Denver: Take 5 with Dave Hassell, the founder and CEO of 15Five. Are you ready, Dave?

David: I’m ready.

Denver: What idea in business is ready for retirement?

David: That’s an easy one. Definitely, the annual performance review.

Denver: What should we be worried about?

David: I think we should be worried about companies that are still trying to maximize shareholder value and not really focused on taking care of all their stakeholders including their vendors, their employees, the planet, and their community.

What is one of your favorite documentaries or movies?

David: I pass on that.

What is today’s most under-reported story?

David: Today’s most under-reported story, I think just in general, we don’t report good news. Bad news sells. I think there’s a lot of really good news in the world, and people doing amazing things through entrepreneurship. I don’t think those stories are highlighted enough.

Denver: Is there something really weird or unsettling that happens to you on a regular basis?

David: Weird or unsettling… well, I have a minor case of Tourette syndrome, so every once in a while my arm jerks and things like that. So, it does come off as a little weird for folks.

Denver: What is something you believe that other people think is just insane?

David: That’s a good question. I actually think that businesses can be most profitable when they genuinely and authentically care about their people, and most people think I’m crazy.

Denver: Name some organization or person that you have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for.

David: Charity Water. I think the folks at Charity Water has built an amazing organization delivering clean water all around the world, and they have such high integrity as to making sure that every single dollar including any credit card fees they lose in the transaction that they fund externally go to drilling wells and delivering clean water.

Denver: I can’t agree more. Scott Harrison was on the show a couple of months ago, and he was just great.

David: Oh wonderful.

Denver: What is the most interesting part of your morning ritual?

David: I would say it’s probably a combination between my kettlebell getups and ending up with a kettlebell and my super fruit smoothie.

Denver: What is the most important thing that makes for a healthy organizational culture?

David: Vulnerability. Vulnerability which leads to trust, and it’s up to the company leadership to go first, to create the space where people can actually be open and vulnerable and transparent.

Denver: What did you change your mind about in the last 10 years and why?

David: I changed my mind about healthy eating. It was probably about seven years ago, I just had a really big shift, started eating all organic and stopped eating processed food and things like that, and it really changed my life.

Denver: When was the last time you were voluntarily disconnected from all your devices?

David: That’s a great question. The last time I was voluntarily disconnected, actually fully, was probably last September. I went on a weeklong retreat where we all checked in our phones, and I had no phone in nature for a week, and I didn’t want it back in the end.

Denver: If you are a kitchen utensil, what would you be?

David: I’d go with the knife.

Denver: What do you wish people were more open and honest about?

David: I wish people were more open and honest about the areas where they feel maybe like they don’t have it all together because I think those conversations really open up more connection and dialogue.

Denver: If you were to start your career all over again and do something completely different and away from this field, what would that be?

David: I would probably start looking for a 0:04:15.3. What I mean by that is like looking at some of the challenges in the world that could be solved with technology and just start asking, how could this be solved?

Denver: What is your super power?

David Hassell

David: My superpower is creating trust with people very very quickly and then creating from there.

Denver: If you could have one gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it, what would that say?

David: I guess we’d have to go with Time Square because you’re in New York, and it would probably say “Love your people”.

Denver: What is something whether this is related to your work or not, that you are exceptionally excited about right now?

David: I think I am exceptionally excited about where we are as an organization and what we have, the potentially to do over the next two years and reframing this concept of review and re-contextualizing it and saying the purpose of doing reviews in companies is not to give people a grade but to help them to becoming their best selves. I’m really enthused and passionate about that.

Denver: What’s the one book you would give as a gift?

David: I would probably give Simon Sinek’s book, Start With Y.

Denver: That was a great TED Talk, I must agree. That was unbelievable. What topic would you speak about if you were asked to give a TED Talk on something outside of your main area of expertise?

David: I’ll have to pass.

Denver: What is something about you that very other people know?

David: Prior to running 15Five, I actually ran a kite surfing-adventure-travel company on a beach in Brazil in Northeast Brazil, and lived on the beach. Bought a dune buggy and was kite surfing every day for a few years.

Denver: Given a choice of anyone famous in the world, dead or alive, that you can invite over as a dinner guest, who would you invite?

David: I would probably invite over Elon Musk. I would love to just get a sense of how his brain works.

Denver: What advice would you give to your 20-year-old self?

David: I would tell my 20-year-old self not to worry so much and to just trust and have faith and follow what is energy-giving and passionate.

Denver: Finally, you have a quote you live your life by or think of often.

David: There’s one by this author, Paulo Coelho, who wrote a book called, The Alchemist, a lot of people know. He said, “the reward of our work is not what we get but what we become”, and I really love that one.

Denver: Fantastic.


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