Darius Mirshahzadeh: The Core Value Equation | E177

Darius Mirshahzadeh: The Core Value Equation | E177

How do you make the best decisions, maintain company culture as your business grows, and attract and retain incredible talent? Serial entrepreneur and best-selling author, Darius Mirshahzadeh believes the answer lies in core values. By properly leveraging and implementing core values at your company, your teams will be speaking the same language, making good decisions, building an awesome culture, and scaling to incredible success. In this episode, Hala and Darius talk about Darius’s unique come-up story, how to build a core value-driven organization, Darius’s six core values, good core values vs bad core values, and the Scale M.A.P. Method.

Topics Include:

– Darius’s come-up story 

– The entrepreneurial lessons he learned from his father 

– How his dad’s passing shaped his purpose 

– Experience working at the White House 

– What triggered him to want to work for himself 

– Launching Twin Capital Brokerage

– Overcoming failure and pivoting

– Building and growing business through partnerships 

– Why he decided to step down as CEO of Money Source

– On starting his brand, writing his book, and hosting a podcast 

– Core values and what they mean 

– How to build a core value-driven organization

– Darius’s six core values 

– Why use viral, sticky language?

– A core value-driven organization vs one that has no core values 

– Good vs bad core values 

– Advice to begin to develop core values

– The Scale M.A.P. Method

– The Scale M.A.P Bootcamp 

– Darius’s actionable advice 

– Darius’s secret to profiting in life 

– And other topics…

Darius Mirshahzadeh is a high-growth CEO, serial entrepreneur, and culture-building mad scientist who was ranked #9 on Glassdoor’s list of Top CEOs of Small and Medium Companies in the US. He is the author of the best-selling book, The Core Value Equation, and the host of The Greatness Machine Podcast. 

Darius has led organizations that have won numerous Stevie awards, been named “#3 Best Place to Work” by San Francisco Business Times, and have landed at #40 on the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing companies. 

Sponsored By:

Open Door Capital – Go to investwithodc.com to learn more!

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Shopify – Go to shopify.com/profiting, for a FREE fourteen-day trial and get full access to Shopify’s entire suite of features

Zapier – Try Zapier for free today at zapier.com/YAP

First Person – Go to getfirstperson.com and use code YAP to get 15% off your first order

Resources Mentioned:

Darius’s Book: https://www.amazon.com/Darius-Mirshahzadeh/e/B08BX5N3TD/ 

Darius’s Podcast, The Greatness Machine:


Darius’s Website: https://therealdarius.com/

Darius’s Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dariusmirshahzadeh/

Darius’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/kingdarius

Darius’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/whoompdarius/

Connect with Young and Profiting:

Hala’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/htaha/    

Hala’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yapwithhala/    

Hala’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/yapwithhala 

Clubhouse: https://www.clubhouse.com/@halataha  

Website: https://www.youngandprofiting.com/ 

Text Hala: https://youngandprofiting.co/TextHala or text “YAP” to 28046

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[00:00:00] Hala: Hey Darrius. Welcome to young and profiting podcast. See for hype to be here. You're my good friend, always happy to have my friends on the show. You are a serious serial entrepreneur. You have so much to say about the peaks and pitfalls of entrepreneurship, and I can't wait to get your core value, insights and more information about your scale map methodology.

[00:00:21] Hala: So from my research, I found out that you've had an entrepreneurial spirit from the very beginning. Your dad was an immigrant from Iran, literally the epitome of the American dream. He was an entrepreneur. He had many gas stations, real estate businesses. Did you always know you're going to follow in his footsteps and become an entrepreneur?

[00:00:40] Darius: You know, like half of me wanted to do that. And the other half of me wanted to like, become an actor and a comedian on Saturday night live. I like, if you had asked me when I was 18, I was like, actually I wanted to be Howard stern. so like, Which is not ironic, but now I, I love podcasting, but yeah, no, I was like business and enter and like enjoying experiences with people where like my two things.

[00:01:03] Darius: So yeah, I know, I always felt like an affinity towards, I love making money and I love selling. I was always like the kid that would win the candy selling competitions. I mean, crush those competitions. So for me, like starting a business or was not like this far out idea that was kind of a natural next step, for sure.

[00:01:22] Hala: Yeah. And I think that's a lot different from a lot of the immigrants that grew up in America. A lot of their parents, you know, had regular jobs or were doctors or engineers, or, and kind of were told to follow in that traditional path. And so your father, he taught you that you don't make the money selling the gas, you make the money selling the gas station.

[00:01:42] Hala: So talk to us about some of the entrepreneurial lessons that your father taught. So 

[00:01:46] Darius: my dad was, old school born 1939 in Esfahan Iran. His father was a business person was a really successful business person. He was kind of like ADT business guy. I mean, some of it was a victim of circumstances.

[00:02:00] Darius: There was a revolution in Iran. He moved here. He had to sort of support his family. didn't have a great, speaking of the language, although he did get his MBA in the United States, he came here late in life stuff for him. Like that's how he had to support his family.

[00:02:13] Darius: And again, he grew up around entrepreneurs. So for him to start gas stations and do real estate and stuff like that was not, unusual my mom was a social worker, which is the other end of the spectrum who worked for like the county. smart lady, social worker, father, that's getting up and building his own businesses every day. When you see that you're like, oh, that's an option. Like going to college. I mean, both my parents had their master's degrees. So going to college was not, that was definitely an expectation as well. But I remember my dad would always say like, I'm building these for you guys.

[00:02:44] Darius: And now I had to go to work in the gas station at a young age too. He was like, Hey, you're 10. Great. You're going to work. So my summer vacations and I grew up in an upper middle class, Southern California. So all my friends were like going to summer camp and, you know, having fun and go into like the water parks and the magic mountain and six flags and stuff like that.

[00:03:05] Darius: And I'm like literally putting on a Texaco, t-shirt getting up and going to work at a gas station in the middle of nowhere. Cause my dad's gas stations were kind of outside of LA and in a hundred degree heat cleaning gas station bathrooms when I was 10. so it wasn't a very glamorous entrance in the world of business.

[00:03:23] Darius: It was like, oh, this is what running your own businesses. But it did teach us work ethic. And I think that's such a big part of being an entrepreneur is not being afraid to go work your ass off. And we weren't and we didn't. 

[00:03:37] Hala: So your dad clearly was a workaholic. And you say that it led to sort of his early death, right?

[00:03:45] Hala: So when you were 22, he ended up passing away, he had cancer and that must've been super difficult for you at such a young age, but it also kind of guided and shaped the way that you thought about the rest of your life and your purpose. Can you talk to us about that? 

[00:03:59] Darius: My dad was like, you know, like my, There was a huge cultural difference between me and I have a twin brother, so it was me and my twin brother and my dad and I have a younger sister as well, but, but in Persian culture, like it's very patriarchal.

[00:04:11] Darius: And although my mom was American, like my dad was straight up Persian, so he was like, the boys come with me. I toughen him up. The mom raises the daughter. That's just how it is. And that's how it kind of wasn't her family. And so 

[00:04:23] Darius: I was either working at the gas station or I was working around the house. And so it wasn't like dislike me and my dad throwing baseball in the backyard. I don't think I threw one ball with my dad. It was always business. And, but yeah, he did not take care of himself. And when I was 18, he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

[00:04:41] Darius: And by the time I was 2021, his Ms had gotten really bad. It turned into dementia. He loves cigarettes. My dad was an avid smoker. He ended up getting diagnosed with lung cancer and my senior year of college. And so I saw this person who was a workaholic, who was all about business, who basically by the time I was old enough to maybe have a relationship.

[00:05:04] Darius: Because again, in that old school culture that you start to have a relationship with your dad. Like when you're a man, he was downward trending really quickly then. And it was my 22nd birthday. My dad got diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.

[00:05:16] Darius: And we didn't even tell him he had it because he had such bad dementia at that point. And he passed away in August of that same year. So yeah, it was hard, you know, and there was mixed emotions. It was, I had a pretty complicated relationship with my dad because of what, how I was describing our background together.

[00:05:32] Darius: And some people would say my dad was my best friend. And I was like, yeah, not me and my dad. He respected him. He was a hard guy and he was hardcore. And so to lose your dad at that young of an age, it's hard for anybody, but it just gave me an insight into life's short. And I had lost my grandmother when I was 14.

[00:05:51] Darius: She was 62. My dad was 60 when he passed away, my mom was 48. When my dad passed away, she got diagnosed with cancer right after that. So by the time I was 22, I had lost my grandmother, my dad and my mom like was a survivor of cancer. And so I had set a really different perspective, which was, I don't want to live a life that's that?

