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Episode 100 Transcript

Suzie Price: [00:00:00] 

Hi. Today I'm talking with the president of TTI Success Insights, Ron Price, and we are talking about growing influence and understanding how we think, feel and make decisions. Ron's helping us celebrate our 100th episode here at the Wake Up Eager Workforce Podcast, and you'll definitely want to tune in. We are talking about growing your ability to influence and lead others, so if you'd like to be more persuasive and understand the power of influence and how you can use it positively, you will benefit from today's episode. If you use TriMetrix or you're interested in the science of Axiology or Robert Hartman, you will also want to tune in. We make it relevant even if you're not following either one of those areas. But you will learn a lot more and have a better understanding of how that science helps us think, feel, and make decisions. And so we talk about it in a lot of detail here today. This episode is full of inspiration and insight from an influential leader, and I cannot wait to share it with you. Thank you for being here, Michael. Hit it!

Intro/Outro: [00:01:06] 

Welcome to the Wake Up Eager Workforce Podcast, a show designed for leaders, trainers and consultants who are responsible for employee selection and professional development. Each episode is packed full with insider tips, best practices, expert interviews, and inspiration. Please welcome the host who is helping leaders, trainers and consultants everywhere Suzie Price.

Suzie Price: [00:01:36] 

Hi there, this is Suzie and you are listening to the 100th episode of the Wake Up Eager Workforce Podcast, where we cover everything related to helping you and the employees in your organizations. Build a high commitment, low drama, wake up eager workforce. Bottom line, we help leaders and organizations make good decisions about their people. We want to create a wake up eager workforce. We want you to give you the tools to do that. We want to create wake up eager leaders, wake up eager teams, help people have a wake up eager life. And we do the work here in this podcast related to the work we do every day, which is helping people throughout the employee life cycle, helping organizations in hiring, onboarding, team building, leadership development, succession planning, conflict resolution, and personal and professional growth. As stated in the opening, this is episode 100 and the title is Growing Influence and Understanding How We Think, Feel, and Make Decisions. We've got a lot of links and important things that we discuss here today. So to get the show notes for today, you're going to go to And that's all one word growinginfluence. Let me tell you a little bit about Ron. He is the president of Success Insights. He is the former founder and CEO of Price Associates. He has served in leadership positions for over 50 years. He has been a student of talent, strategy, culture and innovation, and he is the author of five books on various aspects of leadership that are all available on The topics that we cover today, you are really going to want to tune in.

Suzie Price: [00:03:14] 

It's very informative, very rich, and as I shared earlier, very inspirational. What we're talking about is Axiology, that's the under the hood horsepower personal skill competencies that you see in the TriMetrix Assessment, how that science impacts self-awareness and personal and professional growth. We talk about it in very practical ways, and you're going to gain a new and maybe richer understanding of the power of Axiology and what it is. We also talk about how we can all grow and develop our ability to become influential by using the three models of leadership that all have an Axiological base. We're going to talk about how focusing on timing, logic, and energizing others helps us become more influential. We're going to talk about how everyone can become a great leader by developing their thinking skills, taking action, and helping others become the best version of themselves. And lastly, you're going to get a peek into Ron's daily practices, routines, and mindset that have helped him create a very rich and full wake up eager life. He has been executive for many, many years in many different businesses and very successful and a very successful consultant, very successful president of the TTI Success Insights and just has a rich life with a big family and he's somebody you really do want to listen to. And I'm so pleased that he made time to be with us on this milestone for us. So the show notes is And let's go to the episode in the discussion now. Welcome Ron. Thank you so much for being here.

Ron Price: [00:04:51] 

Well Suzie, you know I like to call you sister because we share the same last name. It's such a joy for me to be with you today.

Suzie Price: [00:04:58] 

And you're celebrating our 100th episode with us. So thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to do that with us.

Ron Price: [00:05:06] 

Well, congratulations. I don't know if I've listened to all 100, but I've listened to a lot of them and you do a great job, and what an accomplishment. That's fantastic.

Suzie Price: [00:05:16] 

Yeah. I'm excited. It's a love project. I've always wanted to be a journalist and so I get to do it this way. Let's jump into our first question. We first met when we were learning about Axiology, and I still have my notes from the mastermind that you pulled together. I think it was back in 2005, and it was when we were learning about this science that measures how we think, feel and make decisions. I wanted to mention for our listeners in the TriMetrix, that's the part of the assessment that measures personal skills, and it's the part of the assessment that we refer to as under the hood or horsepower. Talk a little bit about how you explain this science to people who are brand new to it, to help them understand it. What is it, how is it used, and why it matters?

