Operationalizing Your Values with Dina Dwyer-Owens
Undercover Boss alumna and Neighborly’s “Head Cheerleader” Dina Dwyer-Owens visits with Ray about keeping your values front and center, bringing your faith to work, and the power of habits and discipline in your day-to-day life.
Dina Dwyer-Owens is the Brand Ambassador of Neighborly. Dina is a certified franchise executive with more than 35 years of industry experience, and serving 15 years as CEO of Dwyer Group. That business, known now as Neighborly, is the world’s largest parent company of 22 home service brands and nearly 3,700 franchise owners in nine countries. Neighborly has been on the “Best Companies to Work For in Texas” list for five consecutive years.
Dina is a popular speaker and author of two books: Live R.I.C.H. and Values, Inc. that share her global message for living and leading with a proven code of values.
“Bringing our faith into the workplace is a critical part of leading by example.”
“Lead and live with your values.”
1. Leading by example means bringing your faith to work.
2. People want to know that you care.
3. It’s all about your personal habits.
4. Communicate with love.
5. Systemize keeping your values front & center.
6. Spend less time doing the “busy stuff.”
Ray: Well, hello everyone. This is Ray Hilbert. I’m your host here at Bottom Line Faith. And we’d love to welcome you back to another episode of the program that really is about the intersection of faith, life, and business in the marketplace.
If you’re just learning about Bottom Line Faith, this is where we get an opportunity to travel the country, literally north to south, east to west, and we interview some of the most amazing and godly leaders who are living out their faith as they grow their businesses and their organizations. We’ve interviewed CEOs, and founders, and presidents, business owners and entrepreneurs, athletic coaches, government leaders, people who are really influencing the marketplace through their faith in Jesus Christ.
I am in Waco, Texas, and I am in the global headquarters at Neighborly. And I am with the brand ambassador, Dina Dwyer-Owens. And you are going to hear an amazing story today. I know you’re going to get charged up by the conversation that we’re going to have. Dina, welcome to Bottom Line Faith.
Dina: Hi, Ray. Thank you so much for having me.
Ray: Now I’m just going to say before we get into our interview, I have really been looking forward to our time together because I feel like I’m just, and I don’t mean old friend like in age, but a very special friend. You and I have had opportunities over the years to interact. You’ve spoken at our Truth at Work conference, and you have just been from the distance, me in Indianapolis, you here in Waco, just an inspiration to me personally. So I am ready to get going, how about you?
Dina: I’m ready and I’m grateful. I know you’re going to be speaking to our franchisees at our annual reunion coming up soon.
Dina: So we appreciate that too.
Ray: I’m looking forward to it. Now, you had a really amazing experience here just in the last few years that really helped the whole world become more familiar with you personally and your company. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about that? And then we’ll learn about the company.
Dina: Yeah. God had a plan. I had the opportunity to be on Undercover Boss. I think it’s in its 10th season now, which is incredible for an undercover show. But that was one of those opportunities, Ray, that I prayed going into it that I would just remain humble, that the episode was not about me. It was really about showcasing how important are in life and in business. And my mission for going undercover was to find out were our values, our then Dwyer Group, now Neighborly values, really making it to the front lines? Those team members who were in your homes and businesses, were you having the experience of our values?
And something much bigger came out of it than just that. God had a different mission, and that was to expose my faith. So I really just went into that praying a lot about being humble and being real and authentic. And wow, it’s turned into something much bigger than I would’ve ever imagined.
Ray: As I understand it, they allowed you to have input on your character’s name that you played in the episode at Undercover Boss. There’s a special story there. Tell us about that.
Dina: There is. So that three weeks before we were going to film, CBS had called me and said, “We need you to come up with an undercover name, and it’s got to be a name you’re not going to forget. So come up with four possible names, and then we’ll have to do some background checks.” I guess there’s a lot of litigation that goes on with these reality shows, and they wanted to make sure I wasn’t a real person, the name I came up with.
So I came back and I, again, came up with some cute names, and I thought, “Dina, get real here. What’s the name that’s going to hold you accountable during this filming? And what’s the name that’s going to keep you humble during this filming?” And Faith was the name that I came up with.