[00:06:09] Darius: I just like go work my ass off. 20 years, 30, 40 years from now I'm done. And it was, Hey, how can I live a much more engaged life? And I didn't really understand that, then it wasn't until much later that I realized that that's why I kind of got into some of the things that we're going to talk about around values and purpose, and how do you be live and engage life.

[00:06:29] Darius: But for me, that was a lesson taught at a young age, which is, Hey, life's short and you need to go and like, make it happen and really make the most of your time because you're going to blink and it's gonna be over with. 

[00:06:40] Hala: Yeah. And we'll definitely get more into your purpose and all of your core values and things later on to learn more about your philosophy on life, basically.

[00:06:48] Hala: Your later years in college, you ended up working at the white house. You worked as an intern for the bill Clinton administration. And so you've got some amazing stories with this internship. It was right up your alley, considering you involved in student government, it should have been your dream job.

[00:07:04] Hala: I think I could have imagined you taking that path all the way, but it turns out it taught you that you weren't cut out for typical employment and it solidified for you that you would never again have a regular job. So I'd love to hear more about that experience. 

[00:07:17] Darius: Yeah. So when I was in college, I had to work a lot.

[00:07:21] Darius: So again, my dad being kind of a hard ass was like, yo, I'm not paying for your college. You gotta pay for your own college. And so I was always working and I was always again ambitious. So I always had internships and I had a really good friend from student government in high school RN who is predis Shaw.

[00:07:35] Darius: And she ended up her sophomore year working for the Clinton administration. Kind of like, you I'm like a networker, so I'm like, Hey, I want to work at the white house. I literally, like there was a conversation she and I had. And she said, well, all right, let's do it. And so she had a friend that came into town in LA, we were on the sunset strip.

[00:07:55] Darius: And what happens at the white house that I didn't know at the time is a lot of the people that ended up working there, they go and intern there and then they, they actually take a pause from college and stay at the white house and become staff. And so this gentleman, I don't wanna name his name cause about what I'm about to say, but he basically did that and he comes to LA and we go to this place on the sunset strip, which I'm blanking on the name right now, but Dublin's, which was this famous Irish bar on the sunset strip.

[00:08:20] Darius: And we're in LA and it was a summer going into my senior year of college and basically where they're drinking and all these girls come in from where I go to school that were these like really pretty girls. I'm like, Hey, and I wave them over. And I basically hooked him up with these girls. And so I said, I'm talking him up.

[00:08:37] I say, I'll give Tim, give him your card. And so anyway, he's like, loves me. He's like, this guy's the best. And so then, and night, I said, Hey, you got to get me a job at the white house. And so you said, listen, you get your application, send it directly to me and I'll get you in. So I had good credentials beyond that, but I worked every angle I could get.

[00:08:55] Darius: I sent it directly to him. I get the acceptance letter from the white house. And I got accepted to be a intern in the office of presidential scheduling at the white house summer 2000. So it was quite an honor and it was interesting to get to be in the you're in basically the business of running the world.

[00:09:15] Darius: Now, what I realized really quickly was as an intern, total hierarchy exists in this thing. If your mom is the head of the DNC for the state of Washington, you get to work in the west wing. I never met so many people from Arkansas, my whole life. Because president Clinton's from Arkansas, there's all these people who were friends of the family working there.

[00:09:34] Darius: I never, I mean, it was insane. It was like every one out of every two people. So there's all these people from Arkansas. Their parents are connected in politics. And then there's me, who has none of that. And I'm not getting any special treatment. And I got some really crappy job, it's actually hilarious.

[00:09:49] Basically what people do is they send letters to the president United States to invite him or her to all their events. So like we get letters from like little Methodist church in Podunk. Nowhere is inviting the president to come to their annual barbecue. Every single one of those requests gets a response.

[00:10:06] Darius: So the, I was in the office of presidential scheduling. So we had to respond to every single one of those letters. So we read them all we got, and then you got to write them. And this is also, this is 22 years ago. So we're in the some DOS-based system, like filling out these like fillable forms and then triple proofreading.

[00:10:21] Darius: It, because you can't have a typo in a letter from the white house. And then it goes up to this machine that signs his name with the pen essentially, and goes out and every now and again, you'll get invites to like, from like a prince in Africa and those get escalated. So I'm in this department doing total admin work.

[00:10:38] Darius: And I was like, there's gotta be a better way than this. So my like business, self's like, all right, how do I get out of this work? And I figured out that the interns have a precedent of the interns. And so I run for president of the insurance 

[00:10:53] Hala: is this so like me, like, I'd be like, we're so similar, but go ahead.

[00:10:59] Darius: It's me verse. And by the way, there's two groups of people in these internship program, a ton of kids from Ivy leagues, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and a ton of people from Arkansas. And then me and I go to USC. I'm a smart guy. I'd probably go to an Ivy league if I applied myself. But I didn't. I went to UC Santa Barbara, which was like a party school and I'm there and it's me versus this nurse.

[00:11:21] Darius: And by the way, I'm graduating college. So I'm a lot of the people are younger than me. So I'm 22. Most of the people that are probably 20. So I'm 22. I'm definitely way cooler than the kid I'm running against. Who's this kid from Hartford. And I just crushed him and win and I become president of the. And this was something I had realized when I was in high school, because when I became president of my, of my class and vice-president my school, I got to get out of everything.

[00:11:42] Darius: Cause I was the liaison for the teachers and I'm like, oh, this is the way you do it. You go become, it's like student leadership, but for the interns and I ended up spending the whole summer putting on throwing parties for interns and social events and organizing them. And it was, it was, it made a really boring job, a really fun job.

[00:11:59] Darius: The part though, to answer your question though, is as I realized, I was doing this admin work this is my third internship that I had had and I called my mom up and I go, mom, I had a realization. She said, what's that? I said, I am never going to have a job as long as I live. And I said, the only way I will ever have a job where I'm not the boss and let's use the white house for example, is if I was present in the United States.

[00:12:22] Darius: So it was this apifany that like, I have to be the. And literally in this job and the way I was just saying, I would never work for the white house again, unless I was president United States. Now I'm 22, you know, maybe I would maybe take an advisory role now if they wanted me. But, but yeah, it was, it was a really eyeopening experience to be at this like top of the game, best internship that you could have in the whole world.

[00:12:42] Darius: And to say, I don't want to do this. I want to work for myself. But yeah, it was a cool experience, 

[00:12:46] Hala: but there was something else that kind of triggered you to want to work for yourself. It was something that you did, you always got fired Derrius. So don't skip out on that part of the story. 

[00:12:55] Darius: All right, look, while this is going on, my dad's sick at home it was a complicated situation.

[00:13:00] Darius: I had chosen to do this. My dad's sick at home. My family was not stoked that I was at this thing by the way, they don't pay. Maybe they change now, but back then they don't pay you. So I'm using it like my money. I'd saved to go to Europe for graduating college. I'm using that to go live in DC and work for free for the white house.

[00:13:18] Darius: So I was already a little pissed off. And the one thing you get when you work at the white house as an intern is you get a picture with the president United States in front of the white house, on the south, on the steps of the south lawn. So it's like a picture that commemorates that you worked at the white house, and it's gotta be in front of the white house.

[00:13:34] Darius: Well, they had some sort of staff picnic and they're like, yeah, you're not doing the picture in front of the white house. What most people don't know is next to the white house is a building called the old executive office building, which is actually where almost everyone that works for the white house works inside of this like office building.

[00:13:46] Darius: So like, we're going to do the picture in front of the steps of the OEO B the old executive office building. I was like, fuck that I was pissed. And I pulled a straight Jerry Maguire. I wrote this really long email that said, this is unfair.

[00:14:02] Darius: The white house is lucky to have us there. We're not lucky to have. I demand that we either cancel a picture or they reschedule us in front of the white house. And I click send, I send it across to all the interns and it goes viral inside the white house to all senior staff and everything. So I get pulled aside and, and now they had heard that my dad was sick and I think they were caught me some slack and the Skype sits me down. He's like a senior, senior, senior white house staff member. This guy is like head of something. I think he was head of my department. Actually. It was the only time I ever met him.

[00:14:33] Darius: So he's head of presidential scheduling for the president of the United States scheduled for the whole world. And he's like, listen, man, you don't know me. I heard what you did. Don't rock the boat. This is the president United States. What are you doing? and I held my ground for a second.

