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Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Welcome, everybody to this week's podcast episode for the Financial Freedom for Physicians Podcast. And I'm your host, Dr. Christopher Loo. And as you know, I started this podcast with freedom in mind, which encompasses four types of freedom: financial, time, location, and emotional freedom. We started out with a group of physicians and grew to 16,000 followers. And now I've opened it up to everybody. So physicians comprise a part of it. And now it has investors, entrepreneurs, business leaders, so you'll hear about Ron Macklin today, who is our guest. And so let me pull up his bio, and I'll let him introduce him in more detail. So Ron Macklin, he's a leader. He's a connector, podcaster, coach, entrepreneur, innovator, and I'll let him get started. Ron, welcome.
Ron Macklin: Thank you, Christopher. So firstly, the most important part of my life is, I'm married to my wife, Connie. We've been together. Well, I joke about it. But we've been together forever. We've been married for 32 years. And we started dating when we were 15. So that's kind of like an important part of my life. And that's kind of why we do what I do. Yeah, we've got three kids. And we're currently living in Overland Park, Kansas.
I grew up in Wichita, Kansas, where my first career was, I was a football player. So I played football and went to school to play football, and ended up at first a junior college on a scholarship and then on to Kansas State on a scholarship, and played football there. And then, at the same time, I finished up playing, I finished up my engineering degree. And I became an engineer and became a field service engineer. So what that means is, I traveled around the country working on big power plants, like nuclear power plants, both the primary side and the secondary side. So the part that has uranium that makes steam, and the part that has a turbine in it that makes electricity. So I traveled around all over the United States for, I don't know, somewhere around 9-10 years, and I went back, got my master's. We all had small kids at home.
And then after that, I was kind of growing my career and growing my identity in the world. And I made an offer to go to Europe to work for three years. Moved the whole family over, we spent three years in Dusseldorf, Germany. I really began to notice my own culture, once I was no longer into my culture. I began to notice, we all did, began to notice what it means to the for all those stories we have, they're just ready to hand you don't know that they're ready to hand. And also at that point, I was beginning to build my skill to say, how do I build a relationship with somebody that's deeper? Not casual, but deeper, trusting. Somebody you could call in the middle of night, if you needed to? Or you have a question you go, I need to call that person, and you call them? And they answer, because they're looking forward to hearing from you.
From there, I moved back from Germany, to Houston, Texas, took on a group there, which was, and this is by the third time I've done this where I ran a group that was like, one of the worst groups. Financially, the worst group, mood, the worst group and location, worst group. We were down on the ship channel. So if you can imagine, my office was 20 feet from the actual ship channel. If you've been to Houston, Texas, you'll know what that is. And within about three years, we turned the group around. And it wasn't me who did it. It was the group that was there. And the way we looked at it. How do we make this a fun place to work? How do we make it profitable? And I knew that it wasn't me who had the answers? It was the team that had the answers. So how do we embody them in a manner that they can like to work together and take care of each other and build those skills, and to build trust, like I talked about earlier with connection with somebody where you can actually trust them.
And we worked on that for the whole group. And about five years in, around 2009 or 10, we won the award for the best place to work in Houston, Texas, by the Houston Business Journal. And, like I did that for about three, four years. Still living in Houston actually, at that time, we were living in Kingwood. And then we wanted to. I wanted something different, I was ready to try my skills and something in a different part of the business. So we went from being a service company, which is the company I work for was Siemens, to I went to a company called Calpine, and they are a generator, they generate electricity. So I moved over there as the Vice President, had a lot of fun, and joined a group again that was in trouble. And they said they can't do it. And for the third time, we doubled our profitability in about three years. So at that point, we loved Houston, we loved where we were in Houston and lived in the Westview area. Our kids were kind of off in college and living overseas and doing stuff like that.
