The Lucky Titan

The Leadership Competencies Needed to Unleash the Entrepreneurial Spirit in all of us With Rocky Romanella

February 03, 2021
The Lucky Titan
The Leadership Competencies Needed to Unleash the Entrepreneurial Spirit in all of us With Rocky Romanella
Chapters
The Lucky Titan
The Leadership Competencies Needed to Unleash the Entrepreneurial Spirit in all of us With Rocky Romanella
Feb 03, 2021

After an illustrious career spanning more than 40 years focused on supply chain, logistics and transportation, retail, sales and operational excellence strategy at UPS – including The UPS Store franchise network and UPS Supply Chain Solutions – Rocky Romanella became the Chief Executive Officer and Board of Director for UniTek Global Services, a provider of engineering, construction management and installation services to companies specializing in the telecommunications field.

Rocky is currently the Founder and CEO of 3SIXTY Management Services, LLC, a management consulting firm specializing in Executive Speaking, Leadership Development and Consulting Services.
Rocky is an experienced CEO who led one of the largest rebranding initiatives in franchising history – The UPS Store, revolutionizing the $9 billion retail shipping and business services market.
Rocky steered UPS’s entry into the health care industry and created the mantra, “It’s a patient, not a package. ®”

He also led the integration of more than 20 acquisitions to improve financial performance, capabilities and global network footprint of UPS Supply Chain Solutions.

Rocky has the rare ability to see a clear vision of the changing business landscape, the passion to develop strategies, tactics and metrics to drive desired results.

https://www.3sixtymanagementservices.com/
https://tightenthelugnuts.com/
Instagram: 3Sixty Management Services
Facebook: 3 Sixty Management Services
Twitter @3sixtymgt
LinkedIn linkedin.com/in/rockyromanella

Show Notes Transcript

After an illustrious career spanning more than 40 years focused on supply chain, logistics and transportation, retail, sales and operational excellence strategy at UPS – including The UPS Store franchise network and UPS Supply Chain Solutions – Rocky Romanella became the Chief Executive Officer and Board of Director for UniTek Global Services, a provider of engineering, construction management and installation services to companies specializing in the telecommunications field.

Rocky is currently the Founder and CEO of 3SIXTY Management Services, LLC, a management consulting firm specializing in Executive Speaking, Leadership Development and Consulting Services.
Rocky is an experienced CEO who led one of the largest rebranding initiatives in franchising history – The UPS Store, revolutionizing the $9 billion retail shipping and business services market.
Rocky steered UPS’s entry into the health care industry and created the mantra, “It’s a patient, not a package. ®”

He also led the integration of more than 20 acquisitions to improve financial performance, capabilities and global network footprint of UPS Supply Chain Solutions.

Rocky has the rare ability to see a clear vision of the changing business landscape, the passion to develop strategies, tactics and metrics to drive desired results.

https://www.3sixtymanagementservices.com/
https://tightenthelugnuts.com/
Instagram: 3Sixty Management Services
Facebook: 3 Sixty Management Services
Twitter @3sixtymgt
LinkedIn linkedin.com/in/rockyromanella

Josh: What is up everybody, Josh Tapp here again and welcome back to the lucky Titan podcast. And today we are here with Rocky Romanella and I'm really excited to be here with him today because it's very rare that you actually find somebody with 40 years of experience in their industry coming and sharing their message, really in a way that's comprehensive. There's, there's a lot of people come at you saying, Hey, I'm just out of college, or I've got one or two years of experience. But having somebody who says, hey, I've tried and tested this across multiple industries, multiple companies and seen and proven these tactics. that's invaluable information. So, I was really excited when rocky said, hey, let's, let's do an interview here. So, I'm excited to have him on Rocky say, what's up to everybody, and we will move right forward.

Rocky: Hey, what's up, and hey, I'm a lucky Rocky with a lucky Titan. So, this is a good deal today.

Josh: I love it, when it's going to be awesome. Because you know, as a CEO of 360, management you guys are management services, excuse me, you guys are, you've been helping quite a few companies in that anywhere from 1 million to a billion dollars to scale and to grow their, their companies but I'd like to have you give a little bit of background on your company, and how it's working to help specifically people like from our audience. 