So I went back to CBS and said, “I got it, four names: Faith Brown, Faith White, Faith Black, and Faith Jones.” They’re like, “Okay, so you like faith, we get it.” And Faith Brown actually was available, so I became Faith Brown.
Ray: What was that like? The crews, we’ve got crew here today of course filming, but what was it like having the crews follow you around, and what did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about your company as a result of that experience?
Dina: Incredible. First of all, the logistic team members are amazing. I had no idea how hard the folks work behind the scenes, so that was a big learning for me, just a real appreciation for them. But a couple of things, Ray. I would say number one is I always knew that our frontline team members across our Neighborly brands worked hard and some of the jobs are very dirty. But I got a whole new appreciation for just the work that they do to make us more comfortable in our homes and businesses.
And even today as I’m driving to work and I’m driving by some construction workers, I’m praying for them because I just didn’t have quite the depth of understanding until I was out there doing some of the same work that they had to do in the extreme temperatures. That was in the summer and very, very hot. But they do this in the very, very cold temperatures too. But it’s what they do every single day to make us more comfortable. So big appreciation there.
But another thing that really hit home with me is the awesome responsibility we have as leaders. I had the privilege of being able to come back to Waco, Texas at the end of the filming and the producers let me go to church. And I walked into that church, and I basically fell apart because I was just weighted down with this huge responsibility we have as leaders to lead by example and bringing our faith into the workplace is a critical part of leading by example. So that was a little-
Ray: And it’s coming back to you right now?
Dina: Oh, it is. That was overwhelming. And all of us are leaders, and we all have this amazing responsibility.
Ray: We sure do. And so we are here in Waco, as I mentioned a moment ago, and the company is Neighborly. And I just want to make sure I get my numbers right here, so you can correct me, right?
Dina: Because they’re moving all the time.
Ray: But we’re a global brand with 22 franchise service brands in excess of 2 billion, with a B, dollars of annual sales. Did I get that part right?
Dina: You did. And that would be 2 billion in system-wide sales. So that’s collective sales of our franchisees.
Ray: Okay. But that was not always the case. We are in a very special room here. Why don’t you tell our viewers and listeners where we’re sitting and a little bit about the early days of the company?
Dina: Yes, we’re in the Don Dwyer room, so this area used to be my father’s office. He founded the company in 1981. Died of a sudden heart attack in 1994 after just taking the company public in ’93.
Dina: Only 60 years old. I think it says a lot about him that we’ve led this company 38 years later now after the death of a founder. So this room is very special. This is where the vision happened. And Don Dwyer actually had a vision for having a collection of franchise companies serving the same customer base and to now today we’re now called Neighborly, which is just that, the collection of franchise companies, the 22 brands now serving millions and millions of customers in their homes and businesses.
Ray: And I’m sure just it would be very difficult to cite all 22, but maybe just give our audience a sampling of the types of home services that we’re talking about or maybe even a brand or two that they might be familiar with.
Dina: Sure. The flagship brand is Rainbow International, which is a restoration and cleaning company. So primarily fire and flood restoration work as well as carpet cleaning. And then the latest business we just acquired was Dream Doors, and it’s in the United Kingdom. And so that goes in and refaces basically your kitchens.
But in between all that we have Mr. Handyman, and we have Five Star Painting, so just about anything you need done in your home or your business, we have a professional, licensed, trusted franchisee in your community who can serve you.
Ray: What I love about your company is you all are so deeply rooted in your core values. This is a passion that started with your dad. You’re obviously carrying this on. So why don’t we talk a little bit about the core values of the organization. Tell us about this book, Values Inc. What’s special about it?
Dina: So when we went from being public to private, so we were a publicly traded company until 2003, and then we became a privately held company by merging with a great private equity group called The Riverside Company, we grew overnight by 1200 employees because we acquired a very large company. And one of our challenges was is how do we indoctrinate all of these new employees and franchisees, future franchisees, into our culture? It’s hard.
And so one of our associates actually said, “Why don’t we write a storybook?” And that’s where the book Live R.I.C.H came from. R.I.C.H stands for our core areas of our values. R is for respect, I is for integrity, C is for customer focus, and H for having fun in the process. So we say that we live RICH here at neighborly. It’s not about money initially. At the end of the day, yes, we are in business to make a living. But it’s about how we treat one another with respect and dignity.
