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  • Writer's pictureAndy Goram

Axiology: The Key To Doing Good Business

Two smiling men discussing axiology on the sticky from the inside podcast
Dr Randy Ross (left) and Andy Goram (right) discuss how axiology is the hidden key to doing good business

Axiology. That's a word I'd never heard of until recently. I didn't know what it was, or what it meant. I also wasn't aware how aligned I was to it already either. I wasn't consciously aware of it's impact in my life, or the way I lead teams, or the way it can influence business success, until my eyes were opened by Dr Randy Ross.

I spoke to Randy on a recent episode of my culture and leadership podcast, Sticky From The Inside, where we took a dive into the topic of axiology, which is all about the structure of value, and how we're presented with value conscious choices in life and work. It's centred around 7 maxims, or truths that hark back to the days of Greek philosophers, was modernised by Professor Robert Hartman and has been synthesised into something easily understood and digestible by Randy. Below is a full transcript of our conversation, though you can also listen to the full conversation via the player below too.

So if you fancy finding out the hidden secrets to doing good business and having a successful, fulfilling life, read or listen on.

Podcast Transcript

00:00:10 - Andy Goram

Hello and welcome to Sticky from the Inside, the employee engagement podcast that looks at how to build stickier, competition-smashing consistently successful organisations from the inside out. I'm your host, Andy Goram, and I'm on a mission to help more businesses turn the lights on behind the eyes of their employees, light the fires within them, and create tons more success for everyone. This podcast is for all those who believe that's something worth going after and would like a little help and guidance in achieving that. Each episode we dive into the topics that can help create what I call stickier businesses. The sort of businesses where people thrive and love to work, and where more customers stay with you and recommend you to others because they love what you do and why you do it.

So if you want to take the tricky out of being sticky, listen on!

Introduction To Axiology

Okay, today we are embarking on what I think will be a truly fascinating journey. A journey into the world of values, ethics and the profound impact that they have on the world of business. But we'll be doing it through a lens that we haven't used before on the podcast. Yes, my friends, today we're diving deep into the topic of axiology. Now, what's axiology? I hear you cry. Well, it's a string of philosophy that stems back to an ancient Greek philosophy that was further built on by the great German philosopher Robert Hartman and is all about the structure of value. But fear not, you don’t need to be a student of Greek philosophy or the works of Hartmann to get something out of today’s episode. I have someone with me today who synthesised all that work and put it into practical, understandable and useful language. And I get the feeling that axiology is about to become your new best friend in understanding how to create businesses that aren’t just successful but are genuinely good for the world and the people that work in them.

But how do you build a business that genuinely adds value to the community it serves? How can leaders inspire their teams to unleash their creativity, fulfil their potential, and be run with generously? At its core, these are the kind of juicy questions, my friends, we're going to be tackling today with the guidance of our remarkable guest Dr Randy Ross, who's been at the forefront of transforming workplace cultures and written some great books. Books on the subject like, “Remarkable”, “Relationomics” and “Fireproof Happiness”. We'll explore the fascinating topic of axiology through the maxims of viability, creativity and generosity. These aren't just lofty ideals, they are practical, actionable philosophies that can shape the way we think about business, leadership and our impact on the world around us. So whether you're a CEO, a budding entrepreneur, or someone who just gets passionate about creating positive change, I think this is an episode for you. So get ready to be inspired, challenged, and maybe even transform the way you think about business, of doing good. Welcome to the show, Doctor Randy.


00:03:25 - Dr Randy Ross

Thank you, Andy. It is a pleasure to be with you.


00:03:28 - Andy Goram

Oh, I am very, very happy to have you here today, not least because we're going to tackle an old age problem from a very, very different perspective today. Your introduction to me to the world of axiology has proven very, very interesting and intriguing for me. So I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into that today with your help. Before I run headlong excitedly like a kid on a beach towards the sea of axiology, let's just take a breath. Do us a favour, Randy, will you? Can you give us a bit of a better background to what you've been up to than I've given you and what your focus is on today?


Dr Randy Ross's Background

00:04:03 - Dr Randy Ross

Absolutely. And thanks for asking the question. I am an author, I'm a speaker. I get the opportunity to travel around the globe and speak to various organisations about how they can craft better cultures. I like to say it this way. Organisations thrive when they produce relationally rich environments where people enjoy not only what they do, but who they do it with. Because we know that happy people do better work. That's not a secret. It's pretty intuitive, if you ask me. But the reality is there's so many organisations whose environments are not conducive to providing relationally rich experiences for their people. Either they're filled with toxic behaviour or competitive leadership. There are a wide array of issues that can take root within organisational life that are not necessarily productive. And so I get the opportunity to go in and talk to organisations about how they can increase their employee engagement, which we know is just simply someone's emotional attachment to the work experience. And we do so often unpacking these principles from the field of axiology. So it's a lot of fun for me.


