the walk on aspect adds a special layer to it. Because if you’re an athlete, and you’re getting the playing time, you’re getting the scholarship. In my situation, the coach knows your name because he didn’t know mine. To start off with. We also have a story in the book where Brandon Landry walked on at LSU. For three years, his coaches called him walk on like he didn’t bother to, you know, learn his name, there’s only four syllables Brandon Landry, like it’s not that hard to memorize. Just you know, Brandon Landry is now the founder of walk ons, Bistro, very successful restaurant chain, down in the southeast. So you’re going through all those putting in the time and the effort that the that an athlete does. But you’re also going through those extra obstacles of you don’t get the playing time for it, you’re scrambling to stay on the team, you know, at any point, you can get one phone call, and the coach can say you’re done, we want to go in a different direction. So it’s a combination of the time and energy but also, I guess, the emotional duress, that goes into it. That’s why one of the steps that we have in the walk on method, well, I guess I’ll talk about two of them, because it ties in with what you’re talking about. You have to prepare, practice and play with passion, not just play with passion, you got to do all those things, just to give yourself a chance to stay on the roster, then we also have a step that’s called no fuss or muss. So the no fuss means maintain emotional control, don’t lose your mind over it. Because I could tick off for you a whole bunch of different stories as to when I was getting ignored, or getting the short end of the stick or not even getting a stick whatsoever when they were handing out sticks, right? And so that’s the whole thing, you have to be able to not let those things beat you down, you have to figure out a way to say how can I turn those around? And then the all muscles maximize your unique strengths. So if I’m not able to do these things get a lot of playing time or be the biggest, strongest, fastest? What things can I do? How can I be resourceful? And so that’s what we saw through a lot of the stories in the book is a lot of signals from coaches, from friends, from parents, from teachers, from guidance counselor saying, Now, you shouldn’t do this no, no, no. All sorts of cues to say, go home, take the easy path. A lot of these walk ons took that to say, I’m going to turn that into a motivation for myself. And I’m going to there’s a book called the obstacle is the way they very much embrace that of this obstacle is going to make me stronger and better. I’m going to embrace instead of run away from it sit down or let it roll over me.
Tim Kubiak 12:54
So obstacles, we hit them, right? You hit them as an athlete all the time. How does overcoming them as a walk on prepare you frankly, for the rest of your life? You talked about doctors, business people, etc?
Jim Roddy 13:09
No. So that’s a that’s a great question. So I’ll go on with the Brandon Landry story a little bit, because I think that really applies in terms of the obstacles that he had to overcome and how he applied it to his his business. So he was a decent player, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, that’s his hometown, he had a whole bunch of other small college opportunities decided to take the harder path and walk on at LSU had to work up the nerve to walk in and knock on the door and say, I’d like to play for your team. And when the coach is looking down at you, as opposed to looking up at you, that’s kind of a sign that the coach isn’t going to be, you know, immediately impressed with it. So they say, hey, you can attend tryouts. He gets cut his response, there is not I guess basketball isn’t for me. He said, I’ve got to work harder. I’ve got a play in the Rec Center more, I’ve got to get stronger. I need to do whatever in order to make this team. So he starts doing that. A month later, he gets a call back just to be a practice player because they had some some injuries. And also just the visual, he was helping his dad out at a sugarcane farm. And that’s when he got the call. And he’d like jump jumping up and down next to the tracker. Yeah, I’m actually on the team. And he talks about he was excited but scared to death. He’s 511. He’s going against like six foot eight, all Americans. And then he ends up he could plays as a practice player. He’s allowed to walk on and get a uniform. The next year again, the coach still didn’t know his name. He didn’t get a name on his back of his uniform for a while. Other players are just killing him in practice, and instead of saying, Man, this is way too hard. He said, I’ve got to get stronger. I’ve got to get better. What do we need to do? he end up going on an international trip with the team ended up playing some with that and really had an enjoyable career there. Now how does it apply from a business standpoint? When he and another walk on the team, jack Warner decided to start walk ons veestro. And just you know, their tagline is because everyone needs a little playing time which you know has that nice double meeting. They’re from a walk on standpoint. And, and from being a barn restaurant. They were turned down by their first six banks. Right? And so just like he had that, Hey, I got turned down early on from an LSU standpoint, I could have quit, they could have said, I guess the idea doesn’t work. They kept going back. And I asked them, What if that seventh bank wouldn’t have said yes, what would you have done is like, we’d have gone to the eighth back. Like they kept going back and saying, what do we do better? What can we do better? What can we do better? So that’s a to me an example of how that those obstacles can play a role. If you fight it, and you overcome it. The next time you’re in that situation, again, you can have a point of reference to say, you know, I did that before. And even though it’s not 100% transferable, you can over you can overcome. And I can say my personal thing is, as you know, from a Ghanian standpoint, I mean, people can’t tell right now, but, you know, I’m 511, I was about 145 pounds when I went to walk on at Ganon, no real discernible skills outside of I really tried my best, and I guess I had some some speed as well. Ghana had a bunch of guys who are way older than me, like they recruited 22 year old freshmen, 25 year old freshmen, out of the army, 6768, taller, athletic, I had no business to say, Yeah, I can I can play with those guys. But because I did, I did that over the long haul for four years. So it wasn’t just some lightning strike. That’s how I’ve kind of approached so many things. For my career standpoint, I draw on that and say, that was something that people said there is no way you could do that I even went to a really, really tiny wasn’t even a high school is actually a K through 12. School. So I’ve always thought to myself, and we’re going on, what, 30 years now, plus 30 years, I guess, you know, if I can do that, I can do this other thing. And again, there’s 30 other folks in that book, who really have that same attitude, that same approach. So that’s how obstacles I think, really play a role.
