Ed Page on the Connected Insurance Podcast presented by Agency Revolution

President of this $100 million revenue agency defines what separates the winners from the losers in the modern insurance landscape

When Relation Insurance Services‘ revenues stalled at $70 million, they turned to someone from outside the insurance industry to revitalize their growth. Ed Page was able to implement a growth strategy that got their company back on track. 

Ed is an MIT Engineering graduate, Stanford MBA, and former CFO so you might think he would be focused more on financial management or product. According to him, however, the most important part of creating a great company: working with great people.

In this fast-paced conversation, Ed reveals that who you work with and how you treat them can be the deciding factor on whether you win or lose in the insurance industry.

Ed’s intelligence, passion, and insight are on display in this jam-packed conversation where he shares:

  • The most important behaviors that brought his agency from $70 to $100 million in revenue over six years
  • Actionable insights on how he built a culture that brings out the best in his team and accelerates sales
  • Marketing secrets that brought remarkable growth to his agency and can do the same for yours

Our conversation with Ed revealed tips, strategies, and insights that every agency can act on quickly to get results. If you’re impressed by a topline income of $100 million, you’ll be more impressed by how they got there and what you can copy and put to use in your own agency!

What are other agents & brokers doing to thrive? What are the biggest trends affecting the retail insurance agent & broker? What are the most important strategies and tactics you need to grow faster? Find out here in the Connected Insurance Podcast, where our hosts discuss the biggest issues affecting the independent insurance agent & broker with the industry’s leading figures.


Michael Jans: Ed page, thank you so much for joining us. How are you today?

Edward Page: I’m doing great, thrilled to be here. Thanks for having me.

Michael: It’s terrific. We are going to dive into a topic that I think is useful for every single listener, every single agency, every single agency principle, and it’s something that everybody can employ and doesn’t cost much money. Am I right, Ed?

Ed: That’s right. It’s one of those great things that– I think about it like, what if ice cream were actually good for you.

Michael: You’re funny.

Ed: It made you better-looking and lose weight. We’re really focused on culture, it doesn’t really cost that much to do it, but the benefits are just incredible. It’s a great win-win.

Michael: Ice cream’s not good for you? All right, so- [laughter]

Ed: I’ll let you find that out for yourself.

Michael: All right. Before we do, and I know that you’re going to be delivering some very practical insights and suggestions, before we do, if you wouldn’t mind a quick thumbnail on Ed Page.

Ed: Sure. I’m not your typical insurance person or maybe I am because I stumbled my way into insurance but I haven’t had a long history with it, I was originally an engineer by training, an electrical engineer, I actually had two electrical engineering degrees. It’s hard to believe because I’m not that good at it. I worked that for a little bit, then went up to business school, and then went into a strategy consulting with Bain & Company for about five years. I did a lot of high tech strategy work.

Michael: Right on. By the way, congratulations, Bain has been extremely influential on my own thinking in my career, and I know you were in a different division, but they have a high bar for advisors who work for them, so congratulations.

Ed: Well, I will tell you, it was a fantastic place, it really helped me in a host of ways. I probably developed more though as a leader and a manager in those five years than at any point in my career. I have nothing but the best things to say about them.

Michael: Then after Bain?

Ed: After that, I actually started a company with a business school classmate of mine, and we ran that for a couple of years, it was back in 1999 timeframe. It was an internet-based-

Michael: Okay, things were rocking and rolling then, yes.

Ed: Things were rocking and rolling until they weren’t.

Michael: Yes. [laughs]

Ed: Around 2000, things started going the other direction, as many of you may remember, but we actually had built a decent company. We were actually able to sell it which was a remarkable achievement at that point in time.

Michael: Congratulations.

Ed: It was a good result for us, not a fantastic thing. I didn’t turn into an internet billionaire like some of the folks these days, so I still had to work. I went back to my roots in consulting and then over the next few years, kept on getting pulled back into more and more of an operating role and probably about 15 years ago or so, I finally got pulled in operating roles, really helping private equity-backed companies run some of the things that they bought, and that’s what I’ve been doing for a good little while.

Michael: Okay. As I recall from previous conversations, Ed, it was perhaps your relationship with one of the private equity firms that then introduced you to the agency that you are a part of.

Ed: That’s correct. I’ve been with a company called EDC which was an ATM company. They were second largest owner and operator of ATMs which doesn’t have anything to do with insurance, but when we sold that company, we looked at selling both to other people in the industry and private equity firms. One of the private equity firms that we met was Parthenon Capital and ParthenonCapital was the owner of Relation up until just a couple of months ago. After we sold EDC, I got a call from them asking would I be interested in coming to help run Relation.

