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Mini-cast 234: Changing the Way We Talk About ESOPs

The EsOp Mini-cast: Changing How We Talk About ESOPs; Revisiting the ESOP-run Airlines

Bret Keisling shares clips of Steve Storkan of the Employee Ownership Expansion Network (EOX) and Darren Gleeman of MBO Ventures. Steve credits a previous episode of the Mini-cast for changing the way he talks about ESOPs. We share a clip of the 2021 episode where Bret gives his take on what would happen if ESOP-world ran the airlines, inspired by what Bret calls the "Gleeman Method" of ESOP communicating, developed by Darren.

For too long, the ESOP community has focused on the potential downsides to a transaction, creating a general reputation that ESOP transactions are overly difficult and prone to serious problems. In essence, the Gleeman Method recognizes that ESOP experts are well-qualified to handle transaction, but de-emphasizes "doom and gloom" of what might possibly go wrong to focus on the benefits of transitioning to an ESOP.

... or watch the video below.


Mini-cast 234 Show Notes


Mini-cast 234 Transcript

[00:00:00] Bret Keisling: Welcome to the EsOp Mini-cast. Thank you so much for listening. My name is Bret Keisling, and as it says on my business cards, I'm a passionate advocate for employee ownership. This coming Tuesday on our primary EO/ESOP podcast, I'm joined by Loren Rodgers of The [National Center for Employee Ownership] NCEO and Steve Storkan of [the Employee Ownership Expansion Network] EOX, who are going to tell us all about the brand new NCEOX initiative, an exciting collaboration between their two organizations. I hope you'll check out that episode because we also celebrate the fact that it's our 250th episode of The EsOp Podcast, and with an additional 234 episodes of the EsOp Mini-cast, we're proud and excited that we're still going strong.

[00:00:53] I had a special moment during the recording, when Steve Storkan talked about two people who have changed the way Steve talks about employee ownership. Here's a clip of Steve discussing the second person.

[00:01:05] Steve Storkan: The second person is you, Bret, and that's because you brought someone, and I wish I could tell you who it was, but somebody on one of your podcasts gave the airplane example, and I use it all the time. If we tried to sell a plane trip or a plane ticket using the analogy that the ESOP community has used about all the ways that things can go wrong, I mean, all - you've heard that analogy, and if you haven't heard Bret's podcast, please listen to it. I use that all the time when I'm trying to tell service providers, look, you need to be part of the show, but you can't be the show. When those things changed, it's amazing how many people lean in during a meeting that would've never leaned in if I was running the show or any of one of my service providers- God love them - compadres. Because if you don't know, I'm a recovering TPA for 23 years so I can pick on my industry! That has made a huge difference.

[00:01:57] Bret Keisling: Steve, you just made my day! Thank you very much. You are talking about Darren Gleeman with MBO Ventures.

[00:02:04] Steve Storkan: That's right. It was Darren.

[00:02:05] Bret Keisling: Who's all over on... and he inspired, I recorded the Mini-cast where I did my take.

[00:02:11] Steve was referring to Mini-cast 139, which we called "If ESOP World Ran the Airlines," where I was joined by Darren Gleeman. Here's a clip from that episode.

[00:02:22] Darren Gleeman I had to reach out to you, you were on Episode 149 of The EsOp Podcast, and you talked about what I now call the "Gleeman Method" much to, perhaps, your chagrin. But I wanted to give you my own take on the Gleeman Method. Is it okay if I fly it by you?

[00:02:38] Darren Gleeman: Absolutely. Go ahead.

[00:02:39] Bret Keisling: All right, if the ESOP industry ran the airlines. I'm fully vaccinated. I am ready to get out in the world. So, I called up the airlines and said, "I want to buy a ticket to the most perfect destination." You can fill in the blank.

[00:02:54] And the airline says, "Great we can get you to a perfect destination, but first we need to explain very seriously that in the event of a plane crash, there's going to be FAA/ NTSB and all kinds of investigations of the plane crash. And even though the plane crash has only happened one in 1/10th -- if that -- percent of the time, you're not going to be able to buy the ticket until we make very clear that in the very small event that there's a plane crash that it's going to be heavily investigated, vetted, et cetera, et cetera.

[00:03:21] And then Darren, when I get done being scared and I'm like, "uh, you know, probably be easier just to drive or take the train, but you know what? It's a perfect destination. I want to buy the ticket." Then the ESOP industry airlines are saying: "But wait, you need to sit through a significant number of seminars with the physicists. You need to understand jet propulsion. You need to understand gravity. You need to understand every possible thing in science and to make you a better person we're going to throw in Einstein's Theory of Relativity!"

[00:03:52] Darren Gleeman: [Laughter.]

[00:03:52] Bret Keisling: And at the end of that process Darren, not only do I not want to fly anymore, I don't want to travel! I don't want to sell my business. I don't want to consider an ESOP. That to me is what we've been doing talking wrong about ESOPs since 2008. And that's what I learned from you and the Gleeman Method.

[00:04:09] How'd I do?

[00:04:10] Darren Gleeman: That is, I love it, number one, but yeah, that's exactly what the Gleeman Method is all about. Just explaining to people what is the headline and the headline is not, like you said, let me talk to you about the physics of how this works. Right?

[00:04:27] When anybody sells anything, they're not telling you about the physics of how it works. When I go to Starbucks coffee, I'm going to Starbucks coffee because I want to have a great cup of coffee. I'm not going there and having them explain to me, well, you know, before you come in, I want to explain to you how the beans are actually roasted. Maybe some people are interested in the beans are being roasted but I'm interested in having a great cup of coffee. Same thing with an ESOP.

[00:04:48] Bret Keisling: I love the fact that Darren Gleeman of MBO Ventures has changed the way I talk about ESOPs and I can't tell you how cool it is that I, in turn, have helped to influence others.

[00:04:59] I hope you'll join us next Tuesday for Episode 250 with Steve Storkan and Loren Rodgers. And if you go to our archives at, you can find Mini-cast Episode 139 with Darren Gleeman and check out that full episode.

[00:05:16] My thanks to Steve Storkan and Darren Gleeman and thank you as always for listening. This is Bret Keisling. Be well.


[00:05:25] Bitsy McCann: We'd love to hear from you. You can find us on Facebook at EO Podcast Network and on Twitter @EsOpPodcast. This podcast has been produced by Bret Keisling for the EO Podcast Network, original music composed by Max Keisling, branding and marketing by BitsyPlus Design, and I'm Bitsy McCann.

Standard Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are my own and don't represent those of my own firms or the organizations to which I belong. Nothing in the podcast should be construed as guidance or advice of any kind in any field and the fact that I mentioned an organizational website or an advocate or a company on a podcast does not reflect an endorsement, but if you've heard your name or your group's name mentioned on this podcast, I'd love to have you come on and talk about it yourself.

A note on the transcript: This transcript was produced by Descript, an automated transcription service. While it has been reviewed by The EsOp Podcast, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the transcription. Please refer to the original audio when citing sources.


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