Ron Price: [00:06:04] 

I start by explaining that Axiology is actually a part of philosophy historically, and it was described by philosophers as how we attach meaning or value to something. In our particular case, what we've studied has been the work that Robert Hartman did, where he said that we can actually think about attaching value in three distinct areas or dimensions. We can think about how we understand and attach value or meaning to people, how we attach our value to the things we do and the physical world around us, that we identify with our five senses. Or we can attach value and think about meaning to ideas or concepts. And Axiology gives us a framework to think about how we're doing that, and we can think about how much of it might have come from genetics, or how much of it came from our upbringing or experiences that we've had in life. And it's a wonderful way to become more aware of how our mind is working, both in how we see the world and also in how we see ourselves.

Suzie Price: [00:07:09] 

I talked to Art Ellis recently and he was saying that when he first learned about Axiology, it became an organizing principle for his life. Have you found that to be the case?

Ron Price: [00:07:31] 

Absolutely. I would say that to be the case. First of all, I love Art and his wife. They're such wonderful people. They're a great demonstration of creating value and how they live their lives and how they interact with other people. I think at first when I was introduced to it, I felt like there was a treasure there that had to be mined. It took me a while to understand the terminology, because our mentor David and Vera Mefford, his wife, would use Hartman's language, which really came more out of academia, and they would use the same word to mean different things. I think that's what threw me off the most, is I had to understand that when we use the word saw, it could be a saw that you use to cut wood, or it could be that I saw something. And so we do that in English all the time, but when you do it in academia, you get confused. But as I started to learn about it, I realized, oh my gosh, this is everywhere I look. I could go to a movie and I could see the expression of value in these movies.

Ron Price: [00:08:30] 

I could see where sometimes people would overvalue something. They would prefer it more than they should, or they may under prefer it, undervalue it. And I could see where they could have a particular magnetism toward the good of a person or a thing, or they might have a magnetism toward the bad of the person. I just saw it everywhere I looked, and that really impressed me, because I'd been reading and studying business in particular for decades, and suddenly I saw what looked like it was an organizing framework that worked no matter where I went. I remember one time saying to my brother on the phone, based on my understanding of Axiology, you could give me any topic and in 15 minutes, I could be ready to do a 30 minute speech on it. So he tested me. He said, okay, here's the topic. Well, I said, okay, maybe I need a little more time, but the idea was that there's nothing in life that you encounter that you can't understand better and interpret with more intentionality when you understand this framework.

Suzie Price: [00:09:33] 

How do people have that strike that you and I received? We're very High Theoretical, and not everybody wants to understand or have an interest in understanding these principles. We've gotten better over the years because that was almost 20 years ago, that we were all describing it more clearly and with a little less confusion. But if somebody doesn't want to be an expert at it, what else would you say that would get them engaged or maybe interested?

Ron Price: [00:10:01] 

I think part of maybe what tripped me up early on was I tried to go too deep, too fast. So I think if you start with simple principles and think those through that, you're building your capacity for it without it being confusing or complicated. So the simple principles are we all have interactions with people. Do I tend to see people as they really are, or do I tend to see people as better than they are? That's my behavioral style. That's the way I am, naturally, and Axiology helped me to understand. It's not wrong to see people as better than they actually are, but it's good to be aware that you're doing it. Or some people might see people as less good than they actually are. They might not pick up on their unique strengths or traits, or some people see people as less bad or more bad than they actually are. And of course, we all have some kind of a mixture. That's a fairly simple concept that we can understand if we just start practicing that and asking ourselves, am I seeing them as they actually are, or am I letting my own preference shade the way that I think about them? It's not that one is good or the other is bad, it's just that you're not always quite seeing the real thing.

Ron Price: [00:11:07] 

I like to think of it as I would take my glasses off and tell people, I can still see that it's you, Suzie, but there's a lot I don't recognize in your features right now because my glasses are off. But when I put my glasses on and I call these my Axiology glasses, suddenly I see you with much more clarity. I understand you much better as a result, and it can be around people or it can be around things. One of my early lessons about it was that, this sounds crazy, but I've been fortunate to be able to buy a used Mercedes that I really loved, and when you hear that word love, you automatically understand there's emotion there, there's preference. So I was overvaluing that Mercedes until we had our third child, and we could no longer fit them in the car, and we had to go get a new car. Then I fell out of love with it because it didn't fit me anymore. You can do it with people or things, or you can do it with concepts or ideas. I began to recognize that as an American, when I recite the Pledge of Allegiance, or when I hear the Star-Spangled banner, the national anthem, sung at a sporting event, there was always something in me emotionally that would well up because I had an emotional relationship with that idea.

