Developing Your Culture: Get It Wrong Until You Get It Right With Arnie Malham

When done right, culture has the potential to be a real competitive advantage for your business. But how do you build a culture by design and not by default?

Intentional or not, every company has a culture — whether it’s good, bad, or somewhere in between. If you don’t like your culture, there’s one area that can fix it: your leadership. Arnie Malham says that almost 100% of the time, culture reflects leadership. So, if you have a bad culture, you need to take a look in the mirror. Luckily, there are some actionable steps you can take to turn your culture around.

Once you’ve realized that culture starts with you, the next step is all about focusing on your team. When Arnie first started his agency, he thought he could run everything from production to strategy to client success. Eventually, he realized that it had less to do with him, but more to do with the team as a whole. Once he recognized this, he knew that his job was all about supporting the team to lead clients forward.

As a leader, you should allow employees to grow beyond your expertise. Your team needs to know more about the business and your clients’ business than you do. Why is this? When you build up your team to this level of knowledge, the company gets stronger, your culture gets stronger, and your business flourishes.

But there’s one important culture aspect that Arnie highlights: allow yourself to get it wrong before you get it right. And it doesn’t end there. Even though culture starts with the leadership team, you have to give your employees grace and allow them to get it wrong, too. After all, it’s your team that’s working with clients, developing their expertise, and helping the business grow.

Listen to this episode of The Judd Shaw Way Podcast with Judd Shaw featuring entrepreneur and author, Arnie Malham. Together, they talk about the key steps to developing your culture, why it’s okay to get things wrong, and the best ways to empower your team.

In this episode:

  • [0:50] Judd Shaw introduces his guest, Arnie Malham, and the topic of the day: developing a culture of “wow”
  • [3:15] Arnie discusses why he founded cj Advertising and how he learned to empower the team
  • [6:56] Judd’s experience working with cj Advertising — and his first impressions on their company culture
  • [11:39] Arnie describes his book, Worth Doing Wrong, and why you shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes
  • [13:25] What are the three things leaders need to start building a great culture?
  • [16:02] How to craft the culture you want
  • [19:05] Arnie talks about one program he initially got wrong: team member surveys
  • [21:55] How the Better Book Club came about  — and how it encourages reading
  • [25:09] Why it’s important to have people outside the leadership team offer ideas
  • [27:17] How can you measure success in your culture initiative?
  • [31:14] The number one reason why a culture initiative will fail versus the number one strategy to ensure success
  • [34:54] The value of feeling a culture (not just seeing it)


Hi, everyone. I’m Judd Shaw, host of The Judd Shaw Way podcast. This season’s podcast focuses on providing world-class customer service, which is really about delivering a first class experience to a client or customer. Today’s topic, developing a culture of wow. Successful leaders know that one thing is at the core of every successful business, is strong culture. When done right, I think culture has the potential to be a real competitive advantage. When employees or your team are empowered and encouraged by culture, they can really move faster, they can solve more problems, be more engaged, and really help to meet the goals of the organization. They understand how they can make a difference.

My guest today to help me figure out the formula for building such a culture, Arnie Malham. With more than 20 years as a successful entrepreneur, Arnie has founded and sold multiple businesses, including an advertising agency dedicated to personal injury loss space that I’m certainly fond of. Arnie has spoken to more than 10,000 executives worldwide on the topic of culture and team member engagement, himself awarded most admired CEO, ranked in Nashville, Tennessee’s best places to work, he’s the author of Worth Doing Wrong, a book to help companies build sustainable cultures that rocks their business forward, and he’s also the founder and CEO Better Book Club. Arnie tells me he’s done it wrong so many times, and he’s finally got it right, so let’s get to the conversation. Welcome, Arnie. Thanks for joining me today.

Love hanging out with you and talking culture, customer service, team building, whatever hits us in the right way.

Arnie, so I’m looking to hire an advertising company, and through interviewing companies and talking with ad agents and agency executives, I came to find a full service ad agency out of Nashville, Tennessee. And when I went to meet the president and their team for their pitch, there was something about this company that felt wrong. And it wasn’t because they know what they’re talking about, because they really do know what they’re talking about, but it was something about the people, it was something about the experience. And I recognized through that experience and others like it that in order to successfully grow, I needed help with my culture as much as I needed help with advertising. So you actually founded that company, cj Advertising. Tell me a little about cj?

