32How to Stay Ahead with Crowd innovation & the Power of Inviting Others to Apply their Own Magic with Kal Shota


Join, Kal Sahota, CEO and President of crowd source innovation Hero X. 

In today's business world, innovation is key to success. Implementing crowd innovation can help organizations to stay ahead of the competition and keep their business fresh and relevant. 

With over 25 years in corporate, primarily in Financial Services and her passion for innovation, Kal has been well positioned to understand the environment of current business and powerfully support Brands and Organizations in identifying strategies related to open innovation.

Kal, shares that the team at Hero X believe that the solution to the world’s problems are hidden away in the minds of people we just haven’t connected with yet.

Listen and discover how:  👉The power of crowd innovation can help you solve for tomorrow’s seemingly.

👉 Genius can live anywhere and you are invited to  apply your own magic 

👉 A tattoo parlor played a pivotal role in the clean up the ocean Reseach  👉 A Honolulu architect  solved the challenge of a bottle opener 

👉 Asking ourselves intensional questions in order to inspire and lead others.

Get in touch: 

https://www.herox.com Launch a challenge: https://www.herox.com/i-want-to-launch-challenge Help Solve a challenge: https://www.herox.com/sign-up

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*This Transcript is Autogenerated

[00:00:27] Hi hello and Welcome to the Hi Hello Sura show. I am your host, Sura Al_naimi on the show we're joined by Kal Shota. 

[00:00:36] Kind of has the pleasure of connecting with organizations all over the globe to speak to them about their innovation strategies. Specifically how to implement crowd. As a key component of that strategy. With over 25 years in corporate, primarily in financial services. Her last role as an executive. 

[00:00:56] With a passion to innovation, coupled with a background in the corporate world. She's well positioned to understand the environment of current business and powerfully support brands and organizations in identifying strategies related to open innovation. Cal joint hero acts in 2015 and is currently solving. 

[00:01:16] As the chief executive officer and president. With the T being virtual she's physically located in Vancouver, BC. So listen to the show. And discover how in today's business world innovation is key to success. And implementing crowd innovation can help you stay ahead of the competition and keep your business fresh. 

[00:01:41] Discover how a tattoo Paula played a pivotal role in the ocean research cleanup project. 

[00:01:50] How a Honolulu architect helps solve the challenge of a bottle opener. We go into all things around leadership and how genius can live anywhere. And we can invite our team to apply their own magic. And how has leaders, we can ask ourselves intentional questions in order to inspire. And propel others into success. So without further ado let's jump in Well, Kal welcome to the show. Thank you. Thanks for having me. It's an absolute pleasure to be here. I'm so grateful that we found the time and I'm happy to see that the weather is improving where you're at. So that would be lovely. Yeah, you can see the greenery behind me. So it's, uh, it's nice that, uh, spring has, as they say sprung, so, oh yeah.

[00:02:41] I used to have weather change. Well, I'm, I'm really excited for our conversation. I'm also really thrilled for our listeners, uh, to get to know all about, well, just about everything really, but we might just begin with the fundamentals. so as CEO of hero X, what is hero X? Uh, for those that don't know. Well here at we is, uh, quite simply it's a platform that supports organizations in finding new ideas and that's often times referred to as crowdsourcing.

[00:03:15] So if you think about it simply, you know, if you work with your team and you get together and you do a strategy session and you come up, all of all these great ideas and, um, you know, how that moves your business forward, just from that, you know, um, Enlisting all of that intelligence from within the team.

[00:03:33] So imagine if you were to tap into the minds of, you know, individuals all over the globe, which is really what hero X is. So it gives you, uh, it's a platform that gives you the ability to be able to go to the crowd launch, an actual challenge ask, and I ask a question, um, and, and see the responses that you get.

[00:03:55] And the platform is turnkey. It gives you everything from launching your challenge all the way through to hosting it, to announcing winners. So you can, it's a, it's a platform that's, um, based on incentive challenges. So you can either ask for the best idea, or you can ask for a problem to be solved and individuals from all over the globe, submit their ideas onto the platform.

[00:04:18] And then you go in and you judge them and you award the best solution. And you self-select as to what that award is gonna be. It can be monetary. It can be in kind, it can be whatever you want it to. It's so incredible. And, and I know I kind of, I feel like I jumped the gun a little bit, but before all of that, what, what about you?

[00:04:39] What brought you to up with your ex? What was it about it, um, about your particular background? What, what excited you to, to join the team? Because you've, you've the, organization's been around for eight years and you have been there for seven years. So really, really from the beginning. So what made you say this is, this is what I want to, uh, get on board.

[00:05:01] Well, you know, the really interesting thing is, um, I would say hero X almost kind of selected me in an odd kind of way. So I found myself here very serendipitously. So 25 years of my career was really based in finance. So I was a part of the financial services industry. I was a financial advisor. I was an executive with an insurance company.

[00:05:22] And my last role in the industry. Um, I worked with a really small boutique tax and estate planning firm. And, um, their focus was really, um, you know, working on just a handful of clients. And I worked very closely with the, with the owner and, um, oddly I supported him in growing the business so quickly, really doubling everything within the four years I was there.

[00:05:48] He sat me down and he said, look, you literally worked yourself out of a. Like I have no desire to grow the business anymore. I have more than what I need. Um, I'll take care of you for the next few months, but you know, I'm gonna invite you to basically move on with your career. And he was a part of, of a business coaching program out in Toronto.