Ron Price: [00:12:20] 

And to somebody who wasn't from the United States, they wouldn't have the same kind of preference or the same kind of response. So just this simple idea that we have this relationship between logic and emotion in how we interpret things is the beginning of understanding it. And we've been talking mostly about the worldview, but in the self view, it's also true that we have this concept of ourselves, of who we think the ideal me is, or who I think I should be moving toward becoming. We call that self direction. And then I've got this concept of how I see myself fitting into my roles right now. Am I happy as a husband, as a father? Am I happy in my work role, in other roles that I play? And then we have this concept of how when you go beyond that, and I'm just a human being, and those are different ways that we can think about ourselves. And again, we can have preferences. One of the things that helped me a lot early on with this is that using the reports that you and I use, I would find some people that it was pretty clear to me that there was some kind of damage that had taken place to their self-concept in their life.

Ron Price: [00:13:29] 

And so rather than assuming that I knew it, I would say, tell me a little bit about your upbringing. Tell me about your relationship with your parents. If they were married, tell me a little bit. Or maybe they were married and not anymore. Tell me what that experience was about. And often what I found was that their self-concept or their self esteem had been damaged through experiences, and it was showing up in the report. So the report didn't tell me specifically what, it was just telling me that there was something there that we could talk about, and that maybe we could begin to help them restore that, heal that, and build that up. So this has just been amazing to me, and I've come to realize over the years that who you are as a human being also includes your roles, and it also includes your self direction. They're all built together, but the fullest expression of it is when you can take it all the way to your human experience and not just be trapped in the role, or just be trapped in who you think you ought to be, that you're not yet.

Suzie Price: [00:14:26] 

There's just so much to be said about. People are saying, okay, bottom line, what am I going to get from this? How am I going to understand this? And how does it help me? Well, self-awareness, making better decisions because you can see the dimensions, organizing how you make decisions and how you think about things and how you think about a project or you think about a presentation, you've got these dimensions to think about. And then in coaching or facilitating or your own self development understanding where to start. Somebody might say, let's work on your communication skills. When really where they're struggling the most is the sense of self, which is maybe it's really low and you can get to the, what another consultant that we know says, get to the headwaters of where the where the development opportunity is, where you're going to get the most growth, the most opportunity, the most release of our talent and who we are. I mean, it's quite amazing. And when I talk to people who knew Hartman and have studied this their whole life, every one of them, they're all different in their personalities and some of them are still living in their 70s and 80s and even one in the 90s. They all are very rich people and rich in the quality of life that they live. You made that comment about art and that's how I feel about it as well. Like, okay, that's it's helping me be a better person. I just love talking about it and I love how you express it.

Ron Price: [00:15:52] 

I agree with you very much. And of course, we know because of some of what Robert Hartman wrote about that. In the natural sciences, mathematics was used to be able to explore them or to understand them better. And the more that we can use mathematics to run experiments and test things, the more appreciation we develop for the natural world around us. And we get much better at improving people's quality of life. And in the same way, this framework gives us the tools to be able to go deeper and to have a richer experience and understanding ourselves and others in the world around us. And as a consequence of that, you recognize there's an infinity of discovery available to us, and these tools help to guide us.

Suzie Price: [00:16:33] 

Yeah, I love that. The infinity part is like, oh, it's never ending. I can always become more and there's so much to know. That's amazing. Would you say a little bit more about how knowing this has impacted your life and your career from maybe before you knew it, I imagine as well developed and such a personality that you are, you always had wonderful characteristics. I'm biased, but I just know how great you are. I'm curious how it's helped it be better. I mean how has this helped you in your life and career?

Ron Price: [00:17:08] 

The first thing I think is it's really helped me to be more objective and to recognize when I have a bias or when I have a preference. And it may be that that's appropriate and it may be that it's not. For instance, I think it's very appropriate for me to have a bias toward my wife. I think it's very appropriate for me to say that overvaluing my wife is an important part of our relationship, and that doesn't it doesn't mean that I'm making her better than she is. It's that I'm preferring her as being of greater value to me than I would somebody else, so it's helped me that way. I can tell you that one of the early ways to challenge me, Suzie, was I didn't realize it until I read this, and it really confronted me and I had to wrestle with it. I realized that I put ideas ahead of people, I realized, and of course, religious people have a temptation to do this. And I am a person of faith. And people who have very, very strong ideologies politically have a tendency. We tend to say that my ideas are more important than people. And as I began to recognize that, I realized that that was not at all the way that Jesus did things.

Ron Price: [00:18:18] 

Jesus said, love your neighbor as yourself. He said, a new commandment, love one another as I have loved you. And obviously, if anybody had the right to put ideas ahead of people, he did. So I actually had to change my thinking there, because I realized that a lot of my philosophies or ideologies I considered more important than the people around me. That was a big impact. Another impact that it's had for me is as I plan and as I think about what I'm doing, either at work or in my family, I use this lens all the time to think about how am I prioritizing or how am I valuing the ideas, the things, and the people? It gets me to not pretend that I'm listening when there's a football game on, and Pam wants to talk to me about our kids. Axiology speaks to me and says, what's more important, your wife or the football game? So in very practical ways, it has changed my perspective and in changing my perspective, then it has also changed my behavior. It's had a huge difference because I do a lot of hiring, and I've advised a lot of executives who are hiring, and it's really changed my perspective on how you think about candidates, because now you begin to want to understand how they see the world and how they see themselves.