[00:14:46] Darius: And then I was like, look, I'm sorry. I apologized. And they basically led me off and they did, they did not fight. And I think honestly, they'll residing at fires. Cause my father was so sick, but I was like, this is such bureaucratic bullshit. And I ended up leaving a few days later, but yeah, it was, it was really eye-opening.

[00:15:02] Darius: I was like, wow, this is like weird that you would give this big thing to go work for free and not get the one thing you want and have no control over it and do all this admin work. And I was at this great opportunity and yet all I saw that it wasn't a good fit for me. And at that moment I sat down and I said, I'm 100% unemployable.

[00:15:22] Darius: Like I can never have a job. And it was this thing where I was like, if I ever take a job, it'll be to figure out what they do to go do it for myself. And I was 100% convinced of it and it never changed after that. 

[00:15:34] Hala: I love this story so much. And I know, I keep saying I'm like relating so much to your story because when I was 22, I was also like president of the interns at a radio station.

[00:15:44] Hala: And also I got fired. You didn't get fired, but I got fired for putting like a text message and sending a text message to my coworker that got went viral across the station. And I got fired. You did it. But we did the same thing when we were 22, because when you're 22 and you're feeling unfair and you're ambitious and driven like us, you kind of just go haywire sometimes and make mistakes, but Hey, it taught you that you didn't belong in that kind of environment and that you wanted to actually work for yourself and not work for free and be treated unfairly.

[00:16:14] Hala: So there was some good lessons, I think that you got out of that. Yeah. 

[00:16:18] Darius: You know, also like this is two thousands. So being 22 and being like, I'm going to go be an entrepreneur in the year 2000 was not normal. That was really rare. Right. And so it was a great lesson to learn, but it was very rare. 

[00:16:31] Darius: It was a gift that led me to be able to then go and build. 

[00:16:35] Hala: Yeah. And so speaking of that, you built your first business with your twin brother called twin capital broker. And by the time you're 25 years old, you built an Inc 500 company and you were the 40th, fastest growing company in the U S so that's crazy.

[00:16:50] Hala: Tell us about how you started that business with your brother. 

[00:16:53] I 

[00:16:53] Darius: moved back home after my father passed away, we had this event promotion, business, it tanked, and it was the first business I ever had that lost a hundred thousand dollars, which is like, that's a lot of money to lose when you're 22, but I lost that business, 

[00:17:05] Darius: My brother was in the mortgage business. So I have a twin brother. I was always kind of like the student leader jock. And he was like the troublemaker, but we're twins. And when we were in a senior, in high school, he got a job at a mortgage company and he realized he was like a savant at sales. I mean, he was unbelievable.

[00:17:22] Darius: And so when I was in college, he kind of was in college, but he was really in sales and he was selling mortgages. And by the time I was graduating college at 22, my brother was making six figures. He was like, killing it. And so I was like, well, I could go get a job. I had a degree in economics and accounting and go do that while I figure out my business stuff, if I could just go sell loans.

[00:17:44] Darius: And so I got a job in mortgage, long story short that didn't work out. I moved to San Francisco, he was down in LA and I pivoted a lot for 23 and 24, but I got back into mortgage and I started doing really, really well. And at 25 I decided to start my own car. I don't know if you remember, there's a supplement company called twin labs.

[00:18:04] Darius: We were heard of that before. It 

[00:18:05] Hala: rings a bell 

[00:18:06] Darius: slightly. It's a really popular supplement company. And I found out the guy named it after his twin children. So I was like, oh, I'm going to name my company after us being twins. So I named as twin capital mortgage. Now, funny enough as I, I tried to get my brother to come join me, but he was making like three times as much money as I was.

[00:18:22] Darius: So he said, why would I leave my job? I'm making like 30 grand a month and you're making 10. And I said, well, Hey, listen, I hate your fiance. Number one. And number two, I'm going to make more money than you are. So if I, with a month, I make more money than you do in a month. You have to break up with your fiance and move to San Francisco and be my business partner.

[00:18:40] Darius: And he was. We're on. And that was in July or June or July of 2003. And by September I made, I had a month. That was way bigger than his. And so literally the one week he, he broke up with his fiance. She knew I hated her. So I was transparent within a week. He, he quit his job, broke up with his fiance, moved to San Francisco and became my business partner.

[00:19:03] Darius: It was amazing. Cause my brother and I are kind of yin and yang. I mean, we're both are good at sales, but he's unbelievable at sales and I'm good enough. I like to operate and build and be a visionary. But when he came, I mean our business that first year he came in November is when he got there that year.

[00:19:20] Darius: I think the business grows $300,000. The next year we grow grossed almost 2 million the year after that five year after that, almost 10. And so this business grew 2500% in three years. It was the 40th fastest growing company in the Inc 500 in 2007. So it was an amazing run. And I learned a couple of things.

[00:19:38] Darius: I learned like find a partner, that's going to compliment your skills and really go lean into scaling a business. And for us it was the business has its own horror story because it was a subprime mortgage lender and it blew up of seven. So I joked that when I went to the Inc 500 conference, it was in Chicago that year I'm wearing a black tie.

[00:19:56] Darius: And I joked that we were the status people in that conference because I literally was probably the 40th facet shrinking company, United States, 500 conference. Yeah. It sucked. The business ended up imploding because of subprime meltdown. We went from 150 employees. I grew that thing for myself to 150 employees in three years.

[00:20:14] Darius: And then within 90 days I was back to 10 employees. 

[00:20:17] Hala: Wow. And so that was a failure. How did you overcome that failure? Because you went on to start a couple more businesses after 

[00:20:25] Darius: that. Yeah. Honestly, I spent five years in, I call it entrepreneurial purgatory. So. oh, seven was early. Like the economy didn't falter till oh eight, but my business, the mortgage business got crushed.

[00:20:38] the number of people in the mortgage business. I worked in the mortgage business in oh six was 400,000. It's shrunk to 100,000 by 2011. Wow. So three quarters of the industry went away. I always said it was, it'd be kind of like, most people don't know this, but I said, it would be like, if I said, Hey, Uber, Twitter, Metta, Google.

[00:20:57] Darius: They all got a business. That's what happened to that industry all at once. So it was brutal. I pivoted, like I pivoted for almost five years. I literally showed up to work for five years straight. Oh 7 0 8 0 9 0 10 0 11. And literally did not get a paycheck. I just cut checks and went to work. Now I'd made a lot of money in the previous year, so I just, we used that to survive.

[00:21:18] Darius: But most of it, you know, we spent a lot of it and like just trying to rebuild and it just took a long time and. I was young. The minute I started the business, no three when I was, I was 25. So by oh seven, I was 27, 28. So this all happened before I was 30 years old. And then I spent my late twenties, early thirties, rebuilding, like figuring out what was next.

[00:21:39] Darius: And I have a friend Ryan Laveck who owns a company called the ask method. he called me tenacious. D he said, you just don't have any quit in you. And I was like, man, I wish I did, because that, it was probably the most painful five years I've ever lived in business. And I wouldn't do it over again.

[00:21:55] Darius: If I had to do it, I wouldn't, 

[00:21:57] Hala: you're saying that you wish that you shut down that company earlier that you just were beating a dead horse basically for five years. 

[00:22:05] Darius: So novel, Robert says you need to pick the right space to be in. And that space was a dead space and it was broken and I just couldn't win in it, but I just didn't have any quit.

[00:22:15] Darius: So I guess kept fighting. I was standing on a broken foundation. So knowing what I know now, it was, there was a lot of time in anguish spent and there was opportunities all around me that I was, I was live in San Francisco. So what was happening in oh nine, 10 and 11 in San Francisco, Airbnb, Uber, like you go down the list of all these amazing companies that were born then, and I'm over here, like getting my teeth kicked in, in this space that has, that's just demolished.

[00:22:40] Darius: And so was it the right thing to do? I don't know. Hindsight's always 2020, but yeah, like the pain sucked. Like it just wasn't worth it at some amazing things happened to me during that time. I had my first child and I got married and I did live in a great city, but professionally, I struggled so badly for so long that it just, it wasn't fun.

[00:23:00] Darius: And I think that there's an element of grit to when, like in order to win it doesn't always come easy and you have to have some thick skin and you have to be willing to overcome obstacles, but to have. I was very depressed during that timeframe. And I just couldn't get out of my own way. And I learned a lot about how do you, how do you re-engage to activate yourself if you get stuck?

