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Execution with Enthusiasm with Tim Clouse

Charlie welcomes Tim Clouse, Senior Director of Operations and one of the newest members of the Broad River Leadership.

Tim discusses the Company’s culture, how he helps to keep it fun and focused in Ops, and shares the practical life advice and wisdom that he has received over the years that has served him well and that he has applied in his own life. In this episode, Tim explains the meaning and unpacks the BEACON acrostic for Operations at the River:

Broad River

Execution

Assessment

Capturing

Operational

Narrative

He shares how he meets with his “Epic” Team (consisting of his fellow Ops leaders like Cherrie Rivera, James Ouellette, Tonia Buskirk, and Sarah Sanchez) regularly for process improvement. In discussing the recently successful operational consolidation with Project Seahawk, Tim discusses shining a light into who Broad River really is, showing compassion for the new Memory Makers to teach them how we do what we do, spending time with them, letting them know who we are, and explaining why we do what we do from a systems knowledge standpoint. Another big project that Tim discusses is the opening of Broad River’s new (3rd) Distribution Center in Spartanburg, SC (led by Mike Rinehart), and the talent that has contributed to the positive launch and culture in “Spartan Ridge.” To unlock the strategic lever of additional storage capacity with the opening of satellite warehouse ‘York Southern’ down the road from the main distribution center in Fort Mill, Tim credits Fort Mill’s Inbound Manager Colin Michael. Tim unpacks the unique identities for each of the three distribution centers:

Fort Mill Otters: Fiercely loyal and protective of their raft (the name of a group of otters); they thrive and strive as a group the same way we do as an Operational team. Otters get their nutrients from the river, and we are Broad River.

Four Oaks Falcons: Fast, precise, willing to go the extra mile to make our customers happy, and take great pride in handling our product.

Spartan Ridge Bruins: Display Speed, agility, power, are cunning, and ever adapting to their new environment. The three Distribution Centers are competing in the Playoffs for DC of the Year (DCOY). In this healthy competition, Tim and his leadership team created a playsheet and really helped define what winning looks like on the top ten critical KPIs (starting with Safety as the primary anchor). The latest results are unveiled each week with enthusiasm. Tim shares some sage advice he’s received that’s really impacted his life from his Dad, such as “Think about the potential outcomes before you take action. Use your gifts that you’ve been given while being thankful for them and always humble yourself everyday.” And from his Mom, “Put others first. Be generous to others.” Other great nuggets of life advice that Tim has received over the years: Do it with a smile. Do the right thing because no one is watching. Love people. Be a sorter, not a savior. Without a plan, execution is aimless. And, without execution, a plan is useless.

Additional Resources:

Tim’s LinkedIn Profile – https://www.linkedin.com/in/tim-clouse-9ab508122

Tim’s Day One Restaurant (Flipside Cafe, home of the famous Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts) – http://theflipsiderestaurant.com/flipside-cafe/

Tim’s favorite leadership book: “Flight of the Buffalo: Soaring to Excellence, Learning to Let Employees Lead” by Jim Belasco and Ralpy Stayer: https://www.amazon.com/Flight-Buffalo-Excellence-Learning-Employees/dp/0446670081

Tim’s current book (that he read ahead of The Purpose Summit – https://www.thepurposesummit.com): “Chief Joy Officer” by Rich Sheridan: https://richardsheridan.com/books/chief-joy-officer

Tim’s favorite podcasts: The RELEVANT Podcast – https://relevantmagazine.com/podcast/ Elevation with Steven Furtick

Podcast – https://elevationchurch.org/podcast/ Maxwell Leadership

Podcast – https://johnmaxwellleadershippodcast.com/ Richard Blackaby Leadership Podcast – https://blackaby.org/podcast/ C3 Church Global Podcast with Phil Pringle – https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/c3-church-global-podcast-with-phil-pringle/id666645342

Tim’s Binge-worthy TV Show: Brooklyn Nine-Nine: https://www.nbc.com/brooklyn-nine-nine

_______

We hope you enjoy this episode, and subscribe to our podcast for a new story each week.

Visit storiesfromtheriver.com for more episodes.

Stories from the River Podcast explores the personal journeys of Broad River Retail’s very own Memory Makers. Whether it’s interviews or standalone narratives, Stories from the River will bring you closer to what it’s like to thrive inside the company. This show will share personal experiences from stores, distribution centers, call centers, and corporate campuses, giving listeners a front row seat to what it’s really like to be a Memory Maker furnishing life’s best memories every day.

This show is brought to you by Broad River Retail. Visit www.BroadRiverRetail.com.

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FULL TRANSCRIPTION

Charlie:

Well, we are back. Welcome to Stories from the River. We are here with Tim Clouse, our Senior Director of Operations. This is going to be a great conversation. Welcome, Tim. 

Tim:

Yes, thanks, Charlie. So excited to be here today. 

Charlie:

I’m excited that you’re here for this episode. Can’t wait to hear what you’ve got to share with us. You guys are doing some amazing, amazing work in Ops. I always like to start these conversations with, let’s just know and learn a little bit more about you. So, what can you tell us about your background, prior to coming to the River?  

Tim:

Sure. Absolutely. So actually, this year celebrates 17 years of marriage with my wife. 

Charlie:

Congratulations. 

Tim:

Thank you. We actually have three boys, 12, 11, and 6. Been in distribution for 20 years. Started out my career in the beverage industry, did 16 of the 20 years in the Wire and Cable industry, and you’ll hear later got a chance to travel the world with them. And then just most recently got into furniture. 

Charlie:

Wonderful, wonderful. So how long have you been with Broad River Retail? 

Tim:

A little less than a year now. 

Charlie:

You’re like a newbie. You may be the shortest tenure of anyone who’s ever been on the podcast. And so it’s been recent since your recruitment. What was it about Broad River Retail and this opportunity that was most attractive to you to make the career switch to join us? 