Rocky: Well, thank you for asking. So, you know, we started out, we're retired ups, I retired from ups for 36 years, and then actually was recruited to be a CEO of a telecom company, we build cell towers, upgraded cell towers, and then had a sale there and still felt like there was more I could contribute. And so, we got together as retired ups and each of us in a different discipline. And we started this company 360, with the concept of how can we help? How could we come in and help, help businesses grow, you know, maybe pivot if it's something they need to do, maybe improve their processes and so what we have is 360 management services, which is a, you know, really is an inventory of individuals, you know, practitioners who have the skill and knowledge and want to help other companies and so we pull from that skills inventory, and could be someone with M&As someone intellectual property, maybe someone wants supply chain needs and so we look back into our inventory of skills, and we bring them on to the site, and we start to start to make improvements.

Josh: Love that. And I think the cool part about what you guys are doing is, you're really provided we were talking about this before the interview, that's why I wanted to share this is you're really providing a solution that these large companies like McKinsey can't do. Because you're, you're coming in with, I mean, you could come and help people a lot quicker than saying, Hey, we have to work with you for a year in order for our results to even come. So, I love that you have that small business flexibility. 

Rocky: Well, it's interesting, too, because, you know, you know, when I spent my time at UPS, you had the McKinsey's and Boston Consulting Group, great companies, there's no doubt about it, which was a tremendous amount of skills. But, you know, there's a process that they follow. And unfortunately, when you're in a small business, or fortunately, I mean, depending on where you are in a small business, you know, lifecycle, you need speed. I mean, you need some people to come in, identify a problem, come up with a solution help you implement it, and then frankly, say it, I mean, you got to move on, to do your things. And I think that that's the thing that really hit us is that we said, Look, if we're going to help other companies or help other people, we'd like to get in and get out and help them and let them show them progress quickly and effectively. And so, I think that's, I think, having seen it from the other side, one of the things that we want to do is be able to do it quickly and effectively for smaller companies. 

Josh: Yeah, I think that's a really cool strategy. Because I mean, like we mentioned, it allows you to be kind of more flexible than some of these larger companies and I feel like a lot of small businesses don't realize that that is the one differentiating factor they have between them and their, their massive competitors. As they can move, they can pivot and they can, they can implement much quicker than a lot of these larger companies so I love that. Well, you mentioned that. So Rocky, I'd like to get now into the how you would help people in our, you know, in our ideal audience, right? So, these people who've they've, they've hit a million dollars, and they're trying to determine Should I scale? Or should I start something new? And I kind of like to just because of our pre conversation or pre interview conversation, I'd like to talk about the scaling side. And I'd like to ask you your perspective on this. Because if you were stuck in a million dollars and said, Okay, I need to scale, what would be your favorite strategy for, for scaling a company? 

Rocky: Well, it always starts with three quick three key questions that I've asked myself as I was in that position and certainly, you know, it's beginning to process it is when we come and visit with you and the three questions are simply this, who are who am I as a company? What do I stand for? And what are the things I will compromise? Now that seems simple, but what ends up happening is when you're sitting in this room with members of that senior seat your team there in this organization you're working with, and you asked that question, Who are we? And it's amazing how you get there's a lot of answers that are similar but you do get people thinking, wow, we're this, we're that or, okay, what's, what's First, let's understand who we are all right, then what do we stand for? What are the things that we're trying to accomplish? Number three is an interesting one. What Won't we compromise? And I'll give you a quick example. I mean, when I was working at a telecom space, you know, we started, we went from installation of goods and services to actually building cell towers and doing the upgrade from 3g to 4g at the time. And we got into cell tower, you know, upgrades. And we sat there, and we everybody thought it was such a great idea. And then we get to the third question, what will we compromise? Well, of course, we quickly got to safety. Now, everybody always starts with service. Because when you're in a service business, you always believe you got to start with the word service. But in our world, it was safety. And we said that look, even if we get pressured by a client to wrap up this, you know, kind of cell tower to make sure that it's lit up and you know, the DMA has, you know, the cell, cell coverage that it needs, if it's a day, we're not allowed to climb it today, we're not allowed to climb and so I think that that, so that starts to process, who are you? What are you know, what do you stand for? And what are the things you won't compromise? And I think that begins the process. And once you, once you can get through that part of the exercise, it starts to open up everybody's eyes, because then what happens is, you start to think about, where are the areas that I want to grow? And I think that's what you know that you need to understand who you are first. 