00:05:11 - Andy Goram

And we're doing this, I suspect, without even knowing. It's coming from this philosophy of axiology, right? I mean, I'd never heard of it before. We spoke briefly originally in our catch up. And so I'm really interested to understand, why is this topic so important to you, Randy? And where did your connection to axiology start?


00:05:34 - Dr Randy Ross

Okay, well, let's start off with the basic premise that I think will help people, that people like to do good business with businesses that do good. Let's just start there. And the interesting thing about axiology, axiology is a strain of philosophy, as you mentioned earlier, but it's all about, it's a science as well, trying to understand and define what is good and how do you measure it within organisational life. And so what we want to do is understand good and then help to create movements of good within organisational life. So an organisation that does good for all of their stakeholders, meaning their employees, their team members, those that they have responsibility for caring for directly, then their customers or their clients, whom those that they care for are then responsible for caring for, and then also their shareholders. It's what we're trying to do is to create a movement of good that covers all of those bases for all of those stakeholders, not just the shareholders. And in so many organisations, particularly if they're, if they're public company, their first and foremost responsibility, they feel, is the fiduciary responsibility to their shareholder. But the challenge oftentimes comes in, if that's our sole focus, is just producing the best quarterly return that we can, then oftentimes we compromise long term benefit to obtain short term objectives, and we compromise the entire organisation or the endeavour if we're trying to build an organisation that's going to have as much value and impact as it can over the course of time. So I think we have to make sure that we keep all of that in balance. And the principles of axiology are profound in helping us do that.


The Purpose Of Business

00:07:28 - Andy Goram

So for the uninitiated, why do you think it is such an interesting topic and so applicable for where we are today with business and this tension that you talk about between doing good by everybody and delivering a return that we need to today?


00:07:46 - Dr Randy Ross

Well, it does go back to Plato, Socrates way back, because they began to talk about what is valuable, what are the things that are necessary for human beings to thrive? So the conversation does go all the way back to the Greek philosophers. And you're also right in saying that the father of modern axiology, in many people's estimation, is Doctor Robert Hartman, whose story in itself is very, very fascinating because he was born in 1910 in Berlin, Germany. And he, by the age of 22, he had studied philosophy in Paris. He had studied economics in London. He had studied law theory in Berlin. And he came back to Berlin to actually teach at the University of Berlin while serving as an assistant district court judge. But he wrote his doctoral thesis on preserving human dignity in the legal system, a very worthy doctoral dissertation. The only problem was it's now 1932 in Berlin, Germany, and he's talking about preserving human dignity in the legal system while the Third Reich is coming to power. Right? And so he was targeted. He was Jewish. His name was Robert Schirokauer, but he adopted the name Robert Hartman, and he fled to England. And there he had a chance encounter with a guy by the name of Walt Disney, interestingly enough. And he became Walt Disney's close friend and confidant. He became his personal advisor for about eight years, actually, in the Disney organisation.

And now I share that for a reason, think about this. Hitler, Disney. Could you think of any two antithetical characters in history? You know, because you've got this one individual, from Hartman's standpoint, who was creating this movement of evil in the world, and now you got Disney. And he thought, you know, if an individual can create a movement of evil, why cannot individuals create a movement of good? And that's what he infused into the early years of the whole Disney enterprise. And he was literally, if you want to call it, the first Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) for the Disney organisation. He left there after eight years and went back into the academic realm, where he continued to build out this structure of value theory. But I think that all the principles that axiology teaches is a perfect course, step by step on how organisations can grow to create these thriving environments that are focused on human flourishing and doing good. Because as organisations create movements of good, then they indeed can have a profound impact, not only externally, but internally first. And organisations really understand the power of taking care of your own people. When you put your people above profits, profits will come.

Here's a great question for your listening audience, and this is one that many people struggle with. What's the purpose of business? Now, if you ask anybody, especially in the west, in a Master's program, they will tell you there'll be a long, flowery definition about providing a product or service that meets a need in the market to produce. But it all comes down if you bullet to assessments is about making money. And I wholeheartedly disagree.


00:11:14 - Andy Goram

Me too.


