Episode 43

Becoming a Cannabis Executive

The cannabis industry is booming with opportunity – and as small businesses gain their footing, grow, and scale, company leaders are able to step out of the day-to-day operations and into true executive roles. But what does it really take to be an executive in the cannabis industry? How does one get started? And what should existing businesses look for when choosing to bring a new voice of leadership into the fold?

In this episode, we speak with Alexandra Ruby, the Founder and CEO of Happy Gnome HR, about what professionals need to know about the cannabis industry, how to be successful, and how to find your right-fit place as a cannabis executive.


Adam Kulbach, Cory Waggoner, Alexandra Ruby, Anthony Adkins


Adam Kulbach  00:10

Hello and welcome to the higher enlightenment podcast brought to you by higher yields cannabis consulting your seed to sale Business Solutions team. My name is Adam part of the creative team here at higher yields. And today’s episode is all about being a cannabis executive. What does it mean to be a cannabis executive? The cannabis industry is unique in many respects. But what about hiring, career development and climbing the ladder to the executive level? In this episode, we speak with Alexandra Ruby, the founder and CEO of happy gnome HR, about what professionals need to know about the cannabis industry, how to be successful, and how to find your right fit place as a cannabis executive. Today on the panel, we also have Corey Wagner, CEO of higher yields consulting, and Anthony Atkins, Chief Revenue Officer of higher yields consulting. So without further ado, let’s get on with the show. Let’s begin by having you guys introduce yourselves. Let’s start with you. Alexandra, could you give us a little background on yourself?


Alexandra Ruby  01:21

Hi, there. Yes, absolutely. So my name is Alexandra Ruby. I’m the co founder and CEO of happy gnome HR. We were founded here in Denver, Colorado, and provide HR services, human capital management services, and the like to, you know, nationwide, actually, but based here in Denver, which is actually where I got started in the cannabis industry almost 11 years ago now can’t believe I’m saying that. But yeah, so got started back with a variety of different companies in order to kind of understand business operations. From, you know, in the cannabis industry, I realized that I was, you know, a people person at heart, and that eventually the industry was going to need HR services. And so I learned what I felt I needed to learn enough to start the company about, you know, eight years later. And here we are, with happy gnome. We’re in eight states and counting. And yeah, just happy to be here on the show today.


Adam Kulbach  02:23

Oh, thanks for being here. How about you, Cory? Could you give us low introduction to yourself?


Cory Waggoner  02:29

Yeah, my name is Corey Wagner. I’m the CEO and founder here at higher yields consulting. Yeah, that’s all I usually do. Everybody knows me, I think by now they listen to podcasts.


Adam Kulbach  02:42

Okay, thanks. How about you, Anthony, could you give us low introduction of yourself?


Anthony Adkins  02:48

Yeah, absolutely. I’m Anthony Adkins. I’m the Chief Revenue Officer here at higher yields. My background is is deeply embedded into telecom and technology. We’re worked in that industry for 30 years, prior to coming on board with higher yields in the last two and a half. Of course, very excited about what this industry has to offer. My role responsibilities are deeply embedded in to market and business development, all things revenue, revenue channels, sales channels, partnership, development, strategy, market development and expansion. So very excited, of course, to be talking about this, this opportunity, and also to share a little bit about my insights, my background and career.


Adam Kulbach  03:42

Thank you, Anthony. Okay, I guess anybody can jump in as they wish. How did you decide to move into the cannabis space? What prompted it? And how did you go about it?