So this book was written really for internal purposes. And then there were people in franchising, friends of mine who said, “I’d like to kind of share that same message with my team members and create our own values.” And it’s even gone to Capitol Hill now. I’m proud to say that we’re making a little bit of a dent with some of the representatives on Capitol Hill.
So the Values Inc. book was a result of so many people saying, “I like this values stuff, but it’s kind of just a warm and fuzzy kind of thing. I don’t think it really translates into financial results.” So I said, “Okay. So I’ve got a challenge now to prove that it does in fact translate to financial results.” And that’s why Values Inc. was written. So we do have the softer side of the stories of values at work in a culture and the difference it makes in people’s lives. People want to know that you care.
And then we have the stories of businesses who have outperformed other businesses who don’t have core values that are being truly practiced. A lot of companies, as you know Ray, have core values up on their walls or maybe on their website, but very few organizations actually strive to lead their values and keep them front and center every day.
So Values Inc. just gives you the facts, the data on companies who are leading with their values are outperforming those who are not, and also outliving those who are not.
Ray: Yeah, I remember watching in the Undercover Boss episode, this really came out, how the values are instilled, how they’re operationalized inside the organization. So for maybe listeners or viewers who are just like, “What is this all about? What does this mean? I know we have core values. I know they’re important,” how are they lived out? What are maybe just a couple of best practices of how these values are driven down and through the organization?
Dina: I think the best practice, we’re a franchise organization, and so what does a franchise organization do?
Ray: Systems and process.
Dina: We take what’s most important in business, right? We create systems around that so that those systems can be replicated, so that our 3,700 franchisees can have greater success by being part of a franchise organization than being out there alone. So when we created, after the death of our founder, the operationalized RICH values, we said, “How do we keep these values front and center? They should not be relying on a CEO or founder to keep the company engaged in the values.” So we said “Let’s create a system around the values.”
Anytime we have a meeting of three or more of our team members or our franchisees, we take that deep breath, Ray. So it’s that, okay, kind of like praying at the beginning of dinner or at a meeting. The values are kind of like our prayer if you want to think about it that way. And we start it off by reflecting on this is who we are, and this is how we’re going to operate. And it just causes everybody, again, to take that healthy breath of fresh air, okay, things could be crazy or things could be great, but regardless, this is how we’re going to focus on treating one another.
So we’ll review the values, sometimes all 15 of them at the beginning of a meeting. Sometimes we’ll just highlight a particular value and say, “Ray, you’ve done a great job. We just heard one of our customers that you really excelled in this particular value.” And the values can range anywhere from treating others as we like to be treated, to one that can be a bit challenging in the trades businesses is speaking calmly and respectfully without profanity or sarcasm. Not that all trades people use profanity, but unfortunately, some do. It’s just an old bad habit.
Dina: So we hold one another accountable by having that practice of every time there’s three or more of us together reviewing the values or a value or an opportunity to improve on a particular value, and then beeping sometimes each other when we’re violating the value. Sometimes I’m beeping myself internally, but sometimes somebody else is beeping me and actually literally saying, “Beep,” because it’s a game that we play to get people on top of it.
And it works beautifully. We’re not perfect at it, but we have this really high bar that we’ve set. And I think that if we can get close to hitting that bar every day, we’re much better off than setting a low bar, having the values on the wall, but never even really trying to practice them. It just doesn’t make us as good as we could be.
Ray: So you’re telling me and our audience that in the midst of we’ve got an important meeting, we’ve got a lot going on, we’ve got phone calls coming in and emails and texts just overwhelming us, if there are three or more of us in this organization, we’re going to stop before we get into the business content, and we’re going to reflect on the application and operationalizing of our core values? Did I get that right?
Dina: That’s correct.
Ray: Why is that so important?
Dina: It’s, again, the deep breath of focusing back on who are we and how do we operate here? And reminding ourselves that in this meeting, as tough as it might be, we’re going to treat each other with respect. And then when that customer calls with a complaint, we’re going to treat that customer with respect. So it’s just that front and center reminder, and it’s forced us to internalize the values.
