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Episode 103 Transcript

Suzie Price: [00:00:00] 

Today we continue my conversation with Eddie Hightower, the Senior Vice President of Sustainability and Social Responsibility for Caliber Collisions. We're going to talk about Investing in Talent and the Future of the Workplace. I can't wait to share it with you. Michael. Hit it.

Intro/Outro: [00:00:17] 

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 to his helping leaders, trainers and consultants everywhere Suzie Price.

Suzie Price: [00:00:47] 

Hi, this is Suzie, and you're listening to 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. In this podcast, in the work we do every day, we provide tools, tips, and expert interviews for the entire employee lifecycle hiring, onboarding, team building, leadership development, succession planning, and conflict resolution. We also talk about personal development. We love having you here and want to remind you to go listen to the first episode, part one, by going to And now we're into episode 103 part two of this episode. So we're going to continue on, and if you go to, you can get the show notes and listen to both episodes. Let's go there now.

Suzie Price: [00:01:45] 

I know everybody listening would be interested in your career and your background. I talked a little bit about your bio and your background, but let's learn a little bit more about you. If it's okay, we'll jump to that part of our discussion now.

Eddie Hightower: [00:01:59] 


Suzie Price: [00:01:59] 

Okay. We always have that wake up eager strengths discussion, and you were so kind to play along by completing the Talent Insights Assessment. And I was smiling as I was reading the results. You scored as a passionate knowledge person. You love learning knowledge according to the assessment, passionate being of service to people and then also passionate in doing things your own way or outside of tradition. And so do you have any thoughts about my quick summary of that? And I sent you a few little notes from it. Any thoughts on how that sounds like you or it doesn't sound like you?

Eddie Hightower: [00:02:36] 

I almost put this in an email to you, Suzie, when you sent me the summary of saying, have you been following me? Because I found out as soon as I got the results, I said, that's. Yep. You got me. I think that that's exactly right. I'm very passionate about what I do. I feel incredibly fortunate to do what I do. One of the things that I read in there that I thought was interesting was that rules are meant to be supportive, not necessarily to be followed. And that's how I view things, is that I always ask why we can't do something versus holding back from something because it's never been done. For example, this whole thing of building the sustaining workforce. Have I ever done this? No, but it is no reason not to try to do it. Again, that goes back to the grace comment of saying that we're all learning and I make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, but it's forgiving yourself and moving on.

Eddie Hightower: [00:03:34] 

And what did you learn from it? It is super important. Then I think the other thing that really helps me is, my mom would tell you that I'm an optimist, just like my dad was, and I view that as a badge of honor. And I see that that showed up in my results, too, as I'm optimistic about things, and I look for the upside in everything that we're doing, probably to a fault. I love doing it, and I love bringing people along and inspiring them to come with me and then pushing them ahead of me, and saying this is about them. And that's clearing the way. If you look on my wall, I, you asked about billboards, maybe this is a billboard I would put up and I have I put one in my office that is a Susan Jeffers quote that says, feel the fear and do it anyway. 

Suzie Price: [00:04:20] 

There we go. A lot of people who are listening are our clients or consultants that I've trained, so they know that the High Theoretical loves to learn. The High Social Altruistic loves to serve. The number six Traditional says, I'll do it my way, which is what you're talking about. And then the other thing we always talk about is match, fit to the role. What was making me smile one, I always love seeing results, but I also love seeing what a great fit it is to what you're doing. I mean, you're saving people through knowledge and insight and then this idea that your ability to think outside the box, there's good in the box thinkers and that matters, but for this role, this is exactly I mean, that's exactly who they need for their Senior Vice President of Sustainability. It makes complete sense to me.