Tim Kubiak 16:47
You talk about the attitude, right? How, how did you manage self talk, as a lock on? Right, that that voice in your head? What what you’re thinking to yourself, and that messaging, whether it’s as an athlete or a business person, or any profession? And what you’re saying to the world is often two different things.
Jim Roddy 17:10
Yes, that’s a? That’s a good question. So there’s a whole thing of like, how do you run the fastest just have a tiger behind you, right. And that’s going to help you, you know, really do that. So the first step was, and this is the first step of the walk on method is to take a big shot, to have a real dream that you want to go after, and something that you’re willing to really sacrifice, and work for. And so because I had such a dream to do that, and because I had worked my tail off for it, I was not going to give up very easily. And again, that’s not just my story. This is a lot of other stories that are in the book. So I think once you commit to doing that, and you put in work on your own in order to do it, then you are more invested in achieving that dream, as opposed to Well, that’s something I might like to do, but you never actually put in the practice or research it or train for it or things like that. You’ll be really committed to doing that a quick story again from the book, because I’m always happy to share other people’s stories. And not just mine is. So Alan Williams. He wanted to walk on at Wake Forest and actually did his first year. Dave Odom was the head coach who was there and so he was overwhelmed physically, his freshman year, they vote him tells him at the end of the year, you’re not going to have a spot on the team. Next year, we thought you could hack it, we decided you couldn’t. So instead of transferring or hanging up his sneakers, he just kept showing up in the weight room, and at the track for cardio work and for the gym. And once they vote and found out about it, he said, Stop it. You are not on the team. And so what he would do is he would show up and find out from the guys, what did they work on? Then he would go work on his own in the weight room, do the cardio, do all that work on his own? Well, then they vote and goes and takes a job at South Carolina skip Prosser is the new coach and Alan Williams is thinking, great. I’ve got a grand new lease on life. And so he shows up for the first time that they’re having drills and the coaches. He’s all ready to go and the coaches say you’ll be a passer. You’ll just be a rebounder here. He’s like, Oh my gosh, they are not considering me a real player. And then they tell them yeah, like we’re gonna have a walk on. But we need somebody who’s six foot seven year only six to not going to happen for He’s like, no, I really want to do this. And they said, No, you are not going to be a member of our team. In fact, they didn’t even tell him about tryouts that were happening. He found it on a bulletin board is when they’re having tryouts. And he’s like, dang it. I am showing up for those tryouts. And he played his tail off. And he played well. And the coaches realized, we can’t keep this kid away. And so he ended up having a, you know, from a walk on standpoint, a thrilling career because he got to, you know, sit on the bench at Wake Forest and see all these great ACC games and make a lot of friendships and really learn a lot of things that he carries over today. He’s a co president of food services organization. He’s an author and he’s a speaker, and he really talks about the concept of teammates matter and how important that That is in finding that everybody plays a role and finding that out. And so when I talked to him about, and there’s also like, why does he, why is he a president? Why is he a speaker? Why is he a coach? Why does he do all these things, and his quote to me was, I have a high commitment level that never goes away. So once you really train that, and start doing that, and embed it in yourself and build that up as a habit, it’s hard to have that go away, like you actually have to quash that, to do it. But it all starts somewhere with that big dream. And that commitment that you’re not going to give up until, you know, to his point, until they throw you out of the gym that pick you up by the closer yet and keep scrolling, scrambling back in until they stopped throwing you out. Like you’re just gonna keep knocking that door down.
Tim Kubiak 20:40
Yeah, they stopped throwing you out when they stopped picking you up, and you’re still standing there. Right?
Jim Roddy 20:44
Exactly right. Sooner or later, they’re gonna be like, Okay, I guess you can you can be on the team.