Creating Remarkable Value

00:11:15 - Dr Randy Ross

I think the purpose of business is to improve the human condition. I think the purpose of business is to do good in the world. And here's what I know to be true. I know that people will gladly pay full price for those things that they deem bring true value to life. And so the idea then is not, it's about making a difference in the world before you make a dollar. If you make a difference in the world, you will make a dollar or a pound or whatever, or a Euro or whatever. But the idea is solid in the sense that when we create value for people, they will be attracted in droves. And here's the thing. When we do it in such a way that we demonstrate care and compassion, then that's significant. I wrote a book several years ago called remarkable. And remarkable means that you provide a service or a product, and you do it in such a way that you blow people away. You exceed all expectations. You deliver second mile service. You go above and beyond. You mark people's lives for good to such a degree that when they leave your presence, they have this irrepressible desire to talk about you. And when they're talking about you and they're remarking about you, then you indeed have been become remarkable. And axiology is an attempt to become remarkable. It's about leaving an indelible impression upon people's lives that's not easily erased, marking people's lives for good.

Now, here's what's fascinating, and this is not, may not translate to a lot of your listening audience, you know, across, across the waters, but here in the States, there's a little company here in Atlanta that has become very, well. They have a great reputation for the value that they create, for their culture, for the way they take care of their employees, for the impact that they've had. It's a little group that sells chicken sandwiches, of all things, in our backyard, and it's called Chick-fil-A. And I don't know if people there, you know, know who chick fil A is, or we'll be familiar with the name. So, Chick-fil-A. Last year, they produced more in gross revenue than their top five competitors combined, and they did it with one third the number of retail outlets. But here's what's fascinating. The purpose of Chick-fil-A, as expressed in their mission statement, may surprise you. They exist to become the world's most caring company.


00:13:47 - Andy Goram

Wow! Interesting. That's a lofty goal for anyone.


00:13:50 - Dr Randy Ross

And what does that have to do with chicken sales? So their whole idea is, we want to take care of people in every way that we possibly can, and it shows. And they have arguably created one of the most vibrant cultures that anyone would ever want to be a part of with a fantastic product. And they have raving fans that are very loyal and faithful to the brand, to the point that they now have surpassed their top five competitors combined in sales. And I think that speaks to just Chick-fil-A. It's other organisations that we work together with as well. But it speaks to this idea that you take care of your people, and your people will take care of your customers, and your customers will tell their friends. And business will be good when you commit to do good business, because people like to do good business with businesses that do good.


00:14:47 - Andy Goram

And all of this, I mean, I feel like I have very similar conversations with people, Randy, because all of that sounds both wonderful and commonsensical like to me. It's what we would love to see in every walk of life, in every business. People doing good for greater good, making money to invest in their. In their company, to continue to grow so that people have jobs and they love the jobs they do, and all this lovely virtual cycle stuff. And it is commonsensical, but yet we still don't see it everywhere. We still don't see people following these you've used the word movements, let's use that. And there's still the fixation with the short-term profit centred drive. And in all the work that you do, why have we still got this gap between the two, Randy? And what causes a company to, I'm going to say, wake up and smell the coffee and go, hey, there's a better way of doing things right? What have you seen that happens?


Axiology & Value Judgements

00:15:44 - Dr Randy Ross

Well, you're absolutely right. It seems commonsensical, but it's not common practice. And it all comes back to axiology, because axiology is about value judgments. It's a philosophical strain that talks about values, value creation, and value constructs, which leads to your value judgments. And everything in life is a competition of values. So it comes to personal values. Personal values have to be aligned with corporate values. But then the question is, what are the corporate values?


00:16:15 - Andy Goram

And are they real?


00:16:17 - Dr Randy Ross

Are they real? But you know what, what value is more important? Is it making as much money as we can this quarter to give back to our shareholders, or is it taking care of our people this quarter in a way that they feel is substantive, so that therefore, long term, they have commitment to the organisation to produce long term results. And oftentimes, this short-term, long-term interplay, you know, it's what's best for this quarter versus what's best for the enterprise long haul, then that's a value construct issue. And so values compete. You know, is, organisations sometimes say, you know, safety first is a value, but when push comes to shove, meeting deadlines supersedes safety.


00:17:01 - Andy Goram



00:17:02 - Dr Randy Ross

So you have to be consistent. And I like to say all the time, the primary role of leaders within organisation is just twofold. One, to be a champion for and a keeper of the culture, because it's an expression of who you are. And number two, to connect personal passion to corporate objectives, which has to do with an alignment of values. And so there are different principles that I have synthesized from the realm of axiology, that we like to help organisations understand not only the principle, but be able to embrace the practices that then can help them use this information to transform and codify a compelling culture. And so, you know, there are principles that we teach that we've expounded upon in our books, the first being Remarkable, the second being Relationomics, that unpack all of these ideas.