[00:06:10] And he said, you know, Dawn's on me. He says that there is, uh, an individual in the business coaching class I'm taking strategic coach actually. And, uh, he's recently started an internet startup. So, you know, I think he could really use your talents. So, um, Rob was the individual that, uh, I was working with at the time.

[00:06:29] And I met with him on a Thursday afternoon. And, um, Friday morning, the next day I spoke to Christian, who is the founder. Co-founder one of them actually of here L and, uh, you know, one or two conversations later. I had no idea what crowdsourcing was, um, tech space. I had no idea what any of that was, you know, it was all quite foreign to me, but you know, what really landed for.

[00:06:57] Was the whole idea of democratizing. So when you crowdsourcing how it, it kind of connects my insides to what I do all day, every day, the best way to put that. So it's, it's home for not only what I do, but for, for it, it aligns with my insides and my heart, the best way that it possibly. I'm hugely passionate about the space and in that initial conversation, it instantly showed up that way for me.

[00:07:27] So with crowdsourcing, the reason why it's so amazing for me and the reason I tapped into it so quickly is when you submit ideas onto a crowdsourcing platform is completely un-credentialized particularly at Hero X. So it eliminates the whole idea of color, creed religion, social status, geographic, marginalized communities, all of that disappears so long as you have the best idea.

[00:07:53] And if you have connectivity, you have the exact same opportunities as everybody else in this world. So for me, that is phenomenal, because it, it, it levels a playing. So for those that don't have a formal education, but just have a natural intellect, they're able to contribute their ideas and potentially shift the way organizations, you know, move forward with what they do by presenting their ideas and in doing so, and in winning the prize, you know, particularly those that come from marginalized communities.

[00:08:30] You've won something now. So it's my small way of working with an organization that teaches people how to fish not gives them fish. So it's really my small way of eradicating hunger and homelessness. Not by giving away money if I could, I would, but by making it fair for anybody to come and compete and earn no different than anybody.

[00:08:56] So I think it's that part of what hero X stands for and really the foundation of what crowdsourcing is that that is so meaningful to me. And it's, I'm so passionate about what I do. I'm 51 years old. I don't think I've worked this hard in my entire life, but I absolutely love what I do. I love the way you put it that it's.

[00:09:19] It's connecting to insights and it's what you do every day. Yeah. So that's so vivid, you know, and I feel like this essence of democratizing, um, and, and diversity is, is in the fabric of hero X too, in terms of the team as well. Most certainly, you know, it's, um, it's interesting. We just, uh, celebrated international women's day.

[00:09:47] And I had the pleasure of, I was hosted on a radio show and, you know, the whole conversation of diversity came up and, and, you know, the way I've always looked at it and I've been blessed. And the way I was raised there, wasn't really a distinction between, you know, what, myself, my sister and my brother, we were just the same.

[00:10:07] And I think that's how it should be looked at is if you just level the playing field and you. You bring on team members for their unique ability and their talents, the whole idea of gender and all those, those other elements of diversity just naturally fix themselves. And for hero X, our team is I think, more than 50% women and it's diverse across, you know, multiple different ways.

[00:10:33] But when we bring on talent, we care about who you are, what you bring to the table. And, you know, you'll I say this oftentimes particularly when I, when I meet new hires and new team members is, and, and this might be a very simplistic way of looking at things is if I don't want you at my home for dinner, then I don't want you on my team.

[00:10:53] It's just that simple. We hire good people because when it comes to skill sets and, and coaching and teaching you into, you know, working a new process or taking on a new role, you can coach anybody into anything really. You can teach them every so long as you're coachable, but if you're not good people, then the essence of hero wax is really our, our core values and our core values.

[00:11:19] And aren't something that just hang on a wall. they're present in every conversation that you'll have with a hero waxer, you know, the, the, the hunger, uh, hunger to learn and grow courage, proceeds, growth, uh, be happy and have fun do with the easy way. Be humble. I mean, there's so many elements of our core values, but they show up in every conversation.

[00:11:43] And in doing so I think there's just a natural, um, uh, not only is there diversity within the team, but I would say that really there isn't really hierarchy. It's a very, very flatwork chart. So, you know, each and every one of us are coached into showing up in a conversation in service of one another in service of our partners in service of our clients.

[00:12:08] Nobody shows up in service of themselves because if you always show up in service of the other individual, I think the whole element of that conversation becomes far more powerful. And in fact, I would argue if we showed up in service up in everything that we do in life, imagine where we would be as citizen of this world.

[00:12:27] Overall, what's really striking me, is that. Spoken with that organizations. And there is this, um, you know, the touch points with the end consumer, right? And the way that we aim engage with the end consumer is like this and this and this, and this is what they need to experience. But so often, um, that isn't woven into the fabric of the organization.

[00:12:53] And so there's a disconnect between, okay, well, we're gonna treat these people like this, especially internally it's, you know, it's none of those benefits. There's none of the, that value system isn't imbued. So I'm really, uh, mesmerized by the connection between the two that you have. Yeah. How you are with one another is how you should show up for your, for your partners and your clients.

