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Axons Unleashed Podcast Episode 5:
When the Business grew up – the day the training wheels came off!

Axons are part of the neuro-transmission system in the brain… they carry the spark between the neurons to fire the body into action!

This podcast will get your Axons fired up by our hosts Robbie, Tamara, Dan and Dane as they uncover the untold truths of what it really takes to successfully transition from the ADF, how to build a multi-million-dollar property portfolio, how to start a business as a veteran entrepreneur and how to more effectively communicate with your partner… while optimising your personal performance in every aspect of your life.

For episode 5 we discussed moving the business from a residential rental property into a proper commercial office was a big step and a step into being a ‘grown-up business!’ As always, the team adapted and overcame the hoops to jump through. Just in time for the business planning trip to Hawaii…

Listen to Axons Unleashed:

TRANSCRIPT:

Robbie Turner:
Hi, welcome everyone. My name's Robbie and I'm joined here with Dan and Tamara. Welcome to episode five of Axon Unleashed, your podcast coming your way. How are you, mate?

Dan:
Yeah, going, absolutely great. I mean, we've so far been following on a bit of a chronological order from the very, very beginning of Axon as it is. And now I'm really excited about the next episodes, because it's like kind of where most people have become where they know and love Axon from where we are now.

Tamara:
Yeah, the new Axon. The grown up Axon I guess.

Robbie Turner:
That's actually going to be the topic of today is that when the training was finally came off, say when Axon sort of grew up. Let's just do a quick little recap, because I've no doubt we've got a few listeners right now. And even those watching on YouTube that just come across this for the first time, but we're now going into episode five and there's so many nuggets of gold and bits of inspiration and a little bit of blood on the floor. And then lots of apologies from me about how I almost had the business shut down many, many times-

Tamara:
Did you hear an apology, Dan?

Robbie Turner:
... due to my stupidity. I fucking said sorry. By the way, this is a MI15 plus podcast, by the way.

Dan:
It is literally the only apology that I think Robbie has been able to give out that's been caught on camera.

Robbie Turner:
Yeah, that's true. Episode one was just all about, it was actually called the Tinder story, how Axon started because of Tinder. It was like the very, very sort of startup Tamara and I thinking-

Tamara:
And that was not Tinder for you and I.

Robbie Turner:
Correct, for the record that's not us. But yeah, so go back and you'll see, I guess one of the little catch phrases that one of our clients said, "If it wasn't for Tinder, imagine how many defense force personnel would not have been helped to be able to sort of buy a property and create wealth for their life." So yeah, that's an interesting little story in itself. Then we sort of moved into Dan, you came and joined the business about six months afterwards. And certainly there was a catastrophic event and the catastrophic injury that I suffered pretty much simultaneously around that time, so that's an interesting little topic as well.

Dan:
Dare I say, a life changing injury.

Robbie Turner:
Yeah, definitely. Then the next one was all about, I sacked my wife from the business, so that had some ramifications, so especially for you ladies that-

Tamara:
And then begged me back.

Robbie Turner:
That's true, back into the business by the way. So we didn't lose the business or the wife or the relationship, which is very critical. And then the last episode was all about why we stopped marketing to 99% of Australia, where we basically went, "Right. Let's get crystal clear on who's the perfect avatar, who the main people we want to speak to," and basically you're going to learn more about how that we went into narrow and deep on that topic. It's really cool. Yeah. There you go. Episode five.

Dan:
It's been a good little trip down memory lane, I think, Tam.

Tamara:
Yeah. And we also touched in the last episode just about we had just kind of started with some of our own coaching and mentoring and just how important that it is for us as business owners, because when we started, we did not know anything about business. Well, that's a lie, we knew a little bit, but you don't know what you don't know. And that's kind of the same with our clients as well. They can do as much research as they can and jump on realestate.com or whatever it is, but they don't know what they don't know.

Robbie Turner:
Yeah. That element of business coaching is absolutely fundamental. Even if, just sort of reflecting on myself and I got out of the military in 2013. I sort of got out as a fifth year special forces major, was basically running the whole counter-terrorism and collective training campaign for Australia special forces to react to a catastrophic event. This was a pretty high flying position down in Canberra. And then I went and joined the other businesses, like I'm bringing up people, "Hey, do you know the address for the seminar? Have you got any dietary requirements?" I'm moving bloody chairs around the place, putting little pamphlets on the desk. I'm like, "Well, lucky I started my time as a digger," and that element of humility sort of came my way very quickly.

Robbie Turner:
But even when I went up to the ranks and got to a sales consultant, sales manager, and then eventually general manager, that's when I really started to get some exposure about how a private business gets run. As Tammy said, and the reason why I went off on that little rant there to give you some context, you don't really know how businesses run until you've got your own balls on the line and you've got your own sort of KPIs to meet and your own money is being injected into making it all work.

