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Mini-cast 260: Creating EO A-ha Moments for Your Employee Owners

Bret Keisling wants to work with employee-owned companies to create more EO A-ha Moments for employee owners.  It’s that moment when someone realizes that EO can be transformative. Employee owners experience these moments in different ways: at EO conferences; interacting with other employee-owned companies; or when an employee owner recognizes that they actually have a voice at their company. Feeling valued, heard, and respected can have a dramatic effect on culture and profitability.  


The most mentioned EO A-ha Moment among owners is when they received their annual statements and saw an increase in the company value and in their personal account. 


The increase in value and improvements to culture don't happen in a vacuum. It takes mindfulness, repetition, and dedication to create a great EO workplace, which we know helps make EO companies more profitable and dramatically improve recruitment and retention.


... or watch the video below.


Mini-cast 260 Show Notes

Want more EO A-ha Moment inspiration? Listen to Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, Volume 4, Volume 5 and Volume 6 of our EO A-ha Moment compilations.

Mini-cast 260 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, we're going to release Volume 7 of our EO A-ha Moments. Coincidentally, I'm looking to work with ESOPs, Co-ops, and Employee Ownership Trusts to create EO A-ha moments for their employee owners by helping build the company's EO culture. But more on that in a moment.

[00:00:41] Bret Keisling: What is an EO A-ha moment you ask? In September 2020, on Episode 101 of the EsOp Mini-cast, I shared an anecdote of when I first realized that EO could be transformative.

[00:00:53] I won't repeat the whole thing here, but I was CEO of an employee-owned company, and I had an experience with an employee that made me realize, wow, employee ownership is really different from other business models. I happen to call that anecdote my EO A-ha moment.

[00:01:09] The response was incredible with several dozen employee owners, advocates, and practitioners sharing their EO A-ha moments on social media. Since that time, we've started just about every single episode of our primary podcast with guests sharing their EOA-ha moment.

[00:01:26] In 2021, when we launched the Owner to Owner podcast, I was really pleased that my friend Jesse Tyler, the host, included the EO A-ha moment on his podcast, although he typically ends the podcast with it, whereas I use it as a starting point.

[00:01:40] For EO advocates or practitioners, the A-ha moments may have come in graduate school or seeing the results of an EO transaction. But for the employee owners themselves, the EO A-ha moments often happen during the regular course of a business.

[00:01:54] A number of employee owners share that their EO A-ha moment occurred in an EO conference, often the NCEO or the ESOP Association, and it shows how great those experiences are. But it also shows that those moments are limited, obviously, to those in attendance at the conferences. Some employee owners share that their A-ha moment occurred when they interacted with employee owners at other companies, where employee-owned companies got together for an open house or a lunch and learn, etc.

[00:02:21] Another version of the EO A-ha moment that we hear regularly is when an employee owner recognizes that they actually have a voice at their company. When leadership goes out of their way to make sure that rank and file employees feel valued, heard, and respected, this can go so far in revolutionizing the business for all of the owners.

[00:02:42] What is the source most often responsible for EO A-ha moments? It's not really a surprise. It's when owners get their annual statements and see the increase, hopefully, in the company value and in their personal account. Some will work for a few years without really getting the power of employee ownership until they see it in black and white in their annual statements, and that's okay.

[00:03:04] But the increase in value and improvements to culture don't happen in a vacuum. It takes mindfulness on the part of the company and its leadership, it takes repetition, and it takes a dedication to creating a workplace in the finest traditions of employee ownership, which we know through solid data make our companies more profitable, help in hiring, and dramatically improve employee retention.

[00:03:26] If you're not sure where to start, I'd be honored to help you. We'll include a link to my calendar in the show notes of this episode for a free, no obligation conversation.

[00:03:35] Now, you certainly know me as the host of The EsOp Podcast and EsOp Mini-cast and the producer of the Owner to Owner podcast, but I was also an ESOP trustee for seven years, responsible with my partner for about 180 valuations. And prior to that, I spent three years as the CEO of a 100 percent ESOP. So, I've had experience all around the field of employee ownership. I'd love to work with your company and your employee owners to help make you better and more profitable.

[00:04:05] Whatever level your company is operating at right now, there's always room for improvement. And I'd humbly suggest that with 15 years in employee ownership in my various roles, and heck, with the podcast, we have more than 200,000 listens and almost 200 guests, I have no doubt that I can work with you to come up with a strategy that fits your needs.

[00:04:25] And if you're close to issuing your annual statements, which normally is the case if your fiscal year closes December 31st, now is a great time to reach out and see what we can do differently for you this year than you've done in the past.

[00:04:38] It would be an honor and a pleasure to help you grow and to help create EO A-ha moments for your team members.

[00:04:46] With that, we'll wrap up this episode of the Mini-cast. Check out my calendar in the show notes, and I hope you'll join us on Tuesday on our primary EO/ESOP podcast for the EO A-ha Moments Volume 7.

[00:04:57] Thank you so much for listening. This is Bret Keisling. Be well.


[00:05:01] Bitsy McCann: We'd love to hear from you! You can find us on Facebook at EO Podcast Network and on Twitter [X] @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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