[00:13:18] It's just a way of being, you know, it's interesting. We were, um, you were interviewed, um, Well, I can say it's the intelligence community. I can't say who, um, they were going through vendor selection. And one of the questions that they asked of us was, um, they talked around our core values. And, um, we weren't selected as a vendor for, for, um, other reasons, but, you know, they did come back and they debriefed with us and they said we really wanted to debrief with you because he said, you're the only organization that answered the core values question, the way we wanted it to be answered.

[00:13:56] And the distinction is core values. Isn't what you do. Core values is who you are. Mm-hmm and that's a big distinction that a lot of organizations don't. It's who you are when you hire the right people, when you hire good people, then, then every conversation that you have is just it's meaningful and it's, and it foundationally, it's just, it's a, it's a good conversation.

[00:14:25] And the thought process starts in the right place, which is, as I mentioned already showing up in service. So when we, um, think about some of the, some of the projects that have come to life and with the democratized ability for people to contribute, uh, are there, is there one or a couple that, that stand out to you that might surprise people?

[00:14:49] Because, I mean, when, when I think about running, for example, a workshop, we, we want to have dive university in the room and we want to have naivety in the room. Uh it's to our advantage. So I'm just curious about if there are any, um, stories that come to mind. You know, there's, there's one and I'm sure there's many more.

[00:15:10] Right. But this one was just really interesting to me because, um, ANHEUSER BUSCH ran a, um, a challenge on our site for a new glass bottle open. And, um, it wasn't a large challenge. It was a relatively small challenge, but the winning solution came from an architect from Honolulu. And what really blew my mind there is you would never think that for a glass bottle opener mechanism versus like, you know, being an architect, how that could possibly be connected somehow.

[00:15:41] But he's the one that actually had the best. Know, um, and even going back and this, this challenge wasn't hosted on Hix, this challenge was hosted actually, um, on X PRIZE which is an organization that Hero X actually spun off of. And, um, it was the oil cleanup prize, and there's, there's many aspects of it, but just, you know, getting down to your question, um, out of the, one of the 10 top solutions in that oil cleanup challenge.

[00:16:12] Was a tattoo parlor owner out of Vegas. And it was just blows your mind as to, you know, where these amazing ideas come from and, you know, scientists couldn't figure out or, or move this technology that they were looking for forward for over 20 years. And this tattoo parlor owner was able to present them with an idea which took 'em to the top 10 best solutions.

[00:16:42] And whether it was the way, you know, you know, the, the ink came off the skin. I don't, I don't know what prompted that, but the, the biggest power of crowdsourcing is, you know, when you do something all day, every day, you have the curse of knowledge. You see everything a certain way, whether you want to or not, it just happens.

[00:17:01] It just it's naturally. It just, that's just the way things go. So when you, when you look at something with fresh eyes, from a slightly different perspective, if you don't look here and you look here, you might see something that's been missed for years. And there's just such a power to that, that you don't really get how amazing it is until you start to dig into, um, some of those challenge winners within the hero X platform, and anybody can go into hero x.com.

[00:17:33] Look at the projects and look to see that the winners that were selected, cuz each of them have profiles. On hero X and you can get a sense and feel of the hundred and 75 countries represented on the hero X platform, how many different countries are represented all these different walks of life and what these people actually do.

[00:17:52] Some of them are, are doctors that, you know, play around on the hero X site in the evenings, because it's just something fun to do. You know, it's, it's phenomenal. The power of just having that freedom to submit ideas, um, without any judgment and without, um, any credentials, if you will, as I've mentioned already.

[00:18:13] That's so I, I just, I love this so much. I wanna be doing a lot of research about the tattoo parlor and the, the ocean cleanup and also the Honolulu. I'm just gonna be ravaging the, uh, the case studies that you have, you know, because it it's so inspiring and it, and it totally makes sense, um, that, you know, the more I know, the more I can't.

[00:18:33] You know, I can't unsee what I know. And so that helps with my expertise, but then it gets in the way of really that fresh thinking, you know, that we're, we're craving so much when we bump up against these challenges. Um, I'm just, you mentioned earlier that the, uh, your team, it's a very flat structure and it's, I feel like there's just so much in there.

[00:18:54] And in our previous conversation, you talked about, um, individuals having the ability to apply their own magic. And that really stuck with me. So I was wondering if you could share a little bit about that. Yeah. So, um, as is the case in any organization you really wanna. What we said is strategic themes and operational themes, kind of, this is the direction that the, the company wants to go.

[00:19:17] This is how we wanna grow. So as leadership, it's our responsibility to do that initial draft, but everybody participates in that process. So they go in, they look to see what it is that we're up to. We all come into an agreement. And an alignment that these are the themes that we wanna follow for this quarter.

[00:19:36] And this is in fact, the direction that we wanna go then each and every team member self-selects goals that support these themes. So if this is the direction, this is the direction the ship is headed. And these are the things that need to occur. Hence the themes, then team members to select certain goals that really move those things forward.

[00:19:57] And we don't, we don't, um, voluntarily you to do something. You know, what we do is when we hire the team, we hire for diversity and we hire for diversity, not only on who you are, but. Your, your makeup, if you will. So we, uh, lean on strength finder and Colby, which are two aptitude tests. And the way we hire, we hire such that there's a diversity within that as well.

[00:20:24] So when I build our possibilities team, there's a balance of different Colby's. So this way, when people show. Every individual, see things slightly differently. There is no power to a team when everybody agrees with each other, there's power to a team where certain people see things a certain way. Other people see things another way, and then to be able to powerfully collaborate and decide on what makes the most sense.

