Please enjoy this transcript of my interview with Rocky Romanella. He is the founder, president, and CEO of 3sixty Management Services. Led by seasoned professionals, 3sixty focuses on thought leadership, development, and process improvement. Rocky is also the author of the book Tighten the Lug Nuts: The Principles of Balanced Leadership: He takes the form of a character, Joe Scafone, demonstrating the importance of empathy, small acts of kindness, and the power of understanding your role.

Read the full shownotes here

Listen Here


Norman Chella: [00:00:00] Rocky Romanella is the thoughtful one, sharing the principles of balanced leadership. He is the Antifool.

Welcome to the AntiFool podcast. This is where we deconstruct the wisdom of people from all fields, backgrounds, and walks of life. My role is simple. I play the fool, I ask the questions and you get the answers.

Our guest is the Antifool, the source of wisdom, who we will learn from today. I’m on a mission to create the antidote to foolishness so we can understand the world and ourselves better, wonderful stuff. Right. So. Shall we?

Hello there, the King of all fools norm here. Welcome to the show. Let’s talk about leadership, but a specific kind of leadership.

We can see many different kinds of leaders around the world ranging from aggressive ones to non empathetic ones, to those who do not really perform in their managerial position or in their position of leadership where they will not thrive. But, our guest today, we’ll be focusing on balanced leadership to have qualities that are empathetic, thoughtful, and allow their team to thrive in an amazing encouraging environment. And who better to talk about this with than Rocky Romanella.

Rocky as the founder, president and CEO of 3sixty management services, which is a complete management services company with seasoned professionals, focusing on thought leadership, leadership, development, and process improvement. Rocky is also the author of the book Tighten the Lug Nuts, the principles of balanced leadership. Which in an engaging personal and witty style, Rocky Romanella takes the form of a character. Joe Scafone, as he demonstrates the importance of empathy, a small acts of kindness, the power that comes with understanding your role and the freedom that accepting responsibility affords.

It’s a very fascinating topic, especially when Rocky has had a 36-year long career at UPS. So plenty of opportunities to manage and lead and thrive in a corporate environment. But we took a little bit of time travel, we talked about his origin stories, how he went from being the only person in his family to go through college and paying his way through college, to landing promotions at ups for decades on end and touching on the myriad situations where becoming a balanced leader is so important. The creation of Joe Scafone and his influence and all the people that Rocky has helped out throughout his career.

As well as what it means to become a balanced leader. What do you do to tighten the lug nuts in your life? I even asked him what this means. And I get a little personal at the end asking him for advice as someone who is in the start of his own career, to be able to look up to Rocky as someone who has vast amounts of wisdom and experience in a long career. I loved chatting with him. As well as the fact that he’s just really funny. So without further ado, let’s play the fool and learn from the wise, by diving into my chat with Rocky Romanella. Mr. Rocky Romanella welcome to the show. How are you doing?

Rocky Romanella: [00:03:23] Well, thank you very much for having me. I’m doing very well and I hope you’re doing well  also.

Norman Chella: [00:03:28] I am, I am, I am, uh, pretty excited because we could finally get to doing this amazing conversation. And I have heard a lot about you and seeing a lot of your, shall we say keynotes and performances on stage as someone who has a lot of charisma, but a lot of experiences as well. I would love to deconstruct all of that.

So let’s take a, shall we say time, travel back to young Rocky paying his way through college. I would love to hear your origin story. How did young Rocky get through all the way and start on this journey to become a balanced leader?

Rocky Romanella: [00:04:10] This time capsule is going to be a little bit to interesting. So we’re going to go back here a little bit of time, but, uh, so I originally went to college, interestingly enough to be a high school history teacher and a baseball coach. And that was the plan. And I was working my way through school. My dad rest his soul said one of my kids is going to college it’s you?

But we got no money. So I, so the college I went to was community college and they allowed me to work part time at UPS and then work my way through school and interesting as I was working my way through UPS and during these part-time days during college, I realized that the best leaders or the people who got there, people to connect the dots.

Where the people who were teaching and training and coaching. And so for me, I never gave up my teaching coaching passion. I just did it in a different way. Instead of it being in a traditional classroom. I did it, you know, inside the business world. And so for me, that’s, so I never felt like, you know, I kind of compromise myself by giving up on being a teacher or being a coach.