Tim Kubiak 20:48
But that’s a great metaphor for business and for life, right? Not everything’s easy. And it’s one of the things that I worked with a lot of salespeople in my day to day job. And one of the things you see is the ones that are the best in the long run aren’t the ones that came the easiest to necessarily, in the early days, they’re not necessarily the ones that went to the fanciest schools, or had the best grades. It’s the ones that know, to keep showing up, get the reps so to speak, do the drills run the place? Right? And they’re just stubborn enough, right? Or in my case, not bright enough to go away?
Unknown Speaker 21:25
Tim Kubiak 21:27
Right? And those are the ones that do really great Actually,
Jim Roddy 21:30
yeah, it doesn’t matter why you’re persistent, if it’s just being, you know, really persistent or just not smart enough to do it. But as long as you keep going, a salesperson who started their career dirt right after the Great Recession, or during the Great Recession, is going to have way better skills than somebody who just showed up and sold the, you know, junk mortgages, mortgages, or whatever those were called, before the recession, right. Like, there’s no skilled of that, like you’re making a deal with everybody. So yeah, the more difficult Hill you have to climb, I think the stronger that it makes you.
Tim Kubiak 21:59
Yeah, you know, that’s, that’s a really interesting thing, because with a pandemic, kidding. I’m watched, I’ve watched a lot of people that we’re also relationship based sellers for a long time struggle with their pivot into, you know, selling on something more than over steak dinner, right? I’ve really bringing substance to the table. And one of the debates I have a lot with clients is is that ever really going to come back? Yes. The pandemic will get under control. Yes, there will be business dinners again. But at the end of the day, I spent 20 years, you know, 200 flights a year 200 plus nights on the road. I’ve been more productive this year, sitting here and having taken four plane rides before it all got bad.
Jim Roddy 22:45
Yes. Yeah, I can say, you know, the sector that I’m working in Now, again, as a business coach to, you know, small to medium sized businesses and their their business leaders. They’re trying to be a trusted advisor to their clients to their customers. And, you know, I channel my inner Jeff Foxworthy. And I say, you might not be a trusted adviser, if your customer did not pick up the phone and call you when the pandemic hit to say, what should I do? Like, give me the guidance on that. And that’s where we’re really, really solid to your point of, there’s relationship based. And then I’m a big fan of the challenger sale, where you’re actually teaching your customers things about their business, that they didn’t know things about the industry that they didn’t know. And that all goes back to that, you know, practice, prepare, and then play with passion. If you don’t put all that work in, if all you’re doing is buying steak dinner, shaking hands telling jokes, like, no one’s picking up the phone in the middle of the pandemic to say, can you please tell me a joke, right? Like, that is not what they need at that point. And so I got to see a lot of the folks who put in the work early to really provide that value for their customers. True legitimate value, not just making them feel good. They were the ones who got the calls. They’re the ones who are going to be have customers for life and many customers for life. I saw that in spades. Throughout, you know, I work in North America, throughout the United States and Canada, really saw that saw that happen.
Tim Kubiak 24:08
You know, it’s funny, I had, I had a great one call on a guy trying to get in. He’s like, we’ve had this account for 20 years. We know everybody who’s in the account. We know the buyers that they’re our best friends that did that. You know what happened two weeks later? They got really, yep. Right? Everybody, they had a relationship, they didn’t go higher, they didn’t go wider. Right? All the things that you hear, regardless of whose sales methodology right, and I love challenger, and I actually see a lot of value in medic and other things. I do make fun of some of the stuff on occasion. But right in any system, it’s only as good as the play you run. But they lost all their contacts. Right? We had another one guys like, you know what, we don’t need help with this. Our sellers are great, and then they lost a deal it would have kept their lights on. And it’s in that same space that you and I share some common history and right now You know, my partner and I, we find ourselves in forensic sales management, instead of doing an anatomy of a win, which is one of the things we do with people, here’s why you’re really winning. Here’s what you think you’re winning. But here’s why you’re really winning. We ended up on basically an anatomy of a loss of why you got outsold.
Jim Roddy 25:17
Yes, right. Exactly. Right. You could learn from those failures, no doubt.
Tim Kubiak 25:21
Yep. So it was interesting, because it was the people that hadn’t used it hadn’t built it, you know, that work? relation. And relationships are important. Don’t get me wrong, but we’re relationship based.
