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Sharing cutting-edge, transformational business insights.

RIG Talks, like TED Talks, is a new forum for executives, middle management and frontline leaders to share cutting-edge business insights that have transformed the way they do business.

RIG, or Run Improve Grow®, is based on the sound business principle that your organization’s success is determined by where people spend their time.  While your frontline leaders are managing the daily RUN of the business, middle management should be focusing on proactive process IMPROVEments, freeing the executives to work on GROWth initiatives.

Listen-in to our series as organizational leaders discuss growing pains, cultural issues, and how to manage the price of success.

Session 1 – The Ripple Junction Story

Ripple Junction started out as something to do in the summer, so the owner, Neil Hoynes, could pay his way to Grateful Dead concerts. Fast forward 30 years – Ripple started to grow quickly and realized they didn’t have the processes in place to support that growth.

“We had process improvement on our plan for 5 years – and never did it. It was important, but it wasn’t important. In 2016 it became urgent and important – literal tears at work. The workload was crushing,” explains Hoynes. 

Does your organization suffer from any of these challenges?

  • Increased sales but lower margins
  • Working harder, but not feeling successful
  • Ineffective systems and processes
  • Questionable metrics, lack of data, poor forecasting
  • Finger-pointing, lack of trust in leadership, untapped creativity

Listen in as the Ripple team tells their individual stories of growth and transformation. Hear how their ideas on culture, data, communication, and so much more needed to shift as they moved into the new era of growth.

Ripple Junction, a Cincinnati success story and a leading designer, and developer of pop-culture licensed merchandise, started to experience severe growing pains in 2016.

Before “pop-up” stores were popular, Ripple Junction had an inauspicious beginning selling T-shirts out of a van at a Grateful Dead concert in 1992. Almost three decades later, Ripple was experiencing exponential growth conducting business out of a 60,000 square-foot design and distribution center in West Chester, OH.

Like most organizations, growth came with its own set of challenges.  By 2018, Ripple was in turmoil. Their business was booming, but their operations and culture were suffering: from late shipments, disgruntled clients and stressed-out employees, to misaligned goals and metrics that nobody trusted.

Fast forward to today — Ripple Junction is a fun, energetic, and thriving business where its employees love coming to work, processes are standardized, metrics are aligned, and their employees feel successful every day.

So, what changed?

Find out as Neil Hoynes, the Founder of Ripple Junction, along with the Ripple Junction team, share their RIG stories of growth and transformation. See how Ripple Junction conquered business challenges that arose from phenomenal business success and discover critical insights that you can immediately apply in your organization.


Session 2 – The Key to Operational Excellence

From siloed teams, poor communication & lack of specialization to structure & SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) listen in to this presentation as Definity Partners and the Ripple team members discuss how to take your organization from chaos to controlled growth in less than a year.

The key to operational success is based on several factors, but the consistent model between a successful organization and a stressed organization typically lies in where and how an organization’s leaders are spending their time.

Operational excellence begins by getting leadership out of the run, allowing middle managers to work on process improvement and freeing upper management to work on growth strategies.

Do you relate to any of these operational challenges?

  • Are your teams siloed and not aware of what is going on between departments?
  • Do your teams understand the individual workload of each member of their team?
  • Are departments communicating effectively, with tools that allow them to give each other heads-up on orders, fulfillment, plans, and other activities that affect their daily performance?
  • To fulfill orders, is there a lot of back-and-forth between departments to gather the right information?
  • Do your teams finger-point and push blame off on others?
  • Does everyone understand how work flows through each department?
  • Is there a way to voice needs openly and with trust?

Listen in as we discuss the simplicity of the Run Improve Grow (RIG) business method. Better understand the issues you are currently facing and determine the best steps to getting your leaders out of the run and empowering your workforce to manage the daily operations of the business.

Are you, as a leader, managing the day-to-day operations of your business, or are you focused on higher-level pursuits? Are you allowing your frontline leaders to be empowered to run the organization, or do they rely on you for daily guidance and firefighting? Think about it. Be honest with yourself.