I felt like I did it through my career. And so it was always a fun journey for me. And it’s interestingly, my dad told me two things when I started this journey that have stuck with me my whole career to this very day, he said to me, the first thing he said to me, Hey, whatever they ask you to do say yes and thank you. And then he told me learn your job and learned some more. Today. you think, you know everything and it look, just look at how much technology has changed over all of these years. He would always say to me today, you think, you know everything or today you think you’ve arrived  there’s probably the day you’re taking a step back and people are passing you by. So learn new job and learn some more.

And so those were two very, very valuable lessons for me. UPS had a promotion from within policy, which I took advantage of. And so, you know, they would tap me on the shoulder and say, Hey, we got some opportunity for you.

And another valuable lesson I learned that I think is so important for me was this concept of, I may not have thought I was ready at that moment, or I may have lacked some confidence or I would look at them and say, you sure you want me to do this? I mean, you got, you know, 400,000 people in this company.

You don’t have anybody a little bit better than me to do this. And they say, no, no. We think you’re the right person for this job. And what I learned is that as a leader, You, you have to sometimes believe in your people until they are ready to believe in themselves. And then you bridge that gap of confidence, maybe of knowledge.

And then you kind of get to that point. I gave him point where you’re, where you’re feeling good about yourself. And that’s when you step back as that leader and say, Let them run. Now, let them fly a little bit don’t you don’t need to over manage them at that point. So that was a very valuable lesson for me, as I was growing and developing and taking, hang on different jobs inside of ups, I realized that that was something I had to do as a leader.

I had to believe in my people many times.And so they were ready to believe in themselves. And so, and so 36 years there at ups retired naturally at 55. I guess the only other thing I’d add about my UPS career was I did the nontraditional things in ups. So we purchased mailbox, et cetera. And rebranded it to the ups store, a completely franchise network.

And so I managed that and learned franchising and got to meet some of the most wonderful entrepreneurs in the world. And that’s the time I really realized that entrepreneurs are a very special breed and I have such great respect for entrepreneurs. I don’t believe I could do what they did. I mean, they take everything they own in life.

Slide it across the table and say, I’m all in. And I think that that’s what makes them so special. Right. You know, think about it as, when you’re working for a big company, you always get that big kind of shield behind you. But an entrepreneur man, at the end of the day, they hit the cash register. Drawer opens.

They pay their people. They pay their vendors and what’s left is well, they call them for their families. And from that point forward, my respect and admiration for them is, is incredible. And I really believe that they are some of the most special people in the world. And I have such great admiration for. Retired, got recruited to be a CEO of a telecom company. We build cell towers, upgraded cell towers, and then sold that company funny. And now I started my own business. at 3sixty management services. There’s three legs of our stool. We do keynote speaking, leadership training and then consulting a long process improvement.

Norman Chella: [00:08:16] I like this because this is a long journey of your years ups that you did have some level of introspection where you weren’t really sure if you were capable of whether or not you are worth going up to that position where they, your war promoting up the deposition, but ups in itself encouraged you and nourished you gave you that opportunity to go up the ranks. Slowly, but surely promotion from inside the company and, you know, up to 40 years of experience in there, you have made it all the way up there while keeping a very, shall we say a very humble image of yourself. I have to say, which is fantastic.

I do have to ask when you were thinking to yourself, you know, the questions that you were asking about your self worth. Am I good enough to do this job? Am I good enough to receive this opportunity from those around me? Did you have any kind of support system or any encouragement from the people around you or was it more of a realization that yes, one day you woke up and you thought to yourself, Rocky. You’re going to be a manager. You’re going to be up there on one higher level. I would love to hear your take on achieving that slight build of confidence that will slowly build over time.

Rocky Romanella: [00:09:36] Well, I think that’s a very good question. Very thoughtful question. Thank you. And I think it’s interesting. I. I’ve never believed that I’ve, you know, I believe I’m a, a member of a team, a family.

And so each of us have, I always, you know, even as CEO, I would tell people, you know, there, we all have different roles, so there’s no one more important than anyone else. Every job is important inside an organization. And so the day you think you have the most important job, in fact, I’d argue that the most important job in an organization is that person that interacts with your customer at that frontline level.

So, for example, for me, the most important person at ups is the ups driver because they interact with our customer. Are they, they create the brand identity, but more specifically around your question. I always believe that that, you know, my dad rest, his soul told me, you know, it’s what you do. And no one’s watching that counts.