Tim:

Yeah. So when Broad River was brought to mind, heard a lot about the culture. I heard a lot about the Broad River culture. So that was kind of like the first: “Hey, let’s ask some questions. Let’s get interested”. And then spending time with you and spending time with Manny, and starting to learn our vision and where we’re going as an organization. Those two things alone solidified the decision for me, and that’s why I’m here. 

Charlie:

We are super glad you did. What do you remember about the recruiting and interview process, given that it was, you know, roughly a year ago? 

Tim:

Yeah, it was fast, which is the way I think it should be. It was fast, it was welcoming, it was encouraging. And it was everything that it needed to be. 

Charlie:

Okay. And so, since it was you know, not quite a year ago, I tend to believe that most people remember their first day at a job, no matter if it’s been a year or twenty years. And so, do you remember your first day at the River?

Tim:

I absolutely do. 

Charlie:

Okay. 

Tim:

Yeah, I was I was driving in. I received an encouraging text from Manny, walked in the door had a sit down with Tanya Buskirk, who’s our Director of Home Delivery. Also fairly new to Broad River. So we had a great day one discussion and spent some time with James Ola, which is got a little bit more tenure with Broad River, so it’s nice to have those two bookends. 

Actually went out to lunch with James. And I can’t remember the name of the restaurant because it’s close to the building, but I can remember I remember having Brussels sprouts. They were the most amazing Brussels sprouts I’ve ever had. And then James and I came back and then I just watched and listened. I just watched and listened and met a bunch of people and just had a great time, on my first day. 

Charlie:

Well, sounds like a great start. A good, encouraging welcome text from Manny and then Brussels sprouts. I think is that place in Fort Mill. 

Tim:

It is, yeah. 

Charlie:

It’s two words. It starts with an F. I can’t think of what it is, but we’ll think of it. Okay. That’s where a lot of people go for lunch. 

Tim:

Right. 

Charlie:

So our organizational purpose is furnishing life’s best memories. So do you have already a favorite Broad River story or memory that you can share with us? 

Tim:

I actually have a number of them, so far. We’ve done a lot of things, in this first year with Broad River. But the one I wanted to share with you today – so, every two weeks, there’s a team of us. We kind of just step back from the day-to-day business and we think about the future and we think about what new technologies can we bring into the organization, or what processes we need to implement or change, or what are we hearing from the field that we can improve on. 

And on one of these sessions, we were talking about our new end-of-shift tool. And Sara Sanchez with our Ops Excellence team had found the technology for us, but we didn’t know we didn’t have a brand for you, we didn’t know what to call it yet. 

And so we were in James’s office, and when we get together, we have a good time and you know, the creative juices or go in and were throwing stuff on the board and it’s getting kind of loud and I remember Tim Sayles, our Director of Facilities, he comes over and he’s like: “Hey, it’s kind of going on over here, guys.”  And we’re just, you know, we’re working on this. He’s like: Huh? You guys are making it fun. Maybe I’ll just sit in and watch. 

So it was a great experience for us, but then we ultimately got to what we needed, and we were throwing words in the board. We’re trying to figure it out and we got to the word BEACON. 

And beacon, you know, in the real world is there to protect the ships and to help guide them to make sure they don’t hit land. And beacon represents exactly what we were trying to do with the end-of-shift app, which is sending in some data, productivity. stats you know, things that here’s how the shift ended for today. 

And then where we’re moving more towards is: Hey, here’s what you can do different tomorrow. So to have a better shift. So we thought beacon was the perfect word and then came we had to figure out a way to add a word to every letter. And so we finally came up with – Broad River Execution Assessment Capturing Operational Narrative. 

So once we kind of got all that together, we had another high fiving and having a good time and just it was great it was a great innovative day, creative day for us. 

Charlie:

So you came up with the word first, and then you converted it into an acrostic? 

Tim:

That’s right. 

Charlie:

That’s phenomenal. And so when you have these sessions every two weeks that who’s in, this is your leadership team?  

Tim:

Yeah, this is, we have actually called it the Epic Team.

Charlie:

The Epic team, okay. 

Tim:

It’s actually a smaller team. We have some of our process improvement people. Sherri Rivera and Sarah Sanchez and James Ola and Tanya Buskirk. And we’re just trying to like outthink ourselves. 

Charlie:

That’s really, really cool. Okay. Tim, if you go back to your first day and give yourself some advice, what would you tell yourself about what life is going to be like at Broad River Retail? Just to better prepare yourself? 

Tim:

Yeah, sure. I mean, exactly as I was envisioning it to be, which was warm, inviting, encouraging. We know how to ask why, and when to ask why, and then we continue innovating. So all those wonderful things that you want inside an organization, was exactly what I experienced. 

Charlie:

That’s great. It’s great when you can meet the expectations. And I love that you’re really talking about embracing our culture of our core values of collaboration. And innovation. And so I can’t wait to hear a little bit more about that. But I remember the first time I heard Beacon, I was like, That’s exactly right. And then now it’s cool to hear the story of how it came about.

Tim:

That’s right. 

Charlie:

And you did a great impression of Tim Sales, by the way. I can see him coming right in. Hey, maybe I’ll sit in on that. Tim, another Tim. Okay, let me switch gears a little bit. We just finished a pretty big project on the heels of an acquisition of our two stores in Wilmington, and you did a phenomenal job. 

You were like camped out in Wilmington for several days you know, upon the acquisition we called that project Seahawk, and then that led into a separate project called Coastal Connection. So you were really instrumental in helping us onboard the Operations team in Wilmington. And then ultimately, you know, helping us merge that operation into our Four Oaks operation. So what can you share with us about the project Seahawk and Coastal Connection experience? 

Tim:

Yeah, it was an amazing time for us. You know, we were we sat in our strategy session and we talked about, you know, how are we going to do this and what’s going to be the most important things as we bring new Memory Makers into Broad River. And the number one thing that we came to was the culture, and we’ve got to introduce them to who Broad River is, how we like to do business.

