Sustainable Leadership with Eddy Badrina

Eddy Badrina is the CEO of Eden Green Technology,  he was previously the President and founder of BuzzShift. Eddy shares some amazing entrepreneurial insights and leadership hacks including:

  • How to adapt in a changing world, during and post pandemic?
  • What does sustainability means for leaders
  • How he keeps innovating in a world that’s already innovating at light speed.

The Leadership Hacker News

Steve Rush: With the great resignation, still looming. Employee engagement is key for any successful organization. So, employee engagement is based on trust, integrity, two-way communication, commitment between the organization and its team members. And you will know, as I. Great engagement leads to increase productivity, performance, wellbeing, and can be measured in a number of different ways. And organizations have taken to a number of different methodologies to measure employee engagement. As a leader, and as an employee, what does employee engagement really mean? For me, it’s about getting up in the morning, thinking, great, I’m going to work. I’m going to make a difference. And I’m going to make a change. Employee engagement is about understanding individually what that means for each person that works with you and be really clear and sight and energized where that fits into the whole organization and aligning it to its purpose and objectives.

And alignment to that core purpose. and objectives is really important in fulfilling the organization’s longer-term goals and purpose and objectives too. It’s about being inclusive, fully inclusive and included as a team member with clear goals, trusted and empowered, receiving regular and constructive feedback and feed forward support in your development and innovation and opportunity. So as leaders, how aware and how engaged are you in unlocking your employee engagement? Are you regularly and restlessly, always looking to draw out deeper commitment from your team, finding new ways of working, drawing on their experiences and their backgrounds for innovative ideas, are you helping them make parallels to the organization’s purpose by connecting the dots to their own purpose and experiences? And it’s sometimes helpful to think of employee engagement about what it’s not. Employee engagement cannot be achieved by a mechanistic approach, which tries to extract discretionary an effort by manipulating employees and commitments and their emotions. It’s not about the number you get once a quarter, once every six months on a scorecard around a load of measures. And it’s not something that you tactically do.

Our employees are hardwired to spot that kind of behavior and when they do spot it such attempts will fall quickly and become vain and create cynical and disillusion behavior across your workforce. So, the leadership hack here. Allow employee engagement to be a behavior, not something that you do. Provide the opportunity for development, inclusion, and innovation, aligned with super leadership years. Your teams will be engaged. That’s been The Leadership Hacker News. Please get in touch with us if you want us to feature anything on our show.

Start of Podcast

Steve Rush: Our special guest on today’s show is Eddy Badrina. He’s a successful entrepreneur. And now at the CEO of Eden Green Technology, a leading vertical farming business and AgTech company, Eddy, welcome to The Leadership Hacker podcast.

Eddy Badrina: Hey, thanks so much. I’m happy to be here.

Steve Rush: We delighted your here and I’m really intrigued to get underneath how the business is growing and, in more ways, than one, excuse the pun, but also, we’d love to find out a little bit about the background of our guests before we get into that. So perhaps you can tell us where it all started for you?

Eddy Badrina: So, I was born here in the states to Philipino immigrants. And so, I think that’s important to note, because I think it really developed my work ethic. My parents started from scratch here in the United States. So, I had a very, very high work ethic, resourcefulness and just this sense that there was no safety net, if you will that others had to rely on. And I tell that to entrepreneurs and folks that, you know, just ask me, like where does the drive come from? And I tell them that, you know, the risk to jumping out on your own or the risk to do something big here in the United States is actually not that risky at all.

If you think about, you know, what’s the worst that can happen? And I’ll ask folks who are jumping out on their own or starting up businesses, what the worst that can happen? And they say, well, you know, I’d lose my house. I would have to go back; I’d probably have to move in with my parents, right? You think about that, like, oh, man, that sounds devastating. I said, well, stop there because most of the world already does that. That’s just their normality, right?

Steve Rush: Right.