Jim Roddy 25:35
Yes. And now, here’s the thing is, and it’s, again, we talk in the book about maximizing your unique strengths from these walk ons, they weren’t now some of them did go on, like, you know, we have a couple who went on to play in the NFL, right? So they were a totally ignored, but they really just worked up from athletic standpoint. But for the most part, a lot of them didn’t. You think to yourself, Why in the world, would they keep this man or woman around for four years when they’re not going to get any playing time whatsoever, but it was a combination of a lot of them are raising the team grade point average. And so if you’re the coach, and you only have, you know, 14 guys on the team, and you’re thinking, should I keep this walk on number 14, and you do the team GPA, and you add that in, you’re like, oh, that boosts me by point one, five, might as well, right stick with it. Or they were the kind of person who they knew every day, the coach knew this person was going to give maximum effort. And so if they’re running sprints and everybody else’s dog in it, it’s going to be really clear if the other players are dog in it. So that could really help the coach in that standpoint, also, really to pick players up, we saw a lot of that there’s an underlying current in the book about encouragement, and the importance of that. And by having somebody even if they’re on the end of the bench, you know, provide that encouragement, the pat on the back, that makes a big difference. And we saw a lot of these walk ons, it was their first role, they didn’t realize that at the time of servant leadership, right? servant leadership is a real buzzword, and everybody talks about it. But you want to be a real servant leader, put yourself literally on the end of the bench, put yourself high fiving somebody else for something that they did, you’d be the one jumping up off the bench when they do something good after a game that you don’t play at all, but your team one, that you’re the happiest person in the room, that is true servant leadership, that is providing legitimate value to a team that doesn’t show up in a box score. Right? It’s not point, it’s not rebounds, it’s not field goals. It’s not, you know, whatever, in golf strokes, I guess is what it would be or lack of strokes, things like that. Those are the roles that folks can play. And that’s where in the business world, you have to find out, what is my unique strength? And how can I maximize that you don’t have to be like the other person are all things to all people. My business, me as a person, us as organization, we have to provide a unique strength. And you really have to maximize that.
Tim Kubiak 27:51
You know, you just gave me a thought that I’ve never really had before. And that is those people and a lot of ways have understood who their customer is whether it’s the coach, the trainers, the starters, right? In figured out how to meet those customer needs.
Jim Roddy 28:07
So it’s fun. It’s funny to say that, so again, you and I both went to Ghana at the same time. So my freshman year when I was like walking on in the coaches did not know me outside of I picked up the phone and said, Can I try out. And so Ghana didn’t actually have tryouts, they just said, show up when the guys are playing at the Rec Center, and try to get on the court with them. And then October 15, practice begins, you’ll just be in the mix. In practice, so is myself and it was somebody else, I won’t name them, to protect them. And also because you might know that it could be could be offensive. But the way that he approached it was charming the other players and trying to be buddy buddy to them. And I remember thinking to myself, like consciously I because I didn’t talk to anybody, I was kind of scared. And I didn’t know anybody. And I thought I am not trying to win over them. They are not making the decision. The coaches are the ones who are making the decision. So if I show up early, if I try harder than anybody else, if I do well in the classroom, right, all those different things, and I don’t cause any trouble because that’s really what coaches are looking for. If I’m ready to pick up garbage off the ground, like whatever it is, those are the things that the coaches need. And I very much knew, even though I was age 18, you know, getting back to target audience and all that I didn’t call it target audience at the time. But the players were not my target audience I was they were not going to ask for a show of hands as to who wanted to be on the team. He was going to be up to the coaches. And so I What do coaches want, and so I did to the best of my ability, everything that a coach would want to do, I guess outside of play well, just because I wasn’t that good, but I guess I was serviceable enough that but I knew the place right? I memorized the plays the drills, I would be in the right spot, as opposed to that other guy who kind of got lost out there. But he wanted to be popular the players. I made the team. He didn’t so very early lesson on for me in terms of knowing who your customer is and who you’re actually trying to sell to.
Unknown Speaker 29:59
So you Let’s
Tim Kubiak 30:00
go to your business life a little bit. You’re in a space your day job right now that’s probably undergoing a huge amount of disruption. Is that okay to talk about a bit? Oh, absolutely.
Jim Roddy 30:11
Yeah, it’s no secret.
Tim Kubiak 30:13
It’s no secret. Right? So can you share some of the lessons that you’ve seen your customers in that industry? Your those industries learn in their pivots?