Ron Price: [00:19:35] 

And how does that fit with the role that you're asking them to fulfill. Because, again, we don't always want somebody to be perfectly objective. Sometimes we want them to have a preference because it's going to help them in that particular job. So these are all things where it's impacted me quite a bit. I don't know that I read a single book anymore and I still read a lot. I probably don't read a single book that I don't think about through the lens of Axiology. And there are very few conversations that I have that I don't think about those conversations through the lens of Axiology. And it's because, and I think this is probably true for you as well, I struggled with it for a number of years, but you practice and practice and practice and eventually it becomes a part of your toolbox and it just happens. You don't have to consciously make it happen. It just pops up because you've built it into your software. 

Suzie Price: [00:20:27] 

As you learn it, it is like gravity. It's everywhere. And it's like, how come I didn't know this before? I love all the benefits that you outlined because I'm not in my head agreeing with everyone. Talking about books, this is a five year anniversary of your book and yours and Stacey Anderson's book called Growing Influence: A Story About How to Lead With Character, Expertise and Impact. I just now read it. I had it on my shelf, and I wish I had read it earlier, because there are so many gems in there and in it. I see Axiology all throughout. I see the systemic, extrinsic, intrinsic that people, tasks and ideas all the way through. And the way you talk about the three types of being an effective leader who can influence. Well done. Bravo. It's going on my recommended books page. It should have already been there, and I'm just going to give it to everybody to read. It's excellent. It's a great story and it's filled with practical insights. I'm going to post an overview in the show notes that Bobby Powers created. That's a good overview for people to see that, but I encourage everybody listening to go check out that book and give it to everybody you know, who is a leader or wants to be a leader or wants more influence, or anybody who's complaining and say, how come I can't change things? I can't can't make this be my way? Give them that book and hold them accountable to listening to it or reading it. But out of all that information in the book, what do you want people to take away from it?

Ron Price: [00:21:57] 

Well, first, thank you very much for your comments. That book is a real work of love that Stacy and I put together. We worked on some other books together before, and this book was a true creative activity for us where it's very, very different from the way it started out. We discovered something working together and we were being interviewed by a journalist soon after the book came out and I looked at Stacy and I said, Stacy, it just dawned on me, this is actually a love story. It's a love story of friendship, not romantic. It's a story of friendship between an older man who's retired and a young woman who's caught in middle management in a technology company, and she's expressing some of her concerns, and they learn from each other, and they develop a great caring for each other as a result. There are nine principles of leadership in the book. It's really three models that each have an Axiological base. I think probably the most important thing that I hope people get from the book is to recognize the tremendous potential they have inside of them to develop their influence, and that the greatest source of influence comes from how you grow yourself. There are other forms of influence that's not the only one, but the greatest is how you grow yourself. And if you don't grow yourself, who's going to do it? It's a responsibility that is solely our responsibility. And it was transformative in my life.

Ron Price: [00:23:22] 

Actually back in probably around 1978 or 1979, I was working in an administrative role, lots and lots of tasks, and I was very frustrated with my weakness in task management. So I bought a cassette series on time management called Your Time and Your Life. Of course, then I never had time to listen to it. I sat on my shelf for six months, and I talked one day to somebody who'd been to a workshop. I said, oh, what was the workshop about? He said it was about time management. I said, really? Tell me more. He said, it was that thing that I had on my shelf, and he'd gone through it in a day, and I got mad at myself and I said, this is crazy. I've had that for six months and I've gotten no benefit from it. It's just sitting there. So I started coming into the office half an hour early, and I told my assistant for that first half hour, it belonged to me that the only reason I should be interrupted was if the police were at the door or there was an emergency, but otherwise it was my time. And that really transformed my life, because I learned that that time had always been there, but I'd never claimed it. And from 1978-79 until today, that time has expanded or contracted. But that time, early in the morning, where I work on growing me, is by far the most important thing. 

Suzie Price: [00:24:40] 

And the character in the book learns that from the retired CEO who's mentoring her. She starts doing it. It changes everything because one you're learning, but you're also taking control and you're learning that you do have control.

Ron Price: [00:24:54] 

I think it's one of the first or one of the more significant acts of, I guess you could say sovereignty or responsibility. When you say, I'm going to make this commitment to grow myself. And then, of course, you have to make good choices in how you grow yourself. 