Eddy Badrina: And so, when you can put it in that context, and I have family in the Philippines that four generations under one roof. And when you look at it like that, then you understand the the risk that we have and the safety net that we have is actually normal in everyday life for everyone else in the world. So, it puts the element of risk into context. And so, it just gives me confidence, like, hey, what’s the worst that can happen? Right. So, that’s important to note. Just my background of how I grew up. And then, you know, spent a couple of years in DC. I got my undergrad and masters, and then went up to Washington DC. I was an analyst at the State Department for about four years, both pre and post 9/11. So really got to experience what it was like to work. I didn’t know it, but I was right in the middle of history.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Eddy Badrina: And work under extreme pressure on some really high-profile subjects when I was, you know, at the old age of 24. So that really helped me cut my teeth on what it means to work under pressure. I think a lot of folks think they’re pressure, but contextually, it’s not that much pressure compared to what other folks around the world are doing in industries and in topics that, you know, one, I think all consuming from a world point of view, but also two, the stakes are just so much higher.

Steve Rush: Very similar to the whole principle, isn’t it? That you talked around with regards to risk.

Eddy Badrina: Yes.

Steve Rush: People’s context and perspectives are sometimes skewed by comfort, right?

Eddy Badrina: Yes, absolutely.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Eddy Badrina: I think it’s also important thing to do from a leadership perspective is to always gain more context about the world that we’re living in. And look at other people doing other remarkable, you know, things in high pressure situations, because it does give you context for the work that you’re doing. And in a lot of senses, it gives you a little bit of relief, like, okay, this isn’t world crushing what I’m doing here. I can work a full day and go home at night and sleep well knowing that I gave it my all for the day and then wake up tomorrow and start all over again. And nothing’s going to fall apart if I don’t get that last email done.

Steve Rush: Right.

Eddy Badrina: Right. So, there’s a lot of benefits to having that context. So, you know, worked again, four years in the State Department then actually got to work at the White House. I was President Bush Asian American spokesman for about two years. And that was a really, really wonderful time in my career. I couldn’t have imagined doing that. And I was 28 at the time. So, I couldn’t have imagined that in my wildest dreams coming out of college. Those six years in DC from a leadership perspective really showed me instances of great leadership and instances of bad leadership. And because of all the pressure that was in there working at the highest levels of government. Your strengths and your weaknesses are very amplified in that setting.

So, I got to see some leaders that because of the pressure just came out to me, at least in my eyes, came out golden. And really my respect raised for folks like Colin Powell, who I was able to work under for a bit, Condoleezza Rice, and then both Presidents Bush, senior and W. The things that I learned just the viewing them from a very near point of view, I think have shaped my leadership acumen up until this point, for sure.

Steve Rush: And it’s interesting, because most people can only ever really see the exterior perspective of how they operate. And those of you have the opportunity to work very closely, get to see a different dynamic I suspect.

Eddy Badrina: We do. I think for the good leaders it’s very cliche and again, you can usually only read this in books or hear it on interviews, but the great leaders are separated from the good leaders in that. They always remember the personal side of things. They look at the people around them, the team around them, and they remember that they’re humans. And that they have lives, they’ve got families, they’ve got their own things that they’re going through on a very personal level. And they take that into context when they’re making decisions. Those great leaders are ones that ask about how your family’s doing, and they want to know how your family’s doing because it helps them as they interact with you, and it helps them coach you and mentor you. And that’s what great leaders do, right? So, I think that was probably the key takeaway from my time there, noticing what made great leaders different from just good leaders. It was that personal attention to the humanity of the folks working around them.

Steve Rush: And I remember from the last time that you and I met, that’s still really cool for your leadership style today, isn’t it? That’s something you carried forward and there’s still a real core tenant of how you do things.

Eddy Badrina: Yeah, I do. I really try to do that and not just do that on a personal level. I try to do that honestly, on a company level and it’s a part of how I’ve built my companies. As much as I can advocating for the person. I follow this creed of redemptive framework for building companies. Leaders are sacrificial. It’s where employees are not just treated fairly, they’re treated generously and it’s where culture and society around the company are not just advanced, but they’re actually redeemed and restored.

And I had a, you know, an audience member asked just, hey, how, how practically do you apply some of that redemptive framework? And I said, well, when it comes to employees, treating them fairly is giving them, you know, and this is a real practical application. Treating them fairly is looking around at the market and saying, okay, what does maternity leave look like? You know, maybe it’s eight weeks, maybe it’s, you know, even 12 weeks. Okay, so how do you treat that generously? Right. How do you think about that generously? Not just treat them fairly in relation to the rest of the marketplace. Well, generously would be saying, okay. I know personally that I’ve got three kids and that my wife was able to bond with them. Three months was really the minimum time.