Anthony Adkins  03:54

I guess I can take that one right away. For me, it was a it’s been a very, very interesting journey, because I was not a user of cannabis for a very, very long time, due to my athletic background and some things in terms of collegiately. And I never wanted to put my, my scholarship or my opportunity to perform or to play. So I never was against it. It was just something I chose not to do. And in terms of, you know, the complete illegality of that in the late 80s, of course, early 90s, you know, from that standpoint, and so it just that sort of just had continued on. However, I was paying very close attention to supplementation or holistic medicine, organic things because even though the aches and pains of my athletic background than The toll that had taken on my body, you know, I always sought to heal naturally from that standpoint. And as my life developed as things developed, I became more and more deeply connected to the medicinal side of herbs and supplementation and natural healing. And those sorts of things, which ultimately led me up to the things that were happening in the cannabis industry, the results that were being seen, the development that was being done, how the industry was starting to occur and emerge, not only nationally here in the United States, but also internationally. My background in telecom and technology and data and data analytics and, and those sorts of things, infrastructure and what was happening across the globe. Because of that, influence and impact that, you know, I had, and my my responsibilities as a director of business development, you know, in North and Latin America, I’m really started seeing a bunch of things connect with once the once it kind of hit a pinnacle about three years ago, on where the cannabis industry was definitely a focus of mine, I was taking sort of my passion for market business development, my passion for marketing and those sorts of things and connecting opportunity to the market and the market to opportunity. And then combining that with my passion for holistic healing and medicine and, and those sorts of things. And as of course, I’ve matured in age, I was staying further away from pharmaceutical, opioids, pain meds, all that other things, it was insight, natural healing, which the cannabis industry actually provided me. So combining those two passions and being now involved in, you know, in an organization like higher yields, that is actually bringing this great news and great message and connecting the industry to markets and the markets, the industry and the plans and that sort of thing. So that’s how it all came into play for me. And then connecting, of course, with Corey going through the process and being brought on board has been nothing less than amazing for me.


Adam Kulbach  07:29

Okay, how about you, Alexandria? How did you get into the cannabis space?


Alexandra Ruby  07:35

Yeah, yeah. So I, you know, grew up in Minnesota, you know, kind of traditional, Catholic, you know, conservative background and moved out here to Colorado a little over 12 years ago, you know, just really looking to explore and make a life for myself, you know, create a new landscape, a new, a new future experience, things that I hadn’t experienced before. And that was really at the time that cannabis became, I mean, just exploded, and I was in a right place, right time. And being the kind of right brained, adventurous outside of the box risk taking type person that I was, I knew that this was something I wanted to explore. And it was the hot thing, it was the, the, you know, the gold rush the the green rush at the time. And so I felt like it was full of opportunity. Everybody was doing it, quote, unquote. And I wanted to jump in. And I knew that, you know, I had a very entrepreneurial heart. And I always wanted to, to run and own my own business someday. And thought that this was the best way for me to learn from above a bunch of other entrepreneurs, different ways of which I could make a splash. And so that was attractive. I also, I wrote my college thesis on pharmaceuticals and the negative impacts, both physically and societally. And so I had a passion to to help advocate help spread the word for the cannabis industry. And that’s, you know, what I continue to do for the next you know, decade, but there was a definite passion pursuit on top of it being a business pursuit. For me. I knew that the nation needed access, better access, more access and education and that I wanted to be part of that charge.


Adam Kulbach  09:35

Okay, thanks. How about you, Cory? How did you get into the cannabis space?


Cory Waggoner  09:41

I like to kind of think that me and the cannabis industry grew up together, because I’ve been a consumer or part of the industry, I guess, since I was an underage minor. But when I was about 2324, I started going out to California quite a bit, and really started to learn more about the plant and the industry and how they you know what was kind of going on in the west coast at that time. And so a couple years later, I ended up moving out to California, just kind of on a whim, just because one day I woke up and kind of had a gut feeling that I needed to get out of Birmingham, Alabama, and wanted to go out west. So I packed my bags a couple weeks later, and headed for Northern California, and ended up in Denver, Colorado, and I’ve been here for 12 years now, but owned and operated stores and grows and facilities and consulted on, you know, hundreds of different businesses all around the world. So it’s really a gamble or kind of a jump or leap of faith, it really paid off for me.


Adam Kulbach  10:39

Great. So how do we define what it means to be an executive in the cannabis space?


Alexandra Ruby  10:45

Yeah, I can I can take that one. I, you know, I think it’s definitely a combination. And I do think it’s more unique in the cannabis space and other industries. And I say that, because the traits of adaptability, malleability, the ability, ability to pivot, and also be humble, and creative, I think there’s more of a place for that in this industry, because of the uniqueness because of the newness. You know, as a leader, as an executive, you’re leading teams of people that have never been in this space before. And so you’re having to create environments, structures. And I guess, you know, business plans, essentially, that are more based in, like I said, that ability to adapt, and have have teams of people that are on board with your mission and vision, you as an executive need to really be able to paint that picture, and keep people on board. This because it’s non traditional, there’s a lot of things that pop up, there’s a lot of unexpected, you know, scenarios, events, whether they’re positive or negative, you’re having to carry teams through those experiences. So that that durability that grit, I think, is sometimes even more important in an industry like this. Just like I said, just because of the newness, so that’s, you know, that’s what I would say there. But I mean, I could go on a little bit, but I’ll hand it off to tell one of the others.