Right. Well, cj was founded in 1994 after I got fired from the previous job I was in, and realized that I maybe had something to offer. I’d been working with some law firms in an advertising capacity, and I was trying to help them at the time, some legends of the personal injury environment, J. Marshall Hughes out of Kentucky, him and his partner, Lee ColemanBob Crumley out of North Carolina and Bill Berg out of California, was helping them with their marketing and founded cj Advertising to further that opportunity. Those three giants in the legal marketing community gave me my shot to help them be even more successful, and with that cj Advertising was born.

So I’m at cj, and as I described this experience, people are coming in, and I’m meeting with the TV team, and I’m meeting with the radio, and I’m meeting with the web, and the SEO, and the Google team, and this team and that team, and there’s all these teams that keep coming where they are sort of like sub-specialties within the ad industry, and each of these teams, I noticed, were really empowered to tell me why they felt that I would want to be a client of this firm. And what was selling me, what was really empowering to me was not the information they were giving me about how many billboards or broadcast or what time, was the energy, was the engagement between the team, was the amount of pride when they spoke about their company and how they could help me. How did you build that?

What a fast forward from the founding in 1994 to when you came upon the agency really just a few years ago, right? Amazingly, I didn’t start the agency like that. I started the agency thinking I knew how to run an agency, that I knew what was best for my clients, that I could run the TV and the production and the strategy and that I, I, I… And what it took me years to figure out, because I’m a slow learner, it was it had really less to do with me, and more to do with we, more to do with what the team could accomplish, how I could get my team members to actually know more about the business than even I did so that they could lead our clients forward.

And so at some point during a 17 year progression of cj Advertising, it stopped being about how much we could grow the company, and began being how much we could grow the team, how good they could be at their jobs, how good could they be as human beings, how much could they learn, how much knowledge could they build around this niche, which was completely personal injury marketing, advertising, growth and strategy. We like to say we had a team… And they have a team now of 60 plus professionals that wake up every day and think about how to grow our clients’ law firms. My job was to wake up every day and figure out how to make them better humans. So it was this movement from me thinking I could grow law firms, to a movement of us thinking we could grow law firms. Their job was to figure out their unique strategies with each of those departments, my job was to help keep them on the job and growing themselves. And what we found is, when we grew our humans, we grew our business.

A look at the power of culture. When I was there, and I’m meeting with the president, Micki Love, who has been a guest on my podcast, she’s an angel to my business, Chad Dudley, who’s one of the owners of cj Advertising, I meet with him. And I’ve gotten to know Chad really well, so I can say that I know that when he popped up on the big screen and he gave me his, hey, I’m Chad, and just wanted to welcome you here today and whatever, they plugged him, they just said, listen, we’re going to get a new client in here, come and say hi, put on your good smile and whatever, and he had less to do with it than really what I may have thought when I was sitting in this conference room and this owner’s coming on, and he must be well-prepared.

And he probably that morning didn’t even know I was coming. And I say that in the best way, because what it shows is that, when everybody’s like, well, I need Chad, I need to ask Chad, I need to ask Chad, I need to ask Chad, but the company at cj has built a formula that you don’t need Chad, you don’t even need Chad. He can come on in two minutes, say hi, and they told them in five minutes before that, you just got to go say hi to this new client. The team was already doing their work. They were already well-prepared for me. They were getting ready. They wanted me on as a client, and they did what they needed to do, not because they did it for Chad or they did it for Micki, because they were well-prepared, and they’re industry experts, and they feel that way, and they come to work knowing that, and I think it was delivered in certainly that message when I first met that company that you had built.

100%. The professionals at cj, they’re so confident in their ability to help you grow your law firm that they can’t wait to apply their skills and their knowledge and their experiences. They’re excited about it. They don’t come to work every day and go, oh my gosh, I can’t believe I’ve got to come here, they come to work every day saying, I can’t wait to apply what I’ve learned to further, not just myself, but my teammates. One of the core principles of the agency is around trust, and trust was defined as, I believe everyone here is trying to make me better, and therefore I come to work trying to make everyone there better. And the better they make each other, the more equipped they are to help our clients, and the system just feeds itself over and over.