And she could have gone back to work, but man, if she had only just had that extra two weeks it really made a difference. And I don’t know what that three-month mark is, but it just is. And so, to treat employees generously, then my response is, well, gosh, what would it cost the company to give four months of maternity leave, right. Is it really all that much? Is it a difference between 12 and 16 weeks really all that much? And the answer is it is, but it isn’t, right? Can we do that and can that scale?

Steve Rush: And it’s also investment, isn’t it?

Eddy Badrina: It absolutely is an investment.

Steve Rush: It’s an investment in people.

Eddy Badrina: That’s what we do. We give people 16 weeks of maternity leave and then we think broader, like, okay, I value adoption and I value my friends that do foster care, okay. So can we provide adoption, same as pregnancy, right. Can we give 16 weeks for leave for adoption? Can we give an amount of time for foster care? Can we give paternity leave? That’s more generous? Right. There are just practical things that I don’t think a lot of folks, you know, care to think about and expand just a little bit that make a world of difference to the employee, a world of difference to my teammates. And so that practically is how I take the personal care of my employees to a corporate level. And does it, you know, affect margins in operating margins? Yeah, it does. But is it totally defensible to, you know, the world outside, whether it be investors or capital partners? Absolutely.

Steve Rush: And also, I remember in the conversation, you and I had last, that was a real key pivotal moment for you when you once sold BuzzShift, the successful marketing agency that you created and founded, but then bought it back for the same reasons.

Eddy Badrina: Yes, and that’s a, you know, that’s a really remarkable chapter in my life of taking a company from scratch, bootstrapping it with my business partner and then getting it up to the size that we were able to sell it. It’s about six years later. So, we started it in 2010 and then sold it in 2016. And when we sold it, I think everyone was on the same page, the acquiring company and us about vision and mission. But I think really quickly as with a lot of M&As, actually the vast majority of M&As, I think the visions just get sidelined by practical realities. And so, we had one party I would say that was focused on using the agency as Bizdev and the other party, including us, were focused on seeing it as a business unit, a profitable business unit.

And so, when those two diverged at a point in time, I think everyone looked around and said, man, this is not working the way we intended it to, and maybe it would be better if you guys just bought the company back. And so, we did and, you know, I’ll just say we sold high and bought low, so that was really good. But the main reason that we bought it back was because we saw our team just kind of falling apart and really going through some painful just merger type scenarios. And I think on both ends, we were just like, this is not the best for the teammates that are in here. And would it be better to go our separate ways and to rebuild these business units.

And so that’s what we did and, you know, that was the driving force for me, was the relationships and those people in there that I just didn’t want to leave high and dry. And then two years later, we were able to sell it again actually for a second time. And I told my team on the last day, the CEO who’s, my business partner stayed on, and I left. Actually, I had been gone. I had taken a step back to run Eden Green, but on the last day, just as an owner I was able to talk to the staff and I just said, hey, here’s the reason that I feel confident about the sale the second time is that the whole time that I’ve been running BuzzShift for the last, you know, call it 10 years or been an owner for 10 years, the point of it was to be a good steward of that, which God had given to me, it wasn’t really my company to begin with.

I was just tasked to be a good steward of it. And when I could find someone who could steward it as well or better than I could, then it made sense for me to let that go. And so, I just told them, I think, you know, this acquiring company who is fantastic by the way that they can be a better steward than I can. And so that why I’m selling my portion of the company and, you know, I think it was well received because one, it was authentic. It was actually true. And two, because they knew my stance was consistent with what I was saying at the very end. I think everyone knew from the very beginning that man, I just wanted to grow a company, but do it in such a way that my identity is not tied up in it and more importantly do it in such a way that they can thrive those employees and those teammates can thrive because it’s growing.

Steve Rush: And therefore, it becomes a sustainable business that you can confidently leave behind in good order knowing that that’s going to continue in that spirit too.

Eddy Badrina: Yeah, absolutely.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Eddy Badrina: Yeah, absolutely. And they’ve done a fantastic job of stewarding it and helping it grow.

Steve Rush: And you’re now on a new journey with Eden Green and Eden Green technology for those that aren’t familiar are leading the way really of this whole kind of farming ecosystem that you’ve managed to create. Tell us a bit about the journey so far.