And so I would always think about that. And I would say to him as a youngster, I’d say, Hey dad, that’s the best part nobody’s watching. You just kinda, kinda ruined the best part of that, you know? And he, he laughed and he told me, he said, there’s always two people watching: the man upstairs and the person looking in the mirror.

And so I always thought about that, that, you know, I may not be the absolute best person for the job, or I may lack some skills, but one thing they were going to get from Rocky Romanella was hard work and enthusiasm. And that I would, you know, if you, if you’re willing to work with me, I’ll give you everything I got.

So I never really thought about what, whether I wasn’t good enough to do it, or whether I was smart enough to do it, I put all my energy and effort into it. I’m going to give you everything. I got. You know, and I’m going to work as hard as I can. Now, if at the end of that process, I am not the best person for the job.

I understand that. And that that will happen, but it will be because of lack of energy and effort. So that’s what kind of motivated me or helped me through those difficult times. And I remember always having that conversation that, you know, like when I got tapped on the shoulder there run mailboxes, et cetera.

I had no franchising experience. I was really a core traditional ups person. And I remember our CEO at the time, Jim Kelly, he’s looking at me. He goes, no, I think you got this. You can do it. I have confidence in you. I said, look, do you have, as long as you have patience and confidence in me, I mean, I’m going to go do the best job I can, as long as you’re willing to work with me.

And I realized that same thing had to happen when I was the leader. Now that I had to take that time to instill confidence in them. As we talked in the introduction that I have to believe in them and deliver, they believe in themselves. But interestingly enough, no matter what level I got, even as a CEO, you would have a meeting and you’d have, you know, a town hall meeting and someone would say to you, you know, what keeps you up awake at night?

What’s, what’s your biggest concern? And I would always say to them, my biggest concern is that, you know, someone’s going to wake up one day and say, wait a second. That’s the guy that we promoted. I thought he was different. I thought it was a smarter guy. We got that guy. And so I never really take it that I made it.

I never really, I always felt like every day I got to go in and I got to sing for my lunch. I got to work as hard as I can, you know, and I always felt like that was not always the right thing to do. Respecting what my dad taught me. I also believed it was the right thing to do for the people in my care and the organization that they had to know that I cared enough about them, that I wasn’t going to take anything for granted that I was still going to work as hard as I could, and that I was going to lead by example.

And so for me, That to me was one of the most important lessons that I learned. And one more quick thing. And so at ups, in those days, in order for you to become a full time supervisor, you had to become a driver. And I love being a driver. I drove in New Jersey. It was a great time. Right? And in those days you didn’t have the handheld devices, you were on paper.

Your biggest concern was when it rained. I mean, you know, your paper when it was raining and you couldn’t make mistakes. And if you started racing too much, right. And so of course today there’s so much technology. But I will tell you the most valuable lesson I learned there is that I enjoyed it so much and it gave me such credibility and confidence.

Now when I was starting to lead, because I did the job, I understood the job. And so every job I got from that point forward throughout my life, if it was a job that I did not start from the bottom up, the first thing I did was go try to learn that job. So, so when I received the opportunity to manage mailboxes, et cetera, from the ups side, First thing I did was go put an apron on and work day in the store.

When I started to run the supply chain side of ups, I went in and started picking orders, worked in a warehouse. Now look, I realized that I don’t have the expertise they do. And I know that they understand that as well. I just wanted to show them the respect that I value so much what you do on behalf of our company.

But I wanted to take the time to come down and learn the job. And I think that’s a valuable lesson for people to understand is, you know, take the time to understand what it is that your people do on behalf of your organization.

Norman Chella: [00:14:23] I liked that. I liked that you went head first into their position to one further understand their take so that once you reach up to this position where you can manage them, where you can provide the environment where they can thrive. You understand their point of view better, or at least you have this foundation where you can allow that to thrive, at least from their take. Wow. I really respect that. Thank you so much for sharing that.

That’s actually pretty fascinating because not everyone will actually do that. If they were to rise up to the ranks, to the point where they are supervising a team, they’re supervising yeah members under their management by first trying to become like them for maybe a day, right? Like shadow their positions for a day and see what are their barriers?

What are their issues? Where’s the conflict happening? How can I help them be better? If I was in a high position to them, how can I as a leader be, shall we say much more empathetic, much more understanding and how can I help them do better, uh, at their own pace, which would be fantastic. And I think you do touch on this through your book, Tighten the Lug Nuts on trying to achieve a balanced leadership.