And I had a friend that was needing some help back in Kansas City. So we moved back to Kansas, which is not where I grew up; Wichita, Kansas, is where I grew up. And took on a role there for about three years, and helped them to basically move their business into a more organized manner. Profitability, understanding finances, all that being a part of it. At that time, I knew it was a space for me to use what I had been building, which is the skill to build connections with people, and to turn that into a business. So at that time, I left the role as president of a medical device company, and started my own business called Macklin connection. And we currently live in Overland Park, Kansas. And we've been in business for just shy of four years.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Fascinating. So what you're describing is a very relationship based business where you're teaching people how to lead and how to strategy, you know, based on human connection, which is very, it's very, I find your journey very interesting. So why did you choose this particular area? And what led you to focus on it?
Ron Macklin: The first time, I realized that I didn't have a very good network of help around me, connections. What I noticed was, One, bunch of men, all engineers, mainly white engineers, and even the likes of the Financial Group were ex-white engineers that turned out in the finance group. And I kept going, like, Well, how about marketing? Advertising? And what about accounting, and all these other domains, and I realized, I didn't know anybody, and I didn't know how to know anybody. So I didn't set out to say, I'm gonna start this business. You know, 12 years from now, when I started, this business is going to be all about building connections. I was just trying to do it in a way that could take care of myself, take care of my wife, and take care of my kids. That's the only reason I did it. And it was probably around, actually around 9-10 years ago, people started to ask me to speak about it. And I was going, “to speak about what?” The thing you do. You have the best networking connections of anybody we know are going like, No, I don't. And they go, Yeah, you do. And people were asking me, Could you come speak about it? I don't know what that means. Let me think about that.
And in the meantime, I began to notice I had put together a strategy, I had put together what I call a framework to be: how do I build a relationship with somebody? And I told people about it. Like I’d say, here's what I do. And what I noticed was, you can't tell people things. Like, they gotta figure it out. They got to discover it. So about seven years ago, I took on the challenge of how I could make this something that people could discover? And the first time I set up to run the program with somebody, I actually set it up with three people who were like, really close to me, right? Like I was really taking a risk, because all my best friends were hanging out with me during this course. And they got to the end of it. And one of them said, Actually, he is a CFO for ADM. He said, You need to write a book about this. I didn't build a network at work. But I got a new relationship with my son. And I was blown away. I was going like, Wow, they’re using it with their kids? Will all the pressure of all the family just weigh down on top of my shoulders? As I was saying, like, how do I turn this into something where I can make a difference for other people?
And I set out and said, Well, if I can do it for 125 people in the next three months, maybe there's something here. And we did. And we had like 145 people go through our program and learn something. And back then that was you know, so six, seven years ago, it was so simple and so basic, and there wasn't enough for people to really get something, but they got to the end of it. They said, I want more. And then I created another course and I said yeah, that's good. I want more. And then we get to the end of that course they go, I think I got it. Where can I practice? Okay, let me create an arena. So we have an arena program where you can get down every once a week and just practice. And so that's where we started. And we're now up to five full time employees and two part time employees. And it's continuing to grow. And we're just having a lot of fun learning. Because we created the business from the standpoint of, how can we help people connect to each other? And the first place they start is, they gotta connect to themselves which sounds kind of weird to some people. But if you don't have a relationship with yourself, it's hard to connect with anybody else.
So we've started out to do that, right. And we created a program and people love the program. But everybody we talked to, like they'd sign up. But, you know, it takes a lot of time to go out and talk to everybody. So we tried to use more social media and stuff. And so now we're focusing on how we present ourselves in the world, so that people can find us easily. So that they can see what we do and what we're up to. Because it's definitely a trust business, it's about learning how to trust each other and how to trust yourself. But it doesn't speak like, they don't know what it is like, if you go to the store and you go I need flour. People know what flour is. And he gasoline they know it gasoline is you want to learn how to build a connection with yourself and others. I think there's this emptiness there. Although everybody who goes through that, they really light up from it. And I can also talk to you if you want to live it later. But part of the things I do for my retirement is to invest in real estate. And so I do that as my hobby.