Suzie Price: [00:05:13] 

Some of the nuggets that I sent to you and people will appreciate this. Now you scored passionately too. So you scored higher. And it doesn't matter if somebody scores passionately or not passionately because it all is good. I mean, all of it matters. But it just gives us insight. So a very strong desire to help others, passionate, higher than most people and to learn and some of the top strengths. I just want to read them because they promote everything we've been talking about. Good at promoting causes that improve society, generous with their time, talent and resources. Initiates the activity of developing others. Willing to share knowledge to benefit the team or organization, and looking for the positive in every situation which you already touched on. So that's a combination of your top drivers and your style. So I just thought that was fascinating. And here's something I didn't send to you, but I found it under there's a section called Keys to Motivation. And they tie together your style and your drivers. And one of the ones that stood out is, key motivation: let me research new information in a team environment requiring people, interaction. So you do this with the team, which is so cool. And then an ideal environment: an environment where interacting with others in an effort to help each person is rewarded.

Eddie Hightower: [00:06:26] 

Absolutely. Now I love that and I did see that in there. And again, I think you're following me. And I also want to describe my role. I'm a one person show. I don't have a formal team reporting to me. But what you have to do is you have to be able to inspire and influence other people. And I think that that's a great piece of advice that I got when I moved to this role only just under two years ago. So I was in an HR role before, and one of my mentors gave me a great piece of advice. He said, you know, you're moving from a position where you had a big team and it was command and control. When you made a decision, they moved. He goes now you're moving to a position where you don't have a team, you're going to have to influence, and you're going to have to motivate people to do things that aren't necessarily their day job. And he goes, and you can't do it through telling them to do it. And he said, so that's a different skill that you're going to have to focus on and build. And I think that that's also something really important to think about. What does the role require you to do? How does it require you to act and to be aware of that and to do that to be successful, you've got to be able to do that. And that was the best eye opening advice I got coming into this role. And I will never forget he was my boss at the time and was letting me go. I mean, he was letting me go to this new role. And so I thought that was great too. And also what Caliber is about is these new opportunities, and again, I thought I was going to be in HR for the rest of my life. And here, toward the end of my career, I get a new life, I get a brand new career, and I was trepidatious about it. You know, to be honest.

Suzie Price: [00:08:05] 

Big change. But to me it was like boy smart people in Caliber because they knew who they were picking. I mean, what a perfect match you are to every bit of this. And I've only known you all of this conversation and through your assessment like, okay, I have no doubt that he is a great fit. And that role, it's a little bit of what I learned because I was in corporate America, but I've been doing this for quite a while, and I started when I didn't know what I was doing and still know a little bit more of what I'm doing, but I really didn't know what I was doing. But the biggest thing was learning. What you're talking about is like, you're a facilitator now, you're a consultant. An internal consultant in your case, and that is about influence and getting buy in. And it is different people. So it sounds like you're doing it really well.

Eddie Hightower: [00:08:50] 

Well you know again back to back to your, your point about you know, you work at it every day, and there will be good days and bad days. The other thing I think we all have, but it's how you react to it and what you do and what you learn from it, and picking yourself up and keeping at it. You know what the ultimate goal is, what you're working toward. And that's what's so inspirational to me, is that I see the outcomes, I see what we're doing, and I can see the future, and I can see what this is going to be. And again, I won't be here forever, and so I also feel like I have an obligation to bring people along behind me. And I remember when I came into this role, I worked for the Chief Financial Officer and he asked me, he said, what's your what's your job? You know, what do you think your responsibility is? And I said, to replace myself. I said, that's my role, is that I need to bring in the person behind me who's going to do what I do, and he said, that's exactly the right answer. And again, that goes back to what Caliber does and how we think about leadership and how we think about our roles and what we're doing together.

Suzie Price: [00:09:49] 

And it helps so much for you to demonstrate being a good mentor because of all the people who are watching you and they're trying to mentor it just trickles down in every way, everywhere around. That's amazing.

Eddie Hightower: [00:10:02] 

Absolutely, absolutely.

Suzie Price: [00:10:03] 

Switching to that consulting role, I mean, I'm 20 years in now, but I can remember pulling in from somewhere, you know, and I had a brave face and I did the best I could do. And I'd sit in my garage and cry before I'd come into the house. Because it's so vulnerable, you know, you don't, you don't know if they liked it. You don't know if you did a good job. You tried. You did the best you could. And then maybe a month later they call you back or something and you go, oh, okay. Maybe it was okay. I have less of those sessions now, but it certainly can be up and down for sure.