Josh: yeah, I love that topic. During my MBA program, we were studying the values, right? So, Jack Welch's winning methodology, right, and I'm sure you're familiar with that as well. But I love the way you, you use that as kind of your basis point for launching a company because if you don't truly know your values, in some companies, acquisitions might not fit your values, right? It might fit your model, but maybe it's not going to fit to fit in with your values, or maybe you know, even selling your company might not be, you know, if it was in your eyes.

Rocky: That's a great point. I think the other place where it's so important is if you think about it, what ends up happening with acquisitions, you know, a couple of, you know, a couple of the pitfalls that you always have to be concerned about as number one is people get into deal fever, right? All of a sudden, you know, think about in the telecom space at one time, everybody started to realize, wait a second, we got to go upstream and buy content. So next thing you know, is you got Comcast buying NBC, you got at&t buying DirecTV, and Time Warner and so everybody's moving upstream. Well, then you realize, well, behind the scenes a lot behind this April. So next, you know, is Verizon is buying, you know, publications, you know, Huffington Post AOL, and at one point, you start to think to yourself, how is that all related? Like, what's, what's the process? They're trying to get to, but they get into deal fever, right? So, you have to be that's one thing you have to guard against is, am I in? Am I doing this? Because it's the right thing to do for my strategy? Or am I doing this because I think I'm behind the eight ball. And if I don't catch up with my competitor, or I think the markets going, I may be behind. So, I think that that's one part of it. The second part of it that you always have to be careful of is you end up so what ends up happening is your customer sometimes pushes you in that direction. And you start to hear, you know, you're sitting around in your in your senior staff meetings, and you hear people saying, well, it's near neighbor. Well, if you're not careful, you keep getting your neighbor, your neighbor and your name. And next to you know, you're not even in a neighborhood you don't even in the same state anymore. That's not how we started. That's not who we are. That's not what we said we wanted it to be. But you get pushed in that direction, right? Because you're, you know, you're you believe this is near neighbor so I think that those are two things that you always have to guard against. Well, when you answer those three questions, as you and I just spoke about, who are we? What do we stand for what we won't compromise, they start to ground you and well, wait a second, that's not really who we are so why are we even thinking about doing this? How did we get pushed this far? So, I think that those three questions weren't answered and then you keep them always on that sheet of paper next year, as you move through different opportunities, I think really grounds you and make sure that you're staying close to your values, your principles and what you're really what your mission statement is.

Josh: Yeah, and I love that strategy because it's like we talked to him it's so foundational to what to any business you know, as they're moving forward. And I think that's one of the biggest bottlenecks to most companies when they scale is that I love how you call it deal fever. I mean, we see that a lot in our space right now in the in the digital product space, right with information products, but instead of saying hey, there's deals it's, there's so many different ways you can make money. We see people constantly chasing these, these white rabbit opportunities when they should be focusing on their core competencies and their values. 

Rocky: Well, you think about you know, I always you know, I think about e commerce an example that, you know, companies say, Well, okay, I gotta get into e commerce, which is probably true at its core of core but because they don't really have a strategy of how to get into e commerce, the next thing you know is now they're now they're doing work with Amazon and now working with Amazon, as is not really an e commerce strategy to where you think it's an e commerce strategy, right. So now all of a sudden, you're into this Amazon processes like holy cow, this isn't kind of what I thought I signed up for, I just want to be commerce come and come to my website or things and this was great things are going out the door doesn't always work that way and so it's really important for you to have that strategy of, you know, what am I trying to accomplish? How does this position me in the next six months, 18 months, three years from now versus Okay, I better get into e commerce, or I'm going to be behind and get myself in trouble. Well, you know, in the, in the path of trying to cure for this problem, the unintended consequences may be worse than the current problem you have. So I think it's important to really, okay, this is the direction I want to go. I knew I need to make sure I understand, you know, the process to get there.

