How to Create Team Alignment—Robert Clinkenbeard, CEO, The Radix Group

This is the time of year you should have your strategic planning and annual goal planning set for your company. Hopefully, you have it scheduled or has already happened.  Part of your conversation at your planning session this year should be about your team alignment. Have you had a candid discussion with your team about it? Our guest today is Robert Clinkenbeard. He’s a serial entrepreneur, author, and Ironman athlete.

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Robert Clinkenbeard is the CEO of The Radix Group, LLC which has offices in Greenville, Phoenix, and the UK. He is an entrepreneur, an author, senior leader in EO, and a four-time Ironman. He is a serial entrepreneur having sold his $20M company and now has several franchises, multiple real estate investments, the largest Peer Group facilitation company in the US while raising a large family.


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Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:00):

Welcome to the Multiply Your Success podcast, where each week we help growth minded entrepreneurs and franchise leaders, take the next step in their expansion journey. I’m your host, Tom DuFore, CEO of Big Sky Franchise Team. And as we open up today, this is the time of year you should be planning, or hopefully have planned your strategic planning and annual goal setting, for the company for this year. So, hopefully that’s been set, and has either happened, or it’s at least scheduled to happen before the end of the year, or right in that first week or so, in January.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:34):

And part of your conversation at your planning session this year, should be about your team alignment. And have you had a candid conversation with your team about your team alignment. Around your brand, around your goals, working together. And our guest today, is Robert Clinkenbeard, and he’s a serial entrepreneur, an author, an iron man. He’s built and sold multiple companies. He’s just got a tremendous track record in this, and he talks a lot about alignment. And as you tune in and listen to the episode, you’ll notice that the audio file has a little static and background noise, and is a little choppy, a few spots there. So, just hang in there with us through to the end. So, let’s go ahead and jump right into that interview.

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (01:19):

My name is Robert Clinkenbeard. My title is CEO, owner of the Radix Group.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (01:24):

Tell us a little bit about the Radix Group, and a little bit about your background? I always like getting a little history on how you came to be.

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (01:32):

Yeah, absolutely. So, as you can tell from my accent, I’m not originally from the States. I moved across from Scotland to the States, back in ’99, from Edinburgh in Scotland. I started up my company a couple years after arriving in the States. I started a company called Integrated Landscape Management, and we grew that company from scratch, starting in 2001. And took up to roughly about 20 million, with about 350 odd employees. And that’s pretty quick growth to get to that size.

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (02:09):

We had four branches in the Phoenix metropolitan area, and then we expanded up into Las Vegas, Nevada. And we had a really successful exit in 2016 to a $4 billion company, and worked for them for a couple of years before leaving that company, and starting up my own coaching, consulting company, back in 2018. And now, I help owners, executives, on coaching, and just helping them level up themselves, develop their business, and just hopefully making less mistakes than I did.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (02:51):

Well. I love it. And one of the things that stood out to me about your journey, and throughout your success in growing your company, is you decided to become… And I don’t know if it’s an endurance athlete, but started running Ironman races. Talk to me about that.

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (03:09):

Yeah, and absolutely. So, I grew up playing a lot of sports. Back in the UK, I was playing football, or soccer over here. Then moved into playing rugby, really enjoyed the rugby. But as I started to get a little bit older, my body didn’t quite cooperate. Got broken noses and bones. So, I just thought, what do I need to really push myself, and keep fit, and keep that mental stability.

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (03:35):

So, I started to get into smaller running races, doing some smaller triathlons, some sprint, Olympic distance. I was a pretty bad swimmer. When I first started, I could literally swim one length of the pool before I had to stop and rest, doing the breaststroke. And eventually I just, through different factors, and coaches, and trainers, I moved into doing some Ironman races [inaudible 00:04:05]. Two in Arizona, one in Nice, France, and another one in Zurich, Switzerland.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (04:16):

Great. Thank you. And so, one of the things that really stood out to me is, how you were able to… Running these races, and doing this work, this takes a lot of preparation, and practice, and time. So, how do you manage to fit all of that in while running businesses, and doing all of the things you’re doing?

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (04:40):

Yeah, I think I [inaudible 00:04:42] my company fairly quickly. But I think I felt as although we really got some good practices, procedures in place, and really good people. So, I got to the point, I would say probably maybe 10 years ago, where I felt as though we brought in some really key players into the business, and coached them, and developed them into real leaders in the company. And that was combined with a lot of KPIs, and good vision, and practices in place. So, I was lucky enough to get to a point where my business was somewhat running independent of me being there or not. So, that allowed me to really go out, and find my next challenge. I was starting to get a little bit bored.

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (05:27):

So, I started to do these races, and when I was doing my full Iron [inaudible 00:05:34] up to 20, 25 hours a week. So, quite a big commitment, especially having a family as well. So, I was doing that training. Sometimes I was training towards a day, and meanwhile, I was running this successful business. So, I had to make sure that a lot of the people were in place, the practices. Super disciplined about my time, and preparation for the day. So, those are the things that really, me being able to juggle both those pretty enduring tasks.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (06:05):

One of the things that we had talked about here, before we went live on the recording was, talking about this idea of cultivating your business growth through your own personal growth. And so, I love this concept and this idea of that. And would you mind sharing about how you’ve experienced that, and how you help others with that now?

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (06:28):

Yeah. Part of it touches on… Part of the reason for moving from the UK across to the States. I came across on vacation back in ’98, and after I got back from my great trip in Scottsdale, Arizona, where nice weather, people were great. And I started wondering, “Well, what am I doing wrong here, because all these people are living in these nice houses, and in this nice location. What am I doing wrong?” Especially when I was sitting back in my sitting room, back in my house in the UK, where the rain was bouncing off the window. It was dark. It was cold. It was miserable. And I thought to myself, “What do I need to do to level myself up?”

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (07:11):

So, I started to figure out, well, a lot of these people that I saw in Scottsdale, were business owners. They were entrepreneurs. And I thought, “Well, how do I transition myself from working for somebody, to becoming an entrepreneur?” And as I went through that journey, and tried to figure out how do I keep bettering myself? I started to join different business groups, like entrepreneurs organization. I started listening to speakers. I brought in some coaches and mentors. Not only in my business, but also in my training for my different sports. I just felt, because I always needed to learn. And I always needed to improve myself.

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (07:51):

And when you look at things like, okay, I just obviously had the Olympics a few weeks ago, and most of them have typically three, four coaches, maybe even more, that focus on the different part of their… Either their body, or their mindset. So, I just feel as though you constantly have to sharpen the saw. You always have to improve. You always have to level up. And I don’t think you could really sit in your laurels, and just get comfortable. I think you always need to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and push the limit a little bit.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (08:25):

What I’m hearing you talk about is… What it sounds like to me at least is, you were looking for that next challenge with a lot of what you’re discussing. I don’t know if it was, just being a competitive person in nature. But most of our audience, and including myself as an entrepreneur, there is a little bit of a competitiveness, I think, built in, in all of us, in trying to be the best we can. And even for, I can say for myself, just competing to be the best version of our business, or of me, that I can be, every day. So how, when you’re working with clients, or do you have some best practices, or some high level nuggets or tidbits, you could give us some starting points, or suggestions?

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (09:14):

No, absolutely. I [inaudible 00:09:16] to new companies, new clients. And just figure out if they do have any type of roadmap in place. Meaning that it’s all very well to look back at the previous year, and if maybe made a little bit of money, maybe they’ve had a little bit growth. But I really try and push my clients into building that roadmap, and look for some real substantial growth, and substantial profits. And find out where that person, where that company is going in the future. I’m trying to get them to look out three, five, 10 years. Maybe even longer, just to figure out, how can I get this company and myself, to a completely different level that they even think was possible.

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (09:58):

That ties a little back into my Ironman races. As I said earlier, I was a terrible swimmer. Hadn’t done a great deal of biking. So, the concept of me even doing some type of an Ironman race, wasn’t even on my radar. And now, the fact that I’ve done four. When I started my company, I had no concept, again, about getting to that 20 million level. So, I feel as though overall, a lot of people just, they only operate at 30, 40% of their full capacity.

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (10:31):

So, when I go into companies, I really just try and push them to that next level. Or maybe even a couple of levels, and build that roadmap. Look at if we were to get double in size, or triple in size in the next five, 10 years, what are the building blocks that we need to introduce to the business, to take it to the next level. Whether it’d be improve sales and profitability, the type of people you bring into the company, what markets you’re looking at, who are your customers.

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (10:58):

So, I have a real tremendous dynamic framework, which I’ll introduce to my clients. And then, we’ll just work through that over a period of three to six months, and build that roadmap, and be able to be transparent to their employees and their leadership team, to help them achieve those goals. I feel as though a lot of owners will keep a lot of those things internally. And I’m more of a fan of just being transparent, and have that open book, where let’s get the leadership team behind you, everybody aligned on achieving those high performance goals.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (11:33):

That word alignment really stood out to me, when you were just saying that. So, would you mind just sharing some things that you found to help a leader align their team, around the vision or the goals that they’re going after?

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (11:49):

Usually, all of that starts with doing a strategic planning station. So, usually that happens. I try to encourage that to happen in the Q4 of the year. And I usually get the owner to come in. We work on that, what their vision looks like. Where’s the company going in five or 10 years. So, the owner will come in, and just lay out that vision, and why he or she wants to get to that level. And then, you start to work on a buy-in from the team. You start to talk about, “Well, why do you want to get there? What’s the purpose of the company?”

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (12:25):

So, unless you get that true alignment from the team, then you’re just going to get people going in different directions. So, looking at, making sure the core values are in place, and everybody’s agreed on those. Everybody’s agreed on what the purpose of the company is. Everybody’s aligned on where the company’s going. And I think that’s super important.

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (12:47):

So, you spend those two days going through those various exercises, so that everybody comes out of that room with 100% alignment. Now, we might go different directions, or maybe some pink elephants in the room, we might have to go through. But you have to go offsite. You have to make sure there’s no distractions. And you have to build that trust. You have to make sure that any challenges that you’ve had within the company, and address, so that you put that alignment, and make sure you have that [inaudible 00:13:19] facilitator, just making sure that they’re talking through those challenges.

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (13:22):

So, I think that’s critical. And then, after that alignment, and that maps put in place, then it comes back to rhythms. It comes back to KPIs. It comes to those checks and balances, as you work through the year, and you make sure you get those things done.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (13:42):

And Robert, this is a great time for us just to transition to the four questions we ask every guest before they go. So, you’re in the hot seat now. And the first question we like to ask, is about a miss or two, that may have come along the way, and something you learned from it?

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (13:58):

A miss for me would be, I don’t think I valued… When I was early in business, valued the strength within the people I hired. I think we hired based on who was available in the marketplace. We really just didn’t take our time. So, I really learned all in the years, to take my time with really hiring the right people. Not just go bring off the interview phase, but bring in things like personality assessments, checking the references, maybe doing three or four interviews, bringing the leadership team in place.

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (14:40):

But when we were early on, it was a lot more time spent on seeing who was available, and hire them quickly. And we got burned so many times, and it just went through a lot of chaos. We damaged our culture. We damaged our core values. And that was a big miss for us in the early stages.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (15:01):

Yeah. Wow. Well, thank you for sharing that. And how about a make. It’s the opposite side of that, but a make or two, that stands out to you?

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (15:10):

I would say that we early on, really wanted to make sure we took care of our clients. So, that was meant taking our clients relationships to our tier three, tier four level, meaning that it wasn’t just surface relationships. Really made sure that we got to know our clients. We got to know their families. We had so many different types of events, did a lot of networking, and took them out to dinner. We even had things like a parlay trailer, where [inaudible 00:15:45] to get to our clients’ offices.

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (15:46):

So, we really got to know our clients. We got to know our clients’ needs. We actually listened to them. And then, we just made sure that we really took care of our clients. John, my partner and I, were always aware, checking in with our clients, making sure we were taking care of them. And we didn’t lose sight of that. So, I would say that was a big win for us. It just kept our revenues up. They used to refer us to a lot of other people. They used to give us all the properties. So, that was a big win for us.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (16:24):

Yeah. Wow. It sounds like it. And how about this idea of a multiplier? We get a cross section of answers. Is there anything that, whether growing your businesses or in training, that you’ve used to help throughout your career?

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (16:48):

Well, I would say the biggest one that comes to mind, would be partnering up with other vendors, meaning that we used to do a lot of event, as I mentioned earlier. But we used to partner up with a lot of companies with similar clientele. So for example, security companies, restoration companies, janitorial companies. So, the fact that we were able to share the resources, we posted those events, where we were able to bring in three or 400 different people. And a great example being, we used to… [inaudible 00:17:23] coming up to Halloween.

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (17:25):

But we used to host huge Halloween events as our office. So, it was a two acre site. We used to partner up with these four or five other companies. And [inaudible 00:17:35] four or 500 peak clients, or prospects come on to those event, share those costs. We used to have bands playing. We used to have free drink. And those events were renowned within [inaudible 00:17:53] to get invited to those events. So, it really just excelled our brand. It used to excel our exposure to other people within the different industries, and really took our company to the next level.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (18:12):

Yeah. And the final question we like to ask every guest is, what does success mean to you?

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (18:20):

Success means to me, when people talk about money, when people talk about success from me. [inaudible 00:18:28] I had the opportunity to make that move from the UK across to the States, and really level myself level, level my family’s exposure to nice things. So the fact, I now feel successful, because I’m able to make a positive impact on other business owners. So, I’m able to give them the learnings, share my experiences, and help them make less mistakes than I did. So, I just feel as though I’m in a nice place, where I’m able to share, and making a positive impact on others.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (19:08):

Great. And Robert, before we go, is there anything you were hoping to share or say, that you haven’t had a chance to yet?

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (19:17):

I think just reemphasize the people part. Really make sure that when you go through your strategic planning, and your planning where your company’s going, have you done enough time to build the bench? Have you really built in the people part into your strategic planning? If you’re planning for growth, have you really looked at, have you provided training, have you identified who are the people in the company that could move into a leadership position? Are you doing enough development of those people?

Robert Clinkenbeard, The Radix Group (19:52):

I feel as though people is key to many of our company’s growth, and we don’t put enough emphasis on the people part. By finding the right people, identifying who your needs are over the next few years, and really apply and sourcing those people. I think that’s probably my last biggest share with your audience.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (20:12):

Robert, thank you so much again, for just an absolutely fantastic interview, and sharing with us just your wisdom and practical advice, that you’ve given to us. And let’s go ahead and jump into today’s three key takeaways. So takeaway number one is, when Robert talked about asking yourself the question at your planning session, or just in general, what would need to be put into place, or what would need to happen, if you were to double or triple your business? What would that look like? What would need to happen? And use that as a driver, as a tool, to make some decisions.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (20:50):

Takeaway number two is, when he talked about creating alignment with your team, and creating that strategic plan to get everyone on the same page together. And that’s what we talked about in the opening of the episode today, creating that alignment with your team, so everyone is that old adage of rowing in the same direction, and everyone knows exactly where the company’s going.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (21:13):

And takeaway number three is, when he talked about challenging yourself, and never stop challenging yourself. Always keep growing, and the more you grow, and the more you continue to grow, the more business will continue to grow. And let’s go ahead and jump into today’s win-win.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (21:35):

So today’s win-win comes from the multiplier question we asked Robert, and I thought this was just a phenomenal idea that he shared with us, when he talked about having strategic partnerships with non-competitors, or companies that are not direct competitors, but have a similar client. And he shared about how he used to do… He talked about that annual Halloween event, where several different companies that shared similar types of clients and prospects, where they all invited their clients and prospects to it. And it was a wonderful event.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (22:11):

And just, how can you maybe be doing this for your own business? What can you be doing? And applying that to your own company. And thinking about, maybe you can create some strategic alliances, and create some shared opportunities for greater referrals, and referral relationships.

Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (22:31):

And so, that’s the episode today, folks. Please make sure you subscribe to the podcast, and give us a review. And remember, if you or anyone might be ready to franchise your business, or take your franchise company to the next level, please connect with us Thanks for tuning in. And we look forward to having you back next week.

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