Cory Waggoner  12:26

In the cannabis industry, being an executive is a little bit different than, you know, more mature markets, because it is a lot more of like a startup type of environment. A lot of times there are big companies in cannabis and, you know, big executives, but there’s also a lot of really small companies that are, you know, 1015 employees that have CEOs and CEOs and CFOs. So, it’s really great industry, I think, to get some experience with one of those titles, if you are from, you know, kind of the corporate world or, you know, are familiar with, you know, kind of the entrepreneurial experience or startup businesses?


Anthony Adkins  13:01

Yeah, it’s definitely it’s definitely an interesting perspective, right? Because you do see a lot of a lot of folks who come in from very, very mature markets, whether it be technology, whether it be insurance, whether it be gas, transportation, oil and gas, you know, just people that that there, no doubt, had levels and things have experienced that. We’re not necessarily, you know, illegal at one point in time. And there is, you know, I felt a little bit of a, a curiosity approach to myself when I came in, because, you know, coming in, there’s, there’s no doubt that especially on the business development, sales, revenue, partnership, development side of things, speaking into the market, speaking into the clients, and speaking into that, you know, we have to be mindful of in how to be able to navigate behaviors, how to navigate organizational elements, that it’s not just, Hey, I’m just going to, you know, jump over everybody, because I’m an executive and I need to be talking to the CEO or I need to be talking to whoever so I mean, it’s very, it’s a very mindful approach. It’s very, which we developed a phrase called Slow down to go fast. We were are being mindful, we are paying attention. We are bringing our experience and expertise to a new and emerging market. We are seeking to understand watching, listening and making sure that we’re staying tight to the end game and the end goal, which is you know, successful developing successful business businesses. Successful really friendships, and that this is a collaborative environment. So moving into becoming, you know, an executive in the cannabis industry, it’s it’s not that we’re, you know, throwing around big sticks, it’s that we’re being having a level of quiet confidence, having a level of humility, working and developing and teaching and educating at all levels, and that from that standpoint, the industry I believe, becomes better. I mean, it’s not just one big party atmosphere, it is about it being about business and being about strategy and being about navigation, how to navigate the the landmines, and the pitfalls, and, you know, waiting risk, and, you know, those sorts of things while building those relationships that are so key will be so you know, fundamental to the success not only of each individual organization, but also for our clients and for the industry as a whole.


Alexandra Ruby  16:05

Yeah, and I I’d also like to add that, you know, I think for people that have been in the industry for a while, or people that have spent, I guess, anything more than maybe a few hours with some of the executives, you know, at conferences, and stuff like that, we start to see a lack of humility. At times, because of these, a lot of companies have blown up overnight. Or they’ve, you know, they’ve experienced massive success, or they’re seen as having massive success, or they’re the best at whatever it is that they do whatever the situation is, but being able to remain humble, and modest, and still relate to your your employees, and not having that huge gap. This is something we really commonly see with our some of our clients, and just industry wide that, you know, there’s this hockey stick effect, you know, where, you know, you’re, you experienced massive success overnight, or it’s, you know, implied, and the, the C suite, or the executives create kind of a, a wedge, or a large gap between themselves and the lower level employees. And the employees feel this very, very much. There’s a lack of transparency, which contributes to, you know, sometimes a lack of trust or visibility on what the overall or overarching goals are for the company. And so I think the ability to remain humble is also a huge piece of what makes a good executive in this space. Okay,


Adam Kulbach  17:39

how important is having a career path in the cannabis industry?