And Chad agrees with me that his job is not to be the lead strategist, marketing expert, wizard of client growth, his job is to make sure his people are the best they possibly can be at their job so that you, the client, get the benefit of that. And leaders can learn from this. The smaller the company, the more likely the owner, the founder, the president is to wear a lot of hats, and as a small company, I and others take a ton of pride in wearing a lot of hats and being the expert at things, but as long as we’re doing that as leaders, we’re really solopreneurs with support, we’re a single person, hard to scale, and we surround ourselves with people who can support our expertise, but we grow from being a solopreneur to an entrepreneur when we start allowing others to grow beyond our expertise to where our team knows more about our business and our client’s business than we do. And by making that team stronger, the company gets stronger, and we’re truly now building a business.

This applies to my business that it was as an agency, it applied to my business which was a call center, it applies to your business which is a law firm. You can only do so much, but the team can do so much more when you empower them to do that. And ultimately your team will not treat your clients any better than you treat them, and so how you treat the team sets the bar on how they’re going to treat your clients and the folks that use your product or services. And so it’s just a continuous cycle that makes your company better and better, or if you practice the dark side of this opportunity, it makes your team and your company weaker and weaker.

So you went on and you sold the ad agency, and you have this wealth of knowledge, and you go out and you write this book, Worth Doing Wrong, and if you’re out there and you’re interested in client experience, you’re really interested in building a business or a company, and you have not read this book, you are missing out. I read this book. It is a book that I recommended to my team. Tell us about it?

Well, Worth Doing Wrong is a collection of stories about all the things we did wrong on our way to build an agency that finally got things right. I like to say, we do it wrong enough in order to get it right. And forcing ourselves through that wrong is not just a lesson for leaders on ourselves, but it’s the ability to allow our team to get things wrong until they get it right. We, as leaders often say, well, it’s okay if I get it wrong, because I’m the leader, the test of our leadership is when we allow our team members to get things wrong until they get it right. I can tell you and tell you and tell you how to do something, but until you do it yourself, you’re not truly learning, and so that becomes the first thing, is be willing as a leader to get it wrong, the second thing is, allow your team to get it wrong so they can finally get it right, and it’s only through that action do we achieve the expertise that we want to develop.

Give us a couple spoilers if you would? I mean, I know that we can go through all the things you’ve done wrong, and so a big part of the book leads you up to building on that, the idea of don’t being afraid to make mistakes, it’s only going to make those programs… And I spoke about it today in fact to my team. We were launching a culture initiative, one wasn’t getting a big foothold on something, and we said, you know what, the fact that we did that and know that helps us get something else right better, because it’s not going to be perfect. So tell us, what are a few things that you would say that any executive, leader, CEO listening to the podcast right now, and they want to go out and they want to start somewhere, where do you start with culture?

Well, first of all, I want to make sure that every leader of a company understands that every company has a culture. It may be bad, or it may be good, or it may be somewhere in between, but it has a culture. And more often than not, if not 99.9% of the time, culture reflects leadership. It’s impossible to escape. Oftentimes I talk to leaders, and they want to know what’s wrong with their culture, and I say, “Hey, look in the mirror. Culture reflects leadership. You’re the leader. If you’re complaining about your culture, it’s not your competitor’s fault, it’s not your team’s fault, it’s not the industry’s fault, it’s your fault, it starts with you.” And so a leader who understands that is sort of step one. Step two is once you realize that, knowing you can’t fix it all at once, it is one program at a time. And every program needs three things.

It needs a champion, someone other than a leader who’s going to take responsibility for that program. That champion needs a checklist, something they can learn from, steps they can take and note where they were taking the wrong approach, and when they’re taking the right approach, and constantly adjust that checklist to continually get the program right. And then the third thing they need is your, as in the leaders permission to get it wrong. We talked about that earlier. So the leader appoints a champion, the champion creates a checklist, and the leader gives that champion permission to get it wrong until they get it right.

And what I can tell you is that leaders that practice this mentality implement on average one program a quarter. They know that each program will take about nine months to really get traction in their company, and they also know that one of those programs out of four will not have traction, it just won’t work for whatever reason, and that’s okay. And so over time, which is measured in years, not weeks, programs get put in a culture that then creates the environment every company needs for success. And I know that’s a turtle’s way to success and not the rabbits, but I learned a long time ago, the turtle wins the race.