And so, we wanted to make sure we had clear communication. We wanted to make sure we did what we said we were going to do, and ultimately just have a presence like you mentioned. So we brought in our subject matter experts. We brought in Sharri Rivera, we brought in Tanya Buskirk, we brought in Mike Reinhart, we brought in Greg Cantrell to help us, to help them understand kind of where we’re going. 

But really, it was ultimately to be a light for who Broad River is. And so, when they had the opportunity to meet with them and work with them, they each left, you know, a shining light of and solidification that, hey, you know what?  Broad River is who they are, and look how great these people are that have come in and helped us. 

And so it really solidified who we were to them. And then ultimately, you know, Sherri Rivera was really camped out the most, her, and myself. But her compassion for the people, her process knowledge, her systems knowledge really helped us be successful.

Charlie:

It’s what I’m picking up you really talked about like, we’re going to teach them how we do what we do. You talked about we’re going to make sure they know who we are. We’re going to make sure we spend time and have a presence with them. And then I’m sure you also, in talking about all those things, the who and the time with, and how, why we do what we do. 

Tim:

That’s right. 

Charlie:

And so that’s are some great lessons there for due kind of assimilation with a new team. And it was like three dozen people, right? 

Tim:

Absolutely. 

Charlie:

Three dozen brand new Memory Makers. 

Tim:

Yep. 

Charlie:

What was it like to learn an entirely new Operating system and way of doing business than to figure out how to consolidate their operation into ours? 

Tim:

Really exciting, honestly. And the team dives right in. And it’s not just the Coastal Connection Project, but our team, our operational, I think the foundation is to dive in. We’re going to dive in. 

We’re going to ask why, you know, and then we’re going to help improve processes and a lot of the things that we’ve seen, sorry that we saw, we had connections, you know, so we had to get with Stacy’s team, we had to get with Karl’s team, we had to get with Janet’s team, with Brian’s team, because we had some overlapping processes that we don’t have, but they had. So it was a great collaboration between all the groups really to come together to kind of Broad River-anize.

Charlie:

Yeah. And I think it was great to have the weekly meeting to come together. And Jordan did a great job, kind of corralling us together and then and then share all those different ideas and make sure nothing kind of got missed along the way. 

Okay,  another big project and this was a little bit more autonomous where you guys took, it with Spartan Ridge. 

Tim:

Yeah. 

Charlie:

And that’s our third premiere Distribution Center, just brand new, just launched. And so it was another major project that you’ve been directly involved with. And so what can you tell us about this project? 

Tim:

Yeah. So, I’ve had the ability, I’ve had the privilege to do start-ups and move warehouses across the world in my previous life. And we’ve done some in Canada and the US, and Australia and New Zealand. And we took a lot of best practices from those things and brought them into this, this project, and I have to say is one of the smoothest ones that I’ve been a part of. 

But I think a lot of that really just comes down to who was a part of it, you know. Mike Rinehart, who’s now the leader of the building, Tim Sales, and his team help us out. Harold’s team, Travis Barkley and Manny and Tim Sobkowiak, and USSI.  And we had all these, you know, our partners with Ashley, we had all these people that really came together supported us, collaborated with us. 

And at the end of the day, we have an 81,000 square foot DC, we’ve got 21 dock doors, we’ve got last I look, $3.3 million in inventory in there. And we’ve got 50 new Memory Makers, to be a part of us and ultimately all driving towards $1,000,000 a week in delivered sales. So it’s been a spectacular project for us. 

Charlie:

That’s phenomenal. What is this new third Distribution Center mean for our company, our Memory Makers, and our guests? 

Tim:

I think it’s, it’s fulfilling our purpose, which is premier customer service. We’re closer to our guests now. We have reduced windshield time for motor carriers so they can spend more time with our guests, ensuring that the delivery is great. 

And I think for our Memory Makers, it’s our opportunity to cover them and our culture. And we know not everybody stays. We love to have everybody stay with us all the time, but they’re going to have these memories and they’re going to take these away and you know what? That was a positive experience for me, in Spartan Ridge. 

And then lastly, it’s our homegrown leaders. You know, we’ve got some we’ve got some great people that have moved to Spartan Ridge to help us get the building going. And I’ll kind of talk about them. 

Charlie:

Yeah. Well, I spent a day recently in Spartan Ridge and was really impressed with the team there. And just the way the operation is set up. So what have you noticed about the Labor Force in Spartanburg, South Carolina? And we’re trying to recruit, hire on board and build a new team from scratch. 

Tim:

Yeah, it’s actually been extremely impressive. There’s a lot of hardworking people in that area, a lot of people looking for jobs. In our recruiting team. Morgan, Esther, Kate have been phenomenal. It’s been, they ramped us up very quickly and got some real quality Memory Makers to be a part of us. 

And then you throw in Mike Reinhart and you throw in our veterans, you throw in Austin Wilson, you throw in Shelby Flow, you throw in Trevor Goodwin, who have been a part of Broad River and kind of know who we are. 

And then you sprinkle in are our new talents from the outside, you know, and we have Wilma and we have Jack and we have Austin number two, we call him. His name’s Jeff Austin, but you can’t call two people Austin. So he’s Austin number two. But Mike’s put together a spectacular team, you know, a team that’s well versed in understanding who’s best at what and then to really playing off each other really well. 

Charlie:

Well, I think what you’ve really done is helped crystallize the culture in Operations. And when I spoke to many of the Memory Makers in Spartan Ridge who’d maybe worked for other industrial operations in the upstate, they just founded a completely different refreshing culture than where they had been.

And that’s great. It’s a differentiator for us. And I think you’re really cascading that culture all the way down into our Operations, which is awesome. One more project I want to talk about? 

Tim:

Sure. 

Charlie:

York Southern. So this was a situation when you know, one of our major initiatives as an organization were our top four. We love a good top four, was warehouse capacity, and we wanted to bring in more inventory, right? 

