Episode #1039: Join Ron Merryman, an executive coach, 2020 Vistage Star Award recipient, 2019 Master Chair Award recipient, and CEO of REDpoint International, in a conversation that showcases how culture can save a company from bankruptcy, the impact of caring as a coach, and the importance of seeking potential profit disruptions. Continue reading to learn about growing businesses from near bankruptcy to multimillion dollar successes, and how coaches can inspire cultural change.
About Ron Merryman
Ron Merryman is an executive coach, 2020 Vistage Star Award recipient, 2019 Master Chair Award recipient, and CEO of REDpoint International. Ron uses his 20 years of experience in the display technology industry and his experiences bringing businesses from the brink of bankruptcy to multimillion dollar successes as inspiration for his executive coaching practice today. Ron has also successfully led high-performance teams at companies that have been recognized as some of the best places to work.
Currently, Ron continues his corporate career as a Vistage Chair and CEO of REDpoint International. Ron has received multiple honors for his 11 years of coaching service including the Vistage Star Award and the Master Chair Award. Ron has a genuine passion for helping others, and his Vistage members, succeed in their businesses. His love for others is one of the many things that makes his executive coaching so impactful and life changing.
Ron’s journey to executive coaching
Ron’s journey to executive coaching started with his Vistage membership. After being in a Vistage group for some time, he realized the benefits he was gaining from the coaching. When he was 50 years old, he decided that he would like to change his career path and become a Vistage chair to help “give back” to others and “make a difference in people’s lives.” After his training to be a Vistage Chair, he started his first peer group. Today he leads eight peer executive groups while also having one-to-one coaching sessions throughout the month. Ron will host walking meetings, more traditional meetings housed in offices, and other one-to-one meetings on the golf course.
“Culture trumps everything”
Before executive coaching, Ron saved two companies from bankruptcy. From these experiences, he learned that “culture trumps everything.” In these experiences, Ron learned that employees perform better when they feel like they are “in a healthy, positive environment, where they [are] valued and [have] a voice.” Ron shares a story of a business he worked with that was at risk of being wiped out by Microsoft PowerPoint. In this story, he encouraged accountability and teamwork amidst an operational change that ultimately saved the business.
When working with leadership teams, Ron will do an exercise asking “if we wanted to put this company out of business from the outside, what would we do? How would we disrupt the business?” This helps business leaders “get outside the box” and be aware of new or potential threats to their business. This exercise has prevented businesses from going into bankruptcy because of new inventions, regulations, and market changes. Severin and Ron both share stories of how this mindset has set businesses apart and saved them from bankruptcy.
“Learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable”
When asked about an experience that had the strongest impact on his coaching, Ron shares that it was “learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable.” He relates this to having the ability to ask difficult questions that might result in an upset group member. For example, Ron used this learning when he asked a member “is it more important to be right or get it right?” Ron uses this throughout his coaching as he asks bold questions that come to mind during coaching sessions. Other questions Ron uses include “why are you working in the business, the hours that you’re working in the business? Tell me, what’s that about for you?” and questions that address other’s belief systems. Severin introduces Byron Katie’s four questions as a method for addressing belief systems as well.
The importance of curiosity
Ron and Severin discuss the importance of remaining in a state of unknowing while coaching others. Ron has chosen curiosity as his word of the year. Severin has also grown to know the importance of curiosity as an executive coach. Severin explains the importance of curiosity by stating “these narratives that we tell ourselves… sometimes the story is just a story and if you had the facts, you would have had a different narrative.”
At Ron’s first Keepers of the Flame meeting, he learned two new questions: what is the story of your childhood that is still at play, and what is your story ten years from now? Ron shares his story of how his parents divorce encouraged him to be a “bringer together of people” and one that cares for others. In 10 years, Ron plans on continuing his coaching career all the while still learning as much as he can.
Ron has been doing Vistage retreats throughout his practice. Ron will pick a week of the summer to host retreats for each of his Vistage groups. At these retreats, there will be a variety of activities to choose from: whitewater rafting and ropes courses for example. There are also speakers from time-to-time that speak to Vistage members and their spouses, or just the Vistage members themselves. Ron tries to choose beautiful outdoor locations to encourage trust building and friendships amongst his Vistage group members.
To coach is to help
When asked what his “why” is, Ron shares that his desire to improve the community and help others is what drives him. This is evident in his “best day ever” as an executive coach. Ron shares the story of a time he helped an executive rebuild his relationship with his daughter. This desire to help others is also evident in one of Ron’s favorite quotes by Brené Brown: “You are an imperfect human being and you’re worthy of love and belonging.”
When asked about how he will measure his life, Ron shares that he will measure his life by the lives he has touched. What makes Ron’s members so “sticky,” and what he attributes to his success as a chair, is his genuine care for each member. Ron explains by stating, “You don’t have any judgment. You’re just here to help, and help them, and they’ll open up for you.”
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