Josh: Yeah, and you know, I love this, this actually brought an experience recently to mind because I have a friend of mine, he's an inventor, he creates toys, and he sells them online and so you know, games or what have you and he was doing really, really well and started getting awards for it and everything and decided, Hey, I'm going to go and sell I want to start selling my products of Walmart, right? Walmart's going to be amazing and he went to all the meetings for Walmart. So excited, because he was thinking he was gonna have to sell himself to them. But he said they sold themselves so poorly, that he was like, I there's no way I would start selling through there. Because I mean, there's horror, you and I both know that there's horror stories about putting your products into Walmart and just having them disappear.

Rocky: Wherever, you know, Amazon, then they want you to buy back inventory. It's like, great, you know, and think about it most small businesses are especially ones that are in a growth mode, could be working capital could be an issue and you maybe don't want to title working capital up or buying back the inventory that, you know, isn't moving those kinds of things. But no, I mean, I think that it's, we'll get that, that's the key decision is those stepping stones right of Okay, I started my company was a big was really that big decision. Good news is we started the company we hit to break even now we're making money. Now the question is, what's the next step we know used to be? Well, you know, we used to go through those conversations that ups Okay, when the airplanes fly in the first time it goes up, and it's at 10% capacity, and we got to fill this airplane, somewhere in at 80%, we're making good money, then when the air then you start to fill the airplane up 100%. Now the question is, do I want to keep winning business to get the second airplane? Because once I get that second airplane, I'm back into that, you know, cycle of I gotta fill the second airplane up again, it's the same in small businesses. If I'm at a million, if I'm at a billion, and I want to go to two, you know, am I off for that growth process to go from one to two kind of idea? It's the scaling in that, you know, and how much pain do I incur? And how do I, what do I learn from the first billion to get to two and three and four of that. 

Josh: So Rocky, let me ask you this, you know, what are what are some of your favorite scaling strategies then? And we've talked about the foundation work, but what, what are some of the strategies that you like to use to scale companies?

Rocky: So hope you don't think I'm a boring guy, but, but I'm a process guy. So as you can tell, right, so you asked me, what's the first thing I do the three questions. Well, the second thing is, I begin the process of a series of questions. And the first question always starts with well, who's the customer? You know, and it's interesting, because whatever, you know, you start that process with Okay, well, who's the customer? We're going to go into this new product, we're going to go into this new service. I always start with who's the customer? And I always get that kind of funny look like Okay, I know. Yeah, let's Can we move on to? And I can tell you that that's the most important first question to answer. I'll give a quick example. We were talking before the interview that proudly now as we're seeing what's going on in the world today, I mean, you know, I lead ups is entrance into the healthcare sector when I was running the supply chain sector on behalf of ups. And I would meet with healthcare companies and for example, you'd have this conversation, you know, okay, you want us to solve for your problem. Okay, well, who's your customer? And they'd all smile at you. And then finally it to know we got to answer the question, who's the customer? And a third of the people would say, Oh, it's the it's the docks, you know, they prescribe our medications and the author would say, No, no, no, no, no, no, not the doctors.  it's a distribution channels at CVS, Walgreens. And then a third of them will look at the other two thirds and say, isn't it the patient? And if you think about it, depending on what you're trying to do, you have to answer that question. Who am I solving for? Is it the Is it the patient you know, think about a good example is you know, McDonald's when they came up with a new sandwich, or a new, a new food, I mean, who's the customer? Is the franchisee? Is it the franchise? Or is it the you know, is it the vendors? Who's the customer? And I think that's the first step for me is always let's define who the customer is. Now what happens after that you start to answer another series of questions, if I understand. So, in the example I gave you on the healthcare, if it's the patient, well, then 99% on time isn't good, because you don't want to be the one patient that may not get their medication. But if I'm solving for a distribution channel or the docs, well, then 99% of the time is a great number. So, once you define the customer, then you start to understand, you know, the key metrics you can use based on who you're solving for. And then I think you have to answer the third question is, what are the things I won't compromise? Because as I'm entering this new business, I have to understand, what are the things I won't compromise, if it's, for example, as we were climbing towers, certainly was going to be health and safety. If you think about in the health care side, it's probably it's part of it's going to be safety department's going to be compliance. You know, think about the vaccines today, you know, the Pfizer vaccine has such a high, you know, or, you know, the, the temperature and this thing is monitored at such a, you know, high degree that you one of the things you could never compromise is the temperature, for example, so, so compliance may be something you don't compromise. So, so it's a series of seven questions that I go through, that once you get to the end, you're like, Okay, I think I got it, I think this is something we should do, or you know, what, we gotta do some more homework, or the skill we don't have. And I think that's what that's if you follow a process like this, whether it's this one or anyone you develop, you're going to be at least consistent in in getting to the getting to the spot where you can make a good decision.