And so we got a satellite warehouse just south of our main one in Fort Mill in York county called York Southern. And so you know, it allowed us to kind of have overflow inventory. But what can you tell us about the York Southern project that we completed last year? 

Tim:

Yeah, I can actually sum it up in two words. 

Charlie:

Okay. 

Tim:

It’s actually a name. Colin Michael. Colin Michael is our Inbound Manager in Fort Mill. And he was spectacular in the planning of it, the implementation of it, the completion of it. And he was from soup to nuts, the best part of what’s going on in York Southern. 

But also I’ll have to mention, you know, IT,  it’s a satellite facility for us. So we needed Harold and his team to help us with that. And we needed Tim Sales again to help us with the facility portion of it. But, you know, we’re doing some manual things in York Southern that we don’t do anywhere else just because of where it is. 

And so what impresses me the most about the team is how they’re sticking to the plan. You know, they’re sticking to the cadences and we’re making sure our inventory integrity is where it needs to be at the off-site. 

But to your point, what’s really opened the door for us is our inventory and having the right inventory in the right place at the right time and then using that, you know, using York Southern for some of those pieces that are going to out, they’re going to leave the building a month later and getting the ones that are leaving next week in Fort Mill. So it’s been a huge, huge strategic win for us.

Charlie:

Having more inventory is a competitive advantage and we need this day and age and so that we’ve really been investing in infrastructure and storage capacity, and probably never can have enough, right? 

Tim:

That’s right. 

Charlie:

Okay, and we’re going to get Colin Michael on the podcast. 

Tim:

Absolutely, yes. 

Charlie:

We’re going to bring him in as the next Ops representative. He sounds like he’s a great one to speak to. Okay, I must shift it back to you, a little bit. 

Tim:

Okay. 

Charlie:

I’ve got a good icebreaker question I picked up somewhere along the way. And so let’s say, you know, you’ve hung up your operational cleats, you’re sitting on your front porch, maybe you’re hanging out with your grandkids, talking about the good old days when you used to kind of drive culture and operations and all the wins and experiences that you had, and hopefully in a long time at the River. 

And you’re just reflecting back on your legacy and how, you know, people are going to talk about you and they’re going to use different descriptives and adjectives. And so when you think about how you want to be remembered if you could kind of crystallize it into just three words, what three words do you want people to say about you? 

Tim:

Yeah. Integrity, unity, and enthusiasm. Those are my three foundational words that I’ve found throughout my career early on. And I’ll talk about kind of how I got to those later on. But I want to be known as somebody who has very high integrity that unites people together and then just does it with enthusiasm and just has a lot of fun. 

Charlie:

I love it. Which one of those is your superpower?

Tim:

I think enthusiasm for me is my superpower, and I didn’t always have it. And so it’s been a learned trait through a lot of experiences, but I just love having a good time. 

Charlie:

Yeah. Nothing great happens without passion and enthusiasm. Okay, so we have this phrase that we like to use quite often to reinforce our purpose. And maybe I made it up along the way. But, you know, I think that you know, a lot of people, if you listen, if you like to read James Cleary’s book Atomic Habits, he really talks about if you want great habits, what’s your identity? 

And we, and even reading like the Purpose path, Nicholas Pearce talks a lot about identity. And we like to say purpose begins with identity. And I really think it orients us and keeps our Northstar on Northstar. So it seems like you’ve really taken this sentiment to heart and helped create something that we’ve never had in Operations. And I want to talk more about that.

So tell us about the Otters, the Falcons, and the Bruins? 

Tim:

Absolutely. And I would agree with you 100%. I mean, we were kind of sitting back and we’re watching the stores, you know, get through their identities and they’re celebrating their logos and we’re like, you know what, we want to be a part of, of what that is and what it does for us, as an organization. 

And so, we went through the process and we had the teams, you know, we kind of all agreed that we were going to go for animals.

You know, what kind of animal, like really reflects who you are as an organization. And then we had some votes and, you know, we had some that the teams really own who they wanted to be. And I would do a disservice, I didn’t just read. So I actually brought, you know, what they submitted on and why they chose who they did.

Charlie:

Let’s hear it. 

Tim:

Okay. So for the Otter, so for the Fort Mill Otters. Otters are also fiercely loyal and protective of their raft, which is what they call a group of Otters. They thrive and they strive as a group the same way we do as an operational team. 

And I think that just that’s a perfect ownest as to who Fort Mill is as you know. Our most established DC processes are almost second nature for them. And so doing it together, I’m staying, you know, sticking together, I think I think that’s a really important model for us in Fort Mill. So I love the Otter. 

Charlie:

Yeah, I love that, that’s great. Fiercely loyal is what I picked up there. 

Tim:

Absolutely. And you know, and I think I mentioned this on one of our town halls, but, you know, Otters get their nutrients from the river, and we are Broad River. 

Charlie:

I love that. 

Tim:

It’s perfect.  And then the Falcons in Four Oaks. Falcons are fast, precise, willing to go the extra mile to make our customers happy. And we take great pride in what we do and handle our product. And I think that’s a real good representation of what’s going on in Four Oaks. 

You know, as one of our newer DCs they’re still growing, they’re still learning, they’re still trying to find out who they are. And we’ve got to do that quickly and we’ve got to do it right. So I think it’s again, it’s a great identity for them. 

Charlie:

Fast and precise. Love it. 

Tim:

That’s right. And then the Bruins and I do think there was a little bit of, there’s a bit more to come to play with the Bruins you know, Mike Reinharts from the East Coast, he may be a Bruins hockey fan. So I think they had a little bit to do with it. But ultimately, you know, what a Bruin is, I still think fits with who Spartan Ridges is. 

And you know Bruins display speed, agility, power, cunning, and their ever-adapting to their new environment. You know, I think with Spartan Ridge being our newest DC every day, you know, Mike’s coming up with something he’s never seen before and the team has as well. So again, I think a perfect identity for them at Spartan Ridge. 