Eddy Badrina: Absolutely. So, to two years ago I became CEO of Eden Green, and we’ll call it greenhouse’s infrastructure, but it’s a vertical farming inside of a greenhouse, which is remarkable in and of itself and it’s a platform that allows us to grow really efficient efficiently and really profitably a large quantity of greens that is safe. It’s season agnostic and it’s really quite accessible to the consumer. And we’re able to do that because of my COO who invented the technology back in 2011. And they have a remarkable personal story as well. That was really the Genesis of Eden Green. They were engineers and they were handing out food and actually candy in South Africa where they were born and raised.

And a kid came up and stuffed his pockets. Five-year-old boy came up and stuffed his pockets and they asked like, hey, why is he stuffing his pockets? Like there’s enough food to go around. And the response was that, well, it’s actually for his three-year-old sister at home. It’s not his day to eat, it’s hers. And so, he’s bringing the candy back to her and for them that really struck a chord. And both of them said, man, this is not right. Like, we’ve got to find a way to fix this problem and, you know, kudos to them. They were engineers, construction engineers, and they just turned their minds. Both of them turned their minds to figuring out a way to grow greens really efficiently in an economic and an environmental scenario that is South Africa.

And so, it was very resourceful. They invented it out of their garage actually, and it was very resourceful. And after about six or seven years, they took it to the United States for expansion of capital and commercialization. So probably, you know, a couple years after they took it over, took it here to the states is when I came on board as CEO. And I was just tasked with providing vision. The mission remained the same, which was to change the way that we’re farming food and change the way that we’re feeding people, but the vision of what it could become and then taking it to market and providing product market fit and taking it to market was something I was tasked with. So, I came on four months before the pandemic hit.

Steve Rush: Exactly, yeah. Timing’s everything, isn’t it?

Eddy Badrina: Yeah, timings everything, right. And so, a lot of teams and organizations have suffered because of the pandemic. And I think because of the flexibility and the adaptability and the grit of our team. We were able to not just survive it, but really thrive in it. The pandemic hit and we realized, man while capital drying up for now, we can really focus on what we do best, which is the technology. Can we use this time? And obviously with patient investors, can we use this time to up our yields per plant spot, which is kind of the going metric in our industry. It’s how much produce can you yield in a year from a square foot? So can we use that time to work on our tech? Work on our operations to get that yield per square foot, to a point where it was not just competitive with organic, but it was actually competitive with conventional produce.

And we’re just about there. And so that’s really exciting for us. Someone once asked me like, hey, what’s the best piece of business advice you learned? And really, the biggest competition that you have is who you were yesterday. And so I tasked my team to say, hey, every day, I just want us to get better than we were yesterday, whether that’s the yield going up 0.1, you know, 0.1 pounds or operational efficiency going from a 96% cleanliness rate, is rated by you know, third parties to a 97% or from sales and marketing, let’s go from 24 leads a month to 25 leads a month, right, whatever that is, if we can just be better than we were yesterday it really sets the tone for a company, even in the pandemic where we looking for positive improvement day to day.

And I think as we added that up over, you know, the past two years, I think what that’s resulted in is the team is very confident about our product. We’re very confident about the numbers and the quantitative data that we’re putting out to back up what we’re saying. And more importantly, we’re very confident about the team itself because we’re all on the same page and we’re all working towards incremental improvement.

Steve Rush: Yeah

Eddy Badrina: So, that’s what the pandemic did for us. And, you know, again, I would be nothing without my team. I just had a good team that responded to the call of self-competition every day. And I think it’s proven to be just a winning recipe for Eden Green.

Steve Rush: One of the other things I loved about the mission of Eden Green is, it’s not just around sustainability from a produce perspective as well as its great eco centricity that comes with it, but also the sustainability about the communities that you’re in. So, I know one of the core tenants you have is making sure that if you’re going to build a business or a location you do so by employing the neighbors, tell us a little bit about that, how that’s disrupting the marketplace you’re in?