At the time, the company was called Ascension, but now Relation. The funny story was, I was really just about to accept another job, I had a mentor for a long time that was trying to pull me into one of the companies he was chairman of and then I was about to go on a vacation to Costa Rica, so I got this call, met with one of the partners from Parthenon on Friday. I had a nice conversation, I said, “Hey, about to accept this other job, about to go to Costa Rica tomorrow with my girlfriend, so I don’t think it’s really going to work out.” He said, “No, please, come meet our CEO. He’s a really good guy, would love to talk to you.”

We got together really early the next day Saturday for breakfast before I went on my flight, had a nice breakfast with Joe and I still remember sitting down with him. If you ever meet Joe, he’s just a fundamentally good human being. You can tell it in the very first interaction you have with him that he’s a good person which is very important and very important to me. I’m just a high-quality individual, liked him instantly and was a little intrigued, but I didn’t think anything would come with it. I went on my vacation and on a Wednesday I found I had an email offer to come join the company. That was the start and then I had a tough decision to make. On the one hand, someone I had known, had been a mentor for a long time and thought highly of, and then I had Joe and this other company that I didn’t know as well, but again, I could tell Joe was, what I call a great who, because I believe that job opportunities and career opportunities, you should think about the ‘who’ much more than the ‘what’. Joe was a great who, and ultimately, that’s what I decided to do. He’s been a fantastic partner. We’ve had a great run and done some really cool things. I am absolutely sure I made the right decision and thrilled with what we’ve done.

Michael: Some good things are happening, obviously at the agency. Before we dive into the scheduled topic of conversation, I want to ask you a little bit about the agency, because, it’s somewhat unusual. Maybe just a little bit of background because you guys have seen some tremendous growth, and I think the operation might be just a little bit different, certainly than the average Main Street agency. Tell us a little bit about Relation.

Ed: We’re right now about 100 million dollars in revenues, which is a good bit of growth from the time I started. I think we were around 70 million.

Michael: That was in how many years?

Ed: That was 2013, about six years. That’s a combination of organic growth and inorganic growth. It’s hard to grow that rapidly with purely organic growth obviously, but when I joined and when Joe joined, the company had negative organic growth, which is not a good story. One of our key focuses was turning that around. Again, we’ll talk about culture and how that impacts a lot of things, but a lot of that was around creating a sales culture, right? How do you get the organization to be focused on sales and making that a key priority?

Now we’ve driven some nice organic growth. In addition, we’ve driven some nice inorganic growth as well with a number of acquisitions. We’ll talk about where we’re going, but the plan is to really accelerate on both fronts, for both organic and inorganic. We really want to triple the size of the company over the next three to five years. We made a number of steps to do that, including hiring a great Head of M&A, a guy named Jim Hall from Valor Home just a couple of months ago. We’re really excited about the path we’re going down.

Michael: You are on an aggressive M&A path, and you’re in a lot of states. I won’t ask you to name them all, but really a lot of the big states, maybe a little bit less on the east coast than on the west coast. Am I right about that?

Ed: Yes. Our headquarters are on the west coast, and the biggest business unit is a business called Pan American, which does a lot of agriculture workers comp business here in California and Arizona. That’s our biggest business unit. We also have an education business out here as well. We like to focus on, really, kind of more specialty niche businesses than your typical Main Street business. You can find that through our portfolio. On the east coast, we have some transportation, municipal businesses as well. We’re probably 60% west coast, 40% east coast, but we’re trying to grow everywhere.

Michael: Okay, got it. Typically, in this podcast series, the kind of things that I would be diving into would be, what were the strategies and tactics you used behind your organic growth, but just because your agency does such a stellar job with this, and I know that it’s an area of focus for you, I really wanted to focus on that other thing, culture. Okay?

Ed: Yes, absolutely.

Michael: You and I have talked about that. I really want to be clear that, of course, a lot of people would tend to think Michael Jans is a strategy guy. I think, to some extent with your background, you would say, Ed, to a large extent, you’re a strategy guy. You’ve counseled and advised people on strategy, you’ve built companies with the application and execution of sound strategy, but culture obviously is key. I’m going to ask you this question just to start things out. How do those two business forces relate to each other?

Ed: I think about it like this. I think about any business there, you think about people, process and technology as the cornerstone of an enterprise.