Jim Roddy 30:23
Yeah, so that’s a good one, I’d say the biggest one that I’ve seen is, you know, if you’re trying to keep your customers and keep your business stable, and you’re starting to do that, when crisis hits, or shortly before a crisis, it, it’s, it’s too late. It’s got to be years in the making. And you have to be thinking about not just what’s going to work in the good times, but in the bad times, am I going to be able to survive that? Am I building a recession proof business, I think a lot of people don’t do that, or they don’t think about it that way. Just they think about the good times. And they’re taking out a whole bunch of loans, thinking about the good times, they’re going to continue. I do remember, so the Jamison publishing our work for, we were very proud to be what we called cost side down, we’re very conscious of our costs. And I do remember somebody saying, now’s a good time to start really examining your expenses closely, I remember thinking, when isn’t that a good time, like that is always a good time, that should be like a 24, seven thing that you do, you should never be blowing money and things like that. And so specifically with the industry that I’m in, and I think this could apply to other industries, the folks who would set up recurring revenue contracts with their customers, that there wasn’t a decision that had to be made every month, should I keep them should I not keep them, but they were getting this recurring revenue, and they had people on either this, you know, some sort of an annual or just a contract is just going to keep rolling and rolling over. And they were a vital part of their business, you know, handling the e commerce handling the point of sale system, handling the payment processing, that’s the world that I’m in, no one could say like, I want to cut that expense, they couldn’t cut that expense, because they were vital to it. And also was very subtle, because it was being paid every single month. So that was one thing that folks were able to do that they did well or as well as possible during this pandemic. The other thing is if you’re diversified as well, not that you’re spread out and trying to serve 20 different masters. But I had one, you know, solution provider I talked to predominantly in the restaurant industry, which just got absolutely hammered, you know, when COVID hit, but he also had a chunk of his business, you’ll appreciate this in Pennsylvania, in beer distributors, right, and the liquor stores. And so even though that was only 15% of his business, during the pandemic that went up so much, he was actually able to stave a lot of things off, he was also cash smart enough where he was stashing cash as he went on, instead of taking out all sorts of loans, that he could take a hit from a cash standpoint. And he could say to some of his customers who did get blasted in the restaurant space, hey, I won’t make you pay for the next 90 days. And in fact, that’s a lot of them went to market with offering online ordering, here’s this brand new service that I’m going to be paying for, but you’re not going to have to pay for it for the first 90 days, I’m going to help you and throw you this light, you know, this, you know, life raft, essentially is what it is. But what happens after 90 days, they need the online ordering. They’re getting it from you. And then you start getting the residual income from that. So that might be a way longer answer than what you’re looking for. But businesses and simple and it’s some of those different elements in there that we really saw the folks who thought in advance how can they Vitor my business? How can I do it on a subscription business model? And then how can I make my business recession proof. And the fourth thing is to make sure you stash away cash and not just blow it on who knows what a boat or reinvesting and things that don’t work out. Those were kind of the elements that went into the folks who really not just survive, but some of them actually even thrived during the pandemic, because they were providing online ordering to people who desperately needed it. And customers really, really wanted it.
Tim Kubiak 34:01
Yeah, and it’s been interesting, because I’ve got a history of supply chain. And really, if you look at it, right, and some of the things i that i conversations I’ve had that have been most fascinating is the shift in packaging in the food industry. Right, the shift in the ordering, and the analogy that a friend of mine who’s way better at supply chain and logistics and I’ll ever be is like, you don’t go out and order the steak anymore. But you’re still ordering the wings and the three other fried things, and you need containers to deliver them fresh in all of those conversations around that. That you know the the good ones figured out quick in, like your example, the race to get ecommerce. Right? You couldn’t hire a programmer for six months. That’s right. Everybody was dead, and all of a sudden they needed it overnight. That’s right. That’s what your clients got out in front of that.
Jim Roddy 34:50
Yep. And I’ll give you one other little nuance that he talked about the importance of the packaging and all that. There’s a member that I talked to who provides labeling, and so they’re big things was getting people to labeling to make sure that it wasn’t tampered with. Right, there’s one thing in general, if you’re ordering an Uber Eats or doordash, or something like that, and you’ve got a bag with fries in it, you really don’t want the driver to be picking out a couple fries. You don’t want that in general. But during a pandemic, if you don’t get that thing that’s been sealed by the restaurant, and you’re probably going like, I am not touching this thing. And so it was those little nuances were folks were able to say, here’s something that we can provide, that’s going to help you and it was actually providing real value. Again, back to your point earlier about, you can have a bad relationship with somebody, but they’re offering something that’s really going to save your business, you’ll do it. And so those are the things that are most important is providing legitimate value to your customers. And that you know, counts as you talked earlier, Tim about you really have to know your customers in order to do that this isn’t something that can come up between your ears, or staring at the ceiling tiles and saying Eureka, it’s really staying close to your customers in order to do
Tim Kubiak 35:54
that. Have you seen substantial shifts in holiday trends that you can comment on?