So now, Ray, when something difficult is happening, not just at work, because this applies to every relationship I have, if you’re really working on these values, they help you in all areas of life. I don’t have to even look at the values card anymore.
Ray: It’s who you are.
Dina: It’s like, okay, this is a particular value we need to apply here because it’s just the way we think now. So we’re trained to think this way now.
Ray: What I love about that too, to your point about it being applied in all areas of life, really almost anything that we repeat to ourselves enough becomes our new viewpoint or perspective or truth.
Ray: And so I may be someone who comes in, maybe not fully having adapted and adopted all of these values, but if I’m constantly being reinforced that this is my environment, this is who we are, it’s who I become.
Dina: Right. I mean, affirmations are powerful, and so basically every day, who knows how many times a day, depends on how many meetings you’re in, we’re reaffirming that this is who we are and how we do it.
Ray: Well, it’s a lot of work, but it’s obviously worth it.
Dina: It’s worth it. And at the end of the day, it’s less work once it’s in place because you just minimize the drama and the waste that goes on in organizations.
Ray: Yeah, absolutely.
Dina: Every kind of an organization, even not-for-profits.
Ray: Yeah. There’s probably some churches and ministries and all sorts of businesses-
Dina: And schools. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Ray: …that we can take this too. That’s fantastic. So I’d love to talk a little bit about your personal faith if we could. You mentioned Faith as your character on Undercover Boss. Where did that deep faith come from and how does it affect you on a daily basis?
Dina: I would say that my mother primarily grounded me in my faith. My father was so busy trying to provide a living for us. He did go to church with us, but my mother was the one who made sure that we went to our CCE classes, our catechism classes, and really went to church every Sunday. So she really made sure that we focused on saying please and thank you, and those things that are all biblically based.
And then there was a point in time when I was a junior high student, and somebody had given me a Gideon Bible. Not that I had not read the Bible, but I had read it in bits and pieces, not all the way through. And somebody gave me Gideon Bible, and I was an overweight little sixth grader and somebody, my sister, she laughs about it today, but made fun of my weight. She wasn’t doing it to be mean, but it really affected me.
And I was reading this Bible over and over again every night, and I just got this, I guess the Holy spirit just came into my world then, and just said, “Look, you could do whatever you set your mind to do. And if this is bothering you, then take control over it. Do something about your weight, only you can control it.” Just a weird thing for a sixth grader to go through.
But from then on, I just realized that God’s the only place to go. And I think about Saint Augustine’s, one of his famous sayings, and I may not get this quite right, is that our hearts are restless until they rest in God. And so that’s something I learned at a very young age from that experience.
Ray: And I know this is not something that was put on for the television show. This is deep, this is real. So I would like to talk about how this is lived out for you. We talked about core values through the organization, but this is deeper than just core values for your faith.
So as you think back over the course of your career, how has your faith shaped your business decisions? How has your faith got you through some of those difficulties? And if maybe a tough time in your career comes to mind to share with us, I’d really like for us to uncover what’s your faith like in business?
Dina: Pray, pray, pray, one of the things. I don’t know how people make it, Ray, without having a strong faith. I mean, the world is a tough place to be.
Dina: So it’s all about our habits, I think. So before I even get out of bed in the morning, I count my blessings. I have so much to be grateful for. I’ve been all over the world, and I’ve done some mission work as well. And I just know there’s so many things that… Even my pillow that I had my head on this morning was something I have to be grateful for. It’s funny the things that I think about sometimes, but it’s so true isn’t it?
And then I get up and I typically go to mass first thing in the morning. So one of my habits is to put myself in that quiet place with God. Some people are great at doing it at home. I just happen to be one of those ones who’s to OCD at home. I’m not really good at getting quiet and home, even with the kids gone.
Ray: I understand, yeah, yeah.
Dina: So I put myself in a place, which is church for me. And no where I am in the world, there’s always a church I can go to. But that’s my habit is daily mass almost every day. And then there’s other things. My husband and I have certain Scriptures that we follow and we read together every morning. And then before we go to bed at night, there’s certain habits that we have, examination of conscience, and just things that we do. So I think it’s really all about our personal habits.