Tamara:
Absolutely. Because remember, even in the beginning you're like, "I'll just do an ad on Facebook and people will show up to my webinar." And starting from scratch, I mean, we were getting six, seven people, 10 up.

Dan:
You're being very generous there, there was not six or seven. There was probably three. You know what, inflated figures 100%, [inaudible 00:05:45].

Tamara:
Well, a couple of them were friends and family and stuff, so yeah.

Robbie Turner:
So yeah, the whole thing about coaching was very, very critical. We touched on it a little bit last time about how we found our perfect avatar. Tamara and I decided to join The Entourage group down in Sydney, run by a really good friend of ours now, Jack Delosa. Shout out to you again, buddy. Thanks for everything so far. I guess, Dan, you and I have been coaching clients now for many years and the importance of not just doing your own research and actually getting educated and coached and guided and mentored, and just have that peace of mind. Literally this morning you were telling us about a story last night when you spoke to a lovely couple, they went, "Got the stuff going on. We're going to be pregnant soon. We're going to get posted. We're going to this property stuff."

Robbie Turner:
We just said to him, he said, "What don't I just take all that off your hands. You go keep doing you and me as your property coach and an expert team. We're just going to go and take care of all that stuff for you." Just the reactions [inaudible 00:06:44].

Dan:
Oh yeah. And it's just, you're taking a load off people's shoulders to let them know that someone's got your back, someone's going to guide you through this and show you the pathway, not need you to go and do all the research on the background, then try and figure out the right way to go. And then be second guessing yourself the entire way through the journey. It's an absolute game changer from that perspective.

Robbie Turner:
One of the books and we spoke in the previous episode about how it is Tamara and I could get to work with each other called Rocket Fuel, the integrator and the visionary. But there was another book by Gino Wickman called Traction. So for all those sort of entrepreneur types out there, I guess one of the topics that we do want to continue to cover off on Axon Unleashed is if you're a defense member thinking about getting out, you want to start your own business and become a veteran entrepreneur. There's so much about business sales, marketing, positioning, people, finance, HR, all that stuff. We came across this book called Traction.

Robbie Turner:
And doing a whole lot of stuff is like being, just spinning wheels in the mud, but actually knowing what you're doing and having the right person in the right seat and having business in systems and planning models in place really does start to sort of not just spin your wheels but give you that traction. So that was a really important part of how we grew up. And then there's this one element to it called the VTO or the vision traction organizer.

Tamara:
Absolutely. The planning side of things is so important for any part of your life. If you don't plan, then where are you going? Setting those goals, setting those targets and that's been a key element to how we've grown so fast.

Dan:
You just mentioned it and then Tammy, you sort of followed on and it's about growing up, I suppose. And for me, when I think about Axon, there was four real key events that saw Axon sort of grow up and I think we should explore these today.

Robbie Turner:
Go for it.

Dan:
First one was probably the implementation of that planning cycle that you started to allude to there, so I want to deep dive into that. The new operating premises, that was a very big day in the life of Axon. The business then running independently of you guys, so with the business owners and founders removed from the organization, how did the business continue to operate there? And then the last thing I think from our real growing upstage was a really, really memorable end of year trip or planning trip, depends on who you speak to about what the purposes of that journey was actually on. There was those really big four events. And I suppose from that perspective, that sort of happened over maybe around about a 12 month period where things really started to get a bit crazy and the training wheels started to come off [inaudible 00:09:16].

Robbie Turner:
Definitely.

Tamara:
Absolutely, yeah.

Robbie Turner:
A fellow who was sort of going through adolescence and puberty and finishing high school and putting ourselves through university all at the same time. That's what happens in a 12 month period.

Dan:
Rapid fire. Absolutely. I mean, you started the immersive training then with the team from The Entourage and obviously started to implement some of the tools from the vision traction organizer or the VTO.

Tamara:
Well, back then we weren't even doing any sort of team meetings. We weren't really all on the same page. We had kind of set some goals. We had kind of set some bigger targets, but we hadn't broken them down. That's a big thing that we do now is break down those, like we spend time together planning out our year and then we break it down into quarterlies, break it down into weeks. This is all the stuff that's so important to growing.

Robbie Turner:
I just thought of something actually. And this is again, it's almost like an, oh, need to apologize again. I remember Dan I was at one of our master planning communities, coming up past the hospital there on the right-hand side. And I was having a chat to you on the phone. You said, "Look, mate, where do you see this business in five or 10 years time?" I'm like, "I don't really know actually." And you're like, "Well, you better find out because there's now me and another couple of people that have now gotten out of their very successful career in the military and you'd better have some plans under your belt. There better be a vision, there better be some targets and some impact that we want to be able to make in sort of the defense community." You remember that? Yes, you're sitting there with a little smirk on your face, you did, you like-

Tamara:
He's like, "Not really, but it sounds like me."

Robbie Turner:
You kicked my ass in [crosstalk 00:10:52].