Michael: Right on.

Ed: When you think about it like that, there’s one of those three things that’s more important than the other two, right? If you have great people, great people can overcome a poor process and poor technology, but great technology can’t overcome poor people and poor processes. Same thing with a poor process. So it’s really the people that matter most of all.

Now, in the long term, you really have to have all three. What we try and focus on is, one, let’s have great people, which is very much tied to having a great culture because great people only really want to work in a great culture. That’s how it works. What if you can also tie that to also great technology and great processes? Wow. Then you really have something. That’s how we think about it in terms of a high-level strategy and how all those things come together.

Michael: What is it about Relation’s culture that you think sets it apart from the industry as a whole?

Ed: It’s remarkable. In this industry, more so than most- all industries are really people-driven, but this is more so than most because it’s rare to see an industry where the people really frankly control so much of the revenue, and if they leave, they can walk out the door with it. You really have to make it such a place that they don’t want to do that. For us here in California where there are very employee-friendly labor laws, you can’t really tie people down. You have to make it such that they want to be here because they can walk across the street at any time. So, we really focus on making it a great place to work.

The reality is, it’s remarkable to me when I look at some of the other players in this industry. Some of our employees who have come from other places say, when I was someplace else, it felt like I was just in a graveyard for my enthusiasm and engagement. That’s where all my idealism and fun went to die. We just try and be the opposite of that and really focus on, what are the things that really make people excited?

A lot of that has to do with believing in that they’re being a part of something that’s really great. We think about creating an entity that’s going to thrive for 100+ years, not just something where we’re buying assets and then we’re going to flip it and sell it. That’s not how we think about things. We think about creating a great place to work that’s going to be around for a long period of time. That’s what really drives our actions. I think it helps separate us from a lot of the other folks that are out there.

Michael: All right. Somebody could look at your agency and say, “All right, in the last six years, you’ve added an average of $5 million in revenue every single year.” I think it’d be easy for somebody to say, what was your marketing strategy or how much of it was inorganic growth and acquisition? The question that I’m curious about is, how do you assess the contribution that culture made to the success? Other than good things, because this is one of the challenges of cultures, that first of all, a good culture does feel good, but how do you metric it so that you know it’s not just good feelings?

Ed: Great question. One, we can look at our financial results. We track employee surveys and really see how we’re doing and we look at the results of that. We can show you how our employee surveys have increased over time. We can also show you how our finances have increased over time. We think those two things are correlated.

I can be more specific about that. If you think about it from both an organic side and inorganic side. Let’s go to the inorganic side first. In the inorganic side, it’s still a competition where you’re competing against other people out there to buy agencies. That’s how it works. You’re not the only buyer out there. People have choices, and the market prices tend to be roughly the same. People really want to go someplace where they feel like they can really live up to their true potential. That’s how we’ve been able to win in a lot of ways, is just setting up an environment where people get to know us, get to see what we’re about, see if their culture can match with ours, believe they can thrive and grow and then they want to come to us. That’s a really powerful part of what’s driven our inorganic growth.

The same thing on the organic side as well, in that we’ve been able to recruit more and more producers to come here because frankly, they think it’s a better place to work than they were beforehand. It’s not about pay, it’s not about resources. We pay competitively and we’ve got all the resources. It really is about the excitement of being in a place where people are engaged and turned on about what they’re doing.

Michael: I get that. All right, I see that. In cases where the playing field is relatively level, like you’ve got two or more other firms that are competing to purchase an agency, or you’ve got two or more firms that are competing to hire a producer, in some cases, you win and it’s not because you’re paying more.

Ed: Yes. That’s absolutely the case. We win because we like to think it’s a better place to work and that’s what we hear from the– We’ve done several deals. One of the deals we did in the last year, the principle was like, “You’re the only people that I want to sell to because I’ve talked to the other guys that are out there. Their culture is not a fit for me. It’s not the place I want to be. I like what you guys are doing. I like the growth prospects that you have and I like how you got a flat organizational structure. I really feel like I can thrive in.” That’s winning us deals.

Michael: I have a question for you. Do you think that paradigm, culture that allows you to, let’s say, purchase an agency at the same price, purchase agency in a competitive environment without paying more, do you think then that same esprit de corps, that culture then also allows the agency to do the opposite, sell insurance without being the cheapest?

