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Bonus Episode 03: Where Are We Now?

Bonus Episode 03: Where Are We Now?

Season one of this podcast was f’d from the hot garbage pandemic that rattled the world. We created this bonus episode to bring you up to speed on where we are now.

Coronavirus trashed everything. We’re tired of saying that. You’re tired of hearing it. Or reading it. Whatever. But bear with us because the ending of this story is well worth the repetition and tinnitus. So, March. Remember March? We don’t either, except that our own Stephen Lease was at a Lakers game, loving life, drinking a cocktail, sitting way too close to other fans, and thinking that there was no way that virus thing in the news will be a big deal here in the States. PSYCH!
Because fate is a cruel mistress, Season 1 of this podcast was all set to begin recording that same week in early March. DOUBLE PSYCH!

Well, you can take that double psych and stick it where the sun don’t shine ‘cause at goodr, we are constantly challenging the status quo and if something doesn’t work out the way we planned, perhaps it requires an improvised tapdance to make something truly fun and authentic. And let us tell you, Carl’s tapdance was out of this world. We felt feelings we didn’t know we could feel. Flowers bloomed and baby birds were born, singing the harmonies of his song.

So we pivoted. The podcast was still on, but shifted to a mini season discussing the goodr reaction to Covid-19 in real-time. Our culture was already uniquely qualified to continue to grow and thrive while we sheltered in place, but like all retail, we knew hardships were ahead. Stabilize and execute was the overarching plan in the New World Order (NWO). We adjusted our revenue goals, cut the budget, and re-shifted priorities. Check out the season one episodes to hear more about how goodr stayed on the floating safety raft as everything we knew before sunk into the icy depths. BTW, Rose, there was TOTALLY room on that door for Jack…

Six months after that fateful Lakers game (we’re not blaming you, LeBron. You are a national treasure. Never change.), and six months after we had to physically separate our flock, we have continued to focus our efforts and wanted to check back in with this new bonus episode to let the world know how the plan has gone so far. Hint: nothing goes to plan. Accept it. Move on.

In essence, there are several themes that have emerged since the initial stabilize and focus goal. We feel that these are all completely attainable for everyone, whether individually or as a team. It’s not rocket science. It’s flamingo science. Or Flamingology, if you will.

Theme One: Focus on Controlling what You Can Control

So there’s a helluva lot we can’t control right now. So don’t focus on controlling what you can’t. Because that’s silly. We just said you can’t. What we CAN control is our spend as a brand. Hence, cutting the budget. But we focused on this to a point where we now have this nifty matrix that matches revenue goals with spend. It’s very scientific. The x-axis is the spend quantities: critical, important, helpful, and nice to have/super fun. The y-axis indicates our revenue growth: good, fair, poor, bad. Get it? This allows us to instead of thinking about cutting when disaster strikes, focus on and celebrate the additions when they are available.

revenue matrix for culture goodr
In addition to this fun and brightly colored chart, we practice a rolling 12. Which is fancy accounting speak for inspecting your budget each month instead of annually. It allows us to move efficiently in this time of constant change. If we’re in November now, we can probably see next year’s November with some accuracy and plan accordingly.
Other things that are in our control are the roles we have on our team, what everyone needs to do, and what does a win look like for each position? This led to the role deck project. We have job titles, lame ones and fun ones (i.e. Chief Executive Officer = BORING -- Chief Executive Octopus = badass), but those are always a fuzzy glimpse at best into what is the role’s area of focus. The role deck allows us to hone in on each person and identify the key things that ensure success. No more:

“I’m in charge of this.”

“Oh, really, Karen?! Because I’m pretty sure I lead this ENTIRE project.”

“Oh no you didn’t.”

“Come at me, Karen.”

“My name isn’t Karen.”

“Oh snap, I don’t know who you are or what you do. Wish we had a role deck to refer to.”

Meanwhile, as you and the fake Karen are squabbling, the project goes down in flames. Fin.

So that’s been an ongoing project and has been incredibly enlightening! We’ve also used this time to map our brand’s energy levels throughout the year. This energy map shows us when we’re really busy, when there are lulls, and how we can be more efficient with our timing of regular programming: quarterly financial reviews, quarterly personnel reviews, quarterly goodrSTOCK. This made it painfully clear that we’ve been driving ourselves to insanity on a quarterly basis! Seeing this in the energy map allowed us to smoothly spread it throughout the year like butter on warm toast. And who doesn’t love toast? Mmmmm.

In conclusion: make peace with what you can’t control and take on what you can with pink, feathery gusto!

Theme Two: Focus on Fun and Creating Connection

And by this we don’t mean we were one of the hundreds of emails you probably got in March and April from a brand you ordered once from three years ago, “checking in” and offering a shaky step-by-step instruction on how to sew your own mask. Thank you for checking in, 1-800-Buy A Last Minute Bouquet For Mother’s Day Because You Forgot Like An Asshole, we were all wondering how you were faring. No. We wanted to give people a respite from that.