And in the work world, it’s just reminding myself about seeing the beam in my own eye and realizing that it’s just a splinter in somebody else’s. Because anytime that I’m feeling like I’m starting to judge somebody else and they don’t have it right and I know better than they do, I really try to, especially in the last five years I’ve gone from being CEO now to I was a chairwoman and then co-chairwoman and now brand ambassador, purposely trying to be more part-time, but helping others get into the role to lead. Not that I had to help that many. Mike Bidwell’s doing an amazing job leading the company. Does things differently than I would, and that’s when sometimes the judgmental eye comes out, and I have to say, “Wait a second here. Get the beam out of your eye before you start judging somebody else.”
And so it has been, especially, it’s funny, the last five years has been a real challenge in so many ways, but strengthen my faith life because I’ve had to just pray more for conversion apart from myself, and for those around me that maybe we don’t see eye to eye all the time.
Ray: It sounds to me, Dina, it sounds like your faith is growing because you’re taking your hands off of things.
Dina: Trying to take my hands off of things. It’s a hard thing to do. It’s easier to to be in control, or think you’re in control. I’m learning a lot.
Ray: It’s all an illusion anyway, the whole control thing.
Dina: It is. It is.
Ray: As you think back over the course of your career, could you maybe share a time, maybe a really difficult season in business, maybe a really difficult decision that you had to make, and specifically how did your faith pull you through that?
Dina: Wow, there’s a number of those stories, but the one that jumps out at me is our founder died in 1994 after just taking the company public. We did the best that we could to keep the company growing. We probably over-invested in infrastructure at that time. We were a lean company, then we became a little bit too heavy in infrastructure. And so in 1998 our company was losing $1 million a year. We’re publicly traded. Could you imagine how the shareholders were feeling?
And we had to make a big decision. We are a people intense business. We don’t have a lot of buildings and stuff. We have a big campus here, but overall buildings is not what we’re invested in. We’re invested in people. The only way to reduce our overhead by $1 million so that we could get back to making a profit again was to get rid of $1 million in people. And I can’t think of one person on our team that deserved to be let go.
So prayer, I mean, I was up praying two weeks in a row, probably I spent more time praying than anything else. But God led me back to our company’s vision, and our vision was to be a world class company admired for the excellence that our customers, franchisees, and associates experienced with us. And so the message to me was how do you provide these folks a world-class experience even though you’re going to have to let them go?
Ray: Wow, wow.
Dina: And our team, our team did an incredible job of brainstorming, how do we do that? And the good news is, as hard as that was, nine out of the 10 folks came back and said, I am so grateful for the way you guys handled this. You couldn’t do anything else. You had to do that because the company would have not survived had you not. But the way you handled it was beautiful.
So the decision really was a result of prayer and just praying through this terrible time, or it felt like a terrible time, but again, the folks, nine out of 10 came back and just thanked us for the way we handled it.
Ray: Yeah. And much of our audience here at Bottom Line Faith, they’re business owners, business leaders, and they’re faced with some of these same decisions. And sometimes they’re challenged like, “Well, you can’t do that. You’re a Christian. You can’t fire people. You can’t let them go.” But you really can because if you do it with honor, you do it with dignity and integrity, and treat them right, that’s still honoring God in the process, right?
Dina: That’s right. Well, and it’s either the handful of people who you’ve got to terminate, or it’s 200 other people who are going to lose their jobs if we don’t do that.
Ray: So again, as you think back over the course of your career, you shared with us a difficult decision that you had to make among many, but what’s a lesson you’ve learned, a mistake that you made, and it’s like maybe you could pass it along? Does something come to mind, a lesson learned?
Dina: Oh, lots of mistakes. But the actual one that I’d like to share is just having somebody on the team who did not live our core values, a high level executive running a division that we did not have experienced with. And my gut said, “This gentleman is not right for us.” And yet I allowed others to convince me, “Let’s keep working with him. Let’s keep working with him.” But he was not living up to our values. And our values, if you think about it, are all biblically based. You could tie our values to many parts of the Bible. In fact, we’ve done that before.
So I guess the lesson learned is that always listened to your gut. You have a certain name for that, and maybe you’ll share that with us, but your gut is God really saying, or at least my experience, is really saying, “Don’t let this go on. This is not right. This is not good. Don’t let other people convince you that it is when you know in your gut that this is not right,” so that’s just a big lesson for me.