Eddie Hightower: [00:10:37] 

Absolutely, absolutely it can. And sometimes you don't know until, as you say later, the impact you've had. And you have to be okay with that and be okay with crying. I'm with you on that. It's that vulnerability, and it happens. And I'm right there with you.

Suzie Price: [00:10:57] 

It's definitely a journey. So anything else about the Assessment and your strengths that you want to mention? No need to share anything else. You didn't get a lot of time with it, but I just want to check in.

Eddie Hightower: [00:11:09] 

No, again I think that it really did a great job. It's incredibly comprehensive and I think that it did a really great job of identifying those strengths. It very much reiterated what I've seen in other assessments that I've done as well. Obviously over my career I've seen them all. I've done them all. Unleashed these on other people and had them unleashed on me as well. I thought the Assessment was right on. And what I really liked was and I'll spend way more time with this, which was the actionable stuff that goes behind it, the Assessment. What I really liked is there's a section I've got to share with my leader that I think will be a good dialogue to have, facilitating that as far as I'm going to share something personal about myself. Here are some results. And here's the environment I'm going to thrive in. And here are things that are going to drive me not to be so inspired. Maybe we can have a good conversation about how we work together. And I think this is, again, a great tool to say, hey, I'm going to share this about myself, and how does this impact our relationship?

Suzie Price: [00:12:26] 

That's awesome. And that's exactly the intention of it is for people to look at their strengths and then be able to communicate them, because everything you look at is familiar to you. To you, because you're in this world of training and development and maybe more experienced. Not everybody else has seen, oh my gosh, there's my strengths. So they're familiar. But even if they're very familiar with you, it's nice to have the verbiage to share. And then what we always say when you do share, pick your top three and then say, okay, I pick this and it matters right now because of this. And this is why it's important to me. And tell me what you see. The beautiful conversations that come out of that one, the person that gets to share gets to say something about themselves that they really want the other person to hear, and the other person gets to learn something new. So I think that's great that you're doing that.

Eddie Hightower: [00:13:16] 

Yeah, that's 100%. And what I love whenever I've done assessments or had them done with me, is that something that struck me in one of my coaches in the past has said to me, they were like, if you look at the results of an assessment like this and you're surprised, then you don't know yourself. I mean that's one thing that's always stuck with me, is that if the person says, oh, that's really surprising, then you go, are you really paying attention to what's real? 

Suzie Price: [00:13:44] 

And everybody's at different levels in that too, based on what they've been exposed to. So, you know, self awareness. And it's not 100% either too, because sometimes you, me, others have worked past that blind spot. You already were aware of it, so that's no longer applicable. So it's not 100%, but it is to do exactly what you're thinking about to facilitate conversation and to just kind of recall our strengths. The other thing is, we tend to take our strengths for granted.

Eddie Hightower: [00:14:09] 

Correct! And it's all about finding those roles. And I told you that that I was going to do this, is that I love your car analogy and it's so apt. I feel like you developed this for us as well, because being in the car business is just an amazing thing that I found actually on your website as I was researching you as well. And I just love how you put this together in this car analogy and the most important thing was the thing in the middle was the gas in their tank, which is the motivation, the values in the interest and work and how great that it just fits so nicely in my world. I have it on my desk, and I'm going to keep it on my desk because I'm going to use it. I hope others grab it too, because it really breaks it down. You can relate to it because you drive a car, so you got it.

Suzie Price: [00:15:01] 

Exactly. Yeah. And it came about because I wanted people to apply the Assessment in a way that was accurate. This is not all of you. If you do just the DISC Assessment, all it's showing you is how you like to drive around. If you do the Motivators Assessment, it's showing you what puts gas in your tank. So that was part of it. And then I also didn't want people to lose sight of the impact of culture and what the impact of their background and experience and future goals, where they've been, where we traveled and where they want to go. I mean, it's like a simple model and it helps a lot of busy people go, oh, okay. That's what that's measuring. I get it. So I'm glad you liked it, especially as serious as you are. So that makes me happy that that helped you. 