Listen in to this presentation to get a clearer understanding of how you can better manage your teams and empower them to RUN the business.

Discover the keys to Operational Excellence:

  • Why is a RIG Huddle more effective than the huddles you may be currently running?
  • What is try-storming?
  • What does it mean to empower your team?
  • How do you build trust?
  • What does it mean to recognize a champion?
  • Why is it important to have SMEs? (Subject Matter Experts)

Results of Operational Excellence

Your teams become empowered to make decisions, put out fires without management assistance, and become proactive vs. reactive. Open lines of communication allow teams to see who has the heavier loads and where others can step in to help. These shifts have a huge impact and cut down on waste.

Brainstorming vs. Try-storming

What is try-storming, and why you should embrace it?

Try-storming is about taking action. If you have goals and metrics and a vision for where you want to go – you act on it and put it in place. From there, additional ideas come in to play that allow you to move the bar even further.

A note of caution: If a try -storming effort doesn’t work – your reaction to the situation is crucial to the success of the team and your ability to empower them to make and test decisions on their own. If you overreact to a bad decision, you will inevitably shut down the team member who proposed the suggestion, therefore disrupting the effectiveness and trust the team has in expressing ideas and testing new solutions.

Effective RIG Huddles 

One of the first initiatives of any of Run Improve Grow project is the implementation of daily RIG Huddles. RIG Huddles are used to pull individual teams (often departments or functional groups) together to discuss what is going well and what needs improvement and to gather try-storming ideas for process improvement.

Your teams will use this time every day to discuss issues and come up with ideas to fix them on their own. Often, someone might have a problem that the rest of the team didn’t know existed. The RIG Huddle allows everyone to weigh-in and come up with solutions to try to resolve issues. A RIG Huddle is a safe place.

Empowering Your Teams

The most significant part of any RIG transformation is the empowerment of the team. Empowering your team means that you, as a leader, trust your team to make decisions. You give them the flexibility to test and try solutions (try-storm) to improve the daily operations of your business. An empowered workforce starts making decisions based on how everything affects the other – from department to department, and individual to individual. By giving your team leeway and the confidence to try-storm, you are empowering them to think and grow on their own, develop better systems for your organization, and ultimately create a culture of continuous improvement.

Watch this session now to get a better picture of how striving for Operational Excellence could play out in your organization.


Session 3 – Become a Fearless Organization Through Education & Talent Development

With growth comes change. If you do not focus on the primary assets of your organization (your PEOPLE) your culture, quality and effectiveness suffer. Ripple Junction was experiencing tremendous success but failing at keeping up with the needs of their employees. Their employees felt nothing was in their own control – from their career path to their daily activities.

The result? A lot of finger-pointing, bottle necks, disgruntled customers and employees who felt overworked, burnt-out and tired. See how our exclusive Fearless Leadership program and a conscious focus on Strategic HR initiatives led Ripple to transform their business resulting in a culture of continuous improvement, transparency, and freedom for the frontline.

When incorporating change into any organization you must first start with your top performers. By getting your top performers on board with a few quick wins (positive results) others will start to ask questions and want to follow suit.

In a fast-growing organization, a typical top performer has a lot of ideas. They are desperate for change. They work 150%. They are often your top complainers but that’s because they are frustrated that they can’t perform to their highest level. Be sure not to confuse negativity of a poor worker with a disgruntled top performer.

Dealing with skeptics is your main problem but once we get a top performer on board, others are eager to join. At that point, it is fun for the top performers to help lead the way and watch the entire organization buy-in.

Cultural Change from Fearless Leadership Training and Coaching:

  • When your team is empowered through training and trust, your life as a leader gets easier.
  • For new leaders, it offers an easy to follow stepping stone and path to success.
  • Once everyone sees small changes working, the teams become a lot more receptive to continuous improvement.
  • It’s often hard to hear that your team’s processes aren’t working properly, so you need to put egos aside and let the process work for you and your team.

We encourage everyone to read Run Improve Grow by Ray Attiyah.