And the few times I’ve made terrible mistakes, I look back and I think, “I knew going into that that it should have been something different, and yet I went with something that somebody else encouraged me to do.”
Ray: Yeah. I think what you might be referring to, I’ve had this kind of statement for a long time, it’s like you know in your knower, right?
Dina: You know in your knower.
Ray: God’s placed that inside of us. It’s that still small voice. And for me it’s like sometimes… It’s when I’m driving by and maybe seeing someone who’s on the side of the road asking for money. Sometimes I give, sometimes I don’t. I really try to follow that prompting, knowing, “Hey, this one, yes… ” And maybe I miss it sometimes, and we all do. But that’s what you’re talking about is follow that prompting.
Dina: That’s right.
Ray: Because it’s very likely God speaking through you.
Dina: That’s right. That’s right. And I would have saved a lot of heartache had I just listened to that.
Ray: Again, it was centered around the core values that was proven out over time, this isn’t a fit.
Dina: That’s right.
Ray: Okay, very good. If you could sit down with the 20 or 21 year old Dina, what would you tell her?
Dina: I would say, “Communicate with love.” So one of the things that I probably could have done as a younger person is listened better for sure because I think that I had all the answers when I was young. My social life was one of the most important things to me back then. Today, my faith is what’s most important. But I think that communication is so important. I think in any relationship that’s failing, it’s because communication has failed.
And sometimes communicating with love means you have to have those tough conversations and not be afraid. And that’s something I would’ve told myself is don’t be afraid to have those tough conversations.
Ray: Okay, so that would be how you would advise yourself to speak truth in love listen more, but when you speak, speak truth and love.
Ray: Very good. So I’m curious, tell us more about this brand ambassador role. Because I you mentioned a moment ago you were CEO and co-chair-
Ray: …chairwoman, and so forth. Brand ambassador, what is that?
Dina: Yeah, I just think of myself as a head cheerleader because I’m constantly cheering on the team, whether it’s the employees, their franchisees, their family members, cheering the company on. But the values is the thing that I cheer most about because I think it’s critical that we don’t lose sight of the values have to remain front and center in our business.
We’ve worked so hard to get where we are today to attract the right people to our organization, and that can slip away quickly, Ray. I have this flossosophy, not philosophy, but flossosophy that our core values are critical and reviewing our core values on a regular basis is even more critical. It’s kind of like flossing your teeth. The minute we quit flossing our teeth, what begins to happen to our dental hygiene? We get cavities, right?
Ray: They decay.
Dina: Infection sets in. They get cavities.
Ray: That’s good.
Dina: And if we don’t fix that, our organs will then decay. Our organs will start breaking down on us. So I think about it takes a while though of non-flossing for that to really happen. And in an organization, when you start getting away from your core values and maybe you’re brushing your teeth, so it’s kind of shiny and pretty on the surface, but you’re no longer flossing and taking that extra effort to really root your values in detail on a regular basis and live them and hold each other accountable, then you can end up having disease, disease and infection, and even your internal organs of your organization beginning to fail. So I’m cheering for that not to happen.
Ray: I think that is so good. So let’s just for a moment, let’s assume there’s somebody watching this right now, there’s somebody listening to this conversation, and they’re discouraged around the topic of I’ve got these core values in my company, but I really don’t apply them. I don’t know what to do with them. So cheerlead for that person, Dina, encourage. What advice would you have for that person that’s like, “What do I do with this? I’ve got the words on paper and I actually believe them, but I don’t know how to live them out”?
Dina: Yeah, I would say create that system around how you’re going to keep those values front and center every day and borrow our system. Just make it simple. Don’t make it complex. Make it simple. Maybe it’s reviewing them once a day in a meeting if you’re a smaller organization. Just think about how are we going to keep them front and center?
And you as the leader has to be the one living it. And you have to be able to say to your team that anytime you find that I’m violating these values, please give me feedback. I welcome your feedback, and I’m going to listen, and I’m going to work hard to get better at it. And be silly like we were. Play the beep game. If you’re violating the value, people have the right to beep you. And it’s a simple, verbal beep, and then go about your business. But it’s that reminder. And before you know it, you’ll be beeping yourself as you catch yourself by violating the values.