Josh: Yeah, I agree with that entirely. I mean, it's, it's so interesting to watch, you know, people when they when they go and look at their customers, and there is that argument going on. And honestly, at early stages, I think that's okay, because you're trying to figure out what the market is. But as you mentioned, you know, with these established companies, and in our industry, really, when you've hit a million dollars in recurring revenue, you've, you've really, you found product market fit, but then I really have to identify who is that person that you're going to be selling to consistently if you're going to scale? So, I love those examples so you're Rocky, we've covered a lot of different topics today. But I want to ask you two final questions. So, the very first thing is, where can people connect with you and learn more about what you guys are doing over at 360 management systems? 

Rocky: So, to for us, we have a website, 360managementservices.com it's the number three in the world 60 sixty management services .com and we certainly do it through there. We have a website that's very interactive I respond to all the answer questions that come on come across. So, that's certainly one way to do it. My email addresses rockyromanella@gmail.com, you can certainly do it that way. And we also have a website for the book Tighten The Lug Nuts is the book that I wrote, where a lot of these concepts that we talked about today are in the book, and I build them out a little deeper and wider inside the book. And so certainly, if you get the opportunity to buy the book, purchase the book, these concepts will be in there and there's a website, tightenthelugnuts.com

Josh: I love that we'll link all of that in the description as well so people can go check those out. Because, you know, in podcasts, interviews like this, a lot of times people think they're going to get you know, that secret bullet, right, that's going to just change everything for them and, and you're going to get little wins. But what I recommend to everybody is to go check out Rocky's website, I mean, we'll link it all in the description as well, so you can see it, but go over and just see what they're doing over there. Because if you're a digital service business, who maybe hasn't ever gone to school, or you just built it from scratch, a lot of times transitioning from the million-dollar price point, or even a six, six figure price point transitioning from that to a much to really what I would call a business, right, a real business is true management practices and what rocky has been covering in this interview so make sure you go check that all out. And Rocky, my final question for you today, before we sign off, is, you know, we've covered a lot of different topics in today's interview so I want to ask you, if you could give one final parting piece of guidance to our audience saying, hey, if there was only one thing that we get out of this interview, what would that be? 

Rocky: I think it's important to understand the difference between nice to do things and need to do things and I think what happens is that we love to love to nice to do things. But especially as we're coming out of this difficult time and trying to grow our business and scale our businesses and understand, you know, how do we put this in a rearview mirror by moving as quickly as we can forward? I think the key thing to do is lay out what are the needs to do things I need to do versus a nice to do things and then nice to do things we'll get to, but we need to do need to do things as quickly as we can. And I think it's important for you to understand them and articulate them to your teams. And make sure that, you know, keeps everybody laser focus. And then just to you know, kind of the final piece of that is, you know, the books called tighten the lug nuts because it's simply a story in the book that when the lug nuts are loose on a vehicle, they're important, but you can simply just tighten those lug nuts, but if you don't tighten them, and then a few days later the wheel starts to shake, and all of a sudden what was important yesterday becomes urgent. And as you're growing a business, you can only handle so many urgent things. So, don't allow important things like loose lug nuts, to become urgent, tighten the lug nuts and so I tell people all the time, as I'm working with them, and I'm we're doing different things. It's like Hey, don't have any lug loose identify all your lug nuts, make sure they're all tight, so that those aren't things that you have to work on. Because how many times do we go back and fix something that we could have fixed quickly and quickly but we don't and now all of a sudden we have to stop everything and go tighten the lug nuts. So, we want to make sure there's no lug loose lug nuts. So, know the difference between you know nice to do and need to do and keep those lug nuts tight.