Suzie Price: [00:25:12] 

Excellent. So there's some great bits of advice in there. There are so many things to pull from. It was hard to pick them, but a couple of them kept running through my mind. The first one and I've lived this in my life. Sometimes I have good timing and sometimes I don't. But I'm getting better. But this advice, "Maximum power is often a matter of timing. If you don't pick the right time, you won't get the result you're looking for. It's not just about knowing what to say, it's understanding when to say it." Any advice you can give to help people grow this or learn this, or figure out the best time? What would you say about all of that?

Ron Price: [00:25:47] 

I think this is a part of emotional intelligence. First, understanding what's happening inside of me and how I'm managing that, and then understanding the context, understanding the people that I'm interacting with. And Suzie, I think so much of leadership today is contextual. It's why we can't just give people off the shelf leadership development and get the results that we want, because it always matters what context you're in. And the context dictates different tools that you pull out of your leadership toolbox. So timing is an important one. For instance, when you're making a decision, there's a window of opportunity that's the ideal time to make that decision. It gives you enough time to think it through and to collect whatever information you need and ask other people their advice, but it's not so long that you've actually lost your opportunity because you didn't make the decision soon enough. In interacting with people, there's a right time. When my wife right now is helping her 97 year old mother, it is both a joy for her to be able to do it, but it's also a lot of stress. So we're living in different cities right now because of that, and we connect every night to talk, and I've learned that when we get on the phone, it's not the right time for me to tell her about what happened in my day.

Ron Price: [00:27:03] 

Oftentimes, the next morning is the right time for me to tell. This, it's the time for me to hear what happened in her day, because that's what's going to be most valuable for her. So it's an example of thinking about the right time. If you have a difficult conversation that you have to have with your boss, or that you have to have with somebody that you're leading, when is the right time and understanding that has a big impact on how successful it's going to be making a decision about your career, it's the right time. I actually was leading another company, and I knew that I was not going to stay at that company for the rest of my career, and I waited for three years for the right time. There were certain things I thought had to be in position, so that I could leave it in good condition so that I could leave it well, and I would never look back and feel that I had missed the right time. There's so much of what we do that if we stop and pause and think about timing, it will influence how we take action.

Suzie Price: [00:28:04] 

Yes, timing. Just great advice. And like I said, I'm better and better at it. My husband is really good at this. He's an executive, leads a company, and just watching him interpersonal skills wise and with me knowing when and you know, the timing he is, he's a master so that it helps to have that up front too. 

Ron Price: [00:28:23] 

That's great.

Suzie Price: [00:28:24] 

How about lead with logic. Follow with emotion. Talk about that.

Ron Price: [00:28:29] 

Yeah David mentions this to Emily in passing right at the end of the conversation, and it automatically strikes her, and she says what? And have to think about it. That came out of a recognition that so often we let our emotions get in front and they get agitated and we make a commitment or we say something that later we go back and say, wow, that wasn't really well thought out. And of course it can happen in my case, because I tend to be an optimistic person, I can be overly optimistic and make a commitment and then later say, what did I do? My wife will say, don't buy the car the first time you go to the lot.

Ron Price: [00:29:07] 

Or it can be the other way. It can be that we get angry or fearful or frustrated about something, and we say something that later we realize didn't optimize our influence. It might have actually spent some of our influence as a result. So David's suggesting to Emily she needs to have a difficult conversation with her boss, because she's come to the conclusion that she's being held back because of her gender and not because her boss is misogynistic, but because he just has a wrong worldview that needs to be addressed. And so she begins to think about, well, when is the right time for me to address that with him? She looks for when that opportunity is. And it's made up of when is she ready? When has she thought things through so she knows clearly what she wants to communicate, and then when is he going to be most receptive to it? Most open to it? Now that doesn't mean that we never do it. We still need to sometimes speak the power, so to speak, but it's understanding how to put yourself in the best possible position so that you're going to get the response you want. And in order to do that, you want to lead with logic, but don't leave emotion at home, because sometimes emotion's an important thing to express. But you don't want to start there. You want to let your emotions support your logic that you're sharing.

Suzie Price: [00:30:24] 

That takes a great deal of self-awareness. So notice, okay, I'm charged about this. I'm really not settled about this. That is not the right time, and so knowing how to work that through and having those tools, that's a lot of self-awareness. And then like you said, knowing when is the right time for the other person. And there's wisdom in that, and as I mature, I'm having more of and I'm always proud of myself when I do. But it's paying attention to how you're feeling, and then, like you said, not leaving the emotion out of the equation either, because that's not real as also you don't want to be an automaton on discussions.