Eddie Hightower: [00:15:45] 

It is great. And so I am going to keep it right here on my desk accessible.

Suzie Price: [00:15:52] 

I'm honored. I'm honored. Especially from the car company.

Eddie Hightower: [00:15:56] 

Yes, yes.

Suzie Price: [00:15:57] 

Let's talk about influencers. It sounds like you've had different mentors in your life. You know who's most influenced you and then maybe share what they did or said that helped you. You shared one instance, are there others?

Eddie Hightower: [00:16:08] 

I've been so fortunate as I've had a few top ones that come to mind, I would really be remiss if I didn't mention my dad as one of my influencers, and the value of hard work and dedication to your craft and caring for your family. And so I think all of those things work together. So he was such an inspiration. He worked so hard over his life to provide for us. But also never lost the sense of who he was and taught us the difference between right and wrong. And so I think if you keep that to your core values and you work for companies that share your core values, that makes it a lot easier to do. So I would be remiss if I didn't mention him number one, as an influence on my life. But then I've also been fortunate that I have a person who's been in my life ever since I graduated from law school. He actually hired me out of law school. He's our general counsel here at Caliber Collision, and he has hired me three times over my career. And he has been an influence, a great influence on my life and what I learned from him is the practicality.

Eddie Hightower: [00:17:11] 

It's not just all theoretical what you're doing, but there's a people component and a practicality. Think about the implications of what you're doing. Think about the next step. So he has always been practical. Hey, just because that's the right answer doesn't mean that that's the thing we should be doing, because you need to think about the impact on the lives and the outcomes that you're producing at the end of it. And he has always had people at the center as a general counsel, an attorney, think about this. He's always focused on the people piece of it, and that's what's also inspiring to me. The last one I would mention would really be a Chief Financial Officer that I worked with in my past, who taught me the difference between transactional and relational. And I think that that's something that I would share with the group is that as we're working together, you should be able to be in such an environment where you can have tough conversations, where you can battle it out when it comes to ideas and where the company should be headed, and do that in the right way, not attacks at the person. And that's really having a transaction.

Eddie Hightower: [00:18:13] 

But you should have the relational piece of it that enables that transactional piece to know that it's not personal. And he has always said he always told me. He said if it feels personal, you need to have the ability to call me out on that and to say, hey, wait a minute. This seems like it's going from talking about the ideas, the concepts, the theory to now it sounds like you're talking about me. And so he said, always be able to call the timeout and say, was that a transaction or is that a relationship issue? And being able to keep it to the transactional when you're doing that and be able to split very nicely back into the hey, we can still be buddies, even though we may have had a tough transactional conversation. And I think that that's such a great thing to keep in mind and to think about those things, because it enables those tough conversations you have to have in business sometimes, but to always be grounded and we're friends, and at the end of this, we're going to come out in a certain way, but we're going to be able to go have a beer together, too.

Suzie Price: [00:19:09] 

Yeah. That is so, so powerful. The whole people before the task, before strategy. But you still have to talk about strategy, strategy and and task. And if the people piece is strong, it's easier to do these things. And you know, and like you said, have a tough conversation. And so that's a journey for most of us. It is wonderful that you've had those mentors to highlight that. That's amazing. Yeah. If people know you care and they know the objectives, it's much easier to have those conversations.

Eddie Hightower: [00:19:41] 

It totally is.

Suzie Price: [00:19:43] 

That's a big deal. Awesome, wonderful people have influenced you and I can imagine that you're on the others' "Who's influenced me list" in your lifetime. I just know that because people who score passionately, Social Altruistic are usually serving people all day, every day. I see it all the time. So and that's how you scored. And I think that's probably true.

Eddie Hightower: [00:20:05] 

I hope so. That's what I aspire to.

Suzie Price: [00:20:09] 

We talk about wake up eager life in mind, body, spirit, and I've written a few little things about that on the website. Mind body spirit. I'm always talking about different things that I'm doing because it's definitely a journey. What about you? What are some things that you are doing that help you have the strong wake up, eager life in those areas?