[00:23:19] Darius: So I learned a lot then about that. And the big thing is you have to wait a little bit, you can't just lose constantly. and for us, because the foundation of that industry was broken, it was a ton of false starts. It was like five false starts. I just probably started seven different companies then, and they, and I couldn't get any traction, but eventually, you know, tenacious D worked.

[00:23:39] Darius: We had a really big win in 2011 and then our biggest win was after that in 2013, which, which is the business I just exited a year and a half ago. 

[00:23:48] Darius: Yeah. 

[00:23:48] Hala: So tell us about the money store. So I want to understand how you ended up creating that business, how you grew it to a thousand employees, how you exited I'd love to learn more 

[00:23:57] Darius: about.

[00:23:57] Darius: Yeah. So because I did have enough capital and mortgage, you need to have capital to build your platforms because it's not like VC VC. You use capital to burn your runway, to then get to your next round of capital mortgage. You need to capitalize the platform to go lend against it. And so I didn't have enough to really do it competitively.

[00:24:15] Darius: So what I ended up doing was doing partnerships. So I did a partnership with this company called Pacific union financial in 2011. And we grew it from essentially nothing to about 75 million in revenue overnight. We had a, not a perfect exit from it. We had a disagreement with some of the, our partner there and we ended up basically getting bought out, had a very short non-compete, took all that capital and went out to go buy a platform, raise 40 million bucks.

[00:24:40] Darius: And we couldn't find the platform we wanted. One of the platforms we were talking to, to, to buy was this company called the money source, which was this really small little company in long island, New York, 30 employees, a couple of million dollars net worth. There's a small little regional lender. And he said no to selling to us, this guy named Steve rose, who ended up being my business partner.

[00:24:59] Darius: But he said, well, what if you want to do a partnership? I said, oh, hell no, I had just did a partnership and I'm not doing another one. But after a while, we couldn't find what we wanted. We'd go back to him. And I said, Hey, listen, the 40 million bucks we raised it. I didn't call capital on it. I just went, did a partnership, but I made it this like Bulletproof partnership agreement.

[00:25:16] Darius: So that what had happened in the previous deal wouldn't happen in this deal. And it was off to the races. This business grew from, yeah, it was like a J curve. Like we went 32,000 employees in three years and it's a complicated story, but essentially we crushed it. I mean, the business now is one of the largest lenders in the United States.

[00:25:35] Darius: It manages a hundred billion dollars of mortgages. It's a game changer in the mortgage industry. And we built that from the ground up. I mean, there was something there when we got there, they had their licensing and they were a small company, but there was a company that had grown from nothing to call it 30 employees in 17 years.

[00:25:51] Darius: And then in three years it went from 30 employees to a thousand. So that kind of shows you the difference of what happened when we all got together. 

[00:25:58] Hala: Yeah. So question for you, you know, you've had many different entrepreneurial experiences. Would you say that you would have been as successful at the money source?

[00:26:07] Hala: Had you not had those other failures previously? 

[00:26:11] Darius: I don't know. It's hard to say. I mean, obviously like you fail till you win. Right. And you learn in the process and winning is a failure mitigation game. Right. It's how do I reduce the failure to get to the win or reduce the speed or speed from fail to win?

[00:26:24] Darius: Right? Yeah. I, we learned a lot, what I learned at the, the wind before that I took that blueprint from there and I brought it over to this next place and there was a lot of pain to figure that out there. So had I just gone straight there? I, I wouldn't have known what I knew, but yeah. I mean, look, you either grow or die, right?

[00:26:43] Darius: It's like, there's no real middle. You either give up or you keep fighting. And for us, you know, I have no end of fight in me for me. It's like, If I'm not getting what I want. I will obsess about it. until I either figure it out or I figure out I don't want it. Right. I'm like Oh That's, what it's going to take for that to win.

[00:26:59] Darius: I'm not doing that, but like, I'll make that decision, but I won't make the decision of like, oh, I didn't do well. Like, um, I guess I suck, like, That thought never crosses my mind. It's like, all right. I just don't know enough yet to win. So I got to go figure it out. But yeah, we figured it out. And like I said, like, you don't build a hundred billion dollar mortgage platform without, literally from startup, like not startup, but from very small.

[00:27:23] Darius: And by the way we did it bootstrapped, we didn't raise capital. So like, we would go like once we got it big, I'd be on wall street. I'd be meeting with like JP Morgan and bank of America Merrill Lynch and all these investment bankers on wall street. And they're like, so, so tell us about how well, you know, how did you guys, um, you know, raise the capital to do this.

[00:27:40] Darius: I'm like, oh, we made money. And they're like, how did you do that? I'm like magic. I mean, what we did is I cannot give you one example. Of any mortgage company in the whole country that did it the way we did it, it was a cool ride. And one of the biggest tools I used was building a world-class culture. And I leaned into that and that industry was lacking because of what had happened in oh 7 0 8, it was like a graveyard for culture.

[00:28:06] Darius: And I was all in on culture. So it was, that was one of our secret weapons was how do you leverage culture in scale systems and do those, these best practices that are maybe in other industries are not in this industry. We brought them in and really leverage that. 

[00:28:19] Hala: And that's, this is a great segue to get into core values and scale map.

[00:28:23] Hala: But before we do that, I was pretty surprised to learn that you stepped down as CEO of this company, especially given all of your leadership background and student government and all these other ventures that you had. It really surprised me that you decided to step down as CEO. What happened? What kind of impacted you to make that decision?

[00:28:42] Hala: Well, 

[00:28:42] Darius: I told my partners, once I said, you'll never have to fire me. I'll quit way before the minute. I'm not happy yet. And so, you know, we grew this business to this like massive business. I mean the business one, all these Stevie awards for ABA awards, I was ranked the number nine highest rated CEO in America on gloucester.com in this business.

[00:28:59] Darius: Right? So we had like list of accolades business was a private equity business. We end up buying a bunch of companies I checked all these boxes on my list of things I wanted to accomplish as an entrepreneur. My first was I want to build a hundred million dollar company. And how do you want to know what, how big my company was when I made that goal, it was $2 million in revenue.

[00:29:18] Darius: And I was like, I'm going to build a hundred million dollar company. And that was in 2010 when I was failing in my previous company. And I'm like, I'm going to build a $200 million company. And it took me five years still that happened. So I checked all these boxes that I thought were these.

[00:29:31] Darius: Like I climbed this mountain that I was like, I'm going to go build a nine figure company. And I'm going to win all these awards and I'm going to get written up and entrepreneur and all these things. I thought that mattered. And then I did it all. And I'm like, this doesn't feel any. And something happened in that we ended up selling one of the businesses because 2017 and 18 were really hard years for the mortgage industry.

[00:29:50] Darius: Kind of like 2022. This is a hard year for the industry right now, too. And I ended up selling a business and it was in December of that year, I ended up basically moving 300 employees to a new company and laying off another 150. And it was the seventh time I had done layoffs because that industry is super cyclical.

[00:30:10] Darius: It's really sick with cold. You have interest rates will drop 2% and That's why we staffed up so much. And what I didn't tell you is I went to a thousand and then in 2017, when Donald Trump got elected rates went up and we ended up laying off 400 of those people. And then I ended up over three rounds of layoffs and I had done something else before that because the industry is so volatile that we're always having to lay off, grow layoff, grow lift, that's totally normal and mortgage.

[00:30:34] Darius: And I had this epiphany and I was like, I don't think my core values are aligned with this. I'm a person that pours into people and pours into leaders and like, goes out of my way. I'll recruit someone for three years to get them to leave, to come join me. And here I am like two years later saying, oh, sorry, it didn't work out.

[00:30:51] Darius: And I was sitting in my car and I had just done this massive layoff sale thing. It was not like a sale where you make a lot of money. It's like you sell it because you trying to get people a soft landing. And I'm sitting in my car is January 9th. This just happened on January 8th. I ruined my, you had another Christmas dealing with bullshit.

[00:31:09] Darius: And my family is like in some art store and I'm in my car and I'm just sitting there. And all of a sudden, I'm telling you, there no cognitive thing that happened. This was a came from my body. I'm a somatic intuitive. Like my body talks to me and I literally threw up the words I'm going to quit.

[00:31:25] Darius: And I was 40, I just turned 40. And I was like, whoa, like first I said that. And then I was like, whoa, what the fuck did you say? And I was like in shock. And my wife came back into the car and I was. I think I might quit. She's like, are you serious? And I'm like, well, I'm going to give it a year. you know, I'm like, I'm not going to be impulsive about this.