Ron Price: [00:31:05] 

That's right. I've read another book called The Complete Leader, and one of the skills that we write about in that book is persuasion. And think of persuasion as being a combination of three things. The first thing is what credibility you have before you even open your mouth. It's the reputation that you've built through your past behaviors, and that either helps or hurts you before you ever say anything. Then the next thing is how rational or how logical is the point you're trying to make the way you're trying to influence somebody. So did you build a good framework of logic? And if you can have evidence and data to back it up, that's even better. And then are you demonstrating your conviction and what you're saying, or are you saying it in a way that makes the other person wonder whether you really believe it or not? So it's your credibility, then your logic, and then your emotion. It's another way of thinking about making sure that logic is in front.

Suzie Price: [00:31:58] 

That is great, and I'll put some links to some information we have on persuasion that relates to that personal skill to the listener, so you can go follow that. But what's so amazing about you, Ron, is how you tie all these things together so well, it's very impressive. I have to say.

Ron Price: [00:32:13] 

Well thank you, I appreciate that. I am so grateful. We live in such a time where we are given so many opportunities for growth. And I've been just so fortunate that at different points in my life, when there was a change coming, I recognized that I could either make that change work for me or work against me based on my mindset. So I guess I'm one of your students who always tries to wake up eager every day.

Suzie Price: [00:32:41] 

It totally drives my life, and I can see it in yours for sure. Last bit of advice that really resonated is and I think this will help a lot of people and I just love the summary of it, is you should aim for people to feel energized and heard after interacting with you. Energizing others shifts the way you engage.

Ron Price: [00:33:02] 

Yes, first of all, it gets us outside of ourselves, which is an important part of building strong relationships. People really care a lot about whether or not you see them, whether you understand them, and so taking the time to see them and to understand what either gives them energy or takes it away. My oldest son taught me a lot about this. He built a business in China for several years. He doesn't live there anymore, but he built this business around four questions that were asked in both directions. The first question is who do you go to to get information to make decisions for your job every day? Second question was who do you go to when you have tough problems to help you with those problems? These were what he referred to as the data questions. The third question was who do you feel energized by spending time with? When you leave a meeting with them, you always feel more energy than when you went in. And the fourth question is, who do you feel comfortable sharing your ideas with? And you're not afraid that they're going to reject them or criticize them, but they're going to listen to them. And he would ask those four questions, both directions. So it would be who do you feel that? And then the other person who do they feel those. So another way of saying it would be who comes to you to get information from you, whose problems do you help solve, who do you help energize, who do you appreciate and listen to their ideas?

Ron Price: [00:34:24] 

And it was based on a book called The Power of Social Networking by Rob Cross. And I thought it was brilliant because it shows us the influence that people have, not because they were given it by a title or a position, but the influence they have based on how they interact with other people. We know that oftentimes the greatest leaders in an organization don't have the title, but they're very influential.

Suzie Price: [00:34:46] 

Well, it makes me think of, I was walking in a bookstore with a new graduate out of college working for NCR Corporation, and really in over my head. I had a good position. I know I could probably do it, but I think I need more skills. I was very young. The book that fell off the shelf and then I read probably 800 times was The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. That became a little bit of an organizing principle for a long time until I found Axiology. They tie together, but in that simple place, and a lot of people have heard this and know it, but we continually need to revisit it to seek first to understand, then to be understood. And so it's the people's first thing. It's trying to understand people, and if you put that first, everything else is different and the conversation is different.

Ron Price: [00:35:38] 

It's simple but not always easy. It's simple in that the thing that gives people the most energy is feeling that they're understood, that you really know them and that you're really listening. But it's not always easy. Somebody recently said something that stuck with me, he said, I'm not very much, but I'm all I think about.

Suzie Price: [00:36:01] 

That's really good. We all have a piece of that. We all have that. And if we can give people that in a way that's honest and authentic, everything changes to me. That's kind of what that statement is saying, if I have a focus on them and focusing on people energizes people, then we're going to have a whole different engagement.

Ron Price: [00:36:28] 

And again, we can take this back to this as an expression of Axiology. It's that we view the person as a unique individual who has, from our perspective at least, infinite possibilities. And falling in love with that idea that every person you meet is an amazing experience waiting for you to have.

Suzie Price: [00:36:50] 

It certainly makes life more rich. We're talking about being rich internally and these beautiful relationships. And so wonderful advice in your book. It's a very entertaining book. Through the story that you tell with the characters and both people know Lencioni, it's similar to that kind of story. So I highly recommend people get that book. And again, it'll be in the show notes. And also your son's questions were amazing. That's good. Your kids' a chip off the old block there. Right. They learned it honestly.

Ron Price: [00:37:23] 

And they're teaching me a lot.

Suzie Price: [00:37:25] 

I bet. So you have how many children and then how many grandchildren?

Ron Price: [00:37:29] 

We have five boys and a girl. And they are anywhere from 46 to 31. And then we have 11 grandchildren.