Eddie Hightower: [00:20:30] 

I think focusing on the mind, the body and spirit, I'll turn to the mind first, of course, which is I got a great piece of advice from our former CEO, and I asked him when he was transitioning out of his CEO position. I said, what advice do you have for me? And this is what he told me, which fits so nicely into this. And I do it now as he said, you've got to set aside time every day to think. And I was like, what? What does that mean? He said, if you're not doing that, then you're not growing. He said, now, I'm not telling you what to put in that time because it's going to be different every day. It might be to learn something new. It might be to refresh yourself. It might just take an hour to yourself, but put it on your schedule. And now I laugh because we actually just got a new executive assistant. And so I had to share my secret with her because she sees my calendar. And every day there's a block of time that says think. And I said, I don't want you to think that I'm not thinking outside of that time. I said, just know that that time is very important to me, and let's keep that, let's not let that get violated. I thought that was a great piece of advice that folds so nicely into what you're talking about in the mind, but that feeds the mind, gives yourself space to do those things which are necessary. I love that, that really takes care of the mind piece of it.

Suzie Price: [00:21:54] 

I love it. And it's like what they call it discretionary time, and to me, what I find is that it lets ideas come to you. If you're always going from thing to thing to thing, and you're always receiving input from everybody else, where's the idea come in? Where's the nuance? Where is the kismet? Where is that?

Eddie Hightower: [00:22:14] 

It's been intentional about it too, right? I mean, it's about finding that time and saying, I'm committed to this.

Suzie Price: [00:22:20] 

Yeah. That's great. I love that you had the conversation with the new person about that.

Eddie Hightower: [00:22:25] 

Well, I felt that I had to because I thought they were going to be jokes that would be coming, and so I wanted to head that off a little bit.

Suzie Price: [00:22:31] 

I do think outside of this hour, you know.

Eddie Hightower: [00:22:33] 

Right, exactly. I'm not not thinking. It's a great reminder. And it stares at me from my calendar every day. On the body side, I work very diligently to get to the gym every day. I know that there are days where that's going to be challenging because of schedules and other priorities. So I got a rower at home, and it's set up in a place that it stares at me every day, and so I have no excuse. So I make time to get up early in the morning, and I get on the rower so I know that I've done something for my body that day, and if I can't make it to the gym at the end of the day, then that's okay. I've got that time in the morning. My dog thinks it's very entertaining. She wakes up, comes in and watches me on the rower, trying to figure out what the heck I'm doing because I'm not going anywhere. I'm doing a lot of activity, but it's not moving. And I think she finds that very funny. As she waits patiently for me to take her out for a morning walk.

Suzie Price: [00:23:37] 

That's great. Did you know that Hugh Jackman is a big rower?

Eddie Hightower: [00:23:40]

No, I believe I mean, I wish I was in that kind of shape.

Suzie Price: [00:23:45] 

He's big into it. It's a whole body thing, whole body workout legs and cardio. And you can do it in a short period of time. How smart are you?

Eddie Hightower: [00:23:55] 

Exactly, exactly. Plus, it's set up in a place, like I say, where I have to walk past it and trip over it. I have to trip over it.

Suzie Price: [00:24:02] 

Oops. I guess I'm gonna row.

Eddie Hightower: [00:24:04] 

I guess I'm gonna do it today.

Suzie Price: [00:24:08] 

How about spirit?

Eddie Hightower: [00:24:09] 

Yeah. The spirit. I find that how I feed that piece of it is really through the work that I do. I volunteer at a no kill shelter here close to my home in Carrollton, that does just amazing work for animals of all kinds. But that feeds my sense of community, because you're doing something good for the animals who have been in terrible situations oftentimes, and you're working with other people who share that with you. And so you feed on that. And so I get that spiritual lift out of connecting with the people who have a shared endeavor that they're undertaking. And it's also so unconnected or disconnected with what I do every day that I love that that kind of gives you another outlet to do that. So that's where I feed my spirit through doing that kind of work.

Suzie Price: [00:25:00] 

That's wonderful. Helping the community and the no-kill pet culture is a whole different culture. Beautiful.