[00:20:52] So you self select the goals that you wanna be able to do and the individual tactics and activities that support that goal. And naturally it's gonna tie into your unique abilities, things that you love to do. If you did what you did all day, every day, and you love it, work feels like play. It does not feel like work.

[00:21:13] So if 80% of the time you get to lean into your unique abilities, and if I've done my job well and built the team well with a balance of unique abilities, everything that needs to get done is just gonna get done here. Here's everything that needs to get done sitting on this table. If I've built a diverse enough team.

[00:21:31] Capabilities people are gonna self-select everything that needs to get done. There's very little, if anything that gets left on the table at the end of our planning sessions, so everything gets done and whoever loves it, gets to lean into it. If that makes sense. Oh, it really does. I'm I'm I kinda just be a fly on the wall during this.

[00:21:52] It sounds Ely incredible. Um, it takes courage though, right? Yeah. Like it takes courage to be able to. Um, know that you've built the team. Well, it takes courage to be able to trust their abilities and it takes courage to know what they say they're gonna do, they're gonna do, but they select their own metrics.

[00:22:12] They report on their own metrics. We all agree if it makes sense. And, and you know, the other thing that's really powerful about this organization. It, um, we are we're, we don't make wrong. Okay. And, and there's a, there's a natural, psychological safety that's attached to that. Mm-hmm . So what that means is we encourage you to reach and go beyond, be courageous, you know, experiment, try new things, present new ideas, lean into them.

[00:22:44] And, and what I say to the team is this, if, if your idea and if, what we're up to. just, it kills it. It's all about you guys. If we crash and burn or if something doesn't go well, or if this quarter is not as successful as it should have been, then, then it's all me. If everything goes wrong. It's my fault. If everything goes amazing, I take no credit.

[00:23:09] It's all you guys. I stand in front of that. And that creates a natural, psychological safety. That if you, if you try something new and if it doesn't go well, you're not gonna get chastised for it. We're gonna celebrate the fact that you had courage to try something different. And then we're gonna lean into that courage and decide.

[00:23:29] This might be something that. We should park for now, or it didn't work out quite as well as we wanted. So we're gonna fail fast and we're gonna try something else. Next quarter, if you have the psychological safety, if you encourage the fresh thinking, then the places that organizations can go is gonna be far quicker, far, faster, and much more agile.

[00:23:54] It's, um, it's really unique to have that psychological safety and that trust. And the other thing that struck me a lot is, um, when you mentioned that people are self-selecting their tasks, that also requires, um, self-awareness. To know, this is the thing that I really wanna go after, you know? Yeah. Um, and so all of that is to say that it seems like there's a, there's, there's a continuous cycle of, of reflection and, and coaching and, uh, open conversation, you know, just intuitively it feels that.

[00:24:32] So, how do you, um, how do you support that? Or how do you support people having these candid conversations? Because you mentioned that, you know, we're all agreeing, then we're not strong. Correct. So we do that on a weekly basis. So you, self-select your goals, you self-select your metrics and every single week you report on your metrics and if things aren't going well and you continue to kind of miss your mark.

[00:24:58] Then the team is coached in asking the question, how can we support you? How can we create the space to potentially give you that added time to be able to hit your mark? Did you set your metric too high? Was it too robust? Should you set it a little bit more like middle ground? Because you're, you're trying to take too big a bite there's there's multiple reasons why we don't hit our metrics.

[00:25:26] It's not because you didn't do a good job that doesn't exist here. There's a reason why, whatever that reason is, we're gonna address it as a team. And the whole point of it is gonna be support. Team members are gonna put their hand up and say, Hey, why don't you? And I sit down next week. I have some ideas that might help you.

[00:25:44] Or whatever that might look like as an activity, as a result of that conversation. But the whole point of it being is if team members don't reach the mark that they set for themselves, then the rest of the team is there to rally behind them. It's always about rallying. You know, we, we rise and fall as a team and each and every one of them I'll say to them, you guys are all business.

[00:26:12] Treat this like your own business, when you wanna make decisions where you, where you feel the need to, you know, um, have budget for certain spends, ask yourself if this is your business, would you actually spend that money? They give that thought process before they even come to me. So 99% of the time when they present me with the idea, it's usually the right idea because they've already given all of the necessary.

[00:26:38] You, you coach them into thinking about all the things they need to consider. And by the time they come to you, they've already gone through that process. So, you know, it turns less into Cal can I to showing up and saying, here's the business case. Here's why I think we need to move forward. It makes good sense.

[00:26:57] Here are the metrics attached. I think it makes good sense. Cal, what do you think? That's a very different conversation versus I need to spend X number of dollars because I wanna get this marketing thing done. That's very D. They participate in that decision making process. And I make that very transparent.

[00:27:17] I think I recall you mentioning that when you are discussing or you're giving feedback, you really share the nuances of what's going on in your mind so that it, it gives people, uh, like a window into what you're considering so that, you know, when they are, somebody is considering an idea or an initiative they're able to kind of.

[00:27:39] Set into that, you know, that mindset and, and, and then that becomes, uh, the way that they move forward through the challenge. Yeah. You know, what I find is, um, less than good leaders will, um, make it seem as though their role is so hard. It's so difficult to do what I do. You couldn't possibly do. What I do addict is the worst.