So true. Okay. So that’s probably even a better way to ask the question then. A company wants to look at a culture, one that’s three years old or 30 years old, and they have a direction to making a positive culture, whether one exists or not, what’s the best way to start the conversation and start to really make it intentional rather than unintentional?

Love it. So it’s a culture by design, as opposed to by default. Step number one is for the leader to write down the words they want to describe their culture, do they want a culture of growth, they want a culture of integrity, do they want a culture of… Just some words that’ll be buzzwords, some words that’ll be unique to them, but what is it they want in a culture, and then sometimes it helps if the team does this, what words actually describe the culture, and the delta between what the leaders say they want and the words that describe the culture there actually is, that’s the gap we have to attack, that’s the difference in the culture I want and the culture I have, and the question then becomes, how do we start this journey.

And again, it’s one program at a time. Where’s the biggest gap? What program do we think can attack that gap? Let’s assign a champion a checklist, let’s give them permission to fail, and let’s start down that path. So it is first identifying what the delta is, what the difference is, and then one program at a time to start making that work. The number one thing that can make a company culture successful is the leader, culture reflects leadership, but that also means the number one thing that can ruin a company culture is the leader, and the difference is saying, this is what I want… Speaking it versus doing it. Leaders have to ask themselves questions like, where do they park their car, what do they expect from their people, what do they tolerate, who do they hire, who do they fire, what actions take place in the company that others will learn and reflect on. And I can guarantee you that problems with culture start with what the leader tolerates, the actions they take, versus their words and the people that they trust.

I’ve been working at it for a long time, and I’m certainly far from perfect, but I’m actually perfect at being imperfect, and we’re doing a lot of it. And I remember when I first started years ago, I had decided I wanted a survey of our programs and our benefits and whatever, and I couldn’t get people to fill out the survey, and I realized that it was primarily because people didn’t want to really tell me what they thought of me or the company. And I said, okay, so what does that say? And then you fast forward, and just recently I was with a bunch of the team and I said, “Listen, what can I do better? Tell me what I can do better? I need to know this.” And someone said, “Well, I think you can do this better, and I think it would be nice if you could do this.” And I recognize that the shift in the fact that they could just tell me what I’m doing wrong was a positive thing.

Absolutely. You asked earlier about programs we did wrong until we got them right, one was the monthly survey where we ask every team member every month to rate their morale in our company on a scale from one to 10, and to tell us why, whether it was good, whether it was bad, and what’s causing that. And initially the task was just to get them to fill out the report, because everyone thought if they put something bad that we would come after them, negative things would happen, and the truth is there was a little truth in that. We hadn’t learned to accept the feedback yet, and so it took us not months, but years to perfect this monthly survey where we simply asked people how they felt about working in our company, and what could we do better, but the payoff from that were the valuable ideas that taught us to communicate better with our team, to involve our team in decisions more, to be more transparent with our data, to give them more praise and recognition when they did things right, and to tolerate less of the behavior that was ruining our culture.

But we had to learn to do it. We had to do it wrong, we had to get in trouble, we had to be embarrassed about some of the things and be willing to accept responsibility on that before it became the truly useful tool that it was. And so recognizing it, asking for feedback, accepting that feedback, knowing that everything that happens in the company is your fault… And I know it’s uncomfortable to hear, but it also means that you have the opportunity to get it on the right track.

One of these programs that we rolled out in my company that has really started to really gain traction and take off is the Better Book Club, you know anything about that?

Well, I am passionate about the Better Book Club. For years, I’d read a book, and I’d go buy 20 copies, and I’d hand it out to my team, and they looked at me like I had horns coming out of my head. And the truth is, I probably did, because I was trying to get them to read what I wanted to read. Better Book Club allows people to read whatever they want to read, and gives me the opportunity to recognize and reward them for doing that. And that’s the kind of behavior that makes humans better, makes your company better, and pushes people forward. I am passionate about Better Book Club. It’s been a part of cj Advertising for 15 plus years, and it’s a part of over 100 companies across the globe that recognize that growing their people means growing their business.