Charlie:

That is perfect. You know, my high school mascot was the Bruins. 

Tim:

Oh, maybe, there you go. 

Charlie:

Yeah, I love it. Okay, let’s shift gears. We love competition, right? And I often say competition gets a bad rap. It actually means comes from the Latin word competere, which means to strive together, not one versus the other, right. 

And so, you have really embraced that, that concept, and with this thing called DCOY or Dc of the year, and you’ve taken this to a whole new level. So tell us about DCOY or DC of the year. What’s going on there? 

Tim:

Yeah, excellent. Yeah. It’s a really exciting time for us. It’s actually a full, full-year what we’re calling the playoffs between the three facilities. But there was a lot to it. Like we wanted to make sure, you know, again, that we, we had our identity first, right? So finding out we have the Otters, and we have the Falcons, we have the Bruins, you know, create unites them together, which is what we want, which is what we had to do first. 

And then the second thing we had to do is we had to know we had to let them know what winning looks like because if we don’t, then there’s nothing to strive for, there’s nothing to go for. We’re just kind of muddling through the day. 

And so I actually brought it with me. We actually created a play sheet so similar to what you’ll see on the football field. The coaches, you know, they have these laminated sheets and usually, it’s you know, they’re counteracting the plays the other team is doing. 

Same for us. This is how we win. So if we meet these ten KPIs, we’re going to be winning. So we’ve laminated these you know, the marketing team put together our ten KPIs that look really cool. 

And so every leader has one of those with them on their purse and everybody knows what winning looks like. 

And so the DC, you know, so with the play sheets, the scoreboards, the shirts that we’ve handed out to everybody, and then the weekly cadence we have, once the scores come out, are all done with intense enthusiasm. So we want to bring we want to make sure everybody’s excited about what we’re doing all the time. 

And so, the playoffs for us help us bring premier customer service to our guests in encouraging our facilities to test the limits and push us beyond what we know today. And so that’s really kind of the incumbents and thing of, of what DC of the year is. And again, we stumbled upon it actually a decoy, which is also a football term.  So kind of everything kind of worked out the way it should of. 

Charlie:

Yeah, love that. Well, I was in Spartanburg the day that, in Spartan Ridge, the day they got their new shirts. 

Tim:

Yes. 

Charlie:

And so I guess everyone in Ops got a shirt with their identity. 

Tim:

And they got to pick their own colors. So Fort Mill is gold, and Four Oaks is blue. And the Bruins are like a tanning color. 

Charlie:

Yeah. 

Tim:

Almost like a camel color. 

Charlie:

I’ve talked to Mike Reinhart about that tanning camel color.  We’ll leave that word. Sorry, Mike. Well, but that was really cool. They got their shirts and, you know, you’ve really provided clarity, you know, in 4DX- four disciplines of execution, you know, they talk about people play hard when they know the scores you’ve provided clarity on. Here’s what you said define winning. 

Tim:

Yes. 

Charlie:

So people know the score and now they know also that someone else could be scoring better than them. 

Tim:

That’s right. 

Charlie:

And so it creates competition. They know what they’re striving for, which we’re thriving towards defining thriving. So that’s great. Well, what are some of the operational metrics that you’re measuring and focusing on? And, and how have your teams responded to this? 

Tim:

Yeah. So, we have ten KPIs, and the way we design the program is it may not be the same ten next year. So every year the ten KPIs can change depending on the business needs are kind of where we are. But what we have done is safety. It has anchored all, all of the scores. 

Charlie:

Yeah. 

Tim:

So if we have an incident during that, because the scores are weekly, so if we have an incident that we get a DC, they actually get -2 points regardless of what happened with the other KPIs, the facility received negative points because, in order to furnish life’s best memories, we got to make sure our Memory Makers are coming and leaving work safely. So that was intentional. We did it intentional. 

The other nine are unplanned returns, inventory write-offs as a percent of sales cycle count, scan accuracy, delivered sales, customer success ops costs as a percent of sales, our labor costs per piece, and then the retention of our Broad River employees and the retention of our rookies. 

So encompassing all those ten is each department. So each department inside of our DCs has the ability to ensure we have great customer service or has the ability to need to change. So everything was done with with with intention and with purpose.

Charlie:

Well, great foundation. Those are great lead measures. And I love the foundation of safety. It’s critically important and it sounds like the teams have responded. 

Tim:

Oh yeah, I guess I miss that part, enthusiastically. I get goosebumps. Probably get one now with the encouragement, I was actually in Four Oaks this week and they took the lead this week, so they actually surpassed Fort Mill this week. So, you know, Will and Dillon and the team, you know, Zach, they were all pretty excited. 

What’s great about it is I was actually there on Tuesday when the scores come out. And so, Zach our Returns Supervisor actually figured out how to see the score before the official score is out. So he was sharing around with the team. Hey, guys, I think, I think we’re in the lead and then the scores came out and they were so, it was really, really exciting. 

Charlie:

That’s cool. It always makes thrift Tuesday an exciting day. 

Tim:

That’s right. 

Charlie:

Pivoting once again. Unsung heroes. I know that it always takes a village to achieve success. And like you have obviously achieved your career. Who are some of the unsung heroes of your world and tell us what they do or have done to help you? 

Tim:

Yeah, I got a couple. So I think I’m a share four with you today. My dad, number one, I mean, he was a great example, a great mentor, And I probably heard this probably too much or more than I should have, I should have picked it up quicker. But he always taught me: Think about the potential outcomes before you take action. 

And I remember, I had a sandwich in my hand at my parents’ station wagon. I was trying to hit sandwiches over the station wagon. I got one thin and it went right in the glass. And I played baseball all the way through college. I broke maybe a couple of other windows. So, my dad was constantly reminding me to: Let’s think before you do something son, and so that one’s stuck with me and I’ve passed it down to my boys as well.