Alexandra Ruby  17:44

Yeah, I think, yeah, having having really, really clearly communicated and thought out career paths, or I should say, it’s communicated career paths, throughout your company, on every level, is very, very important, especially for retention. And people feeling that they have an opportunity to move up within the company, that they’re not just going to be there for six months to a year. One thing that we’re seeing, not just in the cannabis industry, but you know, across industries, is that people aren’t there for 1020 30 years anymore, we’re looking at people that are have a lot of jobs over the course of, you know, five to 10 years, and I wouldn’t even call it job hopping, I think it’s a you know, almost a, you know, a fault of the employers themselves for not having those career paths and not setting these employees up for success, long term success. So I think showing people what, what they need to do in order to elevate their careers within that same organization. So you know, around KPIs around, you need to begin doing these things within your own role in order to be considered for, you know, upper level positions, things, things of that nature, I think it’s really important to have career paths clearly communicated that, hey, for example, you’re a project manager, one that you want to become project manager to, or you want to be bud tender, and you want to move up to shift to lead and eventually store manager, these are the types of things that you need to be thinking, this is how you need to be acting, these are the types of trainings you should invest in, or the company should invest in for you. All of that starts to come into play, when you discuss when you’re starting to discuss career paths. So I think clearly laid out career paths you know, touching base with your your employees, on where they’re currently at and what they need to do, from a performance management perspective is really important to the success of employees and the company overall.


Cory Waggoner  19:49

Yeah, I think, you know, from the operator side, it’s it’s important and I think for people coming into the industry, it’s important to see a company has a career path for you and to really been thinking about a career path because I think a big part of the turnover in the industry is related to people who just want to get into the industry because they’re excited because it is, you know, I think Alex said the next hot thing or the hot thing, because they want to be a budtender. They like to smoke weed use we edibles whatever it is, and they want to educate people about it, but they don’t really think about, you know, what the next step is, or where they position themselves to be able to work up to get to kind of that next level. So I think it’s important from both sides that, you know, coming into the industry, you’re positioning yourself and really thinking through a career path, and where you want to be and how your skills aligned with that, or, you know, what gaps you need to fill or become more experienced or educated in, but also from the operators that think, you know, from a brand perspective, and as Alex said, you know, just retention, you know, be able to lay those things out for people really shows that an organization has taken time in, in figuring out how they can help or benefit or make people’s lives easier, better by working with a company rather than just putting up a job post and paying a salary and hoping they stick around.


Adam Kulbach  21:06

Yeah, it sounds like it helps all the parties concerned when you’re concerned about your employees. Yeah, absolutely.


Anthony Adkins  21:12

Because there’s a there’s a definite, you know, matching app of strength, you know, interest, desire, vision, and, you know, overall health of not only the individual, but also the organization. So, there’s a lot of things that, you know, great salespeople don’t make great sales managers. You know, so that may not be the career path. And so, you know, we have an opportunity, you know, in this in the industry to actually create some things and influence some, you know, great direction, you know, and directional support for not only leadership and executives in the organization, and each organization, but also for the individuals who desire to get in and develop.


Alexandra Ruby  22:03

Yeah, and I’d also like to add on that, you know, it’s, it might seem like a daunting task for some of these busy, you know, startup business owners, you know, it’s like, the last thing they’re thinking about is creating, you know, they’re just trying to keep their heads above water, you know, they’re not trying to invest in these resources right now, we’ll get there at some point. But really, what it does is it saves them a ton of money on hiring, if you’re able to create a culture where you can hire internally, I think it’s massively massively valuable to that organization to not have to go through an entire hiring stint, you know, to to try to find the right fit for whatever that upper level role is, when you have people that are probably loyal to the organization, which, in cannabis, I have found the employers that are loyal back to their employees, which these are some of the most loyal employees, they’re extremely passionate about the plant, they want to stick around with the same organization as long as they possibly can, but you have to be an employer that is worthy of being loyal to. And so if you’re giving people opportunities internally, you’re creating that stickiness that that loyalty cycle. And so I think, you know, just to add on to why why those career paths are so important.


Adam Kulbach  23:20

Okay, so what methodologies transfer from the corporate world? And how do they improve the cannabis industry?