Now, this, this title is fascinating to me because. I would like to play the fool here. Right? Absolutely not knowing a single thing. Right. Say that I’ve seen you on stage and like what you’re saying, and I say, Rocky, I would like to buy your book. And it says, tightening the lug nuts. What are the lug nuts that I should be worrying about?

What are these aspects of life that I should be thinking if I were to try to become a leader?

Rocky Romanella: [00:15:59] Well, if you think about it. So, so the story tighten, the lug nuts coming from actual story was, I’ll give you the, kind of the, the high level of it is. So when the lug nuts are loose on a vehicle, they’re important and quickly, if you identify Norman, you say to me, Hey, Rocky, got some loose lug nuts on vehicle over there.

I can quickly just go tighten them, but I get distracted. Something else comes up. Somebody tells me, Hey, I got this really important thing for you to do. And now I walk away and I don’t tighten the lug nuts. A few days later, the loose lug nuts went from important to urgent and in life and in business, you can only handle so many urgent things.

So tighten the lug nuts, take advantage of the opportunity to take care of things when you can and think about you get at night, you get an email from somebody. You don’t respond to it. You put it off to the side. And next thing you know is two weeks later they call you up and the world just came to an end. Right? Ah, stop everything.

We got to take care of this. Well, you will, if you would have tightened the lug that’s when they were important. So the whole concept of tighten the lug nuts is don’t allow important things to become urgent. Don’t procrastinate, take care of it. Things when you can take care of them, and then it allows you to juggle many balls and it also allows you to do not allow things to go from important to urgent.

Norman Chella: [00:17:11] I have that exact example happening to me, a whole bunch of emails that I need to reply back. And yeah. Uh, my lug nuts are definitely not tightened enough that they are becoming more urgent so I can see how shall we say a more immediate action if they appear to work on them or to respond to them immediately so that they don’t become a hindrance later in your career, maybe the emails, it can be a minor thing, but you know, you can have much more greater situations happening if you don’t take precautions, but let’s dive into the story itself because you don’t.

This is not a normal book and that you just follow standard principles and methods. You’re following a character, Joe Scafone, who is Joe Scafone. Why? Who is this fictional character joe? I would love to hear it. How did you invent this guy or is he even a real person?

Rocky Romanella: [00:18:03] Well, you know, he may be a real guy, but, uh, no joke. So Joe comes over about so many years ago and you know, I would sit in a meeting and you would present to me a new idea or a, or a different approach that you’d like to take. And as you’re presenting that idea, I felt like if I said to you, well, that’s a great idea, but, but whatever, whenever you say that, but what, but this, you feel like people look at you like, Oh, I don’t know if he thinks it’s a good idea or does he recognize how much time I’ve put into it?

So I never liked that feeling because I never wanted. I wanted you to know I was very happy. I wanted to be applaud that behavior that you were, you were thinking on your own and bringing a new idea. So part of what I’m trying to balance is this I’m very happy. I’m excited that you’re, I’m one of applaud this behavior that you’ve brought me a good idea or a new idea.

And you’re thinking outside the box with this concept of, I want to challenge you not to stop at the first right. Answer. How do I get you to move past that, that maybe look a little deeper, a little wider. Now the hard part is it is, it is a right answer, but I’ll try to challenge you not to stop at that first right answer.

And so I felt for me when I asked that question, Hey, Norman, that’s a great idea, but what if. So I just, I just created Joe Scafone, I’d say to you, Hey, I think it’s a good idea, but you think Joe Scafone thinks that’s a good idea? And we’d all kind of laugh. And I, and they’d say to me, well, you know, I haven’t covered it with Joe.

Why don’t you cover it with Joe with think about it. And then so, so Joe became this person who I could challenge you in a positive way, not to stop at the first right answer. And throughout my career, people would bring me an idea and they’d say to me, Hey, I covered this with Joe. Joe thinks it’s a really good idea.

I said, well, that’s cool, mate. Maybe I should hear it as well. So Joe Scafone became this person who allowed me to challenge you in a positive way, not to stop at the first right answer and maybe look at, you know, look at the problem, a little deeper or wider. And it became a fun way for me to challenge in a positive way.

And so Joe became. You know, everywhere I go, people always ask me how Joe is. In fact, when the book came out, I had friends, email me, Hey Joe in the book? I said, Hey, Joe writes the book, Joe narrates the book. So Joe became a part of Rocky Romanella.