Jim Roddy 36:02
Not to this point, now we are seeing obviously more curbside, because there was like none of it before, right? Everybody was just happy to go in the store. Go there. So curbside is certainly through the roof. We’re also seeing from a restaurant standpoint, just because they’re forced from a takeout standpoint, again, this isn’t so much holiday related, but really a pay at the curbside table. It used to be pay at the table, but it’s now pay at the curb, or you know, things of that nature. But the biggest thing that we’re seeing from a holiday standpoint, is really that more digital more curbside pickup, and that organizations have to be ready to handle that because that’s way more complex than what it was otherwise, right. If you’re online ordering, you’re able to do it. You don’t have to scratch sheet of paper and track it from that standpoint. But if that goes up by 10 x, or 20 X, as it has, you’ve got to make sure that you’re digitized. So this I guess, maybe the holiday and the spike really accentuates it. But the smart companies I see they always seek automation. How can I what’s a good process? And what can I do to automate it. So it doesn’t require all sorts of manual intervention. And so just like you have to be ready for a recession, you have to also have to be ready for if things go great. And that’s the interesting thing about the retail industry is they have to have hardware and software and services and everything around it working well. Not really for 11 months out of the year they’re going to have it’s going to be overkill, they’ve got to make sure they’re prepared for that that Christmas rush. And so that’s why I think we’re starting to see as the folks who are capable of the online ordering, the buy online, pick up in store, curbside and everything like that the folks are able to execute on that. That’s what the consumer wants, and they’re going to be the winners in the long run.
Tim Kubiak 37:43
Yeah, and I my personal belief, and it’s not nearly my area of expertise like it is yours is this has changed how people will consume and do retail for the foreseeable future. Even if it went away tomorrow. We’re used to now ordering on an app, we’re used to having it brought out to our car. Right? So that makes me wonder what happens long term and malls and everything were well documented as having traffic problems as it was right. So
Jim Roddy 38:14
yeah, 100% contactless payments is another one right? You know, on your on your phone. The industry has been pushing people to do contactless payments for years, but the consumers were like, Man, you know, like, I can get my credit card, like why do I have to do all this? You know, mumbo jumbo with my phone. Well, now that you don’t want to touch that credit card machine, then you’re like a little nervous about that people like how can I do contactless payments. And so in the fact that, you know, however long it takes to develop a new habit, some people say two weeks, I think it’s more like two months, but we’re moving in on 12 months, right of, you know, pandemic standpoint as this thing is going to be over. And so you’re going to see folks, they’re doing like you said that online ordering and all those other digital things. Yeah, that’s not going to go away. Now. Will it stay at the exact same level? No, some people go back to normal, but the giant chunk of people will continue this pattern. And you’re right, it’s not going to involve as much the in store or the mall visit as they can. And that’s going to be a changing dynamic, no doubt about it.
Tim Kubiak 39:14
If we can go back to your books, what’s the most inspirational story you heard whether it made the pages or not? that came out of a walk on?
Jim Roddy 39:27
That’s a good one. Um, I would say the one that really stands out to me is Bernie floriani. So he was a walk on for the University of Virginia men’s basketball team. So he actually was a partial scholarship golfer for UVA. But then his golf game went sideways, sideways. And he loved playing basketball and he found out that back then he’s about the same as you same ages as he was a year younger. That they had a junior varsity Basketball team and he was like, and we get to play like in the regular arena and we get to travel to North Carolina play them like, Oh my gosh, this is unbelievable. And it kind of rejuvenated his love for the game. And it was almost one of those things that completely unplanned, okay. And he just thought this is so great to play for the JV team. Well, they needed somebody on the varsity team on the real team to go head to head with their starting point guard john Crotty, and if anybody’s an NBA aficionado, john karate played in the NBA for like 11 years or something like that. So he was like an all American, you know, all conference kind of guy. Well, they go to Bernie and say, Bernie, would you like to play for the varsity team? And he’s like, blown away, like, Are you kidding me? Like, oh my gosh, like, like, I would be honored to do it. Right. And so he ends up being on a team goes through, I won’t get into all the stories. But you know, one of them is his family’s coming up for NCAA game, and the coach tells him, oh, by the way, we don’t have enough seats on the bench. So you’re not dressing out tonight. He’s like, my family traveled here, like, but he’s like, what am I gonna do about it? So he’s senior year, for senior day. For folks who don’t know, typically teams will start their seniors, even if they’re the last off the bench walk on. So they had told Bernie, we have five seniors, but boy, this is a really, really important game. And so Brian stiff who ended up playing in the NBA, he’s, he was either a junior sophomore time, he’s gonna have to start. So Bernie’s like a bummer. But hey, you know, what are you going to do all of this was bonus anyway, so they’re in the locker room before the game, and they’re marking on the marker board, who’s gonna play, who’s gonna guard who to start, and they say, and this guy, Bernie, you’ve got him and he suddenly like, Oh, my gosh, I’m actually going to play and he’s, like, couldn’t believe it. And like, he’s getting goosebumps. And he’s all excited for it. And so he says, he goes out there. And the place is just a rocking arena. And he goes out there for the jump ball. And he’s thinking, the first thing is, I hope I don’t