Anthony Adkins  23:28

Hmm, let me see. No, there’s actually there’s quite a bit because there are so many lessons that have been learned. There’s so many things that have been done, you know, trust and loyalty is big, your word honesty, integrity, ethics, and, you know, truly developing out staying true. Paying your bills, paying your invoices, you know, a lot, a lot of those things are, you know, are pretty much standard in terms of business. But when you take a look at, you know, certain what I would call high, more elevated process and insight, you know, of connecting of connection of doing certain things. There are things that have been done in other industries for a very, very long time that just no longer work. And you can kind of sort of you can see some of those things being brought over, that don’t work. And then it’s it’s given up to you know, the kind of browbeating kind of, you know, aspects of, you know, demean demeaning you know, employees and as opposed to being systems approach, you know, taking a systems approach. One of the one I’ll focus in on this quite a bit not, you know, building trust in the industry is not necessarily that easy. If so, how do you how are you mindful? Again? How do you do? How do you bring process to a marketing as a service, the demand generation, actually connecting to the market, giving permission asking permission, certain out elements of and levels of getting commitments along the way in order to be able to, you know, take next steps and move to next levels and breaking a project down into processes, or phases, which of course, is a key differentiator for for higher yields. And what we do how we do it? Well, we break down talking about our differentiators, building trust in the market, getting collaborative environments not being so customized, or being very customized and not being so templated there’s a lot of great things that, you know, are being brought over have been brought over, but still need to be brought over, you know, into overall development of that, you know, the Alexandria brought up something about, you know, kind of sort of an arrogance factor or, you know, non humility factor and saying, Hey, listen, this is the best ever Well, you know, bringing in other experts into the industry, consultants have been used very highly in a lot of other different industries, of course, you know, we can throw out big names, but you know, also indicating and opening up and not being so protective, not everything is is IP, not everything is you know, secret sauce, those those things are important, you know, involving those, those processes, those evaluations, the assessments, and taking a look at creating higher yields, and higher, you know, profitability, and more diverse margins, and sales channels and those sorts of things. So I know I’m kind of rambling a little bit, but that there’s a lot that can be gleaned and brought into brought over. And, but also it can be brought over but not accepted. So I think that there’s another factor at play in in terms of acceptance of new ideas, you know, within higher yields, we have a saying that, see if it’s not broke, break it before your competition does, you know, so always look at constant and never ending improvement in order to be able to, you know, facilitate not only our organizational development, but also our clients development.


Alexandra Ruby  27:42

Yeah, good, good, good points, Anthony. Um, for this one, I mean, it’s the last year of, of happy gnomes life, we’ve really come to crave, and, you know, wish that the industry had a little more structure and process, and that HR was just a no brainer, consider, you know, it’s considered one of the five pillars or, you know, however many pillars, you know, we consider sales, operations, finance, marketing, you know, whatever those those pillars are, that HR is a no brainer, that there, it’s included in that without it, you know, you know, four legs on a stool, we can’t stand. And so that’s, that’s been a struggle at times in the in the cannabis industry. So what I would say is, you know, I would bring over a little more structure and process with without it, people are, you know, they feel that they can get away without having HR. And that simply isn’t, isn’t a proper business practice. And so a lot of times, we are here, educating companies on why HR is so important, why the sooner that you you bring in HR, the more profitable, the more happier employees are going to be. And the more longevity that the company is most likely going to experience. Because people are going to stick around you have culture, you have process, you have confidentiality, you have a safe place for your employees to go. You at some point in time have benefits and other compensation related processes. Those are all key to having a good business strategy. And what we see is a lot of these businesses, there’s a there’s a massive void. There’s, you know, there’s a hole in the business plan. And so that I think is one thing that I would, you know, definitely take over from more traditional industries is, is that HR is a no brainer, you got to have it. So that would be my kind of on my wish list for the industry.


Adam Kulbach  29:45

Okay, so what is the value of soft versus hard skills in the cannabis industry?