Norman Chella: [00:20:14] I like that. It’s like a third party. Uh, shall we say like a perspective, right?

When, instead of challenging them directly as in saying their name out loud, you say like, this is what is, this is what I don’t agree with or don’t, which can be a little bit too, shall we say imposing, but if you have a third person coming in. Or at least a third character coming in. You say, you know, what about Joe?

I think that really does. Shall we say fizzle out the potential conflict or the potential confrontation, which helps for you to become more empathetic as a leader. I never thought about it that way. I didn’t think that it would be. You know, this character, just Joe Scafone, it could be so impactful that you’d have people reaching out to you to say like, is he going to be in the book? That’s actually fantastic.

Rocky Romanella: [00:21:01] The thing it does is it also helps me. And I think it helps most if, if you, if you take an approach like that, I never have to say, I like in the book, you never say, well, I did this, or I would like to do that, or I think you should do this. No, Joe talks about it. So it takes out the I, which is also, it’s a very difficult thing to do.

If it may, as a leader, you never want to do those kinds of things. You want to talk as a team. You want to talk as a group. And so, so show, I would, you know, I’d never have to say I did this. I would say Joe. Hey Joe said yes. So for that, it became a way for us all to smile, but they got the message.

Norman Chella: [00:21:38] And do you see examples of Joe being used by the ones that you have mentored? The ones that have managed? Have you seen Joe’s name pop up in other places? I’m just really curious whether or not the influence or the popularity of Joe Scafone is used elsewhere.

Rocky Romanella: [00:21:56] Oh, absolutely. I mean, it’s funny, it’s funny. I was just doing an interview. Uh, did any of you, I was doing a virtual, kind of a book club. A gentlemen bought 20 books for his sales team. And, uh, so I called in and we had a zoom call with it and he didn’t, he didn’t say Rocky bro. When I was here, Rocky couldn’t make it. We got Joe Scafone here today. And Joe is going to take us through his thoughts on, on sales and who the customer is. So, so Joe becomes, especially people who read the book. They, they absolutely enjoy email me. Hey, you know, you know, you gotta read this book that was written. I don’t know who Rocky guy is, but Joe Scafone, that guy knows his stuff, you know? So it’s been a lot of fun. And of course, former. People I’ve worked with along the way. They always, you know, well, my birthday, I get a lot of, Hey, happy birthday to Rocky, but it’s also Joe’s birthday.

So have given him a happy birthday shaft for us as well. Okay. Thanks.

Norman Chella: [00:22:51] I love that. That’s like the warmth that shared with those who are actually very well impacted by the wisdom that he can share right. Throughout not only you yourself, Rocky, but also through this other character, Joe, I would love to have a chat with Joe, uh, sometime in the future.

But of course, a lot of the his story will be in tightened the locknuts the book. I do have a question for you and is this quite a personal one, at least for me. So you have 40 years plus of experience in your career trying to become a balanced leader and you already have become a balanced leader touching on the lives of many people through the character, Joe Scafone and through your own wisdom that you’ve picked up over the years.

Working hard with enthusiasm. Now I am only say three, four years of experience into mine, and I would like to take the first steps to slowly become a balanced leader now. From what you’ve looked at, for the last two decades, what do you think is the best way to train someone to become a balanced leader over time?

Rocky Romanella: [00:23:55] Well, thank you for asking that question. So I think it starts though first, before you even start to dissect or think about this concept of balanced leadership, I think you have to understand a little bit about yourself. And so I think there’s three key questions. That are important for you to ask yourself in the quiet of your own heart and conscience.

And the first one is who am I? And second is what do I stand for? Those two are questions. I think you are going to be able to answer very well and articulate very well. And, and certainly companies should do that same thing at some point. So who am I? What do I stand for? But number three is the one that really will speak to what your legacy is like at the end of your career.

And number three is what are the things you won’t compromise? Because along the way, that’s the one that’s going to get challenged. So who I am I, who is Rocky Romanella what does Rocky Romanella stand for? But more importantly, the things that you’re doing, going to remember about our interactions or about our engagement or what are the things you won’t compromise and is he true to his values.

And so I think that’s the very first step and understanding you as a person beginning this journey. I think the second next step is I would say to you, think of the word you want someone to use at the end of your career. So what’s that word? You want someone you define you at the end of your career.