Dan:
I was like, "That certainly sounds like something I would have said, yes."

Robbie Turner:
Yeah, you were like, "You better have a bit of a vision." And I sort of reached out to our crew at The Entourage [inaudible 00:11:02] remember having a chat to you. I said, "Look, but I know that what I have right now is going to change in a couple of years time anyway, so it's not going to be accurate. So why would I bother?" And he's like, "No, you're missing the point. Just get it out of your head and brainstorm and just come up with all the like ... be very divergent with your thinking, have everything on the table and just let it mature in its own sort of way."

Robbie Turner:
So certainly, again, as the business owner, as the guy that was responsible to create that vision and lead the team, I was going through my own growing up and it wasn't just you and I, Tam, with the business and then maybe a couple of mates come and join us. It was starting to evolve and starting to include other people and we needed to give them that surety and that sense of purpose that we weren't just here having a crack on a bit of a side hustle, this is now our life.

Dan:
And even though the VTO is a lot about planning, we also went into a lot more detail with our values. So we never really had ... Robbie and I had kind of had our own values that we'd kind of done for everyone. And we'd told everyone, "These are the values of the business." And it was kind of around then that we realized we have to get everyone else involved in this. We have to get everyone's input. So yeah, I remember, do you remember? I printed out a big list of all these.

Robbie Turner:
You went to Apple, you went to Google, you went to Tesla, you went to Microsoft, all these-

Dan:
Yeah. I think it was 200 companies values or something like that. And I printed them all off and then we kind of read them out. We got a shortlist of maybe 20, 25, and then I wrote them all up on a whiteboard and everyone voted for it.

Robbie Turner:
So he was there at the moment. So that was myself, Tamara, Dan, [Simo 00:12:44] was with us. Sharon was with us still then.

Dan:
At that point in time, yeah.

Robbie Turner:
And who else was there? Was Jane started with us when we were doing that, do you think?

Dan:
No, Renee.

Robbie Turner:
Renee was there. Okay, yeah, the wonderful Renee. Yeah. Cool. Okay. There's a good little group of people with some ... or everyone with their own ideas. It wasn't just the three of us just looking at the bloody whiteboard guy and how can we make this work?

Dan:
Yeah. And it was really important I think to have those values outlined because you can do whatever you want from an operations perspective on top of those values. But we as individuals, as an organization would need to remain true to those values that are the things that drive us on the background as well. Getting everyone's buy-in on those values and it's probably one of the sentiments that we've brought forward from now. We still talk about our values every single week and everyone recognizes what value they live by, having those values at the forefront of our mind has probably changed and driven the organization in a way that most people haven't really been able to feel.

Robbie Turner:
And look, to be fair, it's allowed us to also let a couple of people go that weren't the right fit. I'm sort of stepping ahead a little bit, but because, and I guess ladies and gents, I'm demonstrating to you now, the respect that we give to our values is that if someone's not living our values 100% of the time, it's nothing personal, you're just not the right fit. And then you're not having a personal attack on someone when you're providing them feedback, go, "This is the value. These are the standards. This is what we've all agreed upon to be, the position that we want to be in." If you're not meeting those and if you're not taking the feedback and then continue to improve, we're not the right fit for you. Go fucking work somewhere else.

Tamara:
And that has always been the hardest part, especially for me. I hate that side of the business. But I get it because I also know that if it gets to that point, we've given them every bloody chance to align with our values, to bring themselves up to speed, to get on track with what we're doing. And if you're not a high performance player in our team, you kind of fall away. You kind of de-select yourself. And when we're talking about those values, I have to say everyone that knew that comes into the business. One of the first things they say to me is, "I've never experienced a company that lives and breathes their values like you do." There's a few of the team that have worked for big companies before, and they've got the values written up on the board or on the walls in fancy writing on canvases and whatever, but they learn about them in induction and they never hear about them again.

Dan:
Yeah. There's a different thing between writing something on a piece of paper and then exemplifying it. And I think that's one of the key things that you've been really successful in doing is making sure that the team that comes into inside Axons were, exemplifies every single one of those values as well.

Robbie Turner:
One of the little rituals we do ladies and gents to give you a little insight is every Friday, so every Monday we get together and go, "Look, this is what I've got on for the week. These are the roadblocks. This is management team. This is what I might need your assistance with, et cetera." I guess we do that to make sure that the different departments of the business are not just working in those very dreaded stovepipes. Remember like everyone, and I remember when I went down to special [inaudible 00:15:53] quarters in Canberra though, there was just a massive open plan. Sure, there was some little skiffs off to the side where some other stuff went and got spoken about, but everyone was just in a massive open plan. And that was to combat the four cell not talking to the seven cell, not talking to the two cell, not talking to the one cell, et cetera. It was really good. So get that on the way, you're smirking.