It’s a great story. Why don’t you share that? How did that even start? Because for the listeners out there, Better Book Club, you could visit it at, I think it’s, is that right, Arnie?

That’s right. Yep.

And it’s a program that companies can bring on a culture initiative type program. Arnie started that. Arnie, where’d that come from?

Well, just like I said, it started with me trying to get people to read what I wanted them to read, and I got so frustrated one day that I finally just said, I’ll pay you to read. And so I wrote numbers inside of books, and if a team member read the book, I’d pay them that much money. And it turned out, what a great investment. I would send folks to conferences and spend airline tickets and hotels and food and per diems, and most folks would forget most of what they learned before they even got back to the office, but we found out that a book can stick with people literally forever. And so it became a better investment. We turned our growth dollars into reading dollars.

And by encouraging folks to read, not forcing them to, but encouraging them that we got more books and brains, over the years, this program helped our team members become better spouses, better parents, better with their finances, have less stress, and lo and behold, it also helped them become better marketers and strategists, better at hiring and better at doing tons of jobs throughout the agency, and that paid off big time. More books in brains was the key to so many success stories and ideas that I would’ve never had and allowed me to continue cheering for my people as the leader of my company.

For those interested in it, can you tell us a little bit how it works?

Yeah. So literally it’s a crowdsource platform. When someone signs up, 100 books are loaded into their club library, and as folks on their team begin reading those books or reporting that they have read those books, popular books rise to the top, everyone can see what everyone else has read, your team can see what you’ve read, you can see what they’ve read, you can pull up the book and see how many of your team have read it. The thought process is, all you have to do then is put a bounty on every book, and the more people read, the more bounty they earn, and the more bounty they earn, the more they want to read, and we get books in brains.

We started that, and I recognized when I first launched the idea, like any other idea, it was immediately a step back by the team going, okay, what’s this about, there’s something up here, what’s the side gig on this thing, why is he making us do this, all sort of like a side eye about it, and then I tapped a great guy in my office, a guy, Nick, and I said, “Nick, I need your help, and I think this will be really helpful, can you help do it?” And I set him up with a Better Book Club, and he learned about it, and he became, as you discussed, that sort of project captain, the champion, and he goes around and he launches it, and now I’m getting email notifications… I must have gotten four or five just this week or last week of people reading books. And I think there was a love story that came across I saw, there was leadership books, there’s novels, and they’re all this… But people are reading. It really works.

Absolutely. And you hit on something key there, is that when we, as leaders bring back ideas, they are often seen as the flavor of the month, or what’s he read now, or what conference did they go to to bring this idea back, but when we hand the program to someone in the company, someone other than us, or someone other than the primary leadership team, then now instead of us being the person pushing this new idea, someone from within the company is not pushing, but offering the idea for others to take advantage of. And so champions help programs be successful. And it’s not immediate. So many programs people want immediate response to. It takes nine months for programs to even have a chance. And so a champion, a checklist, again, permission to fail, and then time.

And what we want for companies is, whether it be a monthly survey or Better Book Club, or mutual respect program where people are handing each other appreciation programs within the company, whatever the cultural idea is, that each idea has a unique champion, that champion has a unique checklist, and each of those champions have permission to carry programs forward. That’s when we collect enough programs to say, this is the culture. We have a culture of appreciation, we have a culture of growth, we have a culture of learning from our mistakes. Those are the things that can power a group forward, as opposed to a top down dictatorship where everything comes from the top.

I’m going to really have to think more about this turtle and the hare, because as I launch a culture initiative, two days in I’m like, everybody talk about this, I’m immediately looking for the team gratification, the company’s morale just shot through the roof, and it hasn’t even rolled out, some people haven’t even read the email yet, when you do that, and that’s a really good… At nine months, you’re looking at these things, what measures success when we’re talking about a culture initiative?

Yeah. Well, activity and engagement. For instance, Better Book Club can be measured with books and brains, how many books are being tagged as read, how many reports are being completed, how many rewards are being given out, what percentage of the team is participating. And here’s a shocker for you, there are rarely programs that get 100% participation. 100% participation as a goal is way too high. 60 to 70% participation in any program is good. You’re always going to have a third of folks that are just all over a program. You’re typically going to have 20, maybe even 25% of folks that just don’t want to participate, and then you’ve got everyone in between that are going to go with the energy.