[00:31:44] Darius: Like, I can't even believe I just said this. I'm gonna give it a year. And it was like, God just grabbed me and threw me off the cliff. God was like, you know, get a year buddy. And by November it was, that was about 11 months later. What year was this? 2019 by November. I was like, I can't do it anymore. I was like, I was a wreck.

[00:32:04] I hated it every moment. it had nothing to do with even the company. At that point, it was just like me being in the space. Like, I dunno, it was like out of body experience and I just went, flew to New York. And then when my business partner and I said, I called my other business partners.

[00:32:17] Darius: One of my brother, I told him I'm done. I flew to New York and told my business partner and like, yeah, like my company had like a funeral for me. Like I did not stay. I left and I was. Wow. So I stayed on the board. I mean, you know, this is a big company. So I was on the board. I was board of directors for seven, eight months while he figured out my exit.

[00:32:35] Darius: But yeah. 

[00:32:36] Hala: And you had no plan, right? Like you quit with zero plan. How did you then decide to pick up the pieces, start your own personal brand, start a podcast, launch a book, all those things. What made you decide to go that 

[00:32:49] Darius: path during 2019? Like my one respite from like, obsessing about whether I wanted to stay or leave when I wrote my book.

[00:32:56] Darius: So I was writing the book for fun. So I wrote my book, the core value equation, which is all about how do you build a core value driven organization? But I was like this project, I was like pouring myself into kind of side project. It was just for fun. I'd wanted to start a podcast. These are all things that like, I'm a super creative person.

[00:33:11] Darius: So for me, like, but I was not being able to be creative because I was doing, I was running my companies. there was no plan for any of that stuff. November 30th, 2019, I resigned, I went to Asia with a CEO forum of mine for Christmas and new year. And I was buzzed on Belgium beers in ho Chi Minh, city, Saigon, Vietnam.

[00:33:31] Darius: And I told my wife, I'm like, let's go travel the world for a year. And that was like January 7th, 2020. And I was like, let's go move to Spain. Fuck it. Let's take a year off. Like we've always wanted to do that. I want it. My goal was always like sell my first company by 30 and go travel the world. And that clearly didn't happen.

[00:33:48] Darius: Cause what happened to my previous business at that point it was like a six and a 10 year old. I'm like, yeah, let's just go travel. Let's go have fun. I'll go figure out what's next. And so March of 2020, I had a trip planned to go to Barcelona, to go look at schools and houses and, and then a coconut.

[00:34:07] Darius: Yeah. That my take sabbatical trip around the world trip blew up. It went away. And so there, I was kind of stuck in my house. Like everybody else kind of sheltering in place, trying to figure out what the hell I want to do with myself. And was like, well, I wrote this book. My book was done at this point.

[00:34:25] Darius: I'm like, I wrote this book. Maybe I should go do something with it. You know, I just took that entrepreneurial hustle and I poured it into the book and it started the podcast. And that's where I spent all, most of 2020 was doing that. And the personal brand was just kind of by accident. 

[00:34:40] Hala: I love that. I love this story and kind of the lead up to everything.

[00:34:43] Hala: So let's talk about the core value equation. You help companies determine their core values. First of all, how did you first get introduced to core values and what do they mean? 

[00:34:53] Darius: Yeah, so in oh six, when I was running my first company, I was getting my teeth kicked in. I had about 40 50 employees. I was really young.

[00:35:03] Darius: And back then, by the way, if you're an entrepreneur, like there was way less resources for entrepreneurs, way, way, way less. Like, like now, like everyone's done. Uh, you know, if people have mail, what are you doing? I'm an entrepreneur. I'm like, no way. Okay. Do you make money? They're like, oh, not yet. And I'm like, okay, sure.

[00:35:17] Darius: So back then it was like, nobody was an entrepreneur. There was no resources, especially a young entrepreneur. There was very minimal resources. I mean, this is like pre Twitter. And like Facebook was barely being used at this point. This is like my space times. So just to put it into context. And so I found this program called birthing of giants at MIT, which was put on by a guy named Vern Harnish, who has this business called scaling up.

[00:35:41] Darius: And I got in the program and I was introduced to core values. And I don't know what it was, you know, maybe going back to this thing with my dad, but like, how do you live an engaged life? Values is a big part of that. And it just resonated with me. And year three at graduation, we did this exercise where these two founders who had this really successful company in Vancouver called nurse next door.

[00:36:03] Darius: They said, please stand up if your company has core values. So with graduation night of birthing of giants at MIT, and everyone's sending. And they say, please stay standing. If you know your company core values to come see them off the top of your head, everyone sits down like, I'm sorry, excuse me, half the room sits down.

[00:36:18] Darius: Then they say, please stay standing. If your employees know your core values, half the room sits down. They say, please stay standing. If your customers know your core values, everyone sits down. And I'm looking at this room of 60 entrepreneurs. I mean, some of them like Kendra, Scott graduated from this program.

[00:36:30] Darius: I don't know if you know she is, but she's a famous entrepreneur. There's a lot of entrepreneurs. The guys that did like one a hundred flowers and Rackspace. I mean, there's tons of amazing entrepreneurs that go through this program and they're all sitting down and I'm like, well, where all the CEOs, like, what do you mean?

[00:36:44] Darius: We're all sitting down and I'm like, that doesn't make any sense. And that was the pivotal moment for me. I realized that, like they say, you have to have mission, vision values for your business, but nobody really knows how to do that. And I spent the next few years kind of obsessing. And what I realized was that building a core value or core purpose driven organization, most people just think it's like a box you check.

[00:37:04] Darius: Like it's when you get your thing you do through your MBA program. And my. Yes. Do you have to figure out what's meaningful for you? And you've got to check that box, but you have to design it to be viral and sticky in your organization. during those five years of me getting my ass kicked in business, I spent a lot of time experimenting and I figured it out.

[00:37:22] Darius: How do you design values and purpose and mission? How did you have to design it so people can actually use it. And the book is really a step-by-step manual on how do you build a core value driven organization? Because my belief is, is that core values have the opportunity to be the language of accountability for your organization.

[00:37:37] Darius: And when it does that, it starts to attract people of like mind and like belief. And again, values are the fundamental beliefs of an organization, the personality, the organization. So if I could get a bunch of people to show up who believe what I believe, who talked the way I talk about these beliefs, that I have much higher likeliness of them doing things like working in the way I work and caring the way I care, all these like soft skills that are so meaningful.

[00:38:01] Darius: To execute properly, but people don't know how to do it. So the book is really a step-by-step process and how, how I, I learned to do it and how I teach people to do it. 

[00:38:08] Hala: Yeah. I find it super, super interesting. So for me, when I had a company of 10 people, it was super easy to run. You know, everybody, you get to hand train them, but now we're a company of 60 employees that yeah.

[00:38:20] Hala: Media, and we need things like this, designing a mission, designing core values, because I don't even know everybody who works at my company anymore. And that's why you need like that structure. 

[00:38:30] Hala: So I find this super valuable. So one of the quotes in your book that you say is that companies do not have core values.

[00:38:36] Hala: People have core values. Can you explain what you mean? 

[00:38:39] Darius: So core values have the opportunity again, to become the personality or the sorry, the language of accountability for the organization. it's not like it's like this thing, like until it becomes a thing, it's not a thing, right?

[00:38:50] Darius: So what ends up happening is a company like yap media, you have 60 people and they all have their own individual values. And if you don't define what yap media stands for, and then hold people accountable to it and create a system where that can scale, what ends up happening is you end up getting kind of this like hodgepodge of values and their values will show up in their actions consistently.

[00:39:09] Darius: And so once we pay homage to the fact that, Hey, look, if the company doesn't have them, you're going to get what's there just by default because individuals have their own values. My belief is, is like, they still have them, even if you define what you are and screen for them and make them come to life.

[00:39:23] Darius: But what they do instead is they attach their values to your events. So in core value equation, we say core values for, you need to discover, what's authentic to you discovering your values. Do you need to design them to be viral and sticky, then you need to roll them out. So you need to teach people what they are, indoctrinate them into them, and then you need to implement them ongoing.

[00:39:41] Darius: And then you need to measure for efficacy and do that consistently. And so the process, the book really teaches how do you do that? So that when I get that individual that shows up that has their individual values, that they figure out how do they leverage their individual values? And we do that as part of the rollout.

[00:39:56] Darius: How do you leverage your individual values to make the company values become more alive and well, and the answer is this. It has to happen organically, but you have to have a process to create that organic interactions, which is essentially what I figured out is you got to make it easy. You got to make it organic.