00:17:53 - Andy Goram

And you warned me in my research not to try and track down all of these principles because you've done the work of synthesizing, what a great piece of advice that was, by the way, because there was, I mean there's a lot of information and there's, there's a lot to decipher in these things. And we aren't going to have time to go through all the seven principles behind axiology today and I've picked maybe three that we'll get a chance to have a good conversation about, but just so people understand the full construct, Randy, those seven principles, can you just lay them out from a sort of headline perspective?


The Seven Maxims Of Axiology

00:18:29 - Dr Randy Ross

Sure. Well, the first is you have what we call, we call them maxims. They could be called universal truths or axioms if you like. We tried to make, for simplicity’s sake, put those into the seven that we consider to be the most important. And there's some overlap, but it's a very heady academic field for those who really want to dive in deep they can get a copy of Robert Hartman's the Structure of Value and good luck wading through that. But here are a few of those maxims. We like to call them maxims because we say if you apply these to life they will maximize your productivity.

The first maxim is the maxim of viability. And the maxim of viability, I'll just give you a brief definition of each one. The maxim of viability just says, having been created for a purpose, fulfil the purpose for which you were created. And every single one of us should have a very clear purpose statement of life that drives our behaviour, just like the North Star guides sailors at night. So we need to have some sort of grounded philosophical root edge of value base that we come back to that drives all of our behaviour. So that's the maxim of viability. And organisations have mission statements, they have purpose statements, they talk about why they exist. But it's fascinating to me when I talk to leaders how very few leaders have a what I call a life legacy statement. Or a life purpose statement. And I think that's critically important.

Another one is what we call the maxim of creativity. And it very simply says that we are all designed to create value in life. And the idea is that we feel good about doing good, healthy individuals, acts of human kindness, there's something within our heart that resonates, that we like to see good things transpire, that we want to be a part of something larger than ourselves, that we want to see good happen in the world. So therefore, this is the ideas that are necessary to help create movements of good. So that's the, the maxim of creativity.

The maxim of positivity is really fascinating to me because it's a lot of what we've already discussed or we've hinted toward, and it just simply says all the good things that you want in life are a byproduct of, of creating good for other people. Now this is profound because we talked about what's the purpose of business? Well, the purpose of business is not to make money. Now, granted, if you don't make money, you're not going to be in business very long, but if you're only about making money, then it won't be too terribly long till that philosophy, that foundational value, will become clear to people and they will abandon your cause because they will realize that all you're about is just simply making money. And that's not a, not a very appealing proposition for most people, right? It's like they're not interested in just helping you make more money, but they are interested in doing good and receiving something of value. Here's another way of looking at it. What's the one thing that most people in life want? What are most people strive for? What's the number one pursuit of most people?


00:22:20 - Andy Goram

I don't know. Security or love or any of those sorts of things, right, maybe?


The Pursuit Of Happiness & Money

00:22:25 - Dr Randy Ross

And that's true. At the heart of that is a desire for happiness, right? Everybody wants to be happy. But if you ask people, you know, what would make you happy? If I could give you one thing in life, what would make you happy? The vast majority of people by, by far their number one answer is money. Give me more money. That'll make me happy. And it's just not true. It's just not true. And we could spend a lot of time talking. Yes, we could, but it's just not true. A very wise man by the name of John Templeton, he once said this 

“Happiness pursued eludes, but happiness given returns.”

In other words, I'm the happiest as a husband, when my wife is happy.


00:23:14 - Andy Goram

Oh, you speak for other men there, my friend.


00:23:18 - Dr Randy Ross

We all know that by experience, right? If Mom is not happy, nobody's happy. If Dad's not happy, nobody really cares. Just send him on a fishing trip and give him three days to recover. But the reality is, for me, I'm the happiest as a parent when my kids are happy. I'm the happiest as a leader when my team members are happy. That's how happiness comes. Happiness pursued, eludes, but happiness given returns. And so if you understand that, then the idea, much like the idea of success, you've heard this said before, the, the fastest way to success is to make everyone around you successful. If you do that, you will be successful. And the same idea is true. So business, making money is a byproduct of doing good. And that's the idea. And that turns a lot of things upside down, and it causes a lot of things to stand on their head because we have to make sure we're pursuing the right thing. And so that's the maxim of positivity. The maxim of sustainability is quite fascinating to me because it simply says, to continuously create value, you have to leverage your passion and your strengths to solve problems. This is, this is really intriguing to me because I think it hits at the very heart of productivity.