[00:28:07] In my humble opinion that you can do as a leader. I think the most powerful leaders break things down in bite size pieces for their team. So they understand what your thinking is. I say the same thing to all of the young people in my, in my life, my nieces, my nephews, my son, you know, I will always share everything that's in my.

[00:28:28] You decide what you wanna use and you decided what you wanna discard. It's entirely up to you. But I always share my thought process, how I got to where I got to. I'm not suggesting that I'm the best leader. I'm not suggesting that I'm the benchmark, but there may be something in the journey that I've taken to get to the decision that I got to, that they have taken some learning.

[00:28:50] doesn't mean it's all of it. It might even just be part of it, but without getting the bigger, without understanding the bigger picture and the context, it's difficult for them to actually, you know, lean into their own leadership. Every single person on my team, I don't hire employees. I only hire leaders because I believe everybody has the ability to lead.

[00:29:14] Those, um, good leaders wake up every single morning and they don't worry about hitting this mark or that mark. They worry about how do I inspire today. How do I show up in every conversation and inspire my team to be the best that they can be at what they do because their unique ability is distinct from mine.

[00:29:38] If they lean super powerfully into their unique ability into their leadership, and I can inspire pull that out of them. Imagine if we have all of us doing. What would be the lift for this team versus one person saying, Hey, this is how it should be done. You know, follow me. No, it's about, this is where we're gonna go and we're gonna do it together.

[00:30:01] That push it's felt in every conversation it's felt in every strategic brainstorming conversation. We have every single quarter, if they don't leave inspired and I can see the inspiration, not in their words, but in their faces. Then I have failed at what I do. What in what inspired, um, you to lead in this way?

[00:30:27] Um, I think part of it is just the fabric of your being. And I think, you know, while I was, I have been really blessed. Um, my, my parents really they're my heroes. Yeah. You know, they, um, my father is extremely tenacious. And my mother is a, a perfect blend of spirituality and empathy. Um, but they're the most hardworking people in this world that I've ever met.

[00:30:56] And, um, leadership is interesting. Um, my, my father actually, he owns a, a farm. And you'd think, oh, it's, it's just a farm. A business is a business is a business. So I've learned from this high, you know, what they did to, to keep that business going and how they treated the people that worked for them. And that learning, I think is deep setting you from way back.

[00:31:22] And you can't, to your point, you can't unlearn what you've learned. You know, I've also seen environments where, um, This person should be fired. They're they're not good at what they do. They need to be let go, you know, but you bring a different leader in and what they're able to pull out of that person.

[00:31:43] That's a completely different person sometimes. And the results you get are night and day. So I believe that if you're good at what you do, and if you're perceptive as a leader, it's difficult to not pull the good. Out of everybody and the ability out of them. I, I believe I see everything as a glass half.

[00:32:02] I don't see anything as a glass, half empty. What do you lean on, uh, in, in times of increased stress or strain? What is the thing that, um, you, you talked about, uh, like everybody rising together and having this trust and rallying, but I've witnessed, um, You know, organizations and also teams and leaders that that's kind of, that's where you kind of see, um, like the flabby parts of an organization when it's under strain.

[00:32:34] So I'm just curious, like, what do you, um, what do you rely on or what do you go back to to make sure, like, are we strong here? Um, this needs, you know, this needs building some more muscle or I can see this is happening within myself. I'm gonna go, you know, ground in this sort of way. It's, it's quite an open question, but I.

[00:32:54] What came to mind? So two things, um, if I'm gonna, if I've heard your question accurately, um, number one is if you're in the right environment, if I'm a part of the right team, there's a natural belief in system. Inside of me, I believe in what we do. I believe that this is gonna be enormously success.

[00:33:19] That's the, the foundation of where my energy comes from is I believe it. And you know, when it, um,

[00:33:32] So, if you could share the, I wanna make sure I'm answering you correctly and I'm just going off on a tangent. So what was the second part of your question? I wanna make sure I understand it clearly. I guess what I'm really struck by is that, you know, I'm sitting here and, and here that here. Hero X, the, the humans that work there, this is just such a wonderful, um, environment, very intentional environment that has been built to foster that.

[00:33:58] And I'm wondering, um, you know, other individuals, when they are, there's gonna be moments of strained or may maybe like the less ideal environment. Yeah. What can they draw on? The first part is like, what can they draw on? Or what inspiration can they draw on to kind. Get things recalibrated. And then the second part of the question was kind of more personal.

[00:34:19] Like what do you draw on when you're like, right. Whoa, we've kind of gone off kilter here. Like what do you come back to? You know, what, um, humility. I think that when you, um, when you have leaders that believe they have everything figured out, um, it doesn't work in my, in my humble opinion, the best leaders are the ones that show up humble.

[00:34:44] And they believe that there is something for them to learn in every conversation. So if we're not getting to where we need to be then to not be afraid to say, did we not. Do we not do that quite right. Do we need to go back to it? Do we need to revisit it? What can be done differently and to do it in a way that as I mentioned already, there is no make wrong, but just to, just to make it as a part of that process and the fabric of how we operate as a team, that if we don't get to where we need to get to our processes, we look at everything very intentionally.