[00:40:10] Darius: It's got it takes time because it's like, again, like you don't learn a language overnight, so it takes time, but you have to create those opportunities and it has to be easy. And so really the book core value equation walks you through. How do you do that stuff? 

[00:40:22] Hala: And so you have your own core values. You have six of them.

[00:40:25] Hala: Can you talk about what each of them are and what they 

[00:40:28] Darius: represent?  I ended up, uh, in 2019, I ended up getting into this program called Stagen, which is conscious leadership program. They have a program called integral leadership and like in my class was the CEO of whole foods. Jason and I were in the same class and the CEO, Doug, who was a former CEO of crate and barrel.

[00:40:46] Darius: And so there's some big shots and there's only 20 of us in the class. It's a one-year long program and we're in the program. And this happened by the way, this is February of 19 a month. After I had said, I'm going to quit my job and we're doing our personal values. And I realized I'm like the core value king, right?

[00:41:02] Darius: I'm starting my, literally that same month writing my book on core values. And I realized I had not done my personal values, which is super weird. I wrote them very quickly cause I, it was easy for me because I had experienced with it. But yeah, my values, I have six values. I always tell me when you get off.

[00:41:16] Darius: I couldn't just land on five. I gave myself six and so number one's happiness, call it heart. So I like to like think of the sticky viral language to describe a value. And there's a description of what that looks like for me and for my family. Love is my second one. And that is Bezos, which is kisses and Spanish.

[00:41:33] Darius: I have the tiger, uh, is passion. That's my third one. My fourth one is curiosity. I call it Cinco, which stands for what? Where, who, when and why create activity is number five. And I call that boom. And my sixth one is balance and I call that movie night. Yeah, it's just, I always measure myself against them again, like, you know, when you're going against your values, because that's when friction starts to get created, whether in your organization or in your life.

[00:41:59] Darius: And for me, I'm always, I always have my eye out. Like, what am I not living right now that I know I want to live? And I always tell people core values of community, slightly aspirational for me, my values that are aspirational or as balanced, like that's hard and happiness. Like I fight to be happy. I fight for balance.

[00:42:14] Darius: The other ones are a little bit easier. Like I'm naturally curious. I'm pretty passionate person, curiosity again, natural creativity, natural, but happiness. And Donald's, I fight for those a lot. 

[00:42:24] Hala: Yeah. I like that. You kind of give everything a catchy secondary name so that it's super memorable. And I think this is super important for organizations because when it comes to building a community, having a common language and things that you guys only know about is really important for bonding.

[00:42:40] Hala: So tell us about why you say that you need that like sticky version of the core value as well. again, you believe that core values, the language of accountability, then the language matters words matter, like literally like empires have grown and fallen because of words. Um, I'm reading a book on my son and we're reading actually about the it's about the history of the world.

[00:42:58] Darius: And we're on the chapter about Islam right now. And you realize that Muhammad basically built an entire empire Islamic empire off of. Like he went out and talked to about Allah, right. And that created this entire empire that got all the different tribes to come together. So we're just so powerful.

[00:43:17] Darius: That's just one example. There's been empire is built on words. Like you look at the United States of America built on the words of our founding fathers. Right. So why would you not pick viral, sticky language that stands for what you stand for? Or you could be like everyone else and pick boring words, like integrity.

[00:43:32] Darius: It's like, well, yeah, everyone has integrity in their core values or, or, driven or, you know, excellence. It's like, well, what's the difference between yaps excellence and the guy down the street. And I'm like, how about say it a different way. It makes it where it sticks in people's minds. There's a reason people do it in branding.

[00:43:50] Darius: And there's a reason that they used to do and core values, which is like, if it's going to be language of accountability, let's give them some language to work with. And I love viral sticky language. 

[00:43:57] Hala: Yeah. I love that tip. So talk to us about what a core value driven organization looks like versus one that has no Corvette.

[00:44:06] Darius: Well, again, going back to your question before is like people have core values companies don't unless you create them in your company. So what ends up happening is 

[00:44:14] Darius: if you don't have a core value driven organization, all that is is me defining what I stand for and holding the organization accountable to it consistently and making a trip throughout the organization.

[00:44:23] Darius: So what does that mean? Does that mean that you're always living those values? No, it means you're always trying to live those values. And when you fall off, you fix, so you get back to center the core. Uh, non-core value-driven organization is someone that just shows up and does what I call BAU business.

[00:44:36] Darius: As usual, you get what you get. Oh, Hey, Johnny, over there has shitty work ethic, but Sally over here has great work ethic. There's value misalignment, by the way, you think that does that doesn't create friction. Your team will manage themselves to the lowest common denominator. So if you let losers hang out in your company, no offense losers, but everyone else is going to be like, well, I guess Hala let's losers hangout here.

[00:44:56] Darius: So I don't have to try as hard, like they put up with bullshit. And so my belief is, is like, if you have a, let's say your values are around work ethic or excellence, but you let mediocrity hangout Well, do you think you're going to really have excellence happen? The answer is absolutely not. You're going to have mediocrity, you'll have pockets of excellence that happened accidentally, or you could do it my way and be super intentional and hold everyone accountable.

[00:45:19] Darius: And the organization accountable to this idea of excellence. And when someone shows up and they can't measure up to that, they get to leave. And what happens then is you have accountability around those values and the people that love those values, there'll be like, Hells yeah, I'm in the right place.

[00:45:34] Darius: And the people that don't are going to be like Hells, no, I want to get out of here. Cause I'm going to, they're going to find out that I don't like this and it's not to say they're bad people. It's just not the right environment for them. So that's how I characterize it at least. 

[00:45:47] Hala: Yeah. I think those are great tips.

[00:45:49] Hala: So there's some mistakes and some common mistakes that people make when it comes to their core values. First of all, they make them too wordy. They're not simple enough. They're too complex. And sometimes they're too nice. So I'd love to get your feedback in terms of like what good core value sound like versus bad.

[00:46:04] your organization has a way you guys speak and there's tough gritty organizations and there's really like buttoned up pretty organizations. And then there's like a middle ground hippy organizations. Like everyone's your values of the personality of the organization.

[00:46:17] Darius: So there's different personalities, just like there's different personalities with people. So a bad values. One that's not authentic. I E you say I value showing up for the team and yet you don't and you're the CEO that's problem. And then my book, I say that the minute that CEO doesn't live the values, you just put a bullet in the head of the values.

[00:46:35] Darius: So that values are ones that are. There are ones that are not authentic. cause again, there's five steps to creating core value driven organization, discover design rollout, implement measure for efficacy. If you discover, and you are trying to please an imaginary people, clients, team members that probably aren't going to be there in the future.

[00:46:53] Darius: Anyway, because you're out of alignment with your values, then you may pick values that are not authentic to who you are. So I've see people do that all the time where they'll pick really like warm and fuzzy values, but they're not a warm and fuzzy organization. That's a bad value. Just say that you don't put up a bullshit people like Travis Kalanick I'm wa I just finished watching the show super pumped dude.

[00:47:12] Darius: That guy, one of their core values was called toe stepping. That was core value. Number seven for Uber toast stepping does that. Connotate like niceness. Hell no, that connotates fucking people up. If they don't live. Oh, stepping, stepping on someone's toes. Have you had someone step on your toes? Holla? Yeah, it hurts a lot.

[00:47:33] Darius: Toe stepping is their number seven value. Well, he ended up creating a toxic culture because of it, but he created something amazing to it. Scale till it didn't there. So that's a bad value from a design standpoint. And that's actually a perfect example. That core values don't need to be nice. Hey man, if you're a toast stepping organization to say what you are, here's what happens if you don't Sally, the flower loving hippie shows up and she sees Travis toast stepping on Johnny.

[00:47:58] Darius: And she's like, whoa, where do I work? And that's a misalignment. Whereas Bobby, who was a bad-ass likes to toast up. He's like, oh cool. We toast up here. No friction. And when I say is, you know, and I do a lot of coaching now and advising with companies, as I say for scale specifically, I say, look, scale is a friction removal process.

[00:48:17] Darius: You want to scale fast, remove friction from your business. The way you move friction is by eliminating problems before they become problems. And what we were talking about. Core value. Alignment is one of the worst problems you can have in your business. That's where you get in fighting and politics and drama and all that bullshit.

[00:48:32] Darius: And I don't want any of that stuff. That's just slowing you down from winning. And so skeletal, friction removal process, and it starts with values being aligned properly. 

[00:48:41] Hala: Okay. So here is some advice that I'd love you to give. So let's say you're a company like mine, my company like blew up so fast. What advice would you give in terms of the executives at my organization or any new startup to begin to develop their core values?