Suzie Price: [00:37:37] 

Wow. And I think I remember how to talk to eight year olds about Axiology. You did a presentation on that, so these concepts you've been working on how to simplify them for a long time. We all have. And so that was powerful. And I was enjoying when you were doing that because I could imagine your kids listening to you or your grandkids.

Ron Price: [00:37:58] 

It was a fun exercise. We tried to use Axiology to define what is a good pizza. 

Suzie Price: [00:38:03] 

They got it, and it helped. It helped us for you to share that because it's like, oh this is good. Okay. We have been talking about the assessment a little bit. And the TriMetrix Assessment is an assessment that we can use throughout the employee life cycle, and for hiring and then onboarding and coaching and conflict management and so many great tools. And it's the main thing that I use almost all the time in my work. And so let's talk about this. We have a lot of people here who are either using it, they're coaches of coaches, it seems around that in companies, and then with helping people get trained up in it. Think back to when you first took your TriMetrix Assessment. How did you feel when somebody debriefed it? What did you think? What was your experience?

Ron Price: [00:38:50] 

Well, I'll go back a little bit before that. In 1997, I was enrolled in Coach University. I was the president of another company, and every year I did something for professional development, and I thought, I think it'd be good for me to develop better coaching skills. It was still relatively new in the mainstream at that time, and as a part of that, I had to take a class on assessments, and I was introduced to TTI Success Insights then, and I took an assessment that had my behavioral style and my motivators. And up to that point, I always thought that assessments were sort of a parlor game. I'd done them in some team building things, but they never really got applied in practical ways. It was just for that day and people would laugh. Sometimes they would disagree, and then it was over. Well, fast forward to 2004. I had retired from this other company that I ran, and I decided that I wanted to build an executive coaching business. And so I knew these assessments. I thought, I'm going to go find out more about this company and determine whether or not their values are aligned with mine and whether it would be a comfortable partnership to be in. And so immediately I was introduced to TriMetrix. And at that time, the report was a little bit more mysterious in the way that the data was presented. And I remember thinking, there's got to be something here, but I'm a little bit confused. That was the first time that I recognized that I overvalued ideas, that I made them more important than people.

Ron Price: [00:40:22] 

And it began the struggle because my immediate response was, well, of course they are more important than people. I really had to wrestle through that. And what Robert Hartman's work did is he helped me have a better logic to understand why you would favor some things over others, and that ideas are good and the manifestation of those ideas are great, but people are so diverse. There's so much potential in that person, so much potential for good that it always trumps ideas. And I know for some people today they might still struggle with that, but I was converted. I came to really believe that that was the case. So that first assessment is what set me on that course. And then it wasn't long after that that I asked David Medford if he would help me. And I know you worked with David also, and for six years, David and I met almost every Saturday morning for about an hour, sometimes a little bit longer, and it was a friendship, but also he was teaching me and he was helping me to struggle with the things that I didn't understand. He was always so gracious. He never told me, Ron, you're not getting it or said, no, Ron, you've got to quit favoring ideas. He walked me through it gently, and one of the things in my first report that it showed was that my sense of self was quite satisfied, and that I felt like the way he described it when he looked at my chart as he said, Ron, this looks like you've been to the mountaintop, referring to Moses.

Ron Price: [00:41:54] 

And I paused and I said, well, you know, in a way I have, because I've done more in my career than I ever thought I was capable of. I had been really happy building an international business for 11 years, and had had wonderful experiences traveling around the world. These are things I never dreamt that I would do. And so I said, in a way I am very content. And he said, you know, there's nothing wrong with that, Ron, unless you want to grow. Well, he had me there as soon as he said, unless you want to grow. I said, well, of course I want to grow. And that's why I'm here. We have to create a little bit of desire for change, because I've come to believe that almost all growth comes from discomfort. So if you want to keep growing, you have to be willing to embrace some discomfort in your life. Now, you don't want to be caught up in an undertow where you get buried and panicked, but you want enough discomfort that it keeps you going. And that's where I've come to love challenges and problems, because they provide that discomfort that keeps me growing. So this all came out of that first report.

Suzie Price: [00:42:55] 

And Dave Medford was, for our listeners, a student of Dr. Hartman's. And Dr. Hartman is the teacher or the philosopher that formed these ideas of Axiology from a lot of philosophers kind of came up with his version of it, and what we're talking about. And Dave was a teacher to a lot of us.