Eddy Badrina: Yeah, you know, from a broad point of view, the parameters that you set on a business are really the values that you instill in the business. And so, if you say, hey we’re going to try to make this as profitable as possible. That takes a business to its logical end. And that logical end is just, eking out every bit of margin that you can out of the business. I’m not going to say whether that’s a good or bad thing or healthy or unhealthy, but I’m saying that’s not where we’re at. One of the parameters that we put in is we want to employ as many people as we can while maintaining a good margin, positive economic margin, because if a business is not profitable, it’s not a business, it’s a hobby, right?

So that’s one of the parameters that we put in and it is really a core value of saying, hey, how can we care for the community around us? Well in practical terms, what that means is, hey, we’ve got to make the rest of our operations so efficient. The rest of our greenhouse is so efficient that we don’t have to rely on robotics. We definitely use AI to assist our growing methods, our nutrient mixes all the way that we handle air and water and the environments inside the greenhouse. But when it comes to planting and monitoring and harvesting. We love the fact that human hands are touching that and are monitoring it and are looking at it. We never want to take the humanity out of the feeding other people.

Steve Rush: Right.

Eddy Badrina: So, because we have that core value and I’ll even call it a parameter in place then we had to work. If that’s just a part of our margin is up to 30 full-time people in one of our greenhouses, then what do we have to do on a technological and operational end to make sure that fits in healthy business margins. And so that’s what we did.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Eddy Badrina: We’re proud to say, hey, we actually want to be in the urban areas. We want to be in and around the communities that we’re feeding. One, because it’s just smart business. The geography of underdeveloped and under-resourced economic areas are the best and the cheapest places to put these greenhouses. But then also once you put them in there, we have the ability to hire our neighbors.

And so, our neighbors can work in these greenhouses. They’re no longer migrant workers. It’s full time with benefits living days’ wage for these workers in these greenhouses. So, they’re able to provide for their families consistently. They’re able to partake of the harvests that are coming out of them. So, they’re really changing their dietary and health lifestyle, not just for them, but they’re or families. And then finally, they’re in an industry that’s on the cutting, it’s one of the top 10 industries of, you know, technological growth for the next, you know, 10 to 20 years. And these folks are right at the base of it. And it’s not a dead-end job for them.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Eddy Badrina: It’s actually a career platform. So, because of that core value, all of those benefits can result, but it’s only when you have that core value and you stick to it that you have to find ways to make, you know, the company profitable while sticking to that core value. And that’s super, super important to me.

Steve Rush: Yeah, and sustainability is just that one keeps echoing in my minds. I’m listening to you speak Eddie around. It’s not just about the sustainability of the produce, but the whole ecosystem of that organization and how it fuels itself by getting that core value, right?

Eddy Badrina: Yes.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Eddy Badrina: You know, when we talk about sustainability, we talk about economic and environmental sustainability because if it’s not economically sustainable, then there’s no scalability and there’s no longevity to the business. So, we’re very practical about it. About finding ways to be economically sustainable, but while also adhering to the environmental values that we’ve set.

Steve Rush: And sustainability’s got a lot of press of late with COP26 happening, not so long ago with lots of focus on the environment that we’re in and what’s happening with global warming or not as a case may around the world. And sustainability is quite cliche at the moment, you hear lots of leaders diving into and using the word sustainability in some senses and having now clear ESG measures in their business, et cetera. What does sustainability mean to you personally when you hear that as a, business leader?

Eddy Badrina: That’s a great question. I think for me, sustainability is, you know, if you break down, I took Latin as a kid. So, if you break down the word sustain, it really means to maintain a consistent level of wherever you’re at to sustain energy for a period of time or to sustain success for a period of time, you know, really means to provide for long term presence. And so, when I think about sustainability for Eden Green, sustainability for the environment is how can we endure? How can we thrive for a long term without draining and exploiting the resources around us, right?

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Eddy Badrina: And so, on an environmental level, how do we run a company? So that the operationally, we’re not exploiting the environment around us, but we’re actually adding to it, we’re additive to it. And then from a company level, how do we continue to exist? How do we grow without exploiting the community and society around us? I think in very basic terms, that’s what sustainability means to me.

Steve Rush: Good answer. I love it. So, one of the things that I’m keen to explore with you is this whole notion of how you keep innovating? In a world that’s already innovating at light speed. Where do you go for that inspiration? Or how does that come about?