Dan:
I'm just giggling because if you're a civilian out there listening right now, you're like four, seven, five, three.

Tamara:
I have no idea what you're talking about.

Dan:
And Tammy had this slightly glazed look over her face, so that's how I knew that the civilian sector did [crosstalk 00:16:24].

Tamara:
Busted.

Robbie Turner:
Anyway again, so all the different [inaudible 00:16:26]. We sort of need to, department head stands up at the start of each week and goes, "This is what we got going on." So then there's awareness of what's happening. But at the back end of the week, sure, we cover off on those things, done, not done, in progress. But then each person also needs to stand up and go, "This was the value that I felt like I embodied this week. And here's an example why, and, oh, by the way, here's my shout out that I've got to another team member of outside of my sort of direct reporting chain." I guess, it seems like it's received really, really well, so certainly like a little ritual.

Tamara:
It really is. And having someone give you a shout out that for some things that you don't even realize that you've potentially impacted someone with, that's such a good ... it makes you feel good. It's a really great way to end the week.

Robbie Turner:
And it might seem a little bit wonky. And I remember when we sort of first started doing this, like, "Ah, I've come from a fucking military background where we don't do any of this shit."

Tamara:
I remember.

Robbie Turner:
You just fucking do what you get told. You do what you're told and don't call your boss a prick because you'll go to jail. Don't come to work with a smoke hanging out of your joint because you're ... Sorry, with a joint hanging out of your mouth because then you won't be working there very long. But in the real world where there's no rank and there's no threat of jail and/or getting sacked from that sort of perspective, you need to adopt different leadership styles. In the future we'll definitely have some other really awesome veteran leaders come and join us here in this studio and talk about the real leadership where you don't have any rank on your shoulder or your chest.

Tamara:
Dan hasn't called you a prick that many times recent.

Dan:
Not to his face. You don't need to worry about what I talk about with Ann at home.

Tamara:
So yeah, there you go.

Dan:
I love you dear if you're listening by the way.

Robbie Turner:
Let's keep moving.

Dan:
Yeah, absolutely. Well, that's what I was going to say, one of the ... when you think about your leadership style of in the military, you very much need to be present and making sure you're on the spot while people are actually going through this. One of the things that you've had to realize now as business owners is you can't be there all the time. You can't be on the spot. And probably one of the earlier points in time that you recognize that was when you guys were heading away to Hawaii for like a week.

Robbie Turner:
Just the two of us.

Dan:
Just the two of you.

Robbie Turner:
This is March, 2019.

Dan:
And you're like, "Okay, but it's all right, because when I go over to Hawaii, I'm still going to have phone connection. I'm going to be able to do all the stuff that I need to do."

Tamara:
And Robbie had not had a holiday since we started. That was not even really a weekend off, not working pretty much every night for the last-

Robbie Turner:
Working from the hospital bed as we discussed in the previous.

Dan:
And I remember your calendar. We literally put times in the calendar. It's like, "These are meeting times while Robbie's in Hawaii that aligns with what we're doing back here in Australia." So we're like, "We're still scheduling stuff to happen while you're away."

Tamara:
Like 10:00 PM, 11:00 PM.

Robbie Turner:
Yes, I was on course for the first couple of days. Then Tammy booked this awesome little turtle watching event. And then they just started serving Long Island iced teas on this boat at 10:00 AM. I'm like, "This is fucking gold." We're out there on a big buddy catamaran, maybe a kilometer off the beach, straight off of Waikiki there, just looking back over all the stuff there. You tell the story-

Tamara:
I remember this.

Robbie Turner:
... because there was one event which dovetails exactly into Dan, what you just mentioned then. And I want to just, all these little tiny little 1% is that people have fucking no idea how there was a groundbreaking step that we took based on something. And it's always [crosstalk 00:19:54].

Dan:
I think Tammy needs to tell the story because you were full of Long Island iced tea.

Robbie Turner:
Yeah, great.

Tamara:
Well, I watched him take some photos and selfies. And then he puts his phone down on a towel right next to him. We're sitting at the front of this boat and it's a beautiful boat, we're cruising back to Waikiki. We're going pretty fast, deep wide ocean. And then I watch him put his phone down on his towel and within 20 seconds picks up said towel and shakes it, shakes it out. His phone just goes flying across the front of the boat. And we basically watched it in slow motion, slide and drop, straight off the edge of the boat.

Dan:
Your single point of communication with the remainder of your team basically.

Robbie Turner:
Yeah. Tam and I just did a little horizontal thing and then boom, just dropped off the cliff, phone gone, lost underway, gone forever.

Dan:
That's not coming back.

Robbie Turner:
No.

Tamara:
Oh, no. It was fast boat heading back to Waikiki was not going back.