Alexandra Ruby  29:52

So I think that would be me. I I’d love to take that question. So software Since hard skills, I would say more than other industries that I’ve worked in over the years because you know, happy gnome is an entirely exclusively cannabis. I would say this industry is more open to the soft skills when we’re talking about passion, and loyalty and excitement, and innovation and things like that. I think we look for people that have compassion, that I mean, we’re dealing with a lot of client or I’m sorry, I’m, what’s the word I’m looking for? MediCal patients, I mean, we’re dealing with people that are using this as you know, a replacement for pharmaceuticals and things like that this these are ailments, these are illnesses, these are, you know, things like that. So we’re dealing with very people forward topics and experiences. So ideally, we want people that work at our companies that can that are empathetic, and compassionate, and understanding and open minded. So I think, a lot of those traits throughout the interview process and hiring process, you know, that we experience when we when we do hiring and things like that, for our clients, we’re looking for somebody who, you know, has those traits, I think it’s just a little bit more than some other industries. But the soft skills of you know, I had mentioned earlier, what makes a good cannabis executive. So some of those same traits, you know, the ability to listen very well, the ability to be malleable and adaptable, are kind of in that same wheelhouse with this industry, because it’s new, because it’s people forward so and people centric. So that’s, that’s what I would say there


Adam Kulbach  31:47

doesn’t help to have an executive recruiter support.


Alexandra Ruby  31:51

So I’ll take this one as well, I would say absolutely. I think it’s really important to have a third party and unbiased individual that also has the ability to understand the organization’s culture, their values, what what type of organization, is it? Is it a product, is it a service? What is the environment like, you know, somebody that can come in with a clean, or you know, just that that unbiased, clean, clean set of eyes, you know, on to the organization that can work with the internal HR or operations team to understand what the needs of the organization are. But then executive recruiter will be able to find that top talent, they’ll have a great pool of people or the ability to find a great pool of people that may be beyond the reach of that internal HR or hiring team. And so I would strongly recommend at least giving the executive recruiter route a try. They are going to be able to cast a much wider net than that of an internal team.


Adam Kulbach  32:57

Can that net be too wide though? I’ve received emails from recruiters and they just seem way off base like they were just hanging on one keyword or something from my resume.


Alexandra Ruby  33:09

Oh, yeah, absolutely. And I think finding that right fit. I mean, you have to shop for the right executive recruiter. What I mean, what we’ve seen in the job market, even if I wasn’t an HR, what I’ve seen in the job market, I is a ton of recruiting firms have popped up. I mean, everybody seems to be a recruiter these days. And so you find people and the rates are seemingly at times somewhat exorbitant for these organizations to pay to find, you know, that, that using that outside pool, I mean, we’re looking at sometimes rates of 25 to 30% of the first year is compensation, total compensation. And so I mean, that’s, that’s a hefty, you know, lump sum. So you have to be able to trust that that person isn’t just turning and burning. It’s not the first, you know, three people that they find that they give you and well, just because they’ve had titles similar to the one that you’re looking for, you know, in the past doesn’t make them a good fit. You have to find somebody that you’re you’ve maybe you’re building a relationship with, maybe you’re not giving them the business right off the bat, but they’re learning about you. They’ve met your team, they take the time to do those things. They have really great qualifying questions, to understand to understand your your culture, your mission, your vision, your values, where the company’s heading is, I mean, there’s a lot of great qualifying questions that should be asked from the recruiter to the organization so that you know that they’re invested. And you know, that they’re not just looking to make a quick buck, and send you some, some folks that who knows if they’re going to stay there for more than six months to a year. I mean, you know, a real investment is what you’re looking for, you know, in these new employees. So I think, you know, to answer your question, it’s just as much important that the employers that the recruiters As the the recruiters that those applicants,


Adam Kulbach  35:05

okay, so what is the allure of being an executive?


Anthony Adkins  35:10

The allure of taking the shots are a good practice known as, like gore.


Cory Waggoner  35:24

I think, you know, kind of like one of the questions earlier, you know, there’s this kind of fast track and cannabis, to be an executive. And there is like this idea that you can go from, you know, corporate where you’ve had a really good title to a CEO or a CFO and get that executive experience. But, you know, taking that fast track sometimes isn’t always the best idea. You know, there’s, there’s still other things within that organization that you have to kind of bat out and make sure that you’re making the right decision. Because when you get up and when you get into an industry that is heavily startup focused, there’s, there’s a high likelihood of failure. And it’s not always you. It can be the organization funding didn’t come through or somebody mismanaged the budget or timelines were off, and we didn’t get the second round of funding, there’s so many things that can happen along the way that I don’t think about, when you kind of see the allure of being that executive, and you become a little bit blinded to. So I think it’s important to people getting into the industry, from the talent side to you know, work with executive recruiters or career coaches, to really get an understanding of of what they’re getting into, and what kind of questions to ask is there, they’re seeking out those those new positions?