So that's how I got here. That's how I got to this space, right here I am today. And we're looking forward to what we see coming in the future. And that is as, as the world shifts from now we have artificial intelligence. We have the internet, cloud based computing, we have robots, we have all this stuff, right? What humans are going to do in the future is going to be different than what it was five years ago. And one of the things that we don't really do well is teach each other how to connect with each other. There's not like an eighth grade course you go through where you go. And this is how you build a relationship with somebody.
And even though we're very connected, like we have iPhones and Androids and desktop computers, and i watches and all this other kinds of information access, we find that people are really putting up a lot of shields, like, if you look at their web page, we call a shield, something to hide how you really feel, the scared nervousness, the fear you have inside you. And you look at their Facebook page, everything, everything looks so good. Everything looks so nice. But inside, everybody's scared.
There was a pretty significant day in 1996 when I finished my MBA here at Rockhurst University. And I went to a meeting with a guy, a speaker, whose name was Bowen White. He had an alter ego called Dr. Jerko. And it was a doctor psychologist. And it was invited like all those powerful people in Kansas City. And me, right, like, I don't know how I got into the room, but I was in there. I was sitting in front of the room because I was in the place, you know, like fill me up, like give me everything he got here, come and fill me up. And he started talking about fear. And I was going like, oh my god, he knows I'm afraid. He does something that just shifted my whole world. And I've never been the same human from that moment on. And that was, how many people in the room are afraid. And they think there's something wrong with them that they're afraid of. And so I'm sitting there going to raise my hand, I'll be the only person in here right? If I'm gonna raise my hands, I just slowly raise my hand up, right? I remember Bowen kind of looked right down on me and said look around, because I was sitting in front, right? Every person in the room had their hand up. Executives from all over Kansas City, right? And what I noticed at that moment, being afraid is part of being human. But we don't talk about it like it's that way. And that's part of being able to connect with yourself is to pull your fears out. And I've met a lot of what I call successful, very powerful people in the world, and the more powerful and successful they are, the more they talk about their feet. yours. They don't, they don't want their fears to run them. They have fears. Big difference. That's a little bit about me.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Yeah, well, interesting. So let's see here. One of the interesting things you talked about. So we talked about the Macklin method. And we'll give a link to the listeners in the show notes. And the other thing is, what's interesting is, you have something called TEAL or The Fifth Industrial organizations, can you describe that, and I think it's very relevant in terms of leading teams organizations. So tell us more about that.
Ron Macklin: Great, I’d love to. So let's go back about 12,000 years. And it's a time we had the first kind of, I call it an industry, and that was, we gathered up grain. As humans, we gathered up grain, and we picked out the best ones and replanted them and then ate the rest. And then farming was created. Okay, the next one that comes along, like 10,000 years later, or more, right, was this thing called wind and steam, like we had power greater than an animal. Right? And it changed the whole world. Steam power, wind power, all these kinds of just fundamental powers that are greater than a horse shifted the whole world. I mean, it just dramatically changed what was possible, how far you could mine, that you could travel, move in the world, you know, trains, and all that kind of stuff, huge difference. Then there was the next one called electricity. So now you could have that power, and you could transmit it to different places, a whole new world. And it's built on the last one, which is steam and wind.
And then there was this next one called computers. And that's relatively recently, like in our lifetime, computers became a space of possibilities. Steam, the first one went into the second one, which is the electricity. Third one, which is computers, right. And now you could have things that could do multiple things, right. So you have a computer in your car that runs it, you have a computer in your refrigerator that runs it, you have a computer and your air conditioner that runs it. Computers are everywhere, right? We're using them right now to talk to each other.
And the next one, computers are the third, the fourth one, is AI, robots, and artificial intelligence. And we're using some of those right now, because we're going through the cloud to talk to each other. And we're using the software that's in the cloud. This is the fourth industrial revolution, which means everybody can communicate and connect to anybody anywhere all the time. That doesn't mean we have the skills to know how to communicate and connect. But we can. It's just a whole new world for what's out there.