And so for me, that word was thoughtful. I want it to be considered a thoughtful leader. I looked at things from a much wider as consequences. I thought about how it impacted not only our customers, but our shareowners, our stakeholders, and our more importantly our people. And so that’s the word so when you think about that and you think about that word, you want to define you at the end of your career.

If you think about it, You’re building that mosaic to that word. It defines you throughout your career, the things that you do, if thoughtful is that word. If it’s decisive, if it’s energetic, whatever that word is that you’re going to use to define you at the end of your career throughout your career. So, you know, unconsciously, subconsciously, whatever the right word is, you’re building that mosaic to that word.

And so that becomes your legacy. So someday, if you called up someone and said, Hey, I just got this new responsibility. I’m going to work for Rocky Romanella what’s he like people start to tell you what I’m like. And so that becomes my brand and then I have have a brand identity, and then I have a brand promise and the brand promise are those things that I won’t compromise and like a good product.

Once you start to compromise your brand promise. You start to lose people. If you think about the companies in the world today that have broken that brand promise, right? Over a hundred years, all companies that, you know, if you and I walked around the cafeterias of these companies, everywhere has posted who we are, our mission statement, our values. You know, but it’s what we, won’t compromise is what gets them in trouble and you’ll get challenged on those things.

And so I would say, That would be the process, you know, define those three things, answer those three questions. Who am I, what do I stand for? What are the things I won’t compromise? Kind of identify that word. It may change over time, but mostly, mostly I think it’s going to most likely stay the same word, maybe a little bit of variations and then. And then you, then you build your career towards, you know, that mosaic of that word.

And then what you find is at the end of your career, you may achieve more things in your thought, less things in your thought, not all the things you thought, but you feel real good about yourself. You feel real good about the fact that you can look in the mirror.

And you were true to your values. You were true to who you are as a person. You were true to those things that you learned from the many people you did business with, but you can always put your head on a pillow at night and that’s the best part of it.

Norman Chella: [00:27:48] Did it take a long time for you to figure out what you were not willing to compromise so for that third question?

Rocky Romanella: [00:27:55] I think, I think I was very fortunate that, you know, the early parts of my life are so much shaped by my family and my dad. And so I always, you know, always was integrity. It was being true to yourself. As, as I moved through business, it became safety as a core value. I was never gonna put, put people in harm’s way.

I was never. Going to, uh, ever, you know, I would, I would lose business or walk away from business than I would ever put someone in harm’s way. So I started to add things that I wouldn’t compromise, but it started with my core values. You know, it’s funny people, you know, so people will they’ll know that, you know, they’ll find out through yeah, my history that I worked for ups for 36 years, and of course in today’s world, those kinds of years of longevity aren’t as normal as they were maybe many years ago.

But I would tell people all the time. I didn’t agree with everything that happened at ups. I didn’t disagree enough to leave. And I tell people when they’re looking for them, that new job or they’re going to change jobs, I think it’s so important that you’re being interviewed, but you’re interviewing them as well in a polite professional way, because what you’re trying to understand is not so much about the company and what they do.

It’s more about their values and their ethics and their, does your values and your ethics or your beliefs do they line up? Because if they do. Like, I never felt like I felt like I fit morally and ethically inside ups never asked me to violate a law, break a policy. So I felt like I belong. So in those difficult days, when I may be driving home at night saying these people are crazy.

I can’t work anymore. These are nuts. You always came back the next day because you, I felt like you fit. If you don’t feel like you fit as a person. Your values, your morals, your ethics will then that’s when you’re going to say, you know what? Not only do I think I’m not happy with the way things are going, or maybe I’m not happy.

I didn’t get that promotion. I don’t even fit here. I don’t feel like I belong here. And that’s why I think it’s so important to understand. Do I fit here? It’s like I tell people when they go to, you know, guys telling the kids when they were looking at college and they were playing sports, for example, I would always say to them, pick a college that you like.

In case you couldn’t play sports. What’s let’s say you didn’t make the team, or God forbid you got hurt. Are you still gonna like this school? Cause if the answer is no, you probably shouldn’t be going here.

Norman Chella: [00:30:14] Yeah. That dependence on something as passionate and sports in that one injury, and that could be broken or shattered can be a big hit on you know, a young college student, especially when their identity is tied to their passion. And sometimes it can be getting a little bit more empirical than that, right? It could be the values and the principles that you hold that can go way beyond say the school sports that you play or what you pay attention to.