00:24:46 - Andy Goram



00:24:48 - Dr Randy Ross

You and I know, Andy, there's been a lot of talk in the, in the workaday world about pursuing what makes you happy, what brings you pleasure to, to, you know, that whole idea of do what you love to do and the money will follow.


00:25:03 - Andy Goram



00:25:03 - Dr Randy Ross

My, Grandmother told me that when I was a young boy. She said, Randy, do what you love to do and the money will follow. In psychological circles, we call that a lie because there are a lot of things I love to do, but nobody's going to ever pay me to play, pay me to do them because I don't, I don't play that very well. They're like golf. I love golf. No one's ever in my entire life offer to pay me to play golf because I just don't play well. But I love it. And so the idea of learning to love what you do is important, but you can't only pursue doing those things that you love to do. So that is a bit of a misnomer. And then there's a whole lot of talk in the world. There's a lot of emphasis upon strengths and strengths finders. And again, I think that's a wonderful thing to lean into your strengths, to leverage your strengths for maximum productivity. But, but you can't always just do that either. And so the key is you have to combine doing what you love to do or like to do, with what you do really, really well. But here's the crucial part that so many people miss. You combine those to solve problems because that's what people will pay you to do. You can't only do what you love to do. You can't only leverage your strengths. Those things have to be combined to solve a problem. And that's what values-based theory teaches, is that productivity comes when you solve problems for other people. Does that make sense?


00:26:30 - Andy Goram

Oh, 100%. I'm a massive fan of ikigai. So the Japanese model of meaning, which combines, I guess, meaning at work. So finding something that you love, finding something that you're good at, finding something you can get paid for like you want to get paid for, and finding something that the world needs. The intersection of those four circles is what they would say is, Ikigai. And therefore, you'd have purpose and meaning in your work. And so, to me, that that's really strongly aligned to what we've just talked about there.


00:26:59 - Dr Randy Ross

No doubt that's exactly what we're talking spot on. Because you have to solve problems in order to bring value to life.


00:27:05 - Andy Goram



Responsibility & Ownership

00:27:06 - Dr Randy Ross

Then there's the maxim of responsibility, which simply says that responsibility drives ownership, and ownership drives responsibility. Meaning that people need to be empowered to own not only the process, but the results as well. That the more they feel a sense of ownership, the more they can put their fingers on the activity, the more responsible they will be for providing the results. And I think sometimes, you know, we have organisations that are more focused on command and control than they are about allowing widespread participation and solving problems. And, and we all know that the people who are closest to the problems are usually the ones who can come up with the most creative ideas on how to resolve them. And we have to, again, think through how do we allow them to participate in that process? And then as we get toward the end of the Maxims, we have the maxim of generosity, which to me is again, very, very fascinating that we might want to spend some time unpacking as well.


00:28:16 - Andy Goram



00:28:17 - Dr Randy Ross

And that just simply speaks to the issue that life is not complete until we turned around and we've given back to others. The 7th and the final one is value centricity, which just simply says that when our values are aligned, that we create a circuit of energy through which good things can flow. And so those are the seven principles, the seven maxims of value creation, and there's a lot there that we can unpack, probably much more than we have time for today, but. But that's a good start to the conversation.


00:28:53 - Andy Goram

I love it. I absolutely love it. I think when you, when you hear all about all seven and you understand all seven, this thing around value or value structure or creating value, however you want to kind of phrase it to me, they're all-around guidelines to make great choices. Right. And that's my simplistic take on this, on this whole thing you've introduced me to, which I have loved, by the way, a simple set of guidelines to make some better choices in life and at work. And so, I reckon there's two or three we should have a bit of a play with. And I'd like to start, if we could, Randy, with the maxim viability. Cause I actually think you've got some great stuff in there to unpack. I'm a massive fan of purpose statements and value statements. I spend quite a bit of time helping individuals and companies kind of get into that sort of stuff. But I know you do a lot and you've even got some kind of resources that might be very, very helpful for people to sort of use to get into this. So let's dig into that.

So you talked about companies having value statements. Individuals should have them. I mean, I come from the perspective of, if you're going to have these things, let's make them honest, authentic and usable. I think if you have those things, they can act as an incredible kind of anchor point for anything that you do. Whenever troubles come your way, they're the thing that holds you in place. So where's your take on the why? Rather, why are you so passionate about individuals having purpose statements and how those are made?