[00:48:56] Hala: Like what are the first things that we should do to kind of brainstorm and hit the drawing board for our core values? 

[00:49:02] Darius: Well, I go step by step through my book. So you need to do the discovery process, which is there's so many different values you can stand for. So you need to really pick what are the.

[00:49:11] Darius: You know, three to six, I say four is the good, I like four to five. This is a good sweet spot. And there's a book called built to last by Jerry porous and Jim Collins. And in that book that they went and studied visionary companies and they, they found out one thing, visionary companies stand for no more than seven and no less than three values.

[00:49:29] Darius: So, and this was studying some of the most iconic companies of last century. So for me, it's, let's pick that out of that hundred. And in my book, we give a list of a hundred, five words that you can in the book. If you pick up the book it's in there 

[00:49:40] Hala: and I highly recommend it and we'll put it in the show notes.

[00:49:43] Hala: Yeah. 

[00:49:43] Darius: So it's in there, there's a guide for this. So we have a guide that we give when you buy the book. And so you just eliminate those 105 words and you pick your top 15 and you rank them in order because values have a hierarchy. So you want to put them in order that now you've discovered what are your top five values?

[00:49:56] Darius: What matters most to you from there? You have to go through a design process. Making them viral, sticky and making them, I have some tests I put them through. Do they stand the test of time? Is there any negativity in there? Uh, do you have product remove product? So I have a laundry list of like checks and balances, but they have to be designed to be able to scale as you scale.

[00:50:17] in order to do that. They need to be designed so that they can become viral and sticky. So you go through that process and then you got to bring them to the team and teach the team so that they learn what they are and create systems for that and the business. And in the book I talked through step by step.

[00:50:30] Darius: How do you do the, to all those things? Yeah. 

[00:50:32] Hala: And I can't wait to take my team through this exercise and super excited about it. So you're known for two things, core values, which we just covered in a lot of detail, as well as scaling businesses. 

[00:50:42] Hala: So you have this methodology, the scale map method map stands for mission, accountability, and performance.

[00:50:48] Hala: So could you go over map and your scale map method and what each section is? And I can kind of just ask you a few questions about each area. 

[00:50:57] Darius: Yeah, there's a word in Japanese called . Have you heard of this word before? Okay. So shabby, it means that there is complexity in simplicity, there's complexity and simplicity.

[00:51:09] Darius: So even though with the core value equation, it's around creating something that's simple. I make chronic person that makes things complex. So I have to simplify it or else I'll never do anything. And the core value equation is all around. How do you simplify the process to make it work? When I left my business and COVID hit, I, you know, was sitting on the sidelines and did my book launch.

[00:51:30] Darius: And then when I came out of that, I got asked to advise some entrepreneurs on scale because I was always the scale guy. Like how do you grow your company fast? And having grown a company that quick firm, I grew my, the first leg of that growth was 30 to 300 employees in 18 months. The next layer, which is crazy, it's a 10 X.

[00:51:46] Darius: Right. and by the way, when I did. We had read off the chart record engagement scores and like zero growing pains. And then we went from 300 to a thousand. And so this is all around scale methodology. So the other thing I learned and got to play with during this time was these different scale systems.

[00:52:02] Darius: And I learned something really simple is that you need to have scale systems to compliment your cultural systems. And I always tell people scales about three things. You need to have execution systems, strategic systems and cultural systems, and they need to talk to each other and they need to be simple.

[00:52:16] Darius: And so scale map was really born out of me, starting to help other CEOs grow their companies. And right now we have scale map method. We, you know, we coach right now, gosh, almost 30 different companies and we teach them the process. And really it comes down to three things. And scale map itself  is the execution side of this.

[00:52:33] Darius: What is the execution asset that I built in the business? And there's three parts mission, which is where are you trying to go? And we'll want to look at that in three different increments, 10 year three-year one year. And when I always say what's going to happen in the next 12 months, What's going to happen in the next three years.

[00:52:47] Darius: And we're Lynn, I just want you to lean into the future and have some faith. And where do you think you'd take the thing in 10 years for some people? So I want to sell before I go find five years. Once I define where I'm trying to go, and I want to look at that in a few areas, revenue, income, staff, size ethics.

[00:53:01] Darius: Am I building a business as sustainable revenue and income will tell me that how many people do I need to get them there? And I want to look at that again, 10, three in one year, and then ethics. Am I creating any future liabilities for myself, subprime mortgage lending. I created future liabilities for myself, my first business.

[00:53:15] Darius: So I learned you have to like be cognizant of that. Then what we do is we create accountability systems around that, and that comes in in a meeting structure. So we teach admission. We teach, how do you build quarterly plans? And so this is what I teach CEOs. How do you have simple systems to do this constant.

[00:53:30] Darius: A is accountability. If I build a quarterly plan and I have my mission to where I'm trying to take the business to, and again, what do I do with that? My team knows what they need to work on. They understand the priorities. I understand it. It's mapped out. I have a plan to work with. Well, a plan is as good as the paper it's written on.

[00:53:46] Darius: If you don't have accountability around that plan. And so a stands for accountability, and we do that in two different ways. Number one is what we call rule of one org chart, which is who owns what defining, who owns what in the business. I don't want overlap, flopping responsibilities. I want people to understand who owns what in the business.

[00:54:02] Darius: I want to spell that out and document it. And I want that to be a strategic tool for growth. I E if I map out your entire organization, what are the top two hires you want to make in the next 12 months, strategic hires? What are the top two hires you want to make in the next three years? Strategic hires, the people you bring into your organization in the next year in three years, leadership wise are going to define where you go in that time.

[00:54:24] Darius: But I want to map that up. So there's clarity. The next thing I want to do is I want to build a meeting cadence. And what I tell people is accountability comes through cadence. Cadence comes through rhythm, and it's the heartbeat of execution in your company. And we do that through a meeting structure, we call 1590 meeting rule and 30 every 30, which is your team meetings and your one-on-ones all right, you got mission.

[00:54:44] Darius: You got accountability. Well, what's going to happen is how loud you're going to start to get performance metrics. Data is going to come out of the business. Well, what do you do with that data? And so P stands for performance and that's looking at the data that comes out of the business. And we do that in three areas.

[00:54:59] Darius: One is a called a five question poll survey, which is me understanding my customer experience and my team experience. The second we call it three by three KPIs. Which is, how do you build KPIs that again, going back to what I said 15 minutes ago, scale is a friction and removal process. I want data to tell me what's breaking before it's going to break.

[00:55:15] Darius: So we have a whole system around that and the last but not least it's called C3 P and L, which is how do you look at financials? So they tell a story of growth. And so it's a really simplistic going back to this idea of Shebooty. Is there complexity and simplicity? I want to really focus on the 20% that's going to move the needle and I want to get everyone aligned around that.

[00:55:34] Darius: And then sit that on top of a cultural asset known as my values. And when you do that and you grow like crazy. 

[00:55:40] Hala: Yeah. I love some of these ideas I've never heard before. And I love them so much like rule of one org charts. The fact that everybody knows exactly what they're supposed to do, one person is assigned to one specific task.

[00:55:52] Hala: There's no confusion. That is so important when you're trying to scale a team. And I love building the org charts for the feature, because that really helps you understand like how to budget, what hires you need to make. Who's going to come into your company and really help scale. And then your, your rules around meetings are super cool.

[00:56:07] Hala: So I'd love to kind of get a little bit more detail about that. So you have the 1590 meeting rule and you also have 30, every 30 rule So let's hear about those two rules regarding meetings.  first of all, most people think meetings suck and they usually do.

[00:56:21] Darius: And so if you have bad meetings, then that means you have bad execution. So if you have ineffective meetings in your business, and we, we use a tool that we teach in scout map called the meeting autopsy, which is you just like, kind of do an autopsy of what your meetings look like and how good are they? And usually people have one of two issues.

[00:56:36] Darius: They have too many meetings or not enough meetings. And so for me, I'm like, let's just keep it simple. Like the daily huddle is the 15 minute meeting and it needs to be done a certain way to maximize daily accountability. So the 1590 meeting rule is around the huddle. And then the 90 minute meeting is your weekly execution of your quarterly plan.

[00:56:53] Darius: Like I want to build a plan for the quarter and then I want to hold people accountable to it week in and week out. And what I do is I look at the business in 13 weeks. sprints You have four, 13 week sprints that come out to 52 weeks a year. I want every week, every five business days, your team has to show up and say that they are either on track or off track on their goals.