Robbie Turner:
Literally the very first thought I'm like, "Oh, how the fuck am I going to do more meetings back with the team?" Anyway, so Tam had a phone. I think she rang you on the phone and go, "I'll put a little message in the Skype chat." Robbie's lost his phone, everybody, so he will no longer be on any calls whilst we're away. And I thought straight away, I'm like, "We're supposed to talk to this client about this and present this property here and this and that." Carl up in Townsville, we spoke, and I'm like, "How the fuck am I going to have to do that? I'm going to let the clients down. I'm going to have to postpone everything." And then I think, Tammy sort of tapped me on the shoulder and went, "The boys are back there, they've got it covered."

Tamara:
They've got this.

Robbie Turner:
"You've trained them. They know what to do. Maybe you don't need to be there." And I wasn't freaking out for the record, but it did feel a little bit uncomfortable. I'm like, "But no one's ever presented. This would be the first time someone's shown a property to a client and I haven't been there." And it just felt a bit uncomfortable. And then I just fucking kept drinking for the afternoon and forgot about it. Woke up the next morning and boom, there's an expression of interest notification email in my stuff, I'm like-

Tamara:
Shit got done.

Robbie Turner:
And the boys are like, "Hey, guess what man? We spoke to Carl. He didn't care that you weren't there. And we had a great conversation and boom, he's going to go and buy a property." And it was like literally a fucking mic drop moment. I'm like, "I just had a realization that I don't actually need to be there on every really important call for a client and the guys and girls that I've trained up in the business to do that shit, they can do it whilst I'm not there."

Dan:
And I remember sort of speaking to you guys about these probably a few months afterwards, and you'd been so proud from my recollection that you actually went back to the remainder of the people you were over there doing your business planning with and you're like, "Our business is running by itself." It was a big light bulb moment for you where you were super proud to go back and speak to all those other entrepreneurs. And what was their reaction when they heard that your business is operating by itself back home?

Tamara:
That is ultimately the dream for all business owners is that they can get off the day-to-day tools, that technician level, and really rise up and become the leader that you need to be. Because while you're spending time in the business, you're not really spending time on the business, like creating the strategy, creating all the high level goals, the future planning, all of that kind of stuff that you need to do as a leader. But you're not doing that if you're sitting there doing really basic admin tasks.

Robbie Turner:
And they ask you, "How did that happen?" I'm like, "I lost my phone. I got forced into it. And you know what? They performed their job admirably." They were jealous. They were very interested in the story, but they're like, "How did you get to that point?" I'm like, "It just fucking happened." And now it's like, the Pill Gates just opened up and went, "Oh."

Dan:
One of the other things that obviously you need to do as leaders as well is to get a break and now miraculously because you throw your phone in the water and Tammy just said, "Let the boys do their job." You now had a few days holiday remaining in Hawaii where you got to just sit down and focus and actually rest and refresh.

Tamara:
And it was then that Robbie said, "I think we should bring the team here."

Robbie Turner:
Yeah, that's right. We were having such a beautiful time over there.

Tamara:
Obviously too many Long Islands.

Dan:
Long Island [inaudible 00:24:06], I don't know what he was on at that point.

Robbie Turner:
But here's the thing, it's another event which then caused us to then think a different way. We're like, "We're having such a good time over here getting away and relaxing and exploring and thinking about other things, we're not just in the grind, we're able to get a bit of traction on what the sort of the next future event might be." So yeah, we decided like, let's go back and break that news.

Dan:
The rest of your trip ended up being a bit of a reconnaissance mission, where you started to check out every single bar in Waikiki and every single restaurant that you needed to be able to go back and visit obviously. And then you came back to Australia. And we all know that Robbie is absolutely horrendous at keeping secrets.

Tamara:
Oh my God.

Dan:
How did you keep this a secret from the rest of the team?

Tamara:
Oh, he didn't really. He's like, "I've got news. I've got news."

Robbie Turner:
Hang on, about a week later we-

Dan:
So you managed one week?

Tamara:
Yeah.

Robbie Turner:
One week. And I was so excited. We were like, "Yeah, we're going to do this. We're going to bring them over here. And we're going to do all this planning and et cetera, et cetera."

Tamara:
I had planned because I bought everyone these little dancing Hawaii girls to sit on their desks and they dance around.

Dan:
Little hula girls.

Tamara:
Little hula girls. And I was going to make it a big thing. And then really, I don't know, put it all out there, planned to do a nice invite for everyone. And we were having a few drinks at the women in property luncheon, charity luncheon, which was sponsored by [inaudible 00:25:35].

Dan:
Yeah.

Robbie Turner:
And velvety.

Dan:
Yeah. So that was for International Women's Day that one.

Tamara:
That was, yeah.

Robbie Turner:
So here it was in a big flash hotel in Brisbane and it's flash one night. And there's like, I don't know, 600 people there and maybe 50 blokes. So for the first time in my life, I felt like it-

Tamara:
Do not say it.

Robbie Turner:
But I was like, fuck it, we've got everyone here. The drinks are flowing. I was like, "Tammy, let's stand up and let's announce it right now."