Purpose Statements & Value Judgements

00:30:30 - Dr Randy Ross

Great question. I love to jump into that. But first I've got to go back and I've got to commend you, because when you sort of synthesize the whole idea of axiology, talking about it being about value judgments and how we make decisions, that is the very heart of axiology. And so you've grasped it. So I applaud you for that, because it is about how we value certain aspects of our world, the decisions that we make, the judgments that we come to and how we behave. So first of all, thank you for that. Secondly, when it comes to viability, a purpose statement, organisations exist for a reason. If you don't know the reason for which you exist, you're going to flounder. And that has to be clear. And the values that that endeavour is based upon have to be clear as well. You and I both know organisations that have gone through the exercise to create a mission statement and also articulate their values, but they have to be not only embraced and articulated, but they have to be embodied. And oftentimes they're not embodied. And if it's not embodied, then people will learn very quickly. It's disingenuous rhetoric.


00:31:36 - Andy Goram



00:31:37 - Dr Randy Ross

So it has to be both based upon the reality and there can be an aspirational component to it as well, because we're always striving to be better. But if it's all aspirational and no activity to back that up, then we lose people's trust rather quickly. But why it's so critically important is exactly what you said. Our values and our legacy statement, our purpose statement, serves as the foundation upon which everything else resides. It should be the framework through which we make our decisions. It states why we exist. And here's why it's important. Because individuals, whether they articulate it or not, whether they write it down or not, they have values that their life pursuit is based upon. All of us do much better that that's clearly stated and clearly understood. So therefore, then you can align that with an organisation that appreciates that value, those values. Because again, value centricity is created when our personal values align with the values of the organisation, because we get excited. And when that happens in organisations hire to values, they no longer have to light a fire underneath people. They get to fan the flame within them and turn them loose to do what they're naturally wanting to do.


00:33:02 - Andy Goram

Love that.


00:33:02 - Dr Randy Ross

That’s when a good match is made. But it serves, like I mentioned earlier, as a north star. So when you are in the midst of a storm, when you are going through change, when you have dreams that are dashed, that North Star, much like sailing at night, you navigate because it is always aligned with the axis of the earth, right? You know where you're going, you may not know quite how to get there, and you may be caught in the storm and you got to adjust the sales, but you know, ultimately who you are and where you're going. And so I think that's important. And we want to provide for your listeners an opportunity to craft their own life purpose statement. And, you know, we had committed in the notes, in the show notes. We're going to put a link to a, to one of our web pages where there will be free opportunity, access to information for free, to help guide you through the process of crafting your own life purpose statement, and it involves understanding, first of all, what are your values? And there are aesthetic values, there are ethical values, there are functional values, and there's a whole wide array of values that are listed there. And you can, you know, circle those that are most important to you. And then it also takes you through an exercise to identify your passion. What are those things that you do really well? And it'll help you do what we talked about earlier, to take your, your strengths and take your passion, and then align that to what problem do you solve and help you craft a very succinct, easily memorizable, memorable, I should say. But it'll help them create a very succinct, compelling life purpose statement. And, and that's just a resource we like to provide for your listeners.


00:34:44 - Andy Goram

Hey, that's great. And they will definitely appear in the show notes, so you can check those out, get stuck into that. I think having any kind of framework or guide to help somebody craft that is, is so valuable because it can feel like a pretty daunting thing to do. Trying to, well, what are, what are my values? And what are my purpose? Sounds like the simplest question someone could ask you, because it's about you, right? Easy. Who knows? Me? Me. I know me. I think actually taking lots of people through this process, it's, it's a tough thing to do. It takes an awful lot of thought to get there.


00:35:18 - Dr Randy Ross

It does. But I also want to encourage your readers to realize this is your first iteration.


00:35:23 - Andy Goram



00:35:23 - Dr Randy Ross

It will, it will be refined over the course of time, and you'll finally settle on language that is very compelling for you. And that's what I like to say. It needs to be clear, it needs to be concise, and it needs to be compelling. Whether those words mean anything to anybody else, it doesn't matter if it's important to you, and it helps ground you and it helps guide you in your pursuits. That's the purpose of a life purpose statement. So give yourself some grace. It may not be flowery and memorable at first, but over the course of time, as you refine it, you'll grow into something you feel very comfortable about.


00:35:56 - Andy Goram

That's such good advice. That is such good advice, because people can get hung up on it, sounding like the tagline for an advert and having to be sweet and beautiful. It's really not about that. I'd much rather people have something that speaks to them and really helps them than be smart, pretty, tidy, whatever it might be. That's really great advice.


