RED BEAR's Core Values | Confident Negotiator Podcast #4

By RED BEAR April 11, 2024 | 15 min read

In this episode of The Confident Negotiator Podcast, host Rob Cox and RED BEAR's Founder and CEO Chad Mulligan discuss the foundational pillars that have steered RED BEAR through a decade of success.

Rob and Chad explore the core values that are instilled in both RED BEAR's organizational identity and external relationships. From fostering gratitude to ensuring integrity in every action, and how to attract like-minded employees and clients, Mulligan also explains how the company's core values create a culture where excellence in negotiation training flourishes.

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Transcription of the Video:

Rob Cox: Hello everyone, and welcome to The Confident Negotiator Podcast. I'm Rob Cox, and with me today is the confident negotiator himself, RED BEAR's founder and CEO Chad Mulligan. Chad, how are you today?

Chad Mulligan: Doing great, Rob. Just got back from lunch. Have a full belly. I'm happy and pleased to join you.

Rob Cox: That's awesome. Chad, thank you again for joining. Chad, RED BEAR celebrated its 10 year anniversary. Back in December, we thought we'd use this opportunity to help people get to know us a little bit better. There's no better avenue to do that than discussing a company's core values. And there's no one better to talk about RED BEAR’s core values than our Founder and CEO. So with that said, let's dive right in. Does that sound good?

Chad Mulligan: Let's do it.

Rob Cox: Great. My first question for you, Chad, is why are core values important and what decisions do they drive you to make?

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Chad Mulligan: Core values are important because it's really the DNA, it's our makeup, it's who we are, it's what we stand for. And if we're going to give anybody outside of our organization, Rob, a sense of who we are and what we stand for, I think we have to be completely transparent. It's kind of like dating, right? You go on a date, how are you going to know if you're attracted, not physically to the other person, but common interests, what they're about, what their experiences are, how they operate, what's important to them? So to me, it's really important to, number one, have a set of core values so people know what you're about and what you stand for. And that's primary two targets. One is employees, potential employees that want to come to work here. And secondly, it's prospects, right? I'm hoping, and I'm very confident that our clients will look at these core values and say, yeah, they live it, right? I don't want this to be talking points that we don't live by. Hopefully it's very evident and apparent to our clients, but again, more importantly, to potential employees that want to join the team and prospects so they understand what we're about.

Rob Cox: That's excellent, Chad. I love that. So again, about prospects, about employees, attracting people who resonate and align with your core values. I love that. How did you create RED BEAR's Core values? What was the process?

Chad Mulligan: I'm trying to think back when we did this. It's been several years. I believe the process was sitting down with a couple of the leadership team, and really, I mean, some organizations will develop a mission statement, they'll develop a vision. I really just wanted to factor in, again, who are we? What are we about? And so we just went through an exercise talking about brainstorming a list of what we believe our core values. From there, we basically went through, keep it, combine it, kill it, right? If we had similarities in our responses, we knew that was a potential core value. There was some where we had disagreement on and through a healthy discussion, we decided to kill it. So after that process, we came up with what we call our seven core values here at RED BEAR. And it wasn't intentional to have seven, it just ended up that's what we landed on, because we felt really, really good and confident that those are the core ones for us.

Rob Cox: It's a lucky number too, right?

Chad Mulligan: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

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Rob Cox: Now, you said that you came up with these a while ago. Have these core values changed over time, or have they stayed the same largely?

Chad Mulligan: We're open to change, but they haven't changed. I believe that they are who we are. We're pretty convicted in them, and I'm glad to say that while we review them quarterly, and not only do we review them to gain agreement and buy-in that this is who we are, but does everybody live by them? And do they demonstrate through actions that they're aligned with that? So yeah, they haven't changed at all since, and it's probably been four or five years since we put these in emotion around.

Rob Cox: Excellent. All right, Chad, without further ado, what are RED BEAR's core values?

Chad Mulligan: The first is gratitude. And when I talk about gratitude, it's really about being grateful. I'll share a personal story every morning before I put my feet on the floor. I say a prayer of gratitude. What I'm thankful for, it doesn't matter. Sometimes it's minor things, but it's getting in that mindset. It creates momentum, it creates appreciation. It creates a different mindset to enter the day. And believe me, we're not unique in the fact that we have challenges. We go through growth. We go through trials and tribulations. We go through demanding clients at some points in time, but it's really important to have that mindset of gratitude. And that means this being grateful for what we do, being grateful for who we work with, being grateful for, and not just who we work with internally here at RED BEAR, but our clients and our prospects being grateful for the impact that we have on them. And so I think it's really, really important that this isn't something that it's a JOB and not coming here for a particular salary, but they buy in to that mindset that we are so incredibly grateful to do what we're doing, to do it with whom we're doing with both internally and externally, and for the impact that we know it's having in the marketplace. So that's gratitude.