Eddie Hightower: [00:25:08] 

Absolutely. They are, they're inspirational.

Suzie Price: [00:25:11] 

So what advice would you give your 25 year old self?

Eddie Hightower: [00:25:14]

Thinking back that far was quite a trip to try to go back there, Suzie. So I was thinking about where I was at 25. And I was just graduating law school, and I think that at that time I had that kind of wide eyed, optimistic, didn't know what was going to happen in my career. Just starting out on a new life, new career, new all of these things. And it was just this feeling of excitement, enthusiasm, embracing what was to come, not knowing what was coming, but knowing that it was all going to be fine, and I would tell myself back then, don't ever lose that.

Suzie Price: [00:25:54] 

It doesn't sound like you have.

Eddie Hightower: [00:25:57] 

I work at it.

Suzie Price: [00:25:58] 

You work at it? Yeah. There we go. You put all these things in place to help that and all these wonderful people around you and good work. That's amazing. But yes, don't lose that because I see friends and colleagues from high school and such that have maybe lost that. Without meaning to it. Just life sometimes. 

Eddie Hightower: [00:26:19] 

It does. And it's not easy every day. But that's, that's called life I think. 

Suzie Price: [00:26:25] 

And setting that intention to continue to look for it. So you said that you might, would put on your billboard, feel the fear and do it anyway. Is that your billboard? Anything else you would put or another billboard somewhere else or.

Eddie Hightower: [00:26:36] 

Well, you know, in thinking about the apprenticeship program and the work that we're doing, the other billboard I would put up is I would put one up outside of every college or university in the United States, which would say, you don't have to do this.

Suzie Price: [00:26:50] 

I love that.

Eddie Hightower: [00:26:51] 

I did joke with our recruiting team internally, I said at the beginning of every school year, we need to have some sort of strategic marketing where we have like the billboards you've seen on the side of a van that you go drive in front of registration at some college or university that says talk to me before you do this. You don't have to incur all this debt, come out of school and not have a career. And that's what I find is that, back to the very beginning of our conversation, is that people don't sometimes know the alternatives that are out there, and that's what else we're working to accomplish is to build knowledge, not just of our apprenticeship program, that we feel that there's a broader story around apprenticeships that needs to be told, it needs to be highlighted. And that's why we're working also to not just talk about our program, but talk about apprenticeships in general.

Eddie Hightower: [00:27:42] 

Because, again, I think that kids need to know about the alternatives. Kids coming out of high school, not coming out of high school, even you don't have to go to high school to do really meaningful things in your life and to have opportunities. And that's what I think we've lost. And that's what we're working so hard to bring back, is the knowledge and the focus and just the choice that people have. But if they don't know about the alternatives and they don't know about future pathways that they could have. One other thing I thought was so inspiring is that right before we got into our conversation today, I came across on our intranet site a picture of, and you may have seen this, I think it got posted even to LinkedIn, but it was a high school. High schoolers in one of our centers. They were being hosted in one of our centers just literally not that this was planned, but it came across and I saw these kids seeing everything that was happening in the back of one of our repair shops. And I thought, their eyes are being opened to possibilities, and that just excites me.

Suzie Price: [00:28:48] 

My middle nephew was really struggling and he was on a Pell Grant because of his situation and no money. He's really smart, and I knew he was really smart and he was floundering. He wasn't really going to class. I'm thinking, okay, he's going to fail out. And I had a friend who was a teacher at a tech school, and he was doing machine shop stuff, and I said, hey, is that still a great business? He said, oh, yeah, we need great people. So I hooked him up. I said, okay, would you give my nephew a tour? And he was so smart, so lethargic. He goes on that tour. I'm in a meeting that day and I get like 15 phone calls from him, and he lives four hours away from me at the time, he ended up moving here with us, but at the time he didn't live close by and I'm like, oh my gosh, something has happened because I had my phone off in the meeting. So I called him back and I said, hey, is everything okay? He's like, oh yeah, I took that tour. I know what I'm going to do. And everything changed. He started making straight A's. He was working late. My friend would tell me he's at the shop every day, and now here five years later or more. He has his own machining business. 