[00:35:21] We adjust, we tweak and we move forward with courage. If that doesn't work again, we tweak, we tune, we do what we need to do. We move forward again with complete courage, but without humility, that's not possible. There's no space for growth. If you lack humility, you know, just the other day, um, we went through this planning process and one of my team members came to me and said, you know, Cal, I think the team is getting lost between.

[00:35:50] The the future of where we wanna get to and the, the immediate, and it was a blind spot for me. I, I didn't, I didn't see that, that I was doing that. And so I took that and I said, I really appreciate you sharing that. And in today's team meeting, I showed up and I, and I reiterated look, please remember that if I bring like longer term thinking to a conversation, don't lose sight of what the near term is, your goals, your metrics is what you wanna focus on.

[00:36:20] Be excited about the future, but keep your eyes on the prize. And if my thinking in my mindset was look, I know what I'm doing. You know, I'm the boss. Yeah. And you don't know what you're talking about then that would not have been possible. So without humility, there is no growth. It doesn't work. I, I think humility, but also what's striking me as a sense of confidence as well, you know?

[00:36:48] Yeah. But you know what that comes from really believing in what you do. Mm. It sounds so simple. Mm-hmm right. And, and, um, There's always that element. I don't know if I'm doing this right. and I'm, I'm being very honest. Like I, I show up that that occurs for me every day. It's like, am I doing it right? Am am did I, did I do that right?

[00:37:11] Was that powerful enough there? And have I considered everything? What am I not considering? That's where the sleepless nights come from. Cause I, I so committed to the success of this organization. And the mission that it is that I wanna make sure that I'm showing up the best that I can be and I'm not missing anything.

[00:37:29] So it's just, you know, being super committed and just really passionate about our mission. And it's not always. It's, you know, success. People think it's like that overnight thing, right? Because that's what the big splash is in the newspapers. Right? It's like this company went from here and all, but nobody talks about the years and years of struggle.

[00:37:52] Success is about incremental steps in the right direction, time and time again until you get to where you need to. It's not this big and fast, you know, quick and fast answer. None of that exists. You have failed a hundred times before you won that one time. Nobody talks about the failures, but it's the results of the failures that take you one step closer to the right successes that you need to do to catapult any organization to the next level.

[00:38:24] So just showing up with that passion and that belief that what we're doing and what we're up to. Is bigger than all of us. We're all. There's one, there's one consistent, um, thing you're gonna catch in every single team. Remember when you speak to them, is we're up to bigger things. We wanna, we wanna leave this world in a better place.

[00:38:48] This is about impact. It's not just about dollars. It's not just about out, nobody on this team, clock punches. You know, the biggest issue I have is getting people off. Telling people, why are you working on a weekend? Okay. It's 9:00 PM. Get offline, like stay offline and to be in an organization where you struggle with getting people offline and encouraging them to get their arrest.

[00:39:14] Mm-hmm , that's pretty powerful. It's that that is really powerful. And it it's it's when somebody's, um, personal passion or sense of purpose aligns with the work that they're doing, where it no longer is, it's just, it's who they are. It's their being correct. And, um, I just spoke to somebody, uh, Just a couple of hours ago and she totally changed career, uh, trajectory, having a very personal experience with some of her family members in health, wrote a white paper and then shifted direction to completely revolutionize and change, um, the experience that people have in health.

[00:39:58] And so, um, and those were her very words that I, I just. I've never feel, felt more aligned, um, and more on purpose, you know? Yeah. When you bring the right people into the right environment, I think that is the most important thing. So when you select team members, you wanna select them in such a way where, you know, if you nurture them that they're gonna thrive.

[00:40:23] And if you, if individuals don't thrive, it's because you, as a leader did not do a good job of bringing the right team member on to the team. If you select the team member correctly, if you give them the tools and the support that they need, how can they not, but succeed, it's not possible. They will, you just have to make sure that you're taking the right steps.

[00:40:48] You know, I think it was Warren buffet that said it being successful. Isn't. You just follow somebody who's been successful, you take the same steps and you're gonna get there. It's not hard. The steps might not be easy, but as to what you need to do to get there, all of that's not rocket science. That makes me think about when you mentioned giving a task or setting a vision, you, you do a lot of work to ground on that vision.

[00:41:15] You, you talk about doing 20% of the work, for example, so that you really know what it is that you are asking of others. Because I was thinking about when you, you are setting up your team or there's this mission that we're after, how do you know that you're setting people up for success? Yeah. You know, it's, um, one of the things that I struggle.

[00:41:34] Particularly when I first took on the role was, um, being able to delegate cuz you, you wanna be able to just let things go and it helps into. Manners number one. It, it, um, it empowers the team cuz they know that Cal trusts me and I'm gonna be able to run with this. And number two, it creates my space for myself as a leader to continue to look at the, the bigger strategic vision.

[00:42:00] So I don't get tied into, you know, the smaller everyday day to day stuff and finding the balance between delegating, um, and understanding what you're delegating is really important. So. Um, when I delegate something I wanna be able to do at least 20% of what needs to be done for two reasons. Number one, I get a really good understanding of what I'm asking them to do.

[00:42:27] And I'm I've familiarized myself. So I get a good understanding of the scope of effort that's gonna be required for that. Number two, if they circle back to me with a question I'm in a really good place, because I'm informed and I'm able to answer them and actually powerfully support them. I also now know that if I've given this person, because I understand what I just gave them 10 hours worth of work.