00:36:15 - Dr Randy Ross

And to help people let me just share my personal purpose statement. It might give you some people a guide, but here's mine. My purpose is to “

“In word and indeed inspire people to become remarkable.”

Now, nobody else, that may not mean a thing to anybody else. It doesn't matter. I've already talked about what the word remarkable means to me. It's the name of our book. Our first book is the name of our company. It means to leave a positive, indelible impression on other people's lives. I'm not a motivational speaker. I like to inspire people. I think there's a big difference between motivation and inspiration. I want to inspire people, and I want to do it in my words because I sort of fancy myself as a communication expert. So both in the written word and the spoken word, that's important to me, but not just in words, because verbiage alone isn't impactful. People want to see it in your actions. So by word and by deed, I want to inspire people to be remarkable. And I wake up every day excited about having the opportunity to do that for individuals, for organisations, and it keeps me focused on the right things.


00:37:22 - Andy Goram

Well, my experience of working with you so far, Randy, you're living your purpose, mate. And it's coming through because you inspired me an enthusiasm for this topic to go away and research and find out some more stuff. And it confirmed things I loved and knew, and it brought me a whole bunch of other things to go and look at. So as one person, I can absolutely verify, well, you are delivering your purpose, my friend, and, and I'm very grateful for it.


00:37:48 - Dr Randy Ross

I appreciate the affirmation.


00:37:50 - Andy Goram

You're very, very welcome. I do want to at least dig into another one of the maxims, because, again, I think you've got a fascinating story behind it, and I think generosity is a really important one because there is an awful lot of self-thought and selfish thought that can be focused around business and what it does. I think that's the antithesis of what we're talking about here. Unpack the generosity maxim for me. Tell me about that and tell me why it speaks to you so strongly.


Maslow's 8 Hierarchy Of Needs

00:38:18 - Dr Randy Ross

Well, it does speak to me strongly, Andy, because I think it's sort of the culmination of what it means to create a movement of good. And we do live in a pretty self-absorbed, myopic world where it's all about me. And the question is, what's in it for me? What will I get out of this? And we talk about the me generation, which, quite frankly, I think is unfair. I don't think that's just the millennials. I think that's everybody. We all tend to be a part of the me generation. But we need to help people grow out of being a consumer into being a value creator. And that's what the maximum of generosity is all about. And it is fun. It is intriguing because it's about giving back. It's about making. Making good in the world.

And interesting story that goes behind this is that that many people may be familiar with Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs. Right? It was a five tier hierarchy that talked about human motivational behaviour, and it was very interesting and very fascinating. And for those who remember it from your psychology 101 class, basically, Abraham Maslow said that human behaviour is driven by a need to fulfil certain aspects of life, the first of which being physiological needs, food, shelter, and clothing. If you don't have food, shelter, and clothing, then everything else you know in life will be driven by that. Until that is acquired, then it goes to security needs, both emotionally and physically, and then love and belonging, and then self-esteem. And many will remember, because it was the pinnacle, you know, what we were all supposed to have memorized for the test? Self. A self-actualization was at the top of the pyramid, and that was this idea that you've attained your full potential. Well, interestingly enough, Abraham Maslow and Robert Hartman were good friends. They both taught at the University of Mexico at the Cuernavaca campus. And their wives were good friends. And one night, they were having dinner together. And after dinner, they went out to the patio and sipping on some Brandy, Robert Hartman turned to Abe Maslow, and he goes,

“Hey, Abe. So tell me about this hierarchy of needs you've been working on.”

And he unpacked it, and he explained it. Hartman sat there intently listening. And then finally, at the very end, he goes, so let me get this straight. So self-actualization means that you fulfilled your potential. You become all that you were meant to be, and that's the best that life has to offer. And he goes, absolutely. You've got it. You've got it, Robert. And then Robert turned to me and goes, so what? So what if you fulfil your potential, what good have you done? What have you given back? What legacy have you created? What good have you given back to those around you? What debt have you made in the universe? So you've had a self-absorbed existence. You fulfilled your potential. So what? And it messed Abraham Maslow up.


00:41:15 - Andy Goram

I can only imagine.