That's the first, second, third, and fourth, the fifth business revolution is self led teams. So it's not a technology. It's an organization that cuts out the hierarchy, you have somebody who creates a vision, and everybody else works together to solve problems. And everybody takes care. When it's time to lead, they lead, when it’s time to follow, they follow. And what they found is that, teams that are self directed and self led, will out produce, invent, out, create out, solve problems, then all the other ones combined. So those teams that are created and self directed, are really changing the world. And what they're finding is the people who work there, love it. And they look forward to going to work because they're going to solve some fun problems. They're going to, they're going to be in a place where we're going to create something that they get acknowledged for but they also get challenged. Nobody wants to be handed a check. Everybody wants to do something, and contribute to the world.
And a gentleman by the name of Frédéric Laloux wrote a book called Reinventing Organizations. And he calls those, what I call possible because of the fifth Business Revolution, those self directed teams, he calls them TEAL Organizations, because he looks at humans as like a developing cycle. So there's originally like, the wolf pack, and then you had the kings who ruled, and then there were executives and hierarchy structures, right? And then there were family based or team based organizations, right? And then there's this new level of TEAL. And the TEAL is like those teams and it's where people love to go to work. People don't like - nobody wants to be used as a tool. They want to contribute, they want to be valued, and in a TEAL organization, everybody gets to do so. And you love doing your job. Whatever it is. Or you create your own business, you have your own TEAL team. And those are already starting. In fact, I'd say some of the TEAL teams have been around for 15 to 20 years. And what they're what they're noticing is that they're out-producing their competition.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Basically it's like the Googles, the Metas, a lot of these organizations have innovated their cultures and their work process. Which is what you're describing. So this is a very fascinating discussion. I know, a lot of you talked a lot about the Macklin method, which I know a lot of people will be interested in, as well as this concept of the TEAL organization. So how can people find out more about you, read about you, get in contact with you and potentially work with you?
Ron Macklin: Oh, thanks. So the way to reach out to me, you can go to our website at MacklinConnection.com. You could also send me an email at Ron[at]MacklinConnection.com. And we've got several different programs to go through. We have one where we bring a business through and a group to our programs. We have individual coaching. So sometimes people go through our programs, and they come out and say, That's really good. But how do I really apply it in different situations? And so we have coaches that actually can help work with them to help them master it in their group, but also master it for themselves.
It's one of those situations where we normally focus on business, business development and business growth. Most people come back and say, That's really cool. And I love it. I used it with my family. But that's not our pitch. Like that's not our goal in life. But we are more than welcome to use it in that space. Our sweet spot is kind of like small family owned businesses, small group owned businesses. And that's kind of where we're at. Because a lot of times there's a lot of tension inside of those companies, and a lot of frustration, or not a lot of trust. And those are the groups that we can be the biggest help for.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Awesome. Well, for all the listeners out there, we're gonna put Ron's resources and links in the show notes. And So Ron, this has been a fascinating conversation, any final parting words of advice before we call it a day?
Ron Macklin: No. Thank you, Chris, for inviting me in. I love the conversation. And I love what you're doing. And thank you for creating a space where people can learn, and learn where to invest, but also like to learn how to join each other and learn from each other. So with that, I say thank you, and I appreciate the opportunity to speak to your group.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Awesome. Thanks so much, and we look forward to hearing about your future success.
Ron Macklin: Thank you.
Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD: Many thanks again for being here. If you’re new, you can find me online at Christopher H. Loo, MD-PhD, where I have links to other episodes or links to online resources that will support you on your financial literacy journey. I’ll see you there in on next week’s show. While I bring you thoroughly vetted information on this show regarding a variety of financial topics, I cannot promise you a one size fits all solution. This is why I caution you to continue to learn. Educate yourself and seek professional advice unique to your situation. If you want to talk to me, I welcome it. Please reach out via my website or email at Chris@drchrisloomdphd.com. I read and personally respond to all of my emails. Talk soon!
Editor's note: This transcript has been edited for brevity and clarity.