You know, the other one, he’s always hit me on is, you know, you’ve been given gifts, use your gifts and be thankful for them and be different than others. Because when you’re different, it gives people an opportunity to ask you why you’re different. And ultimately, no matter what you do, be humble, humble yourself every single day. And so I learned obviously a lot from my father. But yeah, those are ones that definitely stick with me. 

And then my mother put others first. She was more on the volunteering end of the spectrum. And you can’t take anything with you at the end of your life, so be generous to others and be that person that picks up the rubbish that somebody walks over, or be that person that opens the door for someone who needs the door.  And so I learned a lot of that from her. 

And then my college baseball coach, Jake Boss Junior. He was an assistant coach at Eastern Michigan when I was there. He’s now the head baseball coach at Michigan State University. But I know it doesn’t seem like it now, but I was a very introverted kid as I as I grew up. 

Charlie:

Never witnessed it.

Tim:

But I came out of my shell during those four years at Eastern, and I give a lot of credit to him and the team because we did a lot of public speaking. We did a lot of volunteering in the community. That was another piece that I really, you know, warmed my heart to is we’ve got to stay connected to our communities. And so, you know, those where I was it was a very important time of my life. 

And then my wife, she’s got the biggest heart I’ve ever witnessed. She’s the ultimate giver of time and energy. Sometimes to her own detriment. But she just, you know, she just loves on people. And, you know, I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t be here. My career wouldn’t be what it is, you know, without her, without her unconditional love. 

Charlie:

That’s a phenomenal answer. You know, go back to what your dad had shared with you. It reminds me of, you know, the seven habits, you know, “begin with the end in mind” was the one I was thinking of. 

And we used to have a frame in my mom’s, growing up in our kitchen that my mom had put up.

It was: “If you think twice before you speak once you’ll speak twice the better for it. “

Tim:

Awesome. 

Charlie:

And Jonathan Ishii used to say that his dad used to tell him: “I’d rather keep my mouth shut than open it, and I’d rather keep my mouth shut, be considered a fool than open it and remove all doubt.” So, there’s a lot of similarities here. And that’s a great answer, though, on all four of your unsung heroes. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?  

Tim:

Yeah, I have a couple, and probably won’t be surprising, but: Do with a smile. Laughter’s the best medicine. I heard that one young when I was young. Do the right thing because nobody’s looking. That was another one that I grew up with. Love people, be a sorter, not a savior. 

And really what that means is everybody has different strengths. Everybody has different talents and skills. And so, you know, do we have them in the seat or do we have them in the role where they can be successful and if you don’t, then don’t try to save them, right. 

The other one that the Operational team talks about a lot is: “Without a plan execution is aimless. And without execution, your plan is useless.” So we talk a lot about execution and operations. We talk a lot about tangible action because that’s how we change that’s how we improve, that’s how we grow.  

Charlie:

We’re going to go back and listen to those quite a few times, be a sorter, not a savior. And if you’re listening to the podcast, go ahead and hit that back. 15 seconds or 30 seconds you’re going to want to play those quotables from Tim Clouse few times there. That’s great. great advice. So what advice do you share with rookies on their first day with the company? 

Tim:

Yeah, always, “We have what you need, seek advice, ask questions, challenge us with processes, and improvement.” But I always end with, you know, “Whatever you do with your time here at Broad River, do with enthusiasm.” 

Charlie:

Got it. It’s great. And what leadership message or advice do you regularly, regularly share? I can’t say that I don’t know why, with your leaders and Ops? 

Tim:

Yeah. Encourage one person a day. 

Charlie:

Encourage one person a day. 

Tim:

Challenge the status quo, and if we can do it in less steps let’s implement it. 

Charlie:

Got it. That’s great. That’s great for Operation, the last one is great for Ops for sure. Okay, culture. I know we’re biased and we believe that our culture at the River is unique and really special. What is your favorite thing about our culture here at the River? And in your opinion, what is it that makes our culture special? 

Tim:

Yeah, I think it’s a number of words that I’m going to use. It’s the ability to own what you’re working on, how authentic we are, mistakes happen, and learn from them. And I think really the biggest one for me is encouragement and not the encouragement that you’ll read in the definition in Webster’s. 

But there’s a Broad River encouragement here that just can’t be explained.  It’s got to be experienced. And I always tell people:  “No matter how large your cup is, the River can fill it.” 

Charlie:

Oh, wow. That’s a good one. That’s great. So, you guys always seem to be making it fun and unique and out of the ordinary in Ops. Who comes up with these themes and ideas and how do they come about? 

Tim:

Yeah, it actually came from the survey. We did a company survey last year and the engagement with the employees was one of the things that they wanted to be a part of more. And so we created events committees at all three DCs, and they collaborate on what we’re going to do and when we’re going to do it. 

And then we’ve got sponsorship from our Ops Managers or from the MMx team because we love doting on our people. 

Charlie:

Love it. 

Tim:

We love celebrating our people. And it’s how we unite, it’s how we learn and it’s how we love each other.

Charlie:

Love it. So what have been some of your favorite or most memorable themes or activities that you all have executed thus far? 

Tim:

Yeah, so I got a couple. Random acts of kindness, we did that early on in the year. And I heard so many stories and the ones that really came away for me was I didn’t know that that person knew me that well. You know, there were some surprises during that event, which, which was awesome for me. 

April Fools, we had a lot of fun. I don’t know if you guys are aware, but Krispy Kreme makes a box that has pictures of donuts in it, but not actually donuts in it. So we bought a couple of those, which was a lot of fun. 

And then Saint Patrick’s Day, we brought out our Green Thrive shirts and probably some of our best group pictures across the Dcs with everybody wearing that shirt. 

National Popcorn Day was a lot of fun. We had some games with that. We threw popcorn into people’s mouths and throwing some popcorn around. 

But ultimately for me, it was when every location got their shirts, you know, and every location became united and became a Falcon or became an Otter became a Bruin. Those were those are exciting events. 