get the ball, like I do not want the ball to come to me because and guess where the tip goes to? Right goes right to Bernie. And he says, He grabs and he just starts yelling karate, karate at the point guard come over and and get it from the point guard gets it that are running up and down a few times, he knows he’s only going to play a minute or two, and he’s committed to I’m just going to run the offense, run the offense, run the offense. Well, he gets the ball on the right wing, and just catches it in stride. And just like he did in practice, he swings his foot in there, leans into a jumper, knocks it down, nothing but net, you know, they come down first, that ball, he comes out of the game, everybody’s high five, and then he goes down to the end of the bench, and he just starts bawling and crying and Jeff Jones a head coach. So first, the head coach even come down and say like, Bernie, what’s going on? And, and Bernie just said, like, that was just so awesome, right to be able to do that. And so he took, he took that pride. So when I talked to Bernie and so this is getting to the even more inspirational part. So I had a whole bunch of walk ons that I had tried to research and connect with. And if I reached out to them a whole bunch of times, at some point, I just kind of gave up I thought they weren’t interested. For some reason I kept calling Bernie I kept emailing them, messaging him over state farm business in Gurnee, Illinois. He’s known as Bernie from Gary. For some reason, I just kept feeling possessed to reach out to him. And sure enough, one time, he sends a note back and says, let’s set up a call. So I’m setting up a call him talking to him. He’s telling all these stories, but his mother is on the line too. And I’m thinking, well, this is weird. Have your mother on the speakerphone, written your first indication? It’s like, well, that just seems kind of odd. I’m not sure. But I’m not going to ask. And then at the end of the interview, he starts talking about that he’s an underdog and like, because I was saying, How did apply to business? Well, I was an underdog to start my business. I was an underdog there underdog, to get a lot of deals underdog to serve customers, but I didn’t. He’s just an everything with a smile his entire career. And then he says, you know, and I haven’t really come from I’m just starting to talk about this, but I have ALS. And so that explained why his mom was on the phone because she had to, you know, dial the phone and help out and, and take care of them for and I was like, wow, like I I had no i no idea, you know, as I was talking to him, and so he said, you know, but I was an underdog then, you know, when I was at UVA, and I’m an underdog for this. And I’m just going to keep plugging along. I’m just going to keep plugging away at it. And so he actually, so this is Chautauqua Institute, which you might remember since you’re right here in Erie, so his mom and his parents actually had a place in Chautauqua Institute. And he’s like, and that’s only like 45 minutes away from Erie. And so he was coming in there, his brother, his mom, and all that we’re bringing him in there in his wheelchair, he said to be great to me, and I’m like, it’d be fantastic to me. So I met him. You know, my wife, my daughter, and I met him, talked about his illness. He knew that his you know, life was going to end shortly after that. And he was talking about I know this sounds weird. But als has been a blessing in so many ways that I’m able to talk to people about what they meant to me, and we’re actually able to have these deeper conversations. It’s really crummy that I’m not going to be able to see my kids graduate from college and all these other things that I wanted to do. But there’s so many blessings in so many other ways. And he’s smiling the whole way through to do that. And so he really inspired me and inspires me to this day, because somebody in that situation is looking on the bright side of things and saying how that could be a blessing and a benefit. And smiling at people. Who am I to say, like, because my first call of the day, didn’t go well, because it’s raining outside, which it always is here in Erie, Pennsylvania, right, like, Who am I to start feeling down. And so, you know, Bernie just said, he’s going to keep plugging away. And I interviewed him a few years ago, and he passed away this summer, right before the book came out. And so I did, he did get to read a story in advance, I was able to send it over to him. And so he was able to read it and and approve it. And so now I’ve got to talk to his mom, like his mom, just out of the blue gave me a call to say how nice it was, I’ve got to meet his brother, who’s a big reading, advocate and things like that. So again, sorry for the long story, but I just think Bernie deserves it. And, you know, as he’s passed away, there was some local articles about him because he was like a such a great coach and such a great mentor to people. And actually, just his might be a coincidence, I came across a quote this morning, which I might not get exactly right. But it’s about a candle loses nothing by sharing its flame with another one. And that’s what Bernie really means to me, like Bernie was able to give so much to other people. And he saw that lifted him and even through the most difficult times of anybody’s life, like I can’t even imagine the physical things that he went through, and the mental things that he went through to, in that role, lift up other people. Again, that inspires me. And that’s part of I was so honored to publish his story and to publish all these other stories in the book and just kind of act as a window for them. And so he’s out of all the people I think, that I’ve talked to, over the years, he’s he’s the most inspirational for for a lot of reasons.
Tim Kubiak 47:10
that’s hugely inspiring. So for folks that want to read your book, where can they find it?
Jim Roddy 47:17
available on Amazon, just search for either short, the walk on method, or the full title is the walk on method to career and business success, and it’s available in paperback or ebook format. So everything is being done through Amazon, and it’s all printed on demand. So you can get your copy pretty quickly, whenever you want it through Amazon?
Tim Kubiak 47:40
And what did I ask you that I should ask you in this conversation?