And so just know that one of the reasons to have multiple programs within a culture that represent your values is so that everyone has something to participate in. And so while it’s perfectly acceptable for team members not to participate in a program, it’s not acceptable for team members to participate no programs. And that in itself can be used as a way to attract the people that are on board with your vision and to repel people who aren’t getting it. While you should never fire someone for not participating, just the art of not participating helps people find other opportunities.

I have not found a utopia yet, so if you do, please let me know, but I think it is important to launch culture initiatives that can touch as many of the group as possible, your team at large. And for those that it doesn’t hit for instance maybe if we’re talking about some kind of activity where parents wouldn’t be involved or parenting non-parents, and then you go, okay, let’s come out with a culture initiative or something for parents, and something for pet owners, and something for this. And the more… I like to say, with culture, it really is one of these things, you throw as much things against the wall, those that stick are really working, and those that don’t, you learn from, you try to examine why, you throw something else up there.

Yeah. And as long as the programs align with your core values… That’s the test, is does this align, does this help us, how do we tie the program to who we want to be as a company, the feeling we want when people call us for the first time or walk in our front door, what culture do you want them to see. When you walked into cj and you saw energy and expertise, but what you were really seeing is confidence and growth, which are two of cj’s core values, and those core values are demonstrated not just by the people, but they are demonstrated by the programs that are in place to encourage folks down those paths.

And so find the program that matches the value or that helps promote the value within the company, give it to a champion, allow that champion to push it forward. And you should have as many champions as you have programs. It is my opinion… I make people very uncomfortable, because I say things counter to what they’ve done in the past, but if companies put all their programs on the back of one HR person, they’re tying the feet of that person and their ability to be successful. Give the programs to people in the organization, and spread it out so that they have a responsibility for the program, and they also are willing to support others who have responsibilities for programs.

Well, my head is exploding with what you’ve just said. I absolutely love it. It’s really so great.

The number one way I know a culture initiative will fail in a company is when the owner leader, founder, president says, this is so important to me, I’m going to do it myself. That is clue for this is going nowhere. We have to get these programs into the hands of people who make it a priority, doesn’t end up first on the side of the desk, and then eventually off the desk.

Rewards. What do you find is really… A lot of culture initiatives you make, they may tied in with some kind of reward-bases system. Even the Better Book Club has one. What do you find successful there?

Well, the number one thing that works is recognition. And sometimes it’s from the leader… One of our best programs was a peer-to-peer appreciation system where we gave folks a stack of gratitude cards on day one and said, make sure this stack is gone in the first six months, appreciate other people by handing them a handwritten note. Those handwritten notes would then go on the office walls or cubicle walls. Those handwritten notes were rarely, if ever thrown away, and meant more to teammates coming from each other than notes coming from me. And so just that, it’s that simple, recognize when people do good things, recognize when they’re a good teammate, recognize them when they do things that align with your core values. If you could get everyone in your company… This goes for any company out there, to do things that constantly align with your core values, your chances of success go way through the roof and mean so much more than a set of rules that tell them how to not behave. Let’s just recognize and reward them for when they do things right.

I love that. We have appreciation cards, and it has on one side our logo with our mascot and funny little quotes and sayings, and on the back it simply says, I have appreciate you… And on Fridays at our different Friday team meetings, everybody knows you better come on Friday with an appreciation card, because you’re going to get asked who do you appreciate this week. And in an open forum, they go around and they say… It’s my favorite part of the meeting. They say, okay, I appreciate Jimmy. Jimmy, this week you did well and hands the card. And you go around in this office, and people have these stickered all over their office space. And so occasionally I get one, and I get pumped. I’m fist pumping, I got an appreciation card myself, I get excited about it, and I keep them all, and I stick them on my wall.

I have dozens and dozens. I left cj four and a half, four years ago, I still have the appreciation cards given to me by teammates throughout the organization, because I appreciate them so much. Sometimes it’s monetary, sometimes it’s recognition, sometimes it’s just a conversation. Another program we did that was awesome is Lunch with Leaders, and every Wednesday up to 20 people could sign up, and we would have lunch with leaders. And they got to ask questions and have conversations not just about the business, by the way, but about their lives and what was going on. And so it’s not always monetary. Sometimes it’s monetary, sometimes it’s appreciation, sometimes it’s just a conversation, it’s just about pulling together as a team to achieve common goals.