Eddie Hightower: [00:29:53] 

Oh my goodness. What a success story.

Suzie Price: [00:29:56] 

That's what your high schoolers are going to do. He got it a little later because of everything that was going on. But he got it and he had the whole light bulb and he's brilliant. He used to always say to me, I don't know if anybody's ever going to hire me. Do they ever hire anybody that knows a lot about nothing? Because he is kind of one of those kids, you ask him something, you'd be like, how do you know that? But he didn't have any practical, you know, what he thought was practical. So, yeah, there's a job for that that's called sales. So he's an actual machinist who can sell.

Eddie Hightower: [00:30:29] 

Right. That's how you find it. You never know exactly where you will find it. That's an amazing story. And. Yeah, you just want to see that happen for everybody, right?

Suzie Price: [00:30:41] 

For everybody. And that's the vision I got when you were talking about the high school kids and the thing is, parents need to know this is an option too, because sometimes they worry. And I hear this, and oftentimes I tell the story to them when they say, well, he wants to go to college and he's just living at home and, you know, he's working at the pizza shop. It's like, oh, there are options. There are options. 

Eddie Hightower: [00:31:00] 

Tons of options. 

Suzie Price: [00:31:01] 

And now I'm going to tell them all about Caliber. So there we go.

Eddie Hightower: [00:31:03] 

Yeah. Exactly. Exactly.

Suzie Price: [00:31:05] 

You've been so great, and I want to close with a little bit more wisdom. You've shared so much wisdom or advice that you want people to remember about investing in talent and about apprenticeship and the future for our young people.

Eddie Hightower: [00:31:24] 

I think if leaders don't understand now that investing in your talent is a sure bet, that that's the one thing I would just reiterate to everybody, that is the one thing that you know for sure you can take it to the bank will pay off in dividends, and that's investing in management talent that treats people right. Because as we talked about a little while ago, it's all about the manager and how the environment that they create and the culture that they're creating. And then it's all about how you make people feel when they come to work, which is their manager is a part of it, but the work is a part of it as well. And having a commitment to building a culture. If you don't have a culture, you don't know if you have a culture you don't know you have a good culture, then work on it. And that's an investment in your people too. That's an investment in talent. And talent begets talent. So talent that stays with you, that's engaged in your workforce. Guess what? They attract more talent and they stay with you. That's why I mean, this is the one thing in business that you know, is going to pay you back. Is the investment in your talent.

Suzie Price: [00:32:33] 

Wonderful! You're doing that every day. That's wonderful. Thank you so much for being here.

Eddie Hightower: [00:32:38] 

Suzie, thank you so much. I love talking to you, and you are just full of energy. And I love the energy that you give to people that you're talking to. So thank you for the gift today.

Suzie Price: [00:32:49] 

Thank you. All right. I hope you enjoyed that episode. Can you see why it's one of my favorites? And so just good work that they're doing. And I have a whole nother good feeling every time. Now that I drive somewhere here in Georgia and I see a Caliber Collision, and I'm thinking you might have that too. The show notes for both of these episodes, part one and two, are at Here are some of my favorite conversation bits and tips that I want to share with you. One of the things we talked about is dispelling the myth of the paper ceiling, and that is, without a college degree, you can't get a good job. And I love how they're building a movement. And that his Billboard might be near universities that says something like, talk to us before you enroll or you have options. What's funny, we were at a dinner party recently, and I met a couple and we started talking about her family, and she was talking about her son, mid 20s. He was still living at home and not really making any progress. Not sure he was going to go back to college. He said it didn't work out. And so I was so happy to share an example of what Caliber is doing. Not saying that that's what he's going to do, but to just know that there are options. And then to be able to share the examples of my nephews who I talked about in the start of part one of these episodes about how they're making it work and doing really, really well in their careers without having a college degree.