[00:42:53] It probably makes sense to not delegate anything else to them for the next little while. Cuz they need their space. If you're not, if you're delegating, but you're doing so uninformed, you could be overwhelming team members and some team members, um, have, and everybody's unique in who they are, are able to put their hand up and say, okay, uncle that's too much for me.

[00:43:15] Other team members. Don't wanna say no, because they love what they do and they don't wanna let Cal down. They don't wanna let hear down. So they just keep taking and taking and taking to the point where they could potentially infl. So it's your job as a leader to be able to look and see and follow those signals.

[00:43:32] Who's showing up overwhelmed. Who's constantly missing the mark who always looks so tired. Do we need to shift things around a little bit? Always, always, you know, I I'm never, um, I don't wanna use the word at peace. Um, but I'm, I'm always thinking I'm always looking for those opportunities and just being hugely perceptive in every conversation and everything I do.

[00:43:58] Yeah. Uh, the word vigilant came to my mind. I don't know if that's, yeah, that's a good, that's a great word is vigilant, you know, it's I, you know, if when you. when you stop being vigilant and you think you're there is when you're gonna fail. Mm-hmm mm-hmm , you know, I, I, I'm gonna, I wanna cross the finish line.

[00:44:16] I wanna lap it 10 times. yeah. I don't want there to be any ex you know, any reason why no, I cross the finish line now. I so's gonna keep going and going into, so somebody tricks me and says, you're there stop, you know, and yeah. . What's the biggest, what's the what's on the horizon, uh, you know, as a, an opportunity or a challenge or a stretch right now for hero X in your mind.

[00:44:43] So for hero X, right now, we've spent a number of years trying to, um, prove our hypothesis. You know, what our space is in the industry and what our distinction is. And now we're at a place we feel really comfortable with what that is, and we've bootstrapped. So we, everything that we've done, we've bootstrapped.

[00:45:03] So now we're at a place right now where we are PBC. So we're looking for, uh, we're actively looking for funding now and in the next 14 to 16 months, um, hopefully that's gonna put us on a trajectory, um, for a series a, so, you know, we're, we're up to big things. You know, we, we feel very, we're excited about the market opportunity.

[00:45:27] We see that it's there. We see that there's definitely a gap that, uh, there's a product market fit. We can see that it's very clear to us. And if we're able to fill that, not only is it gonna solve a lot of challenges for organizations, but as I mentioned to you already, the impact of what it's gonna have on the world, which is the other side of, of the business.

[00:45:47] There's. Organizations who are looking for the solutions. And then there's the innovators who actually present the solutions mm-hmm . So by hero X growing, we're not only supporting organizations with staying innovative and getting what they need to move themselves forward. But then there's this side, which is the innovators.

[00:46:07] Fueling that whole idea of self-selecting the areas that they wanna lean into and eliminating those lines of, you know, I don't have credentials. Hey, if I wanna work for NASA, they're gonna say, oh, did you graduate from MIT, Harvard versus, you know, NASA's one of our busiest clients. Yeah. So if, if you wanna work for NASA, let's just say, as an innovator, you can present them with a solution.

[00:46:33] You can technically say you work for NASA. You know, where else would that be ever possible? It wouldn't be mm-hmm mm-hmm . So, with, with that, what is the, what do you anticipate the challenge being for the team with that kind of growth? It's staying, staying, um, clearly focused on what they need to do today.

[00:46:56] So not losing sight of the steps that they need to take today. Cuz it's gotta be bite size pieces, but then also keeping that longer term vision in mind. So laying that foundation and making sure that you got one eye on where things are wanting to go, because oftentimes that's where the magic is. Every single team member, I believe has the ability to take things to the next level.

[00:47:21] And if we, um, encourage that creativity in them, then. You know, the best ideas come from, like crowdsourcing from the Stranges of places. I genuinely believe that if there is, you know, uh, an idea or, um, uh, an approach that shifts the trajectory or really takes us to where we need to be quicker, it won't probably come from me.

[00:47:48] It's probably, you know, 99%. Come from one of our team members and likely from the ones that, you know, we least expect to come from. Mm. And it's, it's the same mindset as crowdsourcing. Mm. Not made here, but like that being a great thing, you know? Yeah. Yes, absolutely. Mm-hmm so if people wanted, if I'm an organization or I'm an innovator, what would be the best way to get in touch with hero X or yourself?

[00:48:16] So the best way to do it is just directly go right onto our site. So it's hero x.com and you can go there. And if you want to, you know, participate in, in solving problems. So you wanna join our innovator community, you simply just get registered. There's a ton of projects on there. You can look to see which ones really excite you and you can self select and register to compete.

[00:48:37] New challenge. If you're an organization that's looking to tap into new ways to solve business issues, could be those issues that you've been struggling with for a number of years that you can't seem to get past, or you're looking for just new ideas. Maybe you're looking for new ideas for a product.

[00:48:54] There could be a number of reasons why, you know, the, the beauty of hero X. We can literally be all things to all people. So whatever it is that you're wanting to solve for the platform is set up to be able to support you, regardless of what industry you are in, how small an issue it is, or how audacious an issue it is.

[00:49:15] And, um, you can reach out to me directly it's cal@herox.com, or you can go onto the site and you can say contact me and the team will reach. Mm. And then one, I, I say it's the last question, but usually there's more that, uh, yes, , uh, you know, if I. There's a, we are all leaders. Uh, and if I am seeking more guidance to, um, grow into my leadership, to express my leadership more.