Eddy Badrina: I think it just comes about from that thing that I mentioned at the very beginning, which is, how do I get better every day? Right. And innovation I think for me, comes from when I start to sort of level out or the incremental gains in my own personal life are starting to become smaller and smaller. I just take a step back and I’ve afforded myself to take a step back and say, okay, how do I do things differently? If I had to scrap all this. I’m not saying I would, but if I had to scrap all of this, all the structure and the parameters in my life, how would I do things differently? In order to, you know, achieve a better life. And I really think, that’s where my personally, my innovation comes from, but then it just goes to goals, right? Before I can say, you know, get a better life. Well define better, right? So, I think from a corporate, but then also from a personal level.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Eddy Badrina: You really have to know what you want. And I tell on entrepreneurs that all the time and folks who want to be entrepreneurs, but also just leaders in general, in order to be a great leader, you have to know what you want. And it’s actually a part of my personal story moving from BuzzShift to Eden Green. BuzzShift was going really well. It was running quite well, so much so that, you know, I had a bit of time on my hands, but I’m not a maintainer. I’m a builder, I’m a creator. And I knew that as much about myself that I just became really impatient. I became, you know, honestly a little bit unhappy because I was just maintaining and incrementally growing this business, which was great. I think from the outside looking in, I had it all, but from the inside I just wasn’t happy. And so, the first thing I had to do was, I had to define, and this required a lot of what I call heart work. Not hard work. It is hard work, but it’s heart work. And in this heart work, I really had to define what I wanted. That took a lot longer than I thought it would.

Steve Rush: What was the reason it took so long?

Eddy Badrina: I think it as a type A in engram, I don’t know if you’re familiar with any engram. I’m a type three which is an achiever. And most of the folks who are really high up in business are achievers, engram achiever status or they maybe, what’s called a challenger. We see a goal and we get it, we see a task, we hit it and we just go on to the next one and the next one and the next one, and we get caught up in sort of this task and performance. And at least for me personally, because when I just do that and I feel I have this temporary, like feeling or dopamine hit of success, I sort of lose sight. I can lose sight if I’m not careful of what I’m really about and what I want. And from a day to day to the level, I want to hit those goals, but from a year to year or a legacy type level, that just takes more thought work.

Steve Rush: Right.

Eddy Badrina: And you have to get off that cycle of success after success, after success, and really take a step back and say, okay, what is this success about? I’m climbing this ladder, but is it leaned up against the wrong wall? Right. I think that’s why it took so long is because I was just used to getting the daily and weekly successes. And I lost a little bit of vision, my own personal vision because of that. Back to the defining what I want. After about nine months maybe even closer to a year. Three things emerged, you know, out of that time. One is, I had to define very clearly and succinctly and articulate what I wanted to others, but more importantly to myself, right? And those three things were, I wanted to run a hardware/software business. I had been there and done that gotten the M&A t-shirt for professional services.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Eddy Badrina: Two, I wanted to have an exponential impact on my level of effort. So, for every one unit of effort that I put out, I wanted to see it a 10 to 20 X return in community and culture around me. And then three is I wanted to run a redemptive type of organization. So, the fact that I’m able to articulate to you, those three things so clearly took a lot of work, but I was able to do that. Once I was able to articulate those three things. Then the second thing I did was I passed it before friends and colleagues and family. And she said, hey, tell me if this is coming from a healthy place, or tell me if this is coming from what the Bible calls a selfish ambition and vain conceit.

Steve Rush: Often also known as ego.

Eddy Badrina: It’s ego, right. Great book by a guy named Ryan Holiday and he studies the Stoics, but he talks about the ego is the enemy, but two, I had to, you know, run it through a filter of friends and family who were going to be brutally honest with me. And that’s another thing that most entrepreneurs don’t have besides that they can’t articulate clearly what they want. And then two, they don’t have the courage or the wherewithal, or even the friends around them to say, hey, is this a healthy thing for me? And then for friends, to be honest enough with them and say, yeah, it’s healthy, or no, you are being very, very arrogant, and egotistical. You should not pursue that. I articulated it, passed it to friends and family. And then the third piece that did. I let it go, and I knew that if that was supposed to happen and my friends and family approved of it. I just had to let go of striving so hard for it. And I worked towards it, but I also wanted to be diligent and excellent in my work at BuzzShift and to the team there. And so, I just had to release that and be mindful and hopeful that it would come back to me if that what’s supposed to happen. And indeed, it did.