At our core, we’re a fun brand. And we put a lot of energy into connecting not only with our customers, but with each other on the team. We used to see each other for two days each week in the office to recharge and reconnect. Right now it’s just screens all the time. So we opened up that opportunity and leaned into the fun of it saying, enjoy the freedom to roam. All you need is an internet connection, so the flexibility of this NWO work environment could be a source of inspiration and enjoyment. Not just fatigue.

In conclusion: focus on your core and your people. That’s what matters.

Theme Three: The Road to Disappointment is Paved with False Expectations

We are all living the definition of insanity. Life is different in May. It’s going to be different in June. It’s going to be different in July. It’s not going to be different. Our head hurts…

But essentially, we need to accept this, know life will change, and stop living with a false hope. Reset expectations. If you need to hunker down in a nuclear winter bunker, you better hope you like who you’re hunkered down with and what board games you brought with you. We knew we have a strong direct to consumer business while the business to business channel went down the drain. Keep your strategy loose and your head on a swivel. Stephen compares us to a game of Plinko. Where you drop our ball in and we bounce around hitting the pegs, aiming for the winning box at the bottom, but knowing there are so many variables we’re going to hit that may send us in another direction.

So, we have our shit together, we keep a really sharp axe. Ding ding ding. Good. We were able to pivot quickly. Ding ding ding. We have a strong direct to consumer business. We invested in it before covid dragged us down. Ding ding ding. We’re at a $25 price point, so even in a pandemic, that’s obtainable. Ding ding ding. People can still go outside and the sun is still shining. DING DING WE WIN! Winner winner chicken dinner.

In conclusion: If you’re setting unrealistic expectations for yourself or your team, there is only disappointment waiting for you.

Because we moved quickly while accepting certain factors of our new reality, we’ve been able to get a lot of good out of this year. We’re not close to what we originally planned for 2020, but we have grown over the last year. A light was shone on things we don’t really need which has allowed us to simplify. We’ve already come out of this stronger than when we went in and while we have a realistic point of view, we are embracing our rose-tinted lenses and keeping these themes in mind as we speed toward 2021.

If you had to guess, what’s the soonest you think the world might be back to normal-ish? I’m done guessing. But next summer. I really don’t foresee it being anywhere close. I don’t foresee us going to concerts until next summer.
If you had to put a theme name to the last six months, what would it be? "Fucking hot garbage. It would be hot garbage in a dumpster fire. A train wreck. It would just be an amalgamation of all those things." Shaun chimes in, "A turducken of hot garbage." Back to Stephen, "Yup! Take your hot garbage. Put it in a dumpster fire. Put it on a train, and then wreck that fucking train." Would you agree?

What do you miss most about pre-pandemic life? Going to Circle Bar! The actual Circle Bar. I fucking cannot wait until Circle Bar is open.

Which comic book supervillain is 2020? Oh all of them put together.

What’s the most fun thing you’ve done over the past six months? Got a lot of golf in, which is fun. This podcast. Lost some weight. Basic pandemic shit.

What’s one thing you’ll never take for granted again? Hugs. 2020 is like, hey do you like seeing other people? Yeah, let’s make that not available. How do you feel about toilet paper? Oop can’t use toilet paper. It’s currency now. The west coast is on fire, how do you feel about breathable air? I’ll never take anything for granted again.

When the world is back, beat the drum on the idea of working anywhere in the world. Encouraging people to take more vacation. Enjoy your fucking life. Time is so precious. We have the ability to do this at goodr. A version of mandatory vacation days people have to take.
Some advice: Set real expectations. As much as you don’t want what is happening, it’s fucking happening. Accept that and do the best you can in the world.

Set a daily reminder that says something along the lines of, “We’re all in this together.” Everyone is doing what they feel is right. Gratitude, assume positive intent, and do the best you can.
Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our email list on this page. Follow us on Instagram!

* This episode of CULTURE goodr was edited by Cole DeBoer.

Tune in Now: Listen to the Episode Here

Get to know the dynamic duo

Meet the hosts

stephen lease

Stephen Lease is the CEO (Chief Executive Octopus) of goodr and the co-host of the CULTURE goodr Podcast. Since Stephen co-founded the company in 2015, goodr has grown to over 140 employees, with award-winning sunglasses sold in more than 5,000 doors worldwide. Stephen’s spirit animal is an octopus, he’s soul-bonded with a basset hound, and he is 16% flamingo.

shaun tinney

Shaun Tinney is the Dean of goodr University (Head of Learning and Development at goodr) and the co-host of the CULTURE goodr podcast. When he’s not helping goodr employees level up their behaviors, he’s writing and performing music. Recently he released his first EP, Living Driven, about the quest for self-reliance, fresh perspective, and creative freedom.

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