I can get leadership to buy-in but how do I get the shop floor to buy-in?

  • Most of employees have issues. Engage them and take away their chronic frustrations – that is the best way to get them to understand that change is a positive step. Remove their obstacles and they will (typically) get on board.
  • Get the leadership team aligned. Be consistent in your message.
  • Fearless Leadership training offers a new, common language to express issues and challenges. When you are all talking the same language, it helps to transform the team.
  • Quick wins help to overcome fears and doubts. The energy of fixing and making it better fuels excitement and energy.
  • Often, the people you thought were least going to get on board were the ones that jumped on board first.
  • Empowering your frontlines to make decisions on their own and RUN the business is one of the core competencies we teach in our programs. Each day we start with RIG Huddles to determine WWW (what went well) and WNI (what needs improvement). A lot of WNI’s are tiny tweaks that feed in to empowerment. There is always a better way to do something. Your team gets to figure that out together.
  • RIG Huddle boards really allow people to identify large and small problems.
  • Empower you teams and see results soar.
  • Getting everyone at all levels to participate in continuous improvement creates a domino effect.

Typically, it’s not the line workers who give us the hardest time but rather middle management because their job changes the most. They go from firefighting and reactive activities to proactive improvements. Once they get out of the firefighting mode, they realize their jobs are much more productive and fulfilling.

What changes will your leaders and frontline see with Fearless Training?

  • Natural leaders evolve, people who care are recognized
  • Everyone has a forum the RIG Huddles to speak-up, their voice is heard
  • Makes onboarding process and training new employees easier, because they immediately learn the “language”

HR’s Role: Being Strategic vs Compliant

HR plays a larger, more strategic role in a RIG organization. HR helps with goal setting, hiring, reputation management, talent strategy & career path progression, and proactively seeking new employees. HR makes sure you have the right people in the right roles. They are actively sourcing new candidates at all times to reduce hiring times. HR maintains an active pool of participants who are qualified – so they are ready when you need them. Slowly, word gets out that your company is a great place to work. People become eager to work for your organization and are excited when they get a job offer.


Session 4 – Making Better, Faster Decisions through Trusted Data

Are you a data-driven organization? Are you making most of your decisions based on what you think, OR are you using the data embedded in your organization to help drive the decisions you make?

The data in your organization is hindsight. Decisions are forward-thinking. In this session, you will get a look at the importance of understanding, trusting, and using your data to drive future growth.

  • How do you take a review-mirror look at your business to help you make decisions and drive a future state?
  • How do you use data to empower the daily operations of the business?
  • How can you develop and monitor a product purchasing plan for your customers?
  • How do you enable your e-commerce department to optimize their ad spend?
  • How do you keep data forefront in the minds of not only your leaders but your teams?

Watch the presentation now to find out!

Being data-driven also means you’re not just giving data to management, but you are pushing accessibility of data down further into the organization. This push allows everyone to use the data to make decisions, and this is where data analytics enters the scene.

Data only tells you what happened. Most companies are gathering more and more data from all types of places. But what are you doing with the data?  Data Analytics gives you context and actionable insight into the numbers.

For example, Ripple has an ERP platform that sits on a database. It populates the database all day every day – from customer updates and inventory to products, etc. It can produce all types of reports. These reports are all about what happened, but it doesn’t provide any insights.

To give you an example of the value and competitive advantage DA can provide, at Ripple, we did an exploratory data analytics analysis.

We worked to understand their critical business issues that led us to look at certain cost items.  Then using advanced data techniques to evaluate cost irregularities, we did a cost compression analysis. We spent time looking at deviations and how products were sourced.

As a result, we were able to offer suggestions that ultimately saved Ripple 4-11%, a significant savings, and increase to their bottom line. Data analytics gives you a competitive advantage. It allows you to improve operational efficiencies. It enables you to figure out what the data is telling you and the areas that need improvement.