Jim Roddy 47:45
How many points that I score during my Ganon career and talk about all those different, different highlights?
Tim Kubiak 47:50
All right, let’s go.
Jim Roddy 47:52
I’m a numbers guy. Just because it’s a good punch line. That’s a whole thing, like and I can say this, you know, going through the walk on experience of Ganon, there were a lot of things were very difficult. Now in high school, I went to really tiny High School, but I played every minute of every game like I only got subbed out three or four times over four years. Okay, so to go and sit the bench of Ghana and like never, ever, ever play. That was difficult. Even though those guys are better than me, it was just a hard thing to go through. So I scored over 1500 points in my high school career at Ganon. I would always joke that I averaged 14 points for my career. Not 14 points again, but 14 points for the entire for your career, but one of them really. And these are the things you can, you know, find in the little nuggets. So we’re playing East Stroudsburg. And they were undefeated. At the time, we were undefeated as well. Bob Duquette was the head coach, and he had a superstition of if a guy was on the cover of the game program, they’re gonna have a bad game. Okay, so he went to the sports information director and said, this is a big game. Can you put Jim rotti on the cover and get this one out of the way because it’s a big game. So he did a feature on me in the game program. And it actually starts off with Ganon having some very important games coming up. Jim, Ronnie is very unlikely to see the floor. Okay, like that’s how the feature story starts off on me. And I remember reading that being like, a harsh but true. Like I couldn’t I couldn’t disagree with that. Well, sure enough, guess what happens against Stroudsburg they’re missing all their shots, or making all our shots. We’re actually up by 40 late in the game, so I get to go in late in the game and it’s a big deal. Score 100 points in a game it’s rupt 98. Two, I always get it wrong with either 47 or 53 or something there at the free throw line. Six seconds left. And one of my teammates like I go into rebound one of my teammates is like waving me down like no, no, we want you to get done with point once you get a basket. So sure enough, Stroudsburg misses the free throw guy gets a rebound, Chuck’s it down to midcourt. I get it I’m dribbling in 321. I know if I’m gonna do a regular layup, it’s going to get blocked. So I have to like scoop it underneath and so I spin and scoop and shoot the layup. All right. And so I fall on my back and I slide on the floor to plexiglass bank board well because I had spun it. The ball is just spinning around like in a roulette wheel. Just spinning spinning the buzzer signs or I’m laying on my back, I look and then the ball finally goes through the basket, like, raise my arms and legs. And they’re like, Yay. And all sorts of people are cheering is in front of again and bench. So they all run off and one of my teammates, Derek price, instead of just high fiving. Me, he picks me up on his shoulders and is carrying me off the court from like, we won by 50 points, like no one should be carried off the court at this point. But that was one of those moments that I like, Who could have thought, you know what I’m saying like something like that. And it was almost kind of a lark. And then at scoring 100th point and another game, and people like he’s 100 point, man and stuff like that. And so I had a lot of fun with that. And it was almost like an uplifting thing to do because, and I also purposely set on the end of the bench, every game, so no scholarship guy could say I’m sitting on the end of the bench. So I was like a proud end of the bench guy. But I wasn’t the soccer, if I had a moment and I was just, you know, when you think about all those things that go into it, even a teammate instead of saying, I want to get this to say like, No, we want to get you a basket. Come on, man, this is like one of your few chances to do it. So that’s a I don’t have many highlights. Tim, if he asked me maybe for a second one, I won’t, I won’t have one. But at least I had one. The moment I actually there’s another one, but I won’t bore you with it, you know, one moment in the sun. And you know, I’ve had so many Ganon fans, some an eerie guy born and raised, who had told me a games like you achieve my dream, like Ghana was my dream team going up is before TV and all that stuff. And they’re like, you actually live the dream of mine. And a lot of the walk ons in the book heard some of those stories as well whether they got to yell where a Florida football uniform, or a Kentucky basketball uniform, or a UConn women’s basketball uniform, people saying to them, like you achieve one of my dreams. And that’s just that’s very meaningful. To me that’s very meaningful to a lot of people. And I guess a message to everybody out there is you never know who’s looking at you, right and looking at you for inspiration, even if you might not be a leader. And one things we talked about in the book is be an energy elevator, when you meet somebody say you’re doing tremendous say you’re doing well, even if it’s about a difficult day, elevate their energy as opposed to being a soul sucker, and making them feel as bad as you do. Like really, really pick people up. And so again, probably more of a story than you wanted there. But there’s lessons to me and in everything that we go through in sports, any obstacle and in life, there’s things that we can do with it.
Tim Kubiak 52:24
No, that that is an awesome way. Thank you so much for spending the time here sharing your stories, both about business, about your life and about all of the folks you’ve had the pleasure of writing about.
Jim Roddy 52:35
My pleasure, Tim, thanks for having me. Great to talk with you and your audience today.
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