Tamara:
So yeah, he lasted a week and I had nothing prepared.

Dan:
He lasted a week into like a month.

Tamara:
But anyway, we did tell the team and there was lots squeals. [crosstalk 00:26:12].

Dan:
And I remember at that point in time, one of the real concerns was Jane was pregnant at that point in time. Everyone was like, "How's Jane going to be able to come?"

Tamara:
Jane straightaway rang her mom and her mom said, "You are going whether I'm going with you, and to mind the baby." Because the baby was going to be born, what, a couple of months before?

Dan:
It was a few months beforehand, yeah.

Tamara:
Maybe three months before.

Robbie Turner:
Max. Yeah.

Tamara:
Yeah.

Robbie Turner:
I'm not very good with time.

Tamara:
Yeah. That was her biggest concern at the time was like, "Are you going to be able to make it." We're going in December.

Dan:
Because she's part of the Axon family, the whole family needs to be there for this to be such a memorable event. And no one could even think about the idea of Jane not being able to come along with us on this adventure. It was super exciting from that perspective as well.

Tamara:
Yeah. I remember when she did go on mat leave. I'm sure there's a few people that remember this, but I got a life-size cut out. We'll have to get the marketing team to import a photo here. But yeah, we got a life-sized cutout of Jane, her photo was propped behind her desk there and she came-

Dan:
She wasn't going to be missing from the team.

Tamara:
It was hilarious. Do you remember everyone was hiding that life size pop out in ... What do you call it? Life size cutout.

Robbie Turner:
Cardboard cut out.

Tamara:
In the most random places in the office.

Dan:
Often inappropriate places as well for a young lady to be hanging out.

Tamara:
Oh my God. The men's toilet was a frequent area for the Jane cut out. And there was a few squeals from the boys.

Dan:
Oh, it was like, you walk in the door and you say, "Excuse me, you're not meant to be in here ma'am."

Robbie Turner:
It was so lifelike and the image was so crystal clear. And it was literally the right height and everything.

Tamara:
It was hilarious. We often have a few, I don't know, funny things in the office like that, just banter.

Dan:
Yeah. Because at this point in time, remember, we're still operating out of a residential property. So it wasn't ladies and gents, it wasn't a full life-size cutout of Jane in a publicly accessible male toilet.

Tamara:
No. It was a house.

Dan:
Which was rapidly on the way out, I suppose, that's kind of the next day event. We were sort of, we'd outgrow in this residential property. And I know that you guys had been looking around for quite a while to actually go ahead and find us, where does Axon-

Tamara:
It took months for us to find a new property. We would go and there would be the shittiest places. We had been so lucky to be in that beautiful house for so long. And then, yeah, we'd started looking at commercial spaces and there was factories and, oh-

Robbie Turner:
Yeah. So we're trying to ... Dan, with yourself and then Jane is got to transit the best part of an hour minimum to sort of come to the office. We were trying to accommodate by being somewhere on the Northern part of the Gold Coast, just to sort of alleviate some of that travel time. And a really good mate of mine, Brett Campbell, actually said, "Look, we're looking around Oxenford and Cooma and all these regions.

Tamara:
Helensvale.

Robbie Turner:
Helensvale. He's like, "What the fuck are you looking for an office out there?" I'm like, "Well, we got people in Brisbane, they're driving down." He goes, "Mate, I don't give a fuck about how far people want to drive. If people want to work with your business they're going to fucking drive an extra 10 minutes. Start looking somewhere back down around the Gold Coast a little bit more. I guess he forced us to broaden our zone of observation.

Tamara:
And we found our little Southport place.

Robbie Turner:
[inaudible 00:29:46]. Yeah. So we're now situated on level eight right across the road from the Aquatic Center on Marine Parade.

Tamara:
Looking out to the Broadwater.

Robbie Turner:
Yeah, looking out across to Marine Marina Mirage. So there's jet boats, there's helicopters, there's jet skis. There's bloody swimming's and all that stuff across the way there, so it's really, really good.

Tamara:
It is quite active.

Dan:
Yeah. And Tammy had to let her internal designer come out from that perspective as well.

Robbie Turner:
Because it was just the shell, was it?

Tamara:
Yeah, a shell with some very big pillars that I had to work with. But we literally had no floor, no walls, no offices, no kitchenette. It had to be fully decked out. But yeah, it's beautiful now, we love it.

Dan:
I remember the first time I came into the office, we opened the doors and I think Robbie, you were there maybe one step behind me. And I looked out to the slight right and I saw the Marina over at Southport and I was just like, "I don't care what you say [crosstalk 00:30:40]."

Robbie Turner:
That's my office.

Dan:
I was like, "Ah, okay."