Suzie Price: [00:34:21] 

Again, not dissing the college degrees, but dispelling that myth, that paper ceiling, that that's the only option you have is not true. Another thing that I love, and I just want to reiterate, is the evidence of how they are a real purpose driven company. And how do you know that? They're putting money where their vision is. Their slogans that they use is restoring the rhythm of your life. And so this rhythm of our life gets disrupted when our car is damaged. Right. They've made huge investments, $20 million the first year and $40 million the second to get this off the ground. And they've gotten benefit from it, and they're continuing to use it to meet the shortage of technicians while being focused on changing the image of the automotive industry, and at the same time, changing the trajectory of these families' lives. When he tells the story about a graduation where a family said, nobody in our family graduated from anything. And so the confidence and the change that that has, the ripple effect is amazing. And then the other thing that I could see in their culture, and he talked about it several different times, was how they're all about feedback. So they \wanted feedback good, bad and ugly from the program. Tell us what we're doing right. Tell us what we're doing wrong from all participants. And I really got the impression that it's not just speaking.

Suzie Price: [00:35:46] 

It's real. They believe in feedback and that when they teach the response through their leaders and to everybody else is when they get feedback. You say thank you for the feedback. I'm a big proponent of that through organizational surveys or through 360 feedback or just having how's it going meetings. And so I love seeing that phrase that came up numerous times in our conversation. Another theme throughout our discussion was the power of mentorship. The pride that the mentors within each of the collision centers take in becoming a teacher. That idea of I mentor you, I'm helping you become amazing. So they take pride in their work. And then you could see that all of the amazing mentors that Eddie's had in his life, and it's interesting, the kind of technical executives, like the legal counsel and the CFO were the people giving him advice about people issues, which is great to see. A mentor is someone who sees more talent and ability within you than we see in ourselves and helps bring it out of us and then gives us wisdom and helps us see things that we don't see. And so it's just beautiful that that's a full circle there within the company and within Eddie's life. Another thing that I enjoyed was his match to his role. As I learned more about his role, and then we had him take, we always do that segment around wake up eager strengths and with the Talent Insights Assessment, and I love seeing how his background is such a great fit to his Motivators, his background and everything that he's done.

Suzie Price: [00:37:21] 

When you have a great fit, you've got a lot of energy and you represent the role really well and you want to do it. You'll see the five areas of job fit and the car analogy and the show notes at And you'll also see a sample of a Talent Insights Assessment, which is what we were talking about when we were talking about his results. And the other thing that I enjoyed about our conversation was his focus on his legacy. I think I might do that. I don't know if I've ever put it in words, but I think my nephews are my legacy and my business is my legacy and this information is my legacy. And I've never really put it in those terms. But I guess that's kind of what I'm thinking or what drives me is like, how do I make a difference? So when I'm gone, goodness prevails, at least with the people that I've touched, you know? He's focused on his current role, how is he going to replace himself? How would it be if we were all thinking like that? And then we would be thinking like mentors, you know, how do I help other people? So it sounded to me like he's constantly thinking about the impact he's making. And I think we could all benefit from that. And it's an ongoing process. None of us are doing it perfectly, but it certainly does change the dynamic and can create more energy about our days.

Suzie Price: [00:38:43] 

And lastly, the one thing that is, the thing that is a sure bet is always going to pay you back is talent. Talent begets talent. I love that he said that. Investing in your talent is a sure bet. It's the one thing that is always going to pay you back. So how much is your company investing in your talent and revisit that on a regular basis? Lastly, I'm going to leave you with his quote on his LinkedIn page as a reminder of this idea of putting people first and making investments in our talent. You can have all the right strategy in the world, but if you don't have the right culture, you're dead. Thanks for joining us on this podcast. Check out the show notes at Be sure to subscribe to Wake Up Eager Workforce wherever you get your podcasts. Leave us a review. Let me know that you did so and I'll send you a free Workplace Motivators Assessment and access to about 100 different resources. You could share that with somebody. So leave us a review, let me know you did it and I'll send you the link and the page where you can get the resources. You can find our directory of all our episodes at And if I can help you in any way, reach out to me. Thank you for being on this journey with me, and have a wake up eager day and we'll talk soon. Take care.

Intro/Outro: [00:40:20] 

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