Dr. Daren Martin provides keynotes and training to companies across the globe. Through his energetic approach to business and life, he teaches companies about earning loyalty from their best and brightest by improving their cultures. We spoke with the renowned Culture Architect to learn more.
AM: As a motivational speaker, author and performance coach who has helped hundreds of businesses with productivity, what would you say is the most interesting part of your job?
DR. DAREN: I am fanatical about seeing true transformation take place in individuals and organizations. I have the incredible privilege of introducing concepts, models, and strategies that immediately improve a company’s position in multiple ways and enable individuals to make themselves indispensable to any company or organization.
AM: Tell us about your background. What led you toward helping businesses improve their company cultures?
DR. DAREN: I ran my own business for 20 years. For the last ten I have been in and out of Fortune 500 companies as well as much smaller businesses. Being exposed to many businesses as an inside partner, I witnessed The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. I noticed that one of the major drumbeat themes was how company culture either breaks or makes a company. And that is regardless of industry. The one thing all companies have in common is people, and I knew I could help any business, organization, or company anywhere by focusing on the people side of their business.
AM: Do you tailor your experience and knowledge to different industries, or are there major points that apply somewhat universally?
DR. DAREN: Absolutely. I pride myself on researching and understanding a particular industry before I do a keynote for them or provide strategic partner services. Every industry has their particular language, pet peeves, focus, struggles, etc. For example, you better not use Bank language when dealing with a Credit Union or you will alienate them immediately.
On the other hand, most of what relates to company culture is universal. Things like belonging, trust, leadership, engagement, clear purpose, values, etc. are agnostic when it comes to different industries.
AM: Can you tell us about one of the strategies you advise businesses to apply?
DR. DAREN: Listen, listen, listen! I am amazed at what people tell me when I enter a company and start talking to everyone from the CEO to the janitor. They all have tremendous insight into what is working and what is not. Many companies have a huge gap between their stated culture (what is on the wall and on their website) and their hidden culture (the way things actually are).
There is a proverb that says, “The beginning of wisdom is calling things by the right name.” If you want to know what is truly going on at your company, you need to check your ego and defensiveness at the door and start listening particularly to your customers and those who are what I call “closest to the valve”.
AM: Can you share an example of a success story? A business that you worked with and the progress you have seen?
DR. DAREN: Bruce Sammis, CEO of Lockton in Dallas, is on record as saying, “We would not be where we are today without Daren Martin. Daren changed the trajectory of our business.” I came in to the company, asked the right questions, initiated strategic conversations, and recommended process, procedure, and people changes to drive more growth and consistency at this already great company.
I just received a text from a company I have only been working with a few months to advance their culture, improve internal and external communication, and more that said this: “You just made us a sh*t ton of money. Only calculable at this time however the investment is 100 times.”
AM: What is next for you? Are there any upcoming projects you are particularly excited about?
DR. DAREN: Wow. Where to start. I am putting out several more books, including Architecting a Company of Owners – a follow-up to my bestselling A Company of Owners, which has been called “Best book since Good to Great” – and think/WOW, which is a customer service book. We are launching Company Culture Magazine in 2019, which is going to rock the business world. I started Company Culture Academy, in which we are partnering with some extremely qualified partners so we can offer even more services to help drive the “Company Culture Evolution” that is happening right now. In addition, all four of my books are coming out in Kenya and East Africa, with more countries on the way. Our podcast, Company Culture with Daren Martin, is continuing to gain momentum as well.