Tamara:
You actually got your payback when it was moving time with that, because remember back a couple of episodes, we discussed that I'd promised you that the office would be all set up for when you started. And then due to a few things with Robbie, then that was not the case. And you essentially had to help me set up the office from scratch. You kind of got your payback when we moved into this office.

Robbie Turner:
There's another really important event going on.

Dan:
Yeah. Well, I pretty much planned all that other event around when you guys were ... no, not really.

Robbie Turner:
You getting married, that's what it was.

Dan:
Yeah. One of the happiest days of my life obviously joining in this, so we had a great little ceremony. It just so happened that I still was on my honeymoon when you guys were moving into the new office.

Robbie Turner:
So it was August, September, 2019.

Tamara:
You got out of that one.

Dan:
Yeah, around about that, so the back end of August, so the 31st of August for our wedding. And I think it was the first or the 2nd of September that you guys ended up moving into that office.

Robbie Turner:
And we're like flat pack boxes arriving from my Kia left, right and center. And everyone was like, we did no client-facing work for three days minimum, we were literally just setting up the whole office. You're away on your honeymoon, you walked in and I'm like, "Oh." You're like, "Look at all that. There's my desk."

Dan:
Oh, excellent. There's my desk.

Robbie Turner:
Plugging, plugging, bang, I'm ready. What are you guys doing?

Dan:
I was like, I'm glad that you managed to get the desk in exactly the right spot that I would like it. Thank you very much.

Robbie Turner:
That was good, man. You deserve it too. I'm glad that happened, but yeah.

Tamara:
Yeah. It's beautiful spot. We were looking recently because we're having to get some more space and Robbie said, "We're not leaving."

Robbie Turner:
Yeah. We're not leaving that place for many, many, many years.

Dan:
Removal suck. Everyone who's been in the military knows just removal suck.

Robbie Turner:
I just don't want to let that view go. Everyone who walked in there, they're like, "Holy fuck. [inaudible 00:32:29]."

Tamara:
We had to change the direction of where clients sit because they sit there and they look out the window instead of focusing on the coaching session. And they're like, "Wait, over here."

Robbie Turner:
So it's September, October, 2019, we're all pretty much fully moved in now. And yeah, we're shooting our Facebook lives from up there. We got a little makeshift studio sorted out, so doing all that content stuff. So yeah, if you want to sort of scroll back through our social media pages and go to late 2019, you'll see a shit ton of images and videos of us establishing the new property, et cetera. But there was one last thing that needed to happen in 2019, which sort of rounded it all off about how we really kicked off those training [inaudible 00:33:04]. Do you want to sort of get us going on that please?

Dan:
Yeah, I suppose we've already alluded to it. We had to go to Hawaii.

Tamara:
We had to.

Dan:
The whole team had to down tools and take ourselves over to Hawaii. And it wasn't just a party for those of you who are thinking this is a bit of a boost trip for the team.

Tamara:
I had people doing something every day and night. There was planned activities for everyone, to keep everyone on track.

Robbie Turner:
It was a combination of personal development. There was some education, there was some planning, there was some team building activities.

Dan:
Yeah. And upfront, I think the major thing that we did, as soon as we got there to set the tempo was we sat down and we did a full day of planning from early in the morning.

Tamara:
Well, actually that was the second day, because the first day I got everyone out onto that turtle watching tour that Robbie [crosstalk 00:33:51].

Robbie Turner:
We were all getting fucking zero [inaudible 00:33:53].

Tamara:
Yeah. So when you're arriving on a flight at 5:00 AM, I was like, "Right. To avoid the jet lag that's going to come on. I'm going to get everyone out into the sunshine, out into some fresh air." There was a few hangovers from the flight over.

Robbie Turner:
I was going to say a couple of hours in the corners club in Sydney beforehand.

Dan:
What happens on tour stays on tour. Let's not go into-

Robbie Turner:
We hadn't even arrived at that point.

Dan:
Exactly right. We ended up and we went ahead and we had the initial, I suppose, full layer of planning with the entire team there. For me, I think that planning session is when everyone started to really think a bit more deeply about where the organization was going. We really started to get more than three or four months thinking on the future. But the whole team thinking about where Axon was going in the future.

Tamara:
It's created a bit more buy-in as well with the team. They really started to feel connected because they had that bigger purpose with the connection. They had their own responsibilities, their own goals were broken up. We had gone into each layer of the business, each department, broken down that into their own goals where they'd been, what they're wanting to achieve, how well we've done before, what we were going to do, break it right down.

Robbie Turner:
We were listening to a lot of client feedback as well, just to say, "Okay, here's some improves. And when we went to this part of the process, if you hadn't done this better, it would've made it easier." And we're like, "Okay, let's fucking do that then."

Tamara:
I have to say that is something that we have continued to do really well is whenever there is some client feedback or some sort of improvement, then how fast do we implement that?