Charlie:

That’s really cool. All right. Social media, LinkedIn. You’ve really become quite the communicator on social media. And regularly, I think, as I say. Well, that time seeing your creative post on LinkedIn, celebrating the unique days that we just talked about, or the events or the milestones. or other fun activities. 

And in fact, we will share your LinkedIn profile here in the show notes for others who may want to follow you because you’re a great follower. Now, you’ve become a really great follow on LinkedIn. So how did all that come about? And then what led you to want to begin posting so often on LinkedIn? 

Tim:

Yeah. So, I’ve never had a Facebook, I’ve never had a Twitter. I didn’t, I’ve never Instagrammed anybody. Actually had to ask my wife what a hashtag was like I didn’t really know what I was doing at the beginning. 

But, we as a team came together and said: “You know what? We’ve got to find a way to celebrate our amazing Memory Makers and to show the world how much effort, how much dedication they put into finishing life’s best memories every day.”  And LinkedIn has become a way for us to celebrate the successes that they have. 

Charlie:

And what sort of feedback have you received from your post, both internally and externally? 

Tim:

Yeah, the funniest one I got is actually from my brother in Michigan, and he asked me: “So, are you getting a bonus on how many posts you put out” (laugh), and I was like: “No, no, I’m not. “. But it’s been encouraging. I mean, nothing but encouraging responses. I’ve had a few: Tell me more, which has been really cool for me. So got to interact with some people and teach them about Broad Rivers. 

Charlie:

That’s great. So, thrive, our company’s word of the year this year is THRIVE. What does it mean for you to thrive? 

Tim:

Yeah, I thrive through my team. Seeing them having their best days, encouraging them that there’s more best days to come, really brings thrive together for me. 

Charlie:

That’s great. And so what advice would you offer up to a fellow Memory Maker to help him or her thrive this year? 

Tim:

I would say join the events. We have a lot of Thrive events planned and Dana Maxine does a great job helping us through that. I’d say, listen, with your two ears, you have two ears for a reason. Listen, and then try something new, and if you’re uncomfortable with that partner with somebody. 

You know, we did Birds of a Feather earlier in the year with the leadership team. And there’s a lot of great, great things that happen when you do those events. But the one I was trying to instill in them is: Find out what your weaknesses is and partner with somebody’s strength. Because we believe the pursuit equals the opportunity to thrive. 

Charlie:

Yeah. And maybe that’s the challenge you can turn your weakness into a strength. 

Tim:

Absolutely. 

Charlie:

Perhaps that’s, maybe that’s part of the challenge there. So what do you think are or have been the secrets to your success? 

Tim:

I have to refer back to the core values. I mean, integrity, unity, enthusiasm. I learned mental preparation very early on. It’s a baseball. Trait, you got to think about the play before the play comes, but that works significantly for us, too, in business. 

Charlie:

Love it. So what are your best daily habits that have served you well? 

Tim:

Yeah, I pray every morning. I ask for His words to guide me. I say I love you to my family. I have an espresso, or two or three probably. And then I try to encourage more than one person a day. 

Charlie:

How many did you have before this podcast this morning? 

Tim:

I had two. (laughs) 

Charlie:

Okay. All right. We’re keeping it right there in the middle. All right. Mentorship is so important. Where or from whom do you get your mentorship? 

Tim:

Yeah, I think, you know, a couple of the unsung heroes. My father, my wife, my previous boss that I’m still close to. Manny Rodriguez helps me a lot. And then parables. You know, I really really glean a lot from the parables. 

Charlie:

Love it. Love it. So if you could change one thing about the company today with the wave of a magic wand, what would it be? 

Tim:

Add a 100,000 square feet to every building. 

Charlie:

Yeah, that’d be great. I sometimes I’d like that as well. We would have to get these satellite distribution centers. 

Tim:

That’s right. 

Charlie:

Okay, let’s say that it was my time to retire, and you’ve done such a great job that I’m giving you the keys to the company. You’re the new President and CEO of Broad River Retail. And today’s your first day in the new role. What would be your first order of business? 

Tim:

So I believe in celebrating our rich history. And we actually I think you saw them in Spartan Ridge, we’ve put up back to 2018, I think is when we have logos. But we’ve put up the logos from 2018 all the way to 2022, and we’ll continue that every year. I mean, I think it’s important that we remember where we’ve been. 

Charlie:

You talking about the annual themes right? 

Tim:

The annual themes, yeah. To remember where we’ve been and where we’re going. And the vision is, is very successful right now. And so for me, let’s keep it going, and let’s win the day. 

Charlie:

Love it, love it. Love that “win the day” mindset. Personal growth, development, and learning. Do you feel that working at the River has positively impacted your desire for personal growth and development? 

Tim:

Absolutely. 

Charlie:

How so? 

Tim:

Absolutely. The events we were able to attend, you know, we’re doing the Purpose Summit this year. We’re attending some AFI-sponsored events for us and best practices, the time we get to recharge and to learn and to listen have been very, very positive for me. 

Charlie:

Okay, love it. And then how do you sharpen your sow? What do you do to improve your skillset and to invest in your own personal growth and development? 

Tim:

I like to read, which is funny because I hated to read as a younger person, but I love it. I mean, I get getting into the business. I have a passion for psychology, or how people think or how we can help them think, how to encourage people, and how to mentor people. I like to read those types of books. 

Charlie:

Okay, so what book are you currently reading? 

Tim:

The Chief Joy Officer by Richard Sheridan is what I’m currently reading. I’m only halfway through. I got to get it done before, before the Purpose Summit. But you know, what I’ve learned so far, right, is to always demonstrate integrity, right? It’s okay to act with hope and with love and with joy with your people. 

Charlie:

Love that. And so we’re recording this before the Purpose Summit at the University of Notre Dame. But this will air after we’ve attended and come back, and I think you’ll get a chance to meet the author, Rich Sheridan. 