Steve Rush: And it’s often the case, isn’t it? When you strive so hard for something you don’t necessarily see it or experience it, but when you do let go, you are open to natural occurring, coincidences, opportunity, higher spirit, call it what you will.

Eddy Badrina: Yeah.

Steve Rush: But that then find you in another way, right?

Eddy Badrina: Some people call it serendipity. I call it providence, right?

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Eddy Badrina: That was probably the biggest thing of it all. I was just talking to my wife the other day about what I’ve been learning over the past couple of years. And I think the loss of control has been the biggest learning for me, you know, the pandemic obviously heightened it. But really the core issue is one that everyone goes through at some point in their life of you realize even over your own body, you don’t have that much control.

Steve Rush: That’s very true,

Eddy Badrina: Right.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Eddy Badrina: Pandemic prime example, right. You can mask up or you can take the vaccine as much as you can, but the reality is you might still get sick and that’s totally out of your control. And it’s so frustrating for people. We see it right now. It’s so frustrating for people who don’t accept that they can’t control everything.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Eddy Badrina: And that comes out in terms of the way it manifests. Mostly it manifests itself in terms of fear, and sort of a protective nature. But when you can understand and except for me, especially when I can stand and accept that I don’t have control, it really frees me up. I don’t even have control over, like I said, over that, which I articulated and was able to, you know, confirm with my friends and family. Like, this is a really good thing that’s on your heart and you need to go after it. Even as I go after it, I realize I don’t have a lot of control over the external factors.

Steve Rush: Very true. Wise words. I’m going to turn the table to a little bit now, Eddie.

Eddy Badrina: Yeah.

Steve Rush: And we are going to flip the conversation a little bit to focus on taking all of your learnings, which are in abundance. And we’ve had bucketloads of hacks already, but I’m going to try and distill them down as best we can to your top three leadership hacks. What would they be?

Eddy Badrina: Man, I think you would go back to top leadership hack one, know what you want, know yourself, right? That takes a lot of work. It’s not a hack in the sense that you can get to it quickly but knowing yourself self and being brutally honest with yourself about your strength and your weaknesses is number one. Because when you know that you’ll immediately hire for your weaknesses, right?

Steve Rush: Definitely.

Eddy Badrina: And that’s a good goal to have, you know, the biggest jump for a lot of leaders and entrepreneurs is hiring that next person. Hiring the first person in your company, because that’s a very real equation of I’m going to take profits out of my own pocket as a one-man band, and I’m going to give some of it to someone to short up my weaknesses. That’s a crazy equation, but the equation actually works out in your favor if you’re willing to do it. I would say the second big hack is have a circle of advisors who can be honest with you. A lot of leaders have yes, men around them and they’ll just say yes to whatever. Is this a good idea? Oh yeah, sure it is, go.

Find that person that you can say, hey, is this a good idea? And they will say, no, that is a horrible idea. You are off your rocker, right? Or that is not healthy for you. For leaders and just for people in general, I try to get people away from saying right and wrong, and I get people more into the mindset of healthy versus unhealthy. And that changes your posture towards letting other people in, because if you can let other people in and say, hey, is this right or wrong? It’s sort of, it can be offensive to you, but if you can say, hey, is this healthy for me? Or is this unhealthy for me? One that connotes that they know a level of health about yourself and two that they’re able to say in such a way that is for your benefit. Yeah, that’s not really healthy for you. I’d probably go in a different direction.

Steve Rush: I love that.

Eddy Badrina: And then yeah, I’d say those are the top two and then read a lot, read a ton.

Steve Rush: What would be your hack number three?

Eddy Badrina: Read, read all the time.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Eddy Badrina: And allow yourself the time and the space to read. So, I actually have a blog post on my own personal blog. I don’t have many blog posts on there, but I have a blog post on there just on books and on how I read, when I read, what I read. And that for a number of folks have gotten back to me and said, man, that was a really, really, really useful framework to go by in terms of reading.

Steve Rush: Next part of the show we call Hack to Attack. So, this is typically where something hasn’t worked out as planned, and yet you’ve managed to use it as a force of good. What will be your Hack to Attack