Watch the evening news any night of the week and you’re likely to see signs of society becoming more polarised. In some countries, it’s almost become toxic. That’s why I was so interested to learn more about a new learning program that seeks to bring about inclusion, trust, and belonging. I asked Steve Ambrose, Co-Founder of Walk The Ridge, to tell me about the program and to share his thoughts on growing a learning organisation.
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Now, over to Steve . . .
What’s your background? How did Walk The Ridge start?
Steve Ambrose: My background is very unique. Think of me more as a self-learning polymath that likes to observe and then find new solutions to existing challenges.
I owned my own healthcare practice for 20 years, where I personally saw up to 60 patients a day.
In addition, I worked with the media in my city, positioning myself as an expert on musculoskeletal pain and stress management.
This led to TV and radio appearances, as well as speaking to employee teams in organizations such as Capital One.
I’ve also been an entrepreneur, who has held 4 U.S. patents and developed unique software for sharing data between health payers and P&C organizations. More recently, I created and hosted the Red Hot Healthcare podcast, where I interviewed CEO and senior-level healthcare leaders. Also, I’ve been a speaker at the 2018 PIHRA/CAHR leadership convention.
Walk The Ridge Beginnings
In December 2017, my wife and I recognized that through online, media, and face-to-face interactions, our society has become increasingly polarized. Yesterday’s toxic behavior around skin color is today’s behavior around mere differences in opinions and views. People simply finding more ways to not get along or like one another.
When we increasingly see this behavior in our business, media, and political leaders, we knew it was time to create a genuine movement for inspiring healthier habits of engagement and conversation.
What does your business do?
Walk The Ridge is a learning organization, centered on reaching and teaching people healthier habits of engagement and conversation, to apply in differences of opinions and views. This is not only prevalent in our online and community environments, but also skyrocketing in our workplace cultures.
We address individuals and cultures that lack or have not optimized a genuine sense of trust, belonging, and inclusion. Unlike other consultants or professionals, we look more at an inside-out and bottom-up approach through our scalable learning asset called Walking The Ridge.
This 2-hour spotlight course is designed to teach and instill a new human practice that makes individuals better first.
Then…it works outwardly to improve conversations, relationships, and then…culture.
We do provide consulting and paid speaking, but typically initiate that after the learning course has been applied.
In this sense, our in-course survey lets us know what employees are seeking or needing…and they can answer this anonymously too.
How do you structure your services? Any advice?
The learning course is the tip of the spear. It is specifically structured to be a low cost, highly scalable, high-value add, and low time commitment asset. So if you’re an individual, you can improve yourself for under $20, companies under 500 employees are at $14.95 per viewer…and over 500 employees are under $12.
I do also want to say that every single viewer also receives downloadable support materials, as a part of the Walking the Ridge practice.
Plus, every viewer also receives a Walk The Ridge reminder band. This is a wearable anchor to support the ongoing commitment and human practice we teach.
My advice would be to visit our site and buy the course for your organization. This is an absolute no-brainer because it serves as a catalyst for individuals as well as overall culture. It’s structured to be affordable, shareable, and sustainable.
This is also important. We are already having larger organizations come to us very interested. However, they have strict policies on connecting to outside servers. So I do want to say that we have the flexibility to bring our content to their servers…and they can reach out to contact us to have those conversations. This is too important to limit or put up barriers.
How did you get your first few clients? What are your main marketing channels for growing a learning organisation now?
We are actually going to be releasing this officially in early-to-mid September. We had prior clients who previously purchased our bands for their employees – but now we have the guts of the system and practice, in a very engaging format for learning and application. So we do expect it will be picked up by companies of all types and sizes…plus even schools, sports teams, and religious institutions can certainly share this with their members.
As far as marketing, we will be using digital marketing over the first 10-12 months. I carry an extensive network with CHROs, Chief People and Learning officers, as well as D&I professionals. But I don’t want to limit us to larger organizations, because this course is also terrific for smaller companies as well as for individual purchases.
Also, and this is really exciting, we are actively building up a paid partner network.
We pay out 20% and all partners do is to share out our course intro link. They even get a portal to see who has clicked on and purchased from their link…and payment is made in 7 days to their PayPal account.
Also, we ask partners to hand off prospects to us if needed, so we can help them on final purchase signups. And we’re always looking to provide our partners with best practices in reaching out to those they know or have already as clients.
What HR changes and challenges do you see now and in the future?
First, it’s important to know that I am an outsider to the HR industry. That brings certain advantages and removes certain biases.
The challenges I see are continual blending of different generations, backgrounds, and views – and working to genuinely bring about inclusion, trust, and belonging. Because it’s a lot more than simple pulse surveys and rah-rah offsite meetings that companies post out through social media. It’s what people are truly feeling on the inside..which often gets hidden.
Another challenge I see, especially with the balance of diversity & inclusion is not confusing inclusion with looking to get everyone on board with a particular political or social view. I’m seeing more and more posts on LinkedIn, where D&I professionals are shaming and blaming others – and they wonder why they are not seeing more inclusion. That has to change.
Finally, I see the need for healthcare to get more onboard with inclusion, trust, and belonging. Healthcare is the #1 employed sector in the U.S. and yet feelings of “burnout” are shared by more than 50% of physicians and its even higher with nurses. So while it may not be traditional business, it is a growing concern, esp. as we see more shortages coming with physicians and nurses.
Any tips on interesting people, websites, tools, podcasts, or books that HR businesses should check out to grow faster?
I’m a big fan of Josh Bersin, so I would always recommend his work and articles. Also, I like Glen Llopis – who has written a series on using inclusion as a growth strategy for organizations. You can find his work on Forbes and ‘inclusion’.
If people want to learn more about you and your business, what should they do next?
The very best thing they can do is to visit WalkTheRidge.org and click on our new course link.
The Walking the Ridge course intro is extremely well-organized, and gives a great glimpse into what this new digital asset will deliver, and those interested can download a sample lesson from the course, before buying.
I really respect and admire the purpose and mission of the Walk The Ridge learning program – the world sure needs more of this type of positive change.
I wish Steve and his team all the best for the future.