[00:49:47] Is there other, any resources or any particular books or what would you recommend? Um, you know, it's, it's interesting because I, I didn't do. A ton of reading, but as soon as I took on this role, I, I wound up doing actually a fair, better reading. And I would probably say one of my favorite. Um, well, there's, there's a few of them.

[00:50:08] There's Patrick is.

[00:50:18] So little close there's yeah, right, right here. So there's the five temptations of a CEO. Oh, okay. And, and then there's the five dysfunctions of a team and, um, that's Patrick lens. I hope I pronounce that accurately. So I found that, um, these two books were really amazing because the five temptations of CEO really.

[00:50:40] Um, breaks things down to a really simple level. So the CEO role can oftentimes feel like it's way over here. This really makes it seem as though it's not that difficult and it's achievable. You just need to follow these steps. And there's certain things you want to avoid. And the five dysfunctions of a team was really rewarding when I read it.

[00:51:04] Um, because it talks about the things where. Things don't work well in a team. And, um, I'm humbled to say that, you know, the dysfunctions didn't exist in this team, but there were one or two nuggets I did get out of it and I applied them directly. Um, you know, again, when I, when I took on the role and then, um, the hard thing about hard things, which was, um, written by, um, Ben H.

[00:51:31] From Andreas and Horowitz. It's a, it's a VC. Um, I just, I loved how he. Really broke things down and shared a lot of his inner concerns as he navigated his career over multiple years, multiple exits the success that he saw, the worries that he had at that time, he was just very candid and it almost plays out a little bit like a memoir.

[00:51:58] And, uh, it was, I found so much out of that. And oftentimes when you are in leadership, you feel very alone. You know, you're, you're not always so sure where to go and am I doing it right. And I found when I read that book, um, the hard thing about hard things. It, um, it made me feel less crazy, like, okay, this, this person, this individual, you know, also, you know, the same showed up for him.

[00:52:29] So I can't be that far off the mark and okay. He approached it similarly to the way I'm approaching it. So it gives you a little bit of a blueprint to work towards. And most certainly, um, individuals have different styles of leadership, but I think his style of leadership. Really resonated for me. So when I read that book, uh, I've got a lot out of it and it wasn't necessarily the nuggets of, Ooh, I'm gonna do it this way.

[00:52:57] It was kind of like, okay, I'm not crazy. Right. You know this, if you feel this way, it makes sense. Could it cuz that's how it landed for him. That's so helpful. I'll, I'll have those definitely in the show notes so that, uh, our listeners can tap into that. And I, I have some ordering to do of these books too.

[00:53:14] So and I think that really resonates the, just the notion of, um, you know, feel like is, is this experience common? You know, is there somebody else who's having this experience and just knowing that. That I am not alone, that this is not the first time that somebody has faced this. Uh, for me is very reassuring.

[00:53:37] Um, and you know what, hindsight's always 2020 and courage comes from, um, making the best decisions with the information that you have. And, um, You're not always. Sure. In fact, I'd argue that in leadership, most times there's, there's a high level of uncertainty, but you move forward with, as I mentioned, just being as informed as possible, which is very important, but then there's also that element of hope.

[00:54:13] There's that element of gut instinct, that this is the right way to go. And I think there. Powers that are out there greater than all of us. And that if you know, the universe is pushing you in one direction, then it's probably the right way to go. And you know, it doesn't necessarily have to be some big spiritual thing.

[00:54:35] It's, it's just, um, sometimes it's just serendipity and you know, when you, when you listen to what's out there and you follow the signals that are showing up for you, um, there's such a strength to that. But you're gonna miss all of that. If you're not perceptive. And if you don't bring your listening to every conversation cause solutions come from you showing up with your listening, not with you showing up with your voice.

[00:55:06] Oh, my goodness. Cal, we could really, I could, we could have this conversation for hours for hours. absolutely. I, I really, that's just really powerful and, and also not being, uh, like attached to one path to get somewhere, you know, it's the, it's the feeling or the intention. And then by showing up with listening, then I'm, I'm able to see the things that are presented to me.

[00:55:33] Exactly. Mm, exactly. Well, thank you so much for your time. Cal, it's been such a pleasure. Um, so grateful. Is there anything else that you would like to share with our listeners before we, you know, wrap up? No, you know, I would say, um, you know, find what you love, find your passion and follow it with every ounce of your being, because we all have a purpose in this world.

[00:56:03] And once you find it, that passion just comes naturally. And it's phenomenal to see individuals that, um, that are in their passion, they're in their zone. And what they're able to create is just beautiful to see. And the, the journey that they follow is beautiful to watch. So find your magic and stay in your magic because that's where, that's where it all happens.

[00:56:31] And that's where the alignment for what's inside of you and for what you can create comes together. Fantastic. Well, thank you, Kal. Thank you for being on the show. Thank you so much. 

[00:56:44] Well listeners as always thank you for listening and I will have the details of how to get in touch with count in the show notes. Thank you for your support and your community. And please. Keep providing your comments and reflections as you're helping to guide our future conversations with your interest, curiosity, and inspiration. 

[00:57:09] So until next time. Thank you for listening to the high illusory show. I'm your host Sura Al-Naimi