It could just be on just what you’re believe in. And I think that being able to consistently uphold that each and every day can lead you to shall we say a very balanced career, whether you’re in a leadership position or not, but you are probably a leader in your own way. If you can uphold that as a habit. And, uh, as an example to other people who might look up to you that way,

Rocky Romanella: [00:31:09] Right? Well, you think about it. I mean, the day you walked on that campus that you ended up going to that school, you felt like you belong there. And, and so, so that’s how you, you know, you go through four different schools and you say, I feel like I belong here.

Well, that’s, you know, that’s how, you know, you, you, you should be there then now if they have, you know, if it fits the sports, that’s great. But I wouldn’t go there just for sports, because as you said, I mean, it could be. You’re no longer playing sports, then you don’t fit. Well, then you got to feel like you fit same with a company.

You got to feel like you fit there. So I think, I think that’s so important.

Norman Chella: [00:31:40] Of course, trying to find ways to fit into what is in alignment with our own principles and values. Is something that we are in search for, but Rocky, I’m sure that you have a lot to say more about that at 3sixty and through your book, tighten the lug nuts.

Before we finish up this conversation, I do want to ask you a few questions to close up. This conversation. One is called mementos. Do you have a memento that represents who you are?

Rocky Romanella: [00:32:11] Hmm, that’s an interesting, I got to tell you, out of all these interviews, I’ve never,been asked that question.

Do I have a Momento that’s a really good, uh, that’s a really good, I actually, I do. I do. Cause it’s right over here. It’s a little elephant and it’s because it’s. It’s a little elephant and it’s, it always gets back to, you know what, one of the things I used to always say, I know none of us want to talk about it, but over my right shoulder, there is an elephant in this room.

We’ve got it. This guy’s this elephant in the room. Yeah. And so I was given that many years ago, this little elephant, they say, Hey, you know what? I, Oh, we always walked around. We always talk to the fact that in a polite, the way we were going to get to all the issues and we weren’t going to walk out of here with it.

Without discussing the elephant in a room. I would say that’s probably because it’s been with me, you know, my whole career. So I got that early on in my career.

Norman Chella: [00:33:06] Like that’s a huge reminder. I feel like that that one other fund bears the weight of decades of experience in that I, Oh, that’s, that’s great.

I love that answer. And of course the, the second segment is one called the walkaway wisdom. So. Rocky say, we walk away from this conversation right now and I meet someone, right. And I’d become friends with them. And in the process of deepening my friendship with them, we become vulnerable, intimate, and I share my life with them.

And part of that life is, or part of my life rather is our conversation right now. Is there a piece of wisdom that I can tell them that represents who you are?

Rocky Romanella: [00:33:47] Yes. I would say, when you answer that question and what are the things I won’t compromise, one of them is, is trust because in trust you, that’s, when you feel you can be vulnerable, I trust you that I can have this conversation with you.

And then once you break that trust or you break that brand, promise that that’s my brand promise to you that I, that you can trust me once you break that, then, you know, You really can never tell. It’s very difficult to get that back again. But what you did, what you did though, is you left me very vulnerable, right?

I, it’s very difficult for people to share those kinds of things or to have that kind of trust in you. So trust is something that takes years to get, but seconds to lose. And so I would say that, you know that for me, it’s about trust.

Norman Chella: [00:34:36] And to ensure that that trust is kept between both parties. Uh, no matter what, uh, since it is a two way street, to be able to have that as part of your brand identity or to have that as part of the words that you mentioned before, like, what do you want people to say about you?

While you are away, someone trustworthy is definitely one of them. And I, I just remembered this as well. I sort of answered that question quite a while back in the beginning of this year, actually. Um, and it was related to starting this show and I wrote that I want it to be when you were a little bit off track, but I don’t really mind.

I wrote that I want it to be the warm, loving fool of 2020, and each of these words represent different personality traits that I aspire to have. So warm, being empathetic, to be able to listen to other people, loving being the person or the pillar of support for those who are in need, right? The ability to listen, to ability to help articulate their problems for them and the fool is the person who is willing to humble themselves in order to surrender to the knowledge and wisdom of those around them.

So I. Maybe in the future, we’ll be able to have those words describing me, by other people, but I know that that can serve as a really good guide to a career in my own choice and maybe my own definition of what a balanced leader could be. So Rocky really thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this.