Tim:

It’s great. 

Charlie:

So it’ll be cool. So, I know that this book The Flight of the Buffalo has really had a big impact on you and your thought leadership. Tell us about its significance for you? 

Tim:

Yeah, it’s actually it’s a book I stumbled upon in 2008 when we were living in Texas. And the premise of the book is you know, previous business or maybe even some businesses now. If you look at buffalo there, there’s a lead buffalo and he eats and they eat and they walk and he walks, and they kind of just wait for the leader to help them with the task. 

And if you look at geese, you know, they fly in a V and that one goose leads. So one geese will take a break and he’ll go behind and the other gees will help. But they all know where they’re going. They all know what the vision is. 

And so really the premise of the book is we want to have people around us. We want to have our employees be buffalo, that can fly. You know, they’re strong independent leaders. But no win, this isn’t my turn, this is the next person’s turn. And it really creates some positive energy inside of the organization. 

And a couple of other things from the book is to look here first. I have to look at myself first. If we have a failure. Did they have the right tools? Is the environment right or you know, is there something else I could do to help them be successful? And that’s kind of where the sorting and the savior come in as well. And as leaders, we add value by helping people feel powerful. And that help us. 

And I love this one from the book: “Buffaloes lock the barn door after the horse is stolen, geese ensure nothing is ever stolen. “ So it’s really about that preparational mindset of how we do business.

Charlie:

Wow. There are a lot of self-awareness themes that come out from there and wisdom and discernment, some really great lessons here. Other than this one obviously Stories from the River. What are some of your favorite podcasts? 

Tim:

Yeah, I have a couple on. On the spin, Pastor Steven Furtick on there, the Relevant podcast, which is a great representation of kind of how we as Christians can live in the world as it is. Maxwell’s Leadership is on there. Richard Blackabby is on there, really love him and his son in law and how they do it, and really my favorite part is when he does the history, he’ll talk about people in history and how they were, you know, so influential in what they were doing.  Those are really good ones. 

And then the other one I have is it’s actually it’s called C3 Church, and it’s pastored by Phil Pringle. When we lived in Australia, we had the opportunity to be in his church. And I love he just puts things in a really nice package and a really nice perspective. 

Charlie:

It’s very cool. And you’ve sent me some great podcasts I’ve listened to along the way. So appreciate that. So what shows are you currently binge-watching? 

Tim:

Yeah, I just finished Brooklyn Nine-Nine for the second time. 

Charlie:

Oh yeah. 

Tim:

And I wanted to bring that one up just because there’s a character on there. His name’s Charles Boyle. He’s a little goofy, probably similar to me, people would say. But he has his family’s sourdough recipe and it’s important to him and he nurtures it. He takes care of it, and I compare that to our culture. 

Our culture needs to be nurtured, needs to be taken care of, and when they eat from the sourdough when they make the bread, it’s delicious and great. I think that’s true for us too, is we nurture and take care of our culture. We see success. 

Charlie:

Yeah, I mean, I like to say that you can’t microwave culture and it takes daily mending to it, right? And looking after it. So it’s a crockpot mentality. Not a microwave mentality. 

So when you start, I know you do you have hobbies and things of that nature when you’re not working for the day and you have some time for yourself or your family and your three boys, what do you like to do for fun or to relax? 

Tim:

We are a sports family. 

Charlie:

Yeah. 

Tim:

So my oldest is in golf. 11-year-old is doing first-year travel baseball and coaching my six-year-old baseball team, which is always a lot of fun. And then the baseball dads got me into softball. 

So playing softball on Monday nights, and when we’re not doing those things taking walks with my wife, just talking, you know, life’s busy and a lot of stuff going on. And we get the opportunity to take the dog for a walk and just talk, and it’s refreshing for me. 

Charlie:

When you play softball, is there a homerun limit? 

Tim:

There is. 

Charlie:

And do you hit the limit every time? 

Tim:

Maybe. 

Charlie:

Yeah, okay. All right. Where do you get your inspiration and motivation? 

Tim:

My family, you know, my dad, my wife, my kids, you know, those, they really keep me going.

Charlie:

Okay, and then what is one thing about Broad River you think would surprise others from the outside looking in, maybe a misperception or something? 

Tim:

I think it’s we’re more than a retail furniture company. We grow people. And I mean, we take a lot of pride in that every single day.

Charlie:

Yeah. Identifying as growth and development company, I think is really powerful. And we always say we will grow as far as our people will take us, or not. So we have to have growth-minded people. 

We have to grow our people. And that’s that human capital mindset. And again, I think what we’ve heard today, what everyone else has heard is you’re doing a tremendous job of that.

Okay, final question for you.

Tim:

Sure. 

Charlie:

To someone who is not a Memory Maker and is pondering whether or not they should come to the River. What advice would you offer to that person? 

Tim:

Absolutely do it. If you want to be encouraged every day, if you want to thrive, if you want to be a part of something positive, come, be open, show integrity, be unified, and have exceptional enthusiasm.  

Charlie:

Love it. That is Tim Clouse, everyone. Tim, this has been fun. Thanks so much for coming on the podcast and thanks for what you’re doing and winning and thriving. And can’t wait to see who wins DC of the year this year. And the Falcons, the Bruins, or the Otters. It’s going to be, I know one thing, it’ll be exciting and this has been a great, great podcast. Thanks for joining us. 

Tim:

Thanks, Charlie. Appreciate it. 

Charlie:

Thanks so much, guys. And join us every Wednesday for new episodes of Stories from the River. Listen, wherever you’re listening now or on our YouTube channel, Amazon or Spotify, or Apple Podcasts, or any popular podcast player. We look for bringing you fresh new content every Wednesday. 

Thanks so much, Tim. 

Welcome to Stories from the River, a podcast brought to you by Broad River Retail, where we’ll explore the personal journeys of our Memory Makers and share real stories from across the organization. And now for your host, president and CEO at the River, Charlie Malouf.

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