Ed: Yes, I do. When we don’t focus on price, when we’re focused on our clients, we focus on value proposition. Part of the value proposition is having better services, better service, customer service, client service than other folks. How do you get that? Again, it goes back to people that are engaged and excited by what they do. I’m sure you’ve had experiences in aspects of your life when you’ve gotten great customer service and you’ve had some when you’ve gotten bad, what’s generally the difference for that? It’s the person that’s providing the service and do they care about what they’re doing? Do they care about the client? Do they care about the company? The answer is yes. You’re going to get a much better result than somebody who doesn’t. For us, it’s a differential competitive advantage and as a result, we’ve got one of the best retention rates you’ll see in the industry at almost 93% retention rate. That’s one of the best you could find. [crosstalk]

Michael: Your customer retention is 93%?

Ed: Yes.

Michael: Good. All right. That’s excellent. We didn’t talk much about this. Most of that presumably is commercial lines business.

Ed: Yes. Most of it is commercialized. We have a heavy PNC practice employee benefits as well. A little bit of personal lines, probably 10% or less, probably about 8% personal lines, we’re primarily on the commercial side.

Michael: We’re not selling on price and we’ve got 93% retention. So far, I like what I’m hearing. In a minute, I’m going to ask you some of the specifics of what you actually do. Like, how do we know culture is real? I’m going to reference something you mentioned a moment ago. You said that you do some kind of an employee survey to gauge the health of the culture, shall we say. Is there a specific tool that you use and is it one that you necessarily recommend? If you don’t mind, share a little bit about that process.

Ed: Sure. We’re actually looking at changing it. We’ve done it for a long time. We actually ask a series of the same 12 questions every quarter. There is a series of questions that I believe it came from Gallup. I have to double-check that, that really measures the engagement of a workforce and how much do they feel connected to their place of work. We did a whole bunch of research on it. We’ve tracked it for a long period of time and can look and see over time how we’re doing and over time it’s consistently been increasing, which is great.

We also asked the classic net promoter score. Net promoter question, which is, would you recommend Relation as a place to work, to a friend or family member? And track that as well. Again, the key thing for us to dive in on and see how we’re doing. We also get open-ended answers as well. We go through it as a management team every quarter and where we’re seeing survey results not as well as we like, we dive in to figure out what’s going on and it’s driven differential action in certain cases.

Michael: Clearly things are moving in the right direction. Now it’s time for me to ask you, what do you do to create the culture that you’re describing?

Ed: Great question. We actually wrote an article in the American Management Association, it’s really got 10 steps around it. I’m not going to go through all 10, but it’s a great article. Feel free to check that out, but there’s a number of general things. I’m going to skip a couple of specific examples. I think the first and most important thing is walking the walk. By that I mean, leaders set the tone for any organization. So, people see everything you do. They see if you come in early, they see you if you leave late, they see how you treat people. Just making sure that you are always acting in a way that is consistent with the values and culture that you want to promote is the most important thing. That’s what we do.

An example for what we do here at Relation, we really value the people that we have and some of the customer service folks that we have, really all the folks. Joe, who’s our CEO, I’m the president and COO, for every employee that has a five-year anniversary, we write out a handwritten note and give them a small gift and tell them, “Thank you,” for what they’ve done and so forth. Sometimes it’s painful to do because we have 500 employees, so we have to write out a lot of notes. When you’re writing them out- which is funny, my assistant brings them in and brings them the stacks, it’s like, “Wow, that’s a lot of notes.” It’s going to be painful at times, but about a week after you send them out and get all these positive emails and calls back and it just makes it worth 10 fold over.

I think people really appreciate being recognized. That’s one of the small things that we do in order to do it. One other example is, I have an assistant, but I do my own expenses. The reason why I do my own expenses because I could have her do them, but I ask everybody else to use the expense management system, so I want to do it too and make sure to feel the same pain as they feel or hopefully not too much pain and see what that’s all about. I think just walking the walk and demonstrating that you are embodying the cultures you espouse, that’s really important.

Michael: You’ve got employees all over the United States, yes?

Ed: Yes.

Michael: I’m going to break this down. Number one, are there things that happen locally that are intended to build the team and the esprit de corps of that team? The other question is, I’m curious, how do you deal with building a single culture when you’ve got people spread out all over?

Ed: Great question. A couple of things. One we definitely do things on a local level and I’ll come back to that, but one of the things that we’ve done that’s been really powerful for us is we have a monthly all-colleague call. In that monthly all-colleague call, we do something that’s a little bit unusual. We actually walk through the financials of the company and talk about how the overall company is doing. At times, particularly when we first joined, the financials weren’t so great, not a great start.

