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Episode 26: Authenticity in the Workplace with Fran Tarkenton


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In and of itself, being authentic may feel challenging in today’s hyper influenced environment. Further, authenticity in the workplace has become a major of concern for employees and employers alike.

On this episode, I welcome Fran Tarkenton to this conversation as one who has started and run over twenty companies and further, helps small businesses succeedHe is also a former National Football League (NFL) quarterback and television personality. During and after his NFL career, he started more than 20 successful companies, which now include GoSmallBiz, Tarkenton Financial, and SmallBizClub, a content-rich website for entrepreneurs that he founded with Office Depot.

In this episode, Fran gives inspiration in bringing in a diversified and authenticity-driven culture in his company.  He embraces, loves and highly respects each team member’s personality and differences that tend to manifest in decades of employment and strong working relationships with him. Know the rules that Fran implements in his workplace that don’t look and feel like rules at all. Also, learn from this serial entrepreneur as he gives a dose of his great advice for other business owners to level up their work ethics and culture.


Topics Covered:

02:58 – Fran shares one golden rule that he sets in his office

05:04 – How to help a new hire to get going

07:02 – The importance of meeting a new hire on the first day from the perspective of a business owner

08:48 – Fran tells with pride and joy that his employees work for 25 years and above with the companies he founded

10:40 – Why he loves coming to work every day

10:57 – Fran tells his son’s story as an example of why a college degree doesn’t guarantee business success

12:43 – Revealing more of the culture they practice in the workplace

14:40 – Some of the things that Fran does personally to keep the culture going

17:24 – Advice to new employees who wants to ensure they can be Authentic in a new work environment

18:12 – Citing examples why having a boss mentality in a company is not good

19:22 – The joy of being a mentor


Key Takeaways:

“You have to get along with each other. We don’t have any bosses. Bosses are cancer to your place because they think they got to be the leader of the boss. You got to love your teammates. You got to love the people that you work. If I’ve got 53 people in a national football league roster today and I have 52 great people, but I’ve got one cancer in that group that will destroy the whole culture. And it comes back to having a culture where we celebrate our diversity, we celebrate our differences, and I have the power to be able to express myself and to be different and to have an opinion that’s different from my colleagues. But I have to do that with respect.” – Fran Tarkenton

“If anybody treats her with disrespect, they won’t work here anymore. You cannot treat one of our family members in our company with disrespect. You can’t do it. You can disagree. (But) you do it civilly.” – Fran Tarkenton

“None of us want to be embarrassed. I want to work with somebody that will make me better. I want to partner, “that’s one plus one equals 10”.  I want a customer relationship, “that’s one plus one equals 10”, when we think of outside of our selfishness of treating people properly.  Be authentic, be who we are; we are uniquely different. God did that for us, and so we desperately need to understand that our differences are the strength, but inside of us, we’re the same. We’ve got the same motors, and we got the same brains, we got the same physical bodies, arms, “and legs and soul and heart”. So, we’re brothers and sisters, and we try to be something different than that. We are all in this human game together and struggle with it together, and I understand that, and I celebrate that. So, we take all of that and put it inside our businesses, and amazing things happen.” – Fran Tarkenton

“The only way we learn is by asking questions, and listening, and I learn more today, faster today than I ever have in my life because none of us has all the answers. Life is fast changing.  You should ask questions that are important to you.” – Fran Tarkenton

“We are all different. Celebrate the difference. We’re different, but we’re all part of the same human race. We have the same feeling, same brain, same body, same things, and that’s what brings us together and why we spread that apart to this group over here in this group over here.” – Fran Tarkenton


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