Together with Data Analytics is your ability to have access to the data on a regular, time-sensitive basis. At Ripple, we helped them set-up and integrate Microsoft Power BI to replace their antiquated systems and siloed Excel documents. Watch the presentation now to see the impact and power of having real-time numbers at your fingertips.


Session 5 – Effective RIG Huddles & Coaching

For organizations who think they have tried everything to get their organization aligned, think again.  At Definity, we have spent the past twenty years successfully creating cultural and transformational change with the organizations we touch. And it all starts with the basics: improving communication through daily interactions and building trust through coaching and mentoring.

RIG Huddles are a unique communication tool that aid in creating sustainable, cultural change. Our huddles help your organization build trust, learn how to listen, and create a safe space for people to be empowered to drive change, make mistakes, and think of crazy, bold ideas.

Along with our huddles, our RIG Coaching programs offer the next step in transforming your organization one leader at a time. Your role as a leader is to remove obstacles for your team to make sure they have everything they need to succeed. Through RIG Coaching, we help you discover your gaps and help you create sustainable behaviors to overcome your shortcomings, allowing you to drive your team to succeed.

Listen-in to see how our RIG Huddles and Coaching programs could help you transform your business by creating sustainable and effective cultural & behavioral change.

How many of you have been to a class that you thought was awesome but then realized shortly after class that your takeaways didn’t stick? Our coaching programs force you to do the things you are uncomfortable with but help you to grow as a leader and be more successful in the long run.

A lot of organizations implement huddles, but it is typically a one-way dissemination of information or people just talking about the schedule. A RIG Huddle is unique. We want people to be excited in the huddle. We want them to feel empowered. We want them to know they are important, and their voice matters.

RIG Huddles vs. Typical Huddles

Typical huddles often fail because people are not engaged, it’s not a two-way conversation, and it results in no progress.

RIG Huddles are a pivotal part of transforming how you are doing business. At the core, RIG Huddles are set-up to engage the team.

Leadership plays a crucial role in RIG Huddles. You need to be willing to change and set the example. You need to get out of the way of your team. You need to support the program. You need to demonstrate strong beliefs. You need to set the stage that this is the way we are going to move forward as an organization. And you need to be positive and supportive of any try-storming initiatives that may fail. Remember, every failure is one step closer to progress and figuring out a way to solve an issue. Create trust, and the rest will be easy.

What to expect from a RIG Huddle

  • A robust and engaged team
  • People excited and eager to recognize each other for successes
  • Progress: the board keeps you moving forward as a team
  • Clarity: the board brings a lot of visibility, you begin to see where everyone is spending their time, and why things go wrong
  • With clarity, you become proactive vs. reactive
  • A new sense of pride: people get excited to go over the numbers because it gives them a sense of accomplishment
  • Strategic: everything becomes very strategic and goal-oriented
  • Trust: you can support your ideas with data
  • A new common language: every team has a way to communicate internally & externally
  • Reduces burn out
  • Aids in new hire training and getting team members up to speed quickly

How can you become a better leader?

Outstanding leadership requires confidence and skill in three key areas: people, process, and performance. Our leadership coaching & training programs balance the basics of process improvement with the people development skills that are critical to making improvements last.

What does a proficient leader look like in the three core areas?


  • Understands and practices trust building behaviors
  • Gives high quality feedback and recognition
  • Develops the talents and skills of their team.


  • Recognizes, enforces, and drives a proactive safety mindset
  • Sees “work” as interdependent processes, recognizes waste, and drives process improvement
  • Effectively communicates by leading improvement-oriented daily huddles


  • Sets and delivers on high expectations and standards
  • Coaches to create an empowered team
  • Leads calmly, decisively, and with confidence in challenging situations

Tips to get your employees engaged in change:

  • Let them help with the process.
  • Set clear expectations.
  • Determine metrics and goals that are easily measurable and obtainable from the start.
  • Increase the intensity as people understand the impact and strive for continuous improvement.
  • Provide transparency in the numbers.
  • Measure anything and everything that makes a difference in the work process.

For more on how RIG Huddles and Coaching could benefit your organization, watch the presentation now.


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