I read once that Walt Disney had said that people can feel magic, they not necessarily see it, but they can feel it, and what he was talking about is when people would go to his theme park, there were different intentional things placed in there that were done so well that you may not notice it, but you could feel it. It’s sort of like culture when I think about hearing you, you walk into a company, you can feel culture.

You can absolutely get a sense of the energy. And if you think about it, what is momentum? When we’re watching a sporting event, and we can tell one team has gained momentum, it’s impossible to see, you can’t articulate it, you don’t know where it’s coming from, but that group of people are finding a way that is beyond the other team to communicate, to help each other, to be there for one another, and we call it momentum. Well, that same momentum happens in a company when we are aligned with the right values, when all know what the goal is, when we all gain joy from helping each other out and helping our clients out, which is very different when you talk about the opposite of those two things. I went to Disney many years ago with my family, and I don’t know if this is still the case, but the feeling we got at Disney and the feeling we got at SeaWorld, which are essentially the same damn thing, two completely different feelings at that time, and it had everything to do with culture, leadership, and how that group was performing as a team.

For all those out there, Worth Doing Wrong, where do we get the book? I have a copy, but my team is still circulating among them, reading it. How does someone pick up a book?


Yeah. Well, we’re fortunate to still be on Amazon and selling copies there. There’s an audible version. If the sound of my voice thus far has not driven you crazy, you can hear me for about three hours read the book to you. It is a quick read. It’s got pictures in the back that take you on a tour of cj in the time I was there. It takes you through our values, it takes you through our programs, it talks about how we started them, it tells you about the mistakes we made, and hopefully it gives readers the ability to R&D rip off and duplicate any idea that worked for us, because we definitely R&D ripped off and duplicated all these ideas from other speakers, other writers, other businesses that we saw over the years.

I love the sense of humor that’s injected into it too, Arnie, is that there is just so much of it that says… The raw honesty of, this failed terribly. We launched this idea, it was terrible, but it also springboarded another idea that just took off. And you’re able to sort of laugh at yourself in this journey of trying.

Yeah. One of my favorite phrases is, have a better bad idea. We all have bad ideas, now what’s a better bad idea? Because it takes a bad idea, and a better bad idea to finally get to an idea worth doing wrong, worth moving forward with, whether we know exactly how it’s going to work out or not, because that’s how we learn.

Better Book Club is one of those initiatives, a solid built out program, a platform, how does somebody go about getting that?

Yeah, Just know, it is not a book club. We call it, but it is really a system for getting more books and brains. But go to the website, sign up your company, assign a champion, and then schedule a demo with me, and I will hang out with you and show you the critical steps to getting this rolling in your organization.

And it’s real. If somebody reaches out to you, they’ll be having virtual coffee with you, right?

This is my passion project. My kids are out of college and off in the real world. I’ve exited the two businesses that I’ve spent 17 years building. This is where my passion is. I truly believe Better Book Club has the ability to change people and their families, and yes, the companies that they work for.

How does someone get in touch with you, Arnie?,, Google Arnie Malham. There’s not very many of us out there. You will find me.

And for those of you interested in reaching out to me, you could always reach me at Always email me. Include any request for some swag. We’d love to send you some company merch from Judd Shaw Injury Law. And Arnie, thank you so very much in helping us all learn this very, very important and critical component to delivering client experience, because if your team doesn’t care about the work they’re doing or the company they’re working for, it’s not going to matter about the systems and processes they have in place.

Your team will never treat your clients better than you treat your team. Keep that in mind, and keep rocking your team forward.

Arnie, thanks so much for joining me today.

Thank you for having me. Been a pleasure.

🎙️ Featured Guest 🎙️

Name: Arnie Malham

Short Bio: Arnie Malham is an entrepreneur who has founded and sold multiple businesses, including cj Advertising, Legal Intake Professionals, and Med View Services. He’s the Author of the book Worth Doing Wrong and is currently the founder and CEO of Better Book Club.

Company: cj Advertising | Better Book Club

Connect: LinkedIn | Email

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