Letting people know, “Hey, here’s what’s going on. Here’s some of the challenges we’re having and here’s how we’re fixing it,” makes people feel really connected to things. Then when the results started getting better, obviously it’s a much better story to tell. Treating people like adults, letting them know what’s going on and communicating everything that’s happening makes a big difference. We also do a lot of things to try and build a sense of culture and get people connected to one another as well. Just sharing people’s stories in terms of great customer service, sharing babies that have been born or weddings that have happened and it’s building a sense of connection across the company has really been helpful.

Michael: Got it. All right. I don’t know if there’s a need in your organizational structure for somebody in Florida to be talking to somebody in Colorado or what have you. They may just function perfectly in an isolated format. Do you use any collaboration technology tools to facilitate communication at a distance?

Ed: We have got some of the chat services like we have Skype for Business, we have Link and those types of things. What we really find that drives that, it’s just really just letting people get to know one another. If you can create a type of environment where people can just interact, we do a number of things to facilitate that happening. For example, we have a national sales meeting where we get all our salespeople together and the whole idea of it, part of it is let’s get them trained on certain things.

The other part of it is we just want them to socialize and get to know one another because if you think about, for example, driving cross-selling, driving cross-selling, you could set up a program to do that in some way to try and force it to happen. At the end of the day, the producer has to feel as if they’re counterpoint is someone they can trust with his or her clients. That really only comes from building a personal relationship. We actually spent a lot of time when we have our national sales meetings doing team-building things so we can break down those barriers and get people to really know each other. It’s actually been really cool on that. Now, when we do events, like when we have our top performers club will have producers from different parts of the country who don’t really work together at all go in early and rent a house together and vacation together which is really cool.

Michael: Presumably you are always in a hiring mode, where you’ve got 500 people?

Ed: Yes, about 500 people.

Michael: 500 people and you are on a fast growth track. Presumably, you’re probably always hiring.

Ed: Absolutely.

Michael: We’ve touched on a little bit, but what do you think are the key elements to attracting prospective employees when they have, obviously, other options?

Ed: Great employees want to work with other great employees. The number one way we get good employees is our employees saying, “Hey, that guy or that gal is a great, great person, you should talk to them,” and then bringing them in and letting them get a taste of the culture, that’s what really wins for us. When we look at a lot of our most successful hires, a lot of the most successful agencies that we bought, it’s been because someone who works here knows us, likes it, recommends us and pulls that person in. That’s the way to do it. By the way, if you know of any good people that we should be hiring, send them our way, because we are always looking for great people.

Michael: [laughs] Okay. Well, it wouldn’t surprise me if you got a phone call or two from- maybe an agency principal would like to be part of that culture.

Ed: We would love to hear from you. It’s a great place. Love to talk to you about it.

Michael: All right. Now I want to ask kind of a very specific question. You’ve built a culture. I don’t know how you describe it, but presumably, it’s relatively high energy and it’s cohesive and there’s a high level of trust and good communication, things like that. Right?

Ed: Yes.

Michael: There’s another element that I want to ask you about. You and I touched on this in earlier conversations that you also built, for one of a better word, a sales culture, right?

Ed: Yes.

Michael: If you would, I want to talk about that part of it or ask you about that part of it. Generally, we think of culture as being kind of those a little bit hard to see things, but we hear him in the conversation and we know that it’s there. It’s the way people treat each other, the way people feel about their work, the energy that they bring to it. It has to do with them, not just bringing their body to work, but bringing their heart and their mind to work and all that jazz. I think business analysts will often tell us that if we have a culture without a strategy, then we feel good, but we don’t get anything done and we don’t necessarily move in the right direction. I know you have a sales culture? How did you introduce that? I’m kind of curious, did you run into any resistance from legacy employees?

Ed: Absolutely. One of the things, the first thing that you need to do is you need to have some type of sales management system, some type of CRM. In our case, we originally used salesforce.com to be our pipeline management system and there was tremendous resistance to it. There just was. People didn’t see the value in it, didn’t want to do it. We had to work really over the course of years to get people to do that. We really believe in a sales process where you’re really focusing on getting prospects, moving into a pipeline, all the elements of the overall sales process, you have to manage that in order to drive sales results. Superior sales organizations, that’s what they have.

Part of it is having that process and getting people to buy into it. That’s only one piece of it. The other piece is the social studies of it. We actually did a lot of things. If you notice, what really drives salespeople’s behavior, it’s not so much the money they make, which is important, what it really is, is them being able to look good in front of their peers and not be embarrassed in front of their peers. Sales content, for example, all the salespeople, they want to be the number one guy or gal. They’re really focused on that.