Anthony Adkins  36:40

Yeah, and I think there’s, there’s an innate or intuitive desire to have impact and influence. Right, and with that impact and influence comes responsibility, accountability, and, you know, some sustainability, you know, so it’s not just a desire, oh, I want to be it’s okay, I want to take this route, however, am I ready to take on all the aspects of responsibility, you know, all the way down to the bottom line in the revenue, bottom line, and to the success bottom line, and to, you know, the legal bottom line, making sure that the company is protected, make sure the individuals and the groups that are working within the organization that are protected? So it’s a much deeper thing than Joe, just the title. And it’s a it’s having an understanding, being committed, taking responsibility, being accountable, all at the same time, from you know, that route or that perspective.


Adam Kulbach  37:46

Okay, so what stands in the way of applicants becoming cannabis executives?


Alexandra Ruby  37:52

I think this is a two pronged question. And I say that because it can also it can fall on the the shoulders or fault of the employer for not paving the way or creating opportunities for those applicants. You know, if they if they don’t know how to get there, how are they ever going to get there, if they don’t believe that they can, or believe that they’re working for an organization that promotes or supports them moving up, or encourages, I think is a great word. You know, in moving up, I think that’s where people feel discouraged, and unable, or that maybe that’s, you know, are they capable of moving up to those roles. So I think the encouragement piece of how, you know, having a culture of support, and having the employer and the management being champions, for those people moving up is extremely important. I think, you know, just to add on to that employer piece, I another word is confidence, instilling confidence in your employees is hugely important, pointing out areas that they can improve in, and ways that they can advance within the organization is is, you know, I would say, just as much on the employer as it is on the employee. But what would stand on the way on the employer? side of things, I would probably say, taking advantage of training programs, taking advantage of learning from management, making a point to ask questions. I think, you know, I don’t I don’t see that a ton, you know, where employees are taking a lot of initiative. But I think that comes back to the culture, the management, things like that. I would say the the word initiative is massively important. You have to be somebody who’s a go getter. You have to be somebody who makes it clear that they they want to move up that they want to grow within their role. They want to make more money, they want you to want to have a better title, things like that. So yeah, I would I would say that’s what’s standing in the way both from the employer and employee side.


Adam Kulbach  39:54

So what do direct reports look for in their leadership team?


Anthony Adkins  39:59

It’s interesting because Because I believe there has to be a level of authenticity, a level of transparency, but also that is in line with the role responsibility of the direct report. The the aspect of creativity and innovation in the position, you know, sometimes has to start with simplicity. So, you know, Insight being available, talking authentically, transparently, about the role rather about the responsibility about the execution of the strategy. I think that there is, you know, direct reports look for some of that direction, look for some of that leadership. But also, they should be looking for, you know, kind of the guidelines, the, we need to do things this way, because this is what we’re working to accomplish, that, you know, too much creativity and too much innovation on a particular row of a direct report could actually knock off a strategy or be mis misguided from that standpoint. So there has to be open discussion, communication is key, direct reports, I think, really believe in that open, you know, need that communication. From that standpoint, they should also be looking for the two way street, they should also be looking for the reciprocation. This is kind of what I believe they should be looking for, of course, than what they actually could be, or would be, it’s because there’s no doubt that the the strategy is being built. Execution is important, and understanding and knowing how to navigate that, but also, I believe, direct reports are looking for certain processes certain systems, as well, to support their efforts. So there’s less guesswork, there’s more clarity and certainty. And, like, key performance indicators. So they know how they’re being measured. What success actually looks like. And, you know, from that perspective, so, it’s very, it’s an intuitive, it’s a, it’s an intuitive game, and, you know, we have to be mindful of, you know, overall development, but, and, of course, you know, respect and, and, you know, all the good things that come with building, you know, good relationship working relationships.