Robbie Turner:
Yeah, we're not like knee jerking left, right and center and sort of zigzagging along the way. We're not jumping at shadows, but certainly if there is any sort of a trend going along, or if someone does provide us a no brainer quick fix, then bang, it's implemented. I guess one of the things I love about, we've got a very quick learning loop and we can implement shit right away. We don't need to get approval, we don't need to write to the fucking the CDF, we don't need to do a fucking CEO's brief. Someone's like, "Well, maybe we should do that." I'm like, "Yeah. That's a good idea. Make it so." It certainly happens a bit quicker.

Tamara:
That is kind of another, and I'll go into this in future episodes. But one of the really key things that I love about hiring veterans is their implementation and their ability to adapt to things like that. It's absolutely amazing.

Robbie Turner:
Yeah. Love it.

Dan:
One of the things that really stood out to me in that planning session that I saw, I think it was the first time that we wrote down our goals of how many people were going to help, that I actually created a number that was higher than Robbie and Tamara. And you guys sat there and you're like, "How does that work?" And I was like, "Well, we need to do this to do this, to do this." And I basically ratchet out the numbers and we did meet the goals, but to be able to do that, there was a few micro steps that needed to happen in between because we needed to be able to do things that are far larger scale from that perspective.

Robbie Turner:
Yeah. Well, I guess your master's in project management certainly helped in that sense, because sort of think about 2018 really for the first trading year of the business, we helped about 30 clients. 2019, which is where at the end of 2019, when we were doing this sort of session here, from a success package perspective, we had about 80 clients, sort of 67 expressions of interest. And then we started talking about 130, 140, and I'm like, "We've all just worked their ass off during 2019 to get to 70, 80." And you'll want fucking go to 130, 140. I'm like, "There's no way we're going to be able to do that." But you know what, again, it was let's aim for the stars and even if we hit the lamppost on the way past, we're still off the ground.

Tamara:
I don't think that's quite the quote.

Robbie Turner:
It is, it's my fucking quote, I just made it up.

Dan:
Well, and I mean, given those lofty aspirations we're sort of shooting for, it was kind of fortuitous then that Jetstar decided to have some strikes. And we got stuck in Hawaii for another two days, it was terrible.

Tamara:
We just had to stay in Hawaii for-

Robbie Turner:
Right in the heart of Waikiki, yes.

Tamara:
... for an extra 48 hours or something until we could get another flight home. So that was unfortunate.

Dan:
And then we got home though and things started happening around us to be able to develop us to, or to be able to put steps in place so that the next year was going to be tremendous.

Tamara:
Well, we had a lot of growth to come. That was the kind of the key point that we had identified, okay, we need more team members here.

Robbie Turner:
Yeah, because I mean, when we started talking about numbers, I want to fast forward, because here we are now in the early parts of 2021, and in 2020, we ended up helping 142 clients. I was shitting myself about 130 coming from 60, 70, and we ended up having 142, so it was a massive year. But there's only one way that happened exactly as you just said, Dan, we needed to recruit some more people. I guess we sort of wrap up this episode because even though, what are we now, five episodes in, and it's been the Robbie, Dan and Tammy show so far, you're about to be joined by the one and only Mr. Dane Roche, who's our next property coach is going to come and join us.

Tamara:
And just looping back, I guess some of the lessons learned from this one is it's all about planning. We would not be where we are if it wasn't for planning. So if there's any business owners that are starting out, first of all, read those books, Gino Wickman. But yeah, you need to plan, you need to have goals, set those goals and yeah.

Dan:
As kind of a team member as well, it's not just about the planning, but having the faith and the belief in the vision that's being portrayed by the leadership team there as well. And as you brought up [inaudible 00:39:33], I was like, "So where does this thing actually go?" Because if you're like, "I don't know, I'm just making it up as I go along."

Tamara:
There's no buy-in then.

Dan:
If you pass that message onto your team, they're like, "What about in three or four years time from now, where am I going to be?"

Tamara:
Do I have a job in three or four years time?

Dan:
That's exactly right. So yeah, the power to plan, you know what I mean, military people or people that used to be in the military are exceptional planners and the ability to transition that across into the civilian sector as well, it's a super powerful tool.

Robbie Turner:
Yeah. We've come a bloody long way, in that year, 2019, we really, really did sort of go through those levels of growing up. We will and truly shook off the training wheels. But I guess we sort of transition now into the next episode. The next challenge came in now growing the business and having some more people coming. And it certainly included people that we didn't know before, because I guess part of the reason that we'd had some success is that we had recruited extremely well, we'd recruited from inside the wire. We recruited known entities. When we stepped outside of that realm, it wasn't fucking easy.

Robbie Turner:
And then having the right people come in and perform those roles, didn't always turn out well, but you're about to be introduced to an absolute superstar, ain't going anywhere. Dan, see you on the next episode. Thanks Tammy. Thanks Dan.

Tamara:
You too.

Dan:
Bye.

Tamara:
Bye.

 

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