[00:57:10] Darius: And if they're off track, we're going to have a discussion about it. And in my businesses, there is no being off track. Like someone has to have died for you to be off track. So, yeah, so scale is a friction removal process. And what I want, what I teach CEOs and entrepreneurs that I work with, I say, Hey, look like we want to get really clear on creating a culture of accountability, but when you've got to make it simple or else your team is going to they'll vote with their feet, they'll be like, oh, Hala has us doing all these things.

[00:57:34] Darius: This sucks. I hate it here. And my perspective is like, no, let's make it really simple. And then they'll get ROI out of it. you will create an organization where nobody can hide. And when nobody can hide, like there will be people that like to hide who will leave.

[00:57:47] Darius: And I say, great, sayonara And the people that don't, but then there's the other side, which is people that like accountability. And They'll be like, Hells yah. Like Hala's got a great business. I love our meetings because we get so much stuff done and everyone's always hitting their goals and the business is growing and we're getting more organized, not less organized.

[00:58:03] Darius: So that happens because you have good meeting cadence around your quarterly plans and around your daily accountability, the 30, every 30 it's the 30 minutes you need to spend with each team member every 30 days. And I built this framework around how do you do one-on-ones? And so I teach that in our bootcamp.

[00:58:20] Darius: And then also we have a mastermind. I teach that to them and I also teach them what to my one-on-one clients. But it's really focusing on the one thing that matters most to your team. And you know what that is. hala 

[00:58:29] Hala: What 

[00:58:30] Darius: themselves. 

[00:58:32] Hala: Aint that the 

[00:58:33] Hala: truth 

[00:58:33] Darius: You gotta make it about them and you've got to pour into them and you got to, and if you do it the right way, you can figure out what's slowing them down.

[00:58:40] Darius: And then once you pour into them through a really nice framework, you can then hold them accountable to what you want them to be. held accountable to But what a lot of managers do is the only time they meet with their team is when it's bad news or to give them shit about not hitting their numbers. And I'm like, yeah, like you're just the dad that's over critical.

[00:58:56] Darius: Like nobody wants to hear that. Right. So my question is, what are you doing to make them successful? And are you creating an opportunity and nice consistency around one-on-ones and one-on-ones is the biggest area. Have some of my clients that I have 500,000 employees and they have 33% of their managers doing one-on-ones.

[00:59:14] Darius: And I'm like, you're telling me that two out of every three people don't do one-on-ones or your business. You can't tell me that's not affecting your, your ability to win. I know it is. So for us, we created a nice system around that. And, and then what's cool is if you do it one way, then you can hold all your managers accountable to that same way.

[00:59:30] Darius: So you have what's called consistency. And with consistency, you remove friction from the business and scale is a friction removal process. So that's what. 

[00:59:37] Darius: you're doing 

[00:59:38] Hala: Amazing. Oh my God, Darious, all this information was super valuable. I feel like there's a lot of things that people can take away, but I feel like there's so much knowledge that we haven't uncovered yet.

[00:59:49] Hala: That is in your bootcamp, that is in your mastermind. So tell us about how we can find out about those resources. 

[00:59:55] Darius: So you could go to do Daria scale.com. So that's where you can learn more about the bootcamp and about the coaching. that's kind of my give back right now. I love pouring into, to CEOs and entrepreneurs.

[01:00:06] Darius: So Derrius scout.com is a good place to do that. Uh, you can go to the real areas for all things areas, um, and that kind of has the book and podcasts and stuff like that. But a lot of this also is on podcasts. So the greatness machine. And on that one, we're interviewing a lot of these experts that have built these amazing businesses.

[01:00:21] Darius: And there's a lot of learning there too. So those are the three places, but all things that the real Darious That's all things. 

[01:00:28] Hala: Yeah. And I'll put all those links in the show notes, but selfishly, I want to understand what can people expect in the bootcamp? Like, what is that like?

[01:00:34] Darius: Oh yeah. That's like drinking from a fire hose for three days. So it's really three days you come in, we teach you, we do, we build your rise targets. So we build your 10, three and one year plan. We teach you how to build quarterly plans. So you can start to do quarterlies the right way in your business.

[01:00:50] Darius: And I mean, it's so many entrepreneurs do those wrong and they build these crappy plans that don't do anything. So for us it's how do you build like these rock solid accountability plans? And then we really take you through teaching. How do we do the meetings, showing you how to roll it out, teaching you how to build KPIs, showing you how to roll that out.

[01:01:05] Darius: So it's a three day bootcamp where people leave and they're like, all right, it's a lot, but I have a lot to work with now that I can then, and we'd show you, how do you bring it back into your. 

[01:01:15] Hala: And is it typically like a CEO and entrepreneur? Is that like, you bring your exec team and you do this, is it virtual?

[01:01:21] Hala: Is it with a 

[01:01:21] Darius: group? Yeah, it's a group. We do small group. I run it. So it's, you get to spend three days with myself, which is always fun. And we do a lot of open coaching, so I'll, I mean, I'll do stuff where I just like, you could bring me any problem and mastermind, we do that too, but yeah, like it's you and I let people bring their number too.

[01:01:39] Darius: So if you, and your number two it's small group, it's a lot of one-on-one time. I have coaches that will meet with you before and after and during. And we do a lot of breakouts. It's the workshop. So it's interactive. There's, there's like you're working like there's a lot of interactivity. And the idea is that you're building you're really building these things for your business, that you need to get yourself organized and learning the framework so that you can then go back and apply it to your business.

[01:02:03] Darius: Because so many people are just guessing. And the problem I find with a lot of these other scale systems is there, you know, by the way, like, I didn't make all this stuff up. I did the other scale systems. They're hard. I quit. You know, I'm a creator. I'm like, this is a better way of doing it. I'm going to do it this way.

[01:02:17] Darius: And I kept like retweaking other systems and also creating my own stuff. So this is all born on the back of other systems that are, God bless them. They're great systems, but this is a better technology from my perspective. 

[01:02:29] Hala: Yeah. Well, I'm super excited about it. I'm going to pitch it to my team and for us to do the scale map bootcamp with you Derrius, and hopefully we get to do that.

[01:02:38] Hala: So the way that we close our episodes here on young and profiting podcast is we ask the same questions to every guest at the end of the show. The first question is what is one actionable thing our young and profiteers can do today to be more profiting tomorrow, So here's something that I tell everybody and I call it my fulfillment formula, which is, and if you do these three things, I think that this is at least what I've learned over my life.

[01:03:02] Darius: I'm 44. So I'm young, but I'm also old, right? Like I'm, I'm, uh, I'm on the fence. You medium, medium. Well, I'm experienced. Right. So are you living in your values? So get clear on what your values are because the minute you ever feel icky or like friction in your life, it's, you're rubbing up against your values.

[01:03:21] Darius: So get clear on what your values are and start to look at them on a regular basis. And so I always say, are you living your values? Are you working in your strengths? Are you doing work where you are working within your talents? And I like strength finder. That's my tool that I use. And then I teach. So go pull your strength finders, go look at your strengths and say, ask yourself the honest question.

[01:03:41] Darius: Am I actually living in these strengths? And then start to measure yourself against it if you want. But am I living in my. They're working in my strange living, in my values. Am I doing it with a high level of awareness? And I have a buddy who, uh, his name is Marco Genta. He's a CEO of a company called plus plus.

[01:03:57] he says fulfillment comes through again, living in my values, working in my strains and doing what the high level of awareness and awareness comes through. Three, four areas. Number one, am I being mindful? Do I have a mindfulness practice? Am I exercising my diet and consistently eating a good diet?

[01:04:15] Darius: Am I sleeping well? So are you getting rest? Are you practicing mindfulness? Are you treating your body like a temple, right. Doing the right things for my body, my working and my talents and living in my values. And so my answer to your, your yap crowd is if you're doing those things to start to pay attention to those things, the good things just happen.

[01:04:32] Hala: Hmm. Okay. And our last question is what is your secret to profiting in life? I 

[01:04:38] Darius: think it's, it goes back to what I just said. I really think it's, it's finding that that cross-section between what you love to do. There's a word in Japanese called eeky guy. And so it's really finding that cross section between what do you love to do and what people will pay you for, and really going all in on that.

[01:04:55] Darius: And so for me, it's like, how can I do more of that? 

[01:04:58] Hala: I love that 

[01:05:00] Hala: Thank you so much, dairies for sharing your wisdom and sharing your story.

[01:05:02] Hala: It was super valuable.