Dina: And I do have something that’s available to your listeners and viewers at my website, dinadwyerowens.com. There’s a free Create Your Culture workbook that they can download. And so maybe you have your values identified, maybe you don’t have clear behavior statements so that you can measure whether you’re living up to the values.
So there’s six simple steps, Ray, in that Create Your Culture workbook that they can download for free, again. And I would encourage them to do that if they’re not certain. And it gives them some other advice on how to make them part of their everyday way of life.
Ray: And on that note, in your role as ambassador, you get a chance to speak to companies and organizations. And I know you’re limiting that now just because of family, but folks I assume could reach you through the website as well?
Dina: Yes, at dinadwyerowens.com, yep.
Ray: That’s fantastic. Okay, so I’d like to talk then a little bit about the passages of Scripture that have most influenced you, that you most focus on. What are the verses that drive you? Do you have a favorite verse or a favorite passage?
Dina: I have many, but I have a couple.
Ray: All right.
Dina: And this one actually sits on my credenza at the office, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future,” Jeremiah 29:11. So as I come into the office in the morning, before I put my purse into my credenza, this is what I see.
Then at home, okay, this may be too much information, but when I’m in the bathroom, this is the one that I read. So, “Do not fear, I am with you. Do not be dismayed, I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” And that’s Isaiah 41:10.
So they’re affirmational scriptures. I just need the mental affirmation, the spiritual affirmation every day, and believe me, I read these every day. And as a result of that, Ray, I’m encouraged to continue to share my faith no matter what organization I’m speaking to. Even if on the speaker survey, they say, “Stay away from politics and religion,” I will still talk about who I am. I’m not pushing my faith on anybody else, but it’s important that they understand what helps me be the best, brightest version of myself.
Ray: Why do you think that people are so receptive to your message?
Dina: I think it helps give them courage. I think people want to share their faith, but they’re so afraid in today’s marketplace. Today, I just interviewed a person that I’m looking for to be one of my executive assistants. And she was crying when I spoke about my faith in the interview. And she said, “I’m so sorry.” She goes, “I just have not ever felt this comfortable talking about my faith, and my faith is what keeps me going too.” She just lost her son in February. And young, I mean, a young mother, young son.
So it just provides courage, I think. It helps them understand it’s okay. Nobody’s shooting me down on the stage. And if they were, oh, well it’s my time to go, really. Maybe I shouldn’t think about it that way, but that’s how I think about it. It’s my responsibility. And I think it just gives people courage and confidence that, hey, if she can do it, why can’t I do that too?
Ray: And we all need more of that. We need that courage. We need that encouragement. And we also need to understand we’re not alone in this.
Dina: That’s right.
Ray: You’ve got something special sitting in the chair there, and I cannot stop our conversation until you get a chance to share this.
Dina: Thank you. Well, I think one of the questions you like to ask is what is kind of favorite life verse? Mine’s very long. It’s not just a verse, but this is actually a prayer by Mother Teresa, who I really admire. What a humble, hardworking woman who changed how many millions of-
Ray: Changed the world.
Dina: Millions and millions of lives. And I refer to this regularly when I’m feeling like I’m letting somebody else control the decisions I’m making versus listening to that God gut. It reads, “People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway. If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway. What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, some people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyway. Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway. In the final analysis, it’s between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
Ray: That is beautiful.
Dina: So just a powerful reminder that we’re supposed to be out here spreading our faith in the marketplace.
Ray: Amazing and powerful words to guide us in the marketplace. Fantastic. Well, Dina, around this whole conversation around faith in the marketplace and encouraging other leaders, what would be some advice that you would have or some encouragement, maybe even some challenges, around this whole issue of integration, intersection of faith and business? What would you say about that?
Dina: I think that distractions are one of the biggest challenges we face today. First of all, if you don’t know your values, you’re easily distracted, right?
Ray: Right, right.