Alexandra Ruby  42:38

Yeah, agreed, Anthony, I think, you know, what we found with our clients want to, you know, that allows them to be successful. And it’s kind of a philosophy, I think, in overall management. And it kind of comes a little bit back to parenting, and boundaries. You know, setting a hard line, if you have a, you know, criteria, you have parameters, you have structure, begin with something that’s a little bit more stark and harsh, and, you know, has hard lines, and then maybe harsh is not the word, but particular. And then, you know, as you go, you can, you can loosen the reins a little bit on what that criteria is, you can allow for some flexibility, but when you have those, you can create those four walls, and then create doors for people to go in and out of, you know, they can make it their own, they can get creative with those roles. But it’s important, you know, from an HR perspective, we all know, I mean, to have a solid job description, that somebody can fall back on, and know that those are their actual duties, especially when conflict arises, or disagreements on on what their role is, you can at least point to something that’s structured, and black and white. And so and then move from there, you can allow that flexibility from there. So I think, while it might not be the most pleasant all the time to have, well, this is what your exact duties are, and this is what you need to follow. I think people overall crave and thrive on structure. And so I would say direct reports, everybody wants to have fun and flexibility and enjoy their jobs and you know, be able to do what they do. But I think people maybe, you know, without saying it enjoy structure. So, yeah.


Cory Waggoner  44:29

I think it’s always good. It’s good to kind of see from the leadership team, you know, just constant improvements and desires to like, want to get better. So sending you know that, you know, where we’re headed, what we’re doing, you know, sometimes we see a lot of fluff data or somewhat misleading data. And to Anthony’s point, you know, that’s, that’s not transparent. Those things don’t build trust. And they really just set leadership teams up for failure because at some point, everybody figures it out. You know that some of these things were kind of skewed or put in a certain direction to make it look like something that it wasn’t. So I think, you know, building that trust is obviously important, but also having a team that really strives for excellence, and continues to figure out ways they can get better, as is really great to see.


Alexandra Ruby  45:16

Yeah, and I would also add on to that, though, I mean, we’re living in a culture where people do really thrive on feedback. And Pat’s on the back, and encouragement and words of affirmation, you know, especially younger generations, they it’s definitely more of a verbal environment that they thrive on constant feedback loops is really important to them, when they don’t hear from you or when there’s not really great lines of communication. I think people it’s like, Oh, what am I doing wrong? You know, it’s, it’s lots of question marks and the unknowns that that becomes scary. So I think, you know, to add on to what you were saying before, I think they’re looking to their, their management and higher ups to be clearly, you know, clearly communicate, be transparent, and to be in a constant state of feedback.


Adam Kulbach  46:05

Okay, well, thank you very much. Does anybody have any final thoughts or things they want to plug?


Alexandra Ruby  46:10

Yeah, I’d say Come, come reach out to us, come say hi to us, you know, at events, conferences, you know, come visit our website, happy gnome hr.com We have our social media, you know, up as well, same same happy gnome HR, you can find us that way. You know, truly, truly looking, you know, to, to add value to this industry from a human perspective. And eventually, you know, our whole goal. And I think a lot of a lot of company’s goals are to get to the point where we’re not just, you know, going from day to day or project to project but we’re creating long lasting culture and employer brands. And, you know, happy gnome is here to help get your your HR department set up from a compliance perspective, and then to move on to strategic efforts. But overall, we’re hoping to take to take the industry to a point where we’ve got a bunch of different companies and brands that have fantastic cultures that, you know, people are ranting and raving about and comp, you know, employees are staying there for more than, you know, a year, two years. We’re looking at five plus years. Soon. So, yeah, I’ve really appreciated my time here and look forward to to doing more with higher yields.


Adam Kulbach  47:25

Well, thanks for being here. It’s great to have you on board.


Anthony Adkins  47:28

Yeah, no, absolutely. It’s in its continued development, right. It’s a constant and never ending improvement. It’s, you know, continuing to stay on track and on purpose, with intention. And with that, you know, we always look to elevate.


Adam Kulbach  47:46

Okay, well, thank you very much, everybody.


Anthony Adkins  47:48

All right. Thank you. Thanks, guys. Bye, guys.


Adam Kulbach  48:04

Well, thank you for listening, everybody. For more information about our podcasts, or to add suggestions. Or if you want to be a guest on our show, check out the description below. Or please call us at 844 High yield, that’s 8448 Chai y I E L D. And also check out our website at higher yields consulting.com. There you’ll find all sorts of great information and all of our previous podcast episodes. We hope that you’ll join us for our next podcast coming up very soon. So until then, thank you very much. Have a great day.