Ron Price: [00:43:16] 

Yes, he's got a wonderful story because he was a freshman at the University of Tennessee, and he'd taken Dr. Hartman's class and was intrigued by it. And they got to know each other, and he said, I want to be a philosopher. And Dr. Hartman said, well, you can want to be a philosopher, but that doesn't mean that you can be. You actually have to have certain traits, so why don't you come down to Mexico for the summer? Dr. Hartman would spend his summers in Cuernavaca, outside of Mexico City, and he said, come on down and I'll give you some books to read, and we'll see if you have what it takes. So he went down and he gave him a stack of books, and he went and read through these books and wrote up all his notes, and he brought them back and gave them to Dr. Hartman. Dr. Hartman said, what are these? He said, well, they're my notes. He said, I'm not going to read your writing. Type them up. And David said, I don't know how to type. He said, well, you can't be an Axiologist if you don't know how to type, so go learn how to type. So he spent most of the summer in Mexico learning how to type, and at the end of the summer, he finally got all his notes typed up and took them back to Dr. Hartman and Dr. Hartman, read through them and said, okay, I think maybe you could.

Ron Price: [00:44:18] 

So yeah, I'm going to support the idea of you studying philosophy as your career. And that was the beginning of their relationship. I admire David's commitment. He wanted it so much that when he got pushed away, he didn't give up. You know, he went through the same thing after he graduated with his bachelor's. Dr. Hartman said, you need to go to Europe to get your master's, because the real research and academia around philosophy is in Europe. So he went to Germany and got into a master's program, but it was all in German, and he didn't speak German. So he spent a year or more learning German after he'd been accepted into the program before he started taking classes. So this is part of what I admired about David's energy and his commitment to learn. He was going to do whatever it took in order to satisfy what Dr. Hartman said he needed to do to become a philosopher. So actually, he was in Germany getting his master's when Dr. Hartman passed away. And then he came back and went to the University of Tennessee, and he got a Ph.D. In philosophy, and he advanced Dr. Hartman's work. He took it to a whole other level, which is still being explored today, so I know this is a tangent, but I admired David's hunger and curiosity and his willingness to do whatever it took. And it inspired me to keep investing in myself as well. 

Suzie Price: [00:45:41] 

What it shows you is one person digging in and becoming the best that they can be, and taking on the challenges. Look how much that's impacted. I mean, how many people do I meet that are in our world that studied under Medford, who knows Vera, his wife. We wouldn't have the Hartman Institute because Dave and Vera started the Hartman Institute with Art Ellis and other folks, and I was just at a meeting here in Atlanta with the Hartman Institute, and there were 50 people in person that are using Axiology, and it's just so much. Then the tools and the hundreds of thousands of people who are impacted by this, science as related to that good work that Medford did.

Ron Price: [00:46:24] 

Yeah. I'm afraid, Suzie, that if we're not careful because of the modern age that we live in, that we lose sight of the fact that our life is meant to be rocks dropped in the pond to ripple out to everybody else's. And we think about satisfying me or making me happy. And of course, I want to be happy and I want to enjoy life. But the reality is, the biggest part of our life is what influence we have on others. And we can think of the Medfords, because David passed away a number of years ago, he's still influencing people today. We have no idea what our influence is going to be when we pursue our greatest potential, which is why I think that our greatest purpose is to discover and pursue it, knowing that it's good for us, but it's not just for us, it's for everybody else that it's going to impact as well.

Suzie Price: [00:47:11] 

Well, because when we do that, we have more light to share, we have more of ourselves to share and we carry that into every room. So beautiful.

Suzie Price: [00:47:20] 

All right. This is the end of part one on using Axiology to Grow Influence with Ron Price. And hopefully you gained some insight on how we think, feel and make decisions and how Axiology is a part of that. You're not going to want to miss part two. You'll find both part one and part two by going to You're going to want to tune in to part two because of the additional great details that we're going to cover. Also people who make a lot of comments about enjoying the end of part two, where I share some of my favorite takeaways from the conversation, and I'm also in part two of this episode in information, I'm going to talk a little bit about the journey of podcasting and getting to our 100th episode, so be sure to tune into that, and be sure to subscribe to the Wake Up Eager Workforce wherever you get your podcasts. And as a reminder, we are still giving away a Workplace Motivators Assessment. That's that 24 page report.

Suzie Price: [00:48:24] 

We have over 100 development resources. It makes it a value of $350 and we're giving that away. If you leave us a review, we'd like to have more reviews. So that people can find us and hear what people are enjoying or if they've got something out of our episode. So please take a few minutes and go over and leave us a review. Shoot me a note at and I will send you a link to the free Workplace Motivators Assessment. If you are not wanting to use assessment for yourself, well, you can share it with a friend or a colleague and they will have access to the Workplace Motivators resource page. There's, like I said, a bunch of tools there and resources and a debrief video and everything that they would need to learn more or you would need to learn more. And we won't be following up with you unless you have interest. It's basically a great way for some self paced learning there. So check that out. Our podcast directory is at and if I can help you with anything, my email is Thank you for tuning in and hope you have a wake up eager week. Take care.

Intro/Outro: [00:49:43] 

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