Dina: But when it comes to growing in my faith, the distractions can be something as simple as my iPhone. And I find sometimes I’m sitting down to read Scripture, and bing, here comes an email that’s a work-related email. So my intention was to read Scripture, but now all of a sudden my mind is on, “I wonder what that email is about. I wonder, do they need a response now?” That tyranny of urgency that catches us all the time because we’re such a productive society today, and those tools, the iPhones, smartphones, can help us be more productive, but they can also destroy our focus on our faith.
And so I’m really trying hard, Ray, to spend more time doing silent retreats, really going away where the phone doesn’t go with me, and 40 hour silent retreat. You can usually find a retreat center somewhere that charges very little to stay in one of their very clean and comfortable cabins, and you go away and get quiet for 40 hours. You just really get closer to God when you do that, and realize more and more that you can put that phone down more often. Those emails will wait. And have set times of the day that you’re going to check those emails. Train people that I’m going to respond to my emails certain times of the day.
Ray: That’s great.
Dina: And they will respect you for that because they wish they could do the same thing, right?
Ray: Right, right. And so I see and understand the value of that just on the focus on God and the faith piece, but how does that help me as a business owner or a business leader get accomplished what I really need to get accomplished?
Dina: Well, one thing, I’m praying for my business all the time and for our employees and our franchisees. So I think prayer is just critical to the growth of our businesses, but it also helps you in being more focused on your business. So less time doing the busy stuff, because it’s so easy to stay busy and active, versus spending your time on this stuff that really matters. That’s really going to move the needle, whether it’s in building a relationship or building a certain aspect of your business out.
Ray: Yeah, fantastic. I’d like to talk a little bit about like every business you’re integrating a next generation of leaders, young leaders who have been brought up on technology, maybe haven’t got this silence factor down yet or focus. How are you integrating the next generation of leaders into the business and teaching them some of these important skill sets as well?
Dina: We have found, Ray, is the values alone help in that area because the values alone help them get more centered about what it is they need to focus on at work. That doesn’t mean that they’re still not checking text messages here and there. But what I have found is the people we attract at least do an amazing job. And it may be that they’re even up at 11:00 at night doing some things around work that we don’t expect them to do, but that’s just their modus operandi. At the same time, they love the guidance of the values.
I am pleasantly surprised no matter where I go, what office I go to, we’ve got nine offices across the globe now. And I can be in Germany, and it’s amazing how much they love our values and the guidance that the values give them. So it doesn’t make them better. It does help them be less distracted. Yes, we all have distractions today with technology, but I think the values themselves helps that whole process.
Ray: Okay, so our regular viewers and listeners, they know there’s always one question that I always save until the end, and it’s what I call my 4:23. It’s based out of Proverbs 4:23 where Solomon writes these words, he says, “Above all else, guard your heart for from it flows all of life.”
So Dina, what I’d like you to do is I’d like you to maybe think about you have a chance to gather your family, your friends, your loved ones, those who are most precious to you, and you have one piece of advice, your above all else advice. For our audience, if you would fill in the blank, above all else?
Dina: Lead and live with your values. I think it’s critical, and our values usually tie right back to our faith, our faith walk, and our faith life. So lead and live with your values.
Ray: That is short and powerful and to the point.
Dina: And sweet.
Ray: And you’ve lived your entire life.
Dina: Trying to.
Ray: And God’s blessing the company, right?
Dina: Oh, He is. He is blessing the company. In the last four years, we’ve grown 125%, Ray, and we’re a 38 year old company.
Dina: That just doesn’t happen without values.
Ray: Live and lead with your values.
Dina: With your values.
Ray: Dina Dwyer-Owens here at the Neighborly group in Waco, Texas. Well, friends, I can certainly believe I speak for you, I know I’m speaking for myself, when I say this is an amazing leader that we’ve just heard from. A godly woman who is not perfect, as she shared, had many examples of successes and failures, but is living out her core values through her faith as well as driving these core values throughout the entire organization. And we’re seeing God’s anointing on her and this amazing company.
I want you to check out Neighborly. You are going to learn all about their 22 brands, and go to dinadwyerowens.com. You can download some resources there that Dina has offered up. And we just want to thank you for listening or viewing this episode at Bottom Line Faith. We trust that you’ve been encouraged. Until next time, I am your host, Ray Hilbert, encouraging you to live out your faith every day in the marketplace. God bless. We’ll see you next time.