The other thing that we did that was really, I think, helpful, is we actually got the whole company involved in the sales process. I’ll give you an example. We did a thing called the Fantasy Producer League, where we actually tracked the sales and pipeline increase of all the different producers, had people put them into groups just like they do in Fantasy Football and prizes that would go out, not to the producers, but to the support staff. You get the dynamic of the support staff or producers saying, “Hey, I put you in my Fantasy Producer League. You’re not producing. Get on it so I can get my money.”

Michael: [laughs] You’re funny.

Ed: It was fun, it was powerful, got everybody involved in the sales process and really did a lot to help drive that sales culture.

Michael: That’s funny. That reminds me of a game that we played a long time ago. We were much smaller back in the day. We would do horse races in the end. Every sales rep would create a little horse and we’d put the big- like a race track in the kitchen on a big flip chart and then as they made sales, they would move their horse around and team members would bet on who was going to win that race and they would be the ones who would get a prize. The winner would, but the whole team would, so boom, everybody was watching sales and caring about it.

Ed: Yes, exactly. One of the subtle challenges that we have in this industry is that frankly, producers and salespeople, they make frankly a lot of money. We’re always trying to reward them and give them contest and for forth. Fo the service people, it’s like, “Wow, we just sold this big case. Now all I get is a lot of extra work.” Trying to find ways, it’s like, “Hey, this is actually beneficial to you,” and reward them, it’s important.

One of the other things that we’ve done is we create a thing which we call Service Team Appreciation Week. What that is we literally spend a full week and it wasn’t my idea or Joe’s idea, it was literally the service team’s idea to come up with this and we were highly supportive of it. We spent the whole week just saying thank you. It starts off with us doing all-colleague calls saying thank you and then we got massages, we have breakfast, we have lunches, we have raffles and it’s just a whole thing. For one weekend of the year, we just want to say to the service team, how much we appreciate you and thank you for all you do. It’s just been a huge hit and it’s one of my favorite times of the year because I get to go around the different offices and say thank you. I have to tell you the positivity I get back is tenfold over.

Michael: All right. Going forward, do you have any concerns about maintaining the attention on culture in the agency? What are you doing to make sure that it remains a high priority?

Ed: Well, it will always remain a high priority for us. We just think it’s the key to success. It’s a key to success to where we’ve gotten. It’s going to be key to success in the future. The challenge is, as we grow, how do you keep that intact? For us, it’s been really focusing on the next level of leaders beneath– Joe and I, we’ve got a fantastic team of folks that have come up in the same culture we think we picked the right people that are high integrity, transparent, know how to respect people and treat people with care. As a result, we’re able to get more and more leverage out of them to build a culture with more and more people, that’s how we do it. The other piece of it is– I don’t know if this is PG or not, but we have a no A-hole policy. [laughter] If you are one of those, you just can’t be here. That does not work. It doesn’t matter who you are. Sticking to that, and having that be the case, keeps the culture in a really positive way.

Michael: I’m really asking this question rhetorically, but what you just said, that policy would apply to the highest producing producer you got, right?

Ed: Yes.

Michael: That’s where the rubber hits the road.

Ed: That’s where the rubber hits the road. That’s always a challenge for any organization. I can think of sports. You’ve got the guy or gal who’s the MVP but just doesn’t know how to play on a team and is an A-hole. My view is, you have to get rid of that person. It’s painful but over the long term, that’s how you create a great team and a great culture, but it’s painful in the moment when you do it.

Michael: All right. There may be more than one reason why somebody would want to reach out to you. If our listener does want to make contact with you or find out more about Relation, what do you suggest? How should they do that?

Ed: Well, feel free to send me an email. It’s [email protected]. I’d love to hear from you. As you can probably tell, I love the company, what we’re doing. I’m absolutely thrilled about where we’re at. I frankly view this is my life’s work as creating a great place to work. We’re just having a lot of fun. Happy to talk about that until I’m blue in the face.

Michael: Energized talking to you. I’m sure that your agency really benefits from your presence. I really, really thank you for spending a little bit of time with us today.

Ed: It’s been a lot of fun. Appreciate the insightful questions. Like I said, I love talking about what we’re doing. I could do it all day.

Michael: Right on. Good to have you. Thanks so much for joining us.

Ed: All right. Thank you so much. All right, thanks. Bye-bye.

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