00:41:17 - Dr Randy Ross

And it sent him into a rabbit hole. Then he emerged several months later. And if you do your research, if you just google it. You'll find that it wasn't widely printed. You got to look for it. But he added three tiers to his five tier hierarchy. He added aesthetic needs, and he added cognitive needs. But most important, above self-actualization, the top tier, now the pinnacle of the pyramid, is self-transcendence, which means that it had a metaphysical connotation, but it meant giving back. It meant connecting with humanity in such a way that you leave a positive wake in the world. That life's not just about consuming and accumulating for yourself. It's about, what have you done good for others. And I think that's powerful because for me, and I think for anybody in a worthwhile endeavour, the quality of your life will be marked not in the possessions that you amass, but in the people that you impact in a positive way. And I think that's what the maxim of generosity is all about. It's about making life good.

I actually have a book coming out, Andy, in August, and the full title of it, the abbreviated title, is make life good. But the full title is, you've made a good living. Now make life good. And it plays off of this whole idea of what is doing good in the world, and how do we do that, and how do we get involved in other people's lives to truly provide for them resources and opportunities they could not provide for themselves and send their life on a totally different trajectory. If everyone in the world did for one person what they wish they could do for everyone, they could change the whole world for that someone. And I guarantee you, in changing the world for someone else, it would radically change your world as well. And so I think sometimes we think about changing the world as this unrealistic, formidable challenge, that we can't change the world for good, but you can change the world for someone. And in changing the world for someone, it will change the world for good.

Sticky Note Wisdom 

00:43:39 - Andy Goram

Wow! This is the thing that I have loved about this topic, because you've done a lot of the work of synthesizing stuff, making it easy, relatable, transferable into simple, simple language. Come back to that common sense thing. The words that you've used compared to the tomes of information there are from harp and all the rest of it. Nice, simple, applicable language that people be familiar with, but actually grabbing it and doing something with it is what really makes the difference. Right. It's what really helps us move forward. And I can't believe I'm saying this already, but we're at the part of the show, Randy, where I'm looking for you to be an even greater summarizer, an even greater synthesis of wisdom, if you could, in that when we think about that last message of really going out there and creating good and creating good in what you do in life and in business, if you were to give people just three pieces of advice, my friend, that they could fit on three little sticky notes, what lessons from axiology and all the other things that you've talked about here today would you leave behind?


00:44:44 - Dr Randy Ross

The first, I would say is this, do good and life will be good. That summarizes axiology. But then secondly, these truths are transcendent, so apply them personally as much as you apply them professionally, because they will radically change and alter the way you see and do life. And then thirdly, from an organisational level, like, remember that people like to do good business with businesses that do good. So, the question is, what good are we doing in the world? And those three ideas, those three simple ideas will impact organisational life. It will become magnetic for those who want to be a part of pursuing the mission that you're on with the value construct that you possess. And value centricity is a word we made up, but it's when values are aligned, then we can contribute our resources to light up the world, and that's what we want to do.


00:45:52 - Andy Goram

Well, you've lit my world up since I've met you, Randy. I really appreciate you. I really appreciate the message that you've kind of shared with us today. Before I let you go. If people want to find out a bit more, more places to research, come and find your website and stuff. Where should they look, my friend? Where can they find you?


Connect With Dr Randy Ross

00:46:08 - Dr Randy Ross

Always happy to connect with people on LinkedIn. LinkedIn. It's just Dr Randy Ross. You can find me Dr Randy Ross on LinkedIn. And that's our website as well. No, period. Just Dr Doctor And you can find out a little bit more about the services that we provide, the resources that we have, the books and digital programs that we offer. But most importantly, I just want to encourage your listeners to take advantage of the free offering that we have to craft their own life purpose statement.


00:46:43 - Andy Goram

Absolutely. I'm going to put all of that stuff in the show notes, all the links to the books, the website, the lot. There's so much to unpack. We barely scratched the surface in the time we've had together today, but I have absolutely loved it. Randy, thank you so much for coming on, my friend.


00:46:57 - Dr Randy Ross

My pleasure. And I wish you well in your every endeavour.


Podcast Close

00:46:59 - Andy Goram

Andy thank you my friend. You take care. Ok everyone, that was Dr Randy Ross. And if you'd like to find out more about him or any of the amazing topics we've talked about today, please go ahead and check out the show notes.

So that concludes today's episode. I hope you've enjoyed it, found it interesting, and heard something maybe that will help you become a stickier, more successful business from the inside going forwards. If you have, please like comment and subscribe, it really helps. I'm Andy Goram and you've been listening to the sticky from the inside podcast. Until next time, thanks for listening.

Andy Goram is the owner of Bizjuicer, an employee engagement and workplace culture consultancy that's on a mission to help people have more fulfilling work lives. He's also the host of the Sticky From The Inside Podcast, which talks to experts on these topics from around the world. 


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