Rocky Romanella: [00:36:08] I think, I think though, I mean, that’s a very, I mean, that’s a very thoughtful, uh, and I think that think about how you articulated that. I mean, so when, when you think of, when you think back someday, and God willing, and you have a long career and a healthy career and a wonderful family, when you look back though, All of the things you’re going to do, even though you may not sit there when you start something and you say, well, I’m going to do this in an empathetic way, or, but you always will be empathetic.

I’m always going to take the opportunity to be a good listener, which really then be, and ask good questions, which really becomes the fool right. You know, the word fool makes it sound differently. But what you’re really basically saying is I’m going to take the time to listen. I’m going to take the time to learn.

And I’m going to take the time to ask the right questions. And so if you think about it, think about as you travel throughout your career and you get to this end so successful, which I know you’re going to be, people are going to say to you, well, how’d you do those things? Well, you don’t really sit there and say, I’m going to be this, this, this, and this.

You know, I remember when we had people say, well, how’d you call it this balanced leadership thought? Well, I remember sitting in a meeting one day thinking. Oh, well, we were only all talking about, about this or are we talking about the customer? Okay. I understand we have to fix the customer’s problem, but how about our people?

Do they know why we have to fix it? Is it the right thing to do for our company where we’d only talk about company and not about our people? So, so you get these when you’re open minded, like you are, are, and the three things that you just described in yourself. You, you begin to, you begin to ask good questions of yourself.

And I think that’s the thing that, you know, as you’re talking and you were telling me like, Whoa, wow, he’s going to be that person that not only asks good quick, you play the fool not only to a person, but you playing it to yourself. You’re asking yourself those questions. I think that’s tremendous. I mean, that was a, you should feel really good about yourself. That was a, you did a great job there articulating a very succinct thought there.

Norman Chella: [00:38:09] Thank you, Rocky. It’s a genuinely, a very vulnerable part of myself. I’m sharing that, but I’m, I’m happy. I get to share it with you as someone who has gone through such an amazing amount of experiences, uh, and to be able to answer those three powerful questions yourself. So it’s nice to know that I can learn a lot from you. So thank you Rocky now to close off this conversation. Of course, Rocky, if we want to reach out to you to contact you, to maybe email you or ask you more about what you’re working on, how do we reach out to you? Where can we find you?

Rocky Romanella: [00:38:45] Well, thank you for thank you for that. So my website is Of course, the book is tighten the lug nuts. There’s actually a website now for that So a book is sold on born on Amazon, does a great job fulfilling. It’s a five star Amazon book, which is very humbling. And, uh, of course, uh, Barnes And my email address is I answer my emails and by the way, our website is very interactive. So if you email, I respond myself and then on the website, there’s a lot of information there’s, as you know, over 40 videos, uh, podcast interviews, I’ll load up our podcast interview. I’m on Spotify and, uh, uh, iTunes and SoundCloud. So there’s a lot of different interviews, different topics. So, uh, but this was a great topic. I want to thank you for being such a thoughtful and prepared host. It was a very thing. You did a great job. Excellent job.

Norman Chella: [00:39:51] Thank you Rocky. And I will talk to you soon.

Rocky Romanella: [00:39:53] All right. Be safe.

Norman Chella: [00:39:55] And that is it. My chat with Rocky Romanella founder and CEO of 3sixty management services and author of tighten the lug nuts to try to become a balanced leader. Rocky shares with us quite a number of things experiences throughout his 40 plus year career.

Mostly in UPS, focusing on hardworking  and trying to define one’s career path through the values and principles that he’s had. So honestly, we got really vulnerable at the end, so I genuinely want to thank Rocky for being an awesome person to talk to. Of course links to all of the things that we’ve mentioned as well as links to reach out to Rocky and his websites will be in the show notes right below and if you are on a journey to answer those three questions, who are you, what do you stand for? And what are you not willing to compromise? If you are just starting to answer those questions now, that’s great because you are taking the first step to doing so. And if you have all three answered for now all as well, Stay warm, stay lovely. And I will see you in the next episode, your foolish friend. Norm.

Thank you for listening to the show. Antifool is hosted, produced and edited by me. Norman Chella. You can find out more about the show at It’s where I host all my other podcasts shows. The music and sound effects come from If you have any questions, recommendations for guests and more hit me up on Twitter @normanchella or on LinkedIn as well. There is only one of me in the world. I’m sure you can find me there. I love connecting with people and having warm, meaningful conversations. Don’t be foolish alright. Cheers.