Rob Cox: Gratitude number one. I remember last year, 2023, we had a whole month of gratitude where we had a personal message from you, message to clients, thought that was great. So gratitude's number one. What's number two? 

Chad Mulligan: Number two, being a needs-based organization, which we are, it's clients' needs first always. And that starts from the very first phone call. Any client, existing client that we have, they'll tell you this. We focus on what are you trying to accomplish. I always tee it up to one of two things: What problem are you trying to solve? Or what opportunity are you trying to capture? What's going on in your environment? Why are you looking to scale your people up? What are the critical requirements? And so I think so often across any the industry, we can help you. Here's what we can do. None of that matters to us. It's important to you. What's going on in your environment. Give us some visibility and clarity into that so that we can have the competence, we can support them. So it's a very consultative engagement process, focusing on you, the prospect, you the client.

Chad Mulligan: And every decision is driven by what are their needs? Are we clear and can we truly support them? And I've always told the team, you've heard this a thousand times, could there be areas we can support 'em with? Yeah, if we just want to chase revenue. But my whole mindset is if we can do it and do it better than anybody else, we're going to support. And so oftentimes that means that's not an area that we feel confident about that we can drive a guarantee. Could we move the mark? Yes. But yeah, it's client's needs first. Getting an understanding what they are, focusing on that first and foremost, that eventually leads us to an opportunity that we feel confident we can support, then we'll move forward.

Rob Cox: Excellent. So gratitude, client needs first.

Chad Mulligan: ALWAYS. That's right. In caps, all

Rob Cox: All caps. What's number three?

Chad Mulligan: Number three is can do, we'll do. We will do, right? We work within a pretty unique environment here, as you know, I call it all hands on deck. We try to identify people's unique abilities, which means they're an individual that's driving activities on a daily basis that they feel competent, competent about, and they believe they can do it better than anybody else, and they enjoy it. If they spend 80% of their time in that space doing those activities, they're going to be fulfilled. They're going to be energetic, they don't feel drained. At the end of the day, they're ready to go. And so it's really important for us as an organization to say, Hey, we don't live within these confines of, that's not my job, and we've all been there, right? That's not my responsibility. Go find someone. No. If we need support, we have a stuck internally. Someone's got the capacity, they've got the capability, they're willing to join, jump in to support us. We're all in. So it's that can-do, we will do attitude. And that also applies to our prospects and clients. Maybe it doesn't fit a unique solution the way it's packaged, but if we believe there's a way to get there that we can truly serve them, then we're going to make it happen.

Rob Cox: Excellent. I want to stipulate again, you said it a few times. It's not just can do, will do. It's can do, we will do.

Chad Mulligan: We will do. Yeah. We'll.

Rob Cox: Yeah. Is there any significance to the addition of that we there instead of just can do, will do?

Chad Mulligan: Yeah. Like I said, we will do, right? It's the willingness to support anybody, whether you believe that it has anything to do with your functional role or not. And so I think if we all own that, then we know we're going to be able to address anything that presents itself to us and it requires it. Rob, as you know, there's things that we get faced with on a daily basis, and I just think it breaks down those silos that so often exist in organizations today.

Rob Cox: All right. Dak Prescott: number four. What's number four?

Chad Mulligan: Growth mindset. This is a big one, and I always, again, you've heard this a million times, constant progress, never perfection. This pertains to us once we think we've figured it all out, that's when we're in trouble. But it's also for are we a right fit for a prospect or client? If they feel they've already figured it out, you probably can't help 'em, right? So they have to have a mindset that, hey, there's more opportunity in front of me to capture than what I've accomplished in the past. And I'm willing to lean on an expert to get their trusted advice and opinion and put my trust in their hands to ensure that we're going to make some strides together. So to me, it's pretty constant progress, never perfection, and we're never going to get there. So one important caveat to that is if you're always looking to this bigger, better, brighter future, and I don't say bigger in terms of revenue, there's many variables to that, but we're never imperfection.

Chad Mulligan: It's a constant progress. It could create this gap because we're never going to get there. So it's really important to assess as we do every 90 days, to stop, to look back over the previous quarter and celebrate victories no matter how small or big. Because once you celebrate those, you really holistically get a sense of we've really accomplished some incredible things. And I think it's important for us to do that with our clients. And that's why we do the Beyond ROI measurement studies. What gets measured gets improved. What gets measured and reported gets improved exponentially. And sometimes people forget to where they were when they started this journey. And so it's really important to look back and help them discover. We've made some pretty profound strides. So that's what we talk about when we talk about a growth mindset.

Rob Cox: I love that. So not just looking ahead at growth, but also assessing how you've been and how you have grown over that time as well.

Chad Mulligan: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Rob Cox: All right. What's numero cinco?

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Chad Mulligan: Pride and passion. And I always say I don't expect anybody in our team to have as much pride and passion in what we do, but it's pretty close because we understand it has an impact. Purpose is another word, and I always talk about Rob, we can't lose sight on the impact. Profound impact we're having on individuals. Individuals make up teams, teams make up organizations, and it's great to say hundreds of millions of dollars and bottom line contributions for clients we work with. What really fires me up and is really cool when you see an individual transform, when you see them increase their competence, increase their competence, accelerate their career path, make it more enjoyable for them to get into these negotiations where before they just went in, and I have to do this. So really, really important that we maintain a sense of incredible pride and passion in what we do. I know it firsthand because the journey I've been on, and when I first started in sales many moons ago, I was a horrible negotiator. We talk about here selling is if we're going to do business negotiation is how? What does that agreement look like? And their negotiation requires a very unique skillset. It's very counterintuitive how we're wired as individuals. So watching my own journey and knowing the impact that we can replicate that for any individual willing to learn, you can't help but have a tremendous amount of pride and passion in what we do.

Rob Cox: Excellent. Pride and passion. Number five. All right. What's number six, Chad?

Chad Mulligan: Integrity. And especially in work from home environment, as people transition, getting away from any type of micromanagement, anything like that. The truth is we have to be able to have a common shared vision, core set of values. We're all rowing in the right direction, and that requires people to fully own their actions and responsibilities and impact the organization. And so with that comes integrity. And my definition of integrity is very simple. Doing the right thing, even when someone's not watching, it's pure and simple. So to me, from a client perspective or prospect perspective, again, it goes back to that question, could we do this? Yeah, we could. Can we do it and do it better than anybody else? There's a difference. And so it's not chasing opportunity for a sales rep here just because it's going to add to their goal and pipeline and comp.

Chad Mulligan: It's like, are we a hundred percent convinced and confident that we can truly help this organization achieve the objectives and results that they shared with us? So integrity is maintaining that route in your internal communications and the decisions here at RED BEAR and also externally with our prospects and clients. And the other thing, I'll play on that a little bit, is this whole autonomy, which you've heard me say a million times, we have to have autonomy here. And there's three questions that I say. Everybody has to ask themselves to understand if it's the right decision. Number one, is it good for their client, right? Number two, is it good for RED BEAR? And number three, am I willing to be accountable? If you can answer those three questions, rock and roll, you don't need to go up this chain, right? So if you have that autonomy, they're operating with integrity, we're in a good position.

Rob Cox: That's right. It really gives RED BEAR employees a lot of freedom to help continue at doing what they do best. I love it. Yeah,

Chad Mulligan: Exactly.

Rob Cox: Alright, gratitude. Client needs first - ALWAYS. Can do, we'll do attitude. Growth mindset. Pride and passion. Integrity. What's lucky number seven?

Chad Mulligan: This one comes with a little humor, and I think that's important. We talk about the fun factor all the time. We call this the "Beer Litmus Test" internally, and it makes sense externally. I think it's important to add some context to it. This is just, can you see yourself genuinely interested in this other individual where you could sit down, whether it's a beer, alcoholic, non-alcoholic, any beverage of your choice, but just picturing yourself sitting down with that individual like you and I, and enjoying a conversation over a beverage. I think it's really important. We talk about a work family here at RED BEAR. This is a family we spend, I could argue more time together here than we do with our own families. And it's a choice. We don't have to be here, none of us have to be here. It's a choice. So if we attract people that we, again, generally are interested in and would enjoy a conversation early on and vice versa, just as important as a potential employee that can feel that culture and feel what we're about and experience that. Really important. It's called the Beer Litmus Test. We put the word beer. It could be in any beverage.

Rob Cox: Beverage of choice. Excellent.

Chad Mulligan: That's right. That's right.

Rob Cox: I love it. Chad, thank you for talking about RED BEAR's seven core values. And for those of you who just skip to this part, they were gratitude. Client needs first - ALWAYS, can do, we'll do attitude, growth mindset, pride and passion, integrity, and Beer Litmus Test. Great set of core values for a great company, great Founder and CEO. Thank you, Chad.

Chad Mulligan: Thank you for letting me walk through 'em. Rob, I really appreciate it.

Rob Cox: Excellent. This has been The Confident Negotiator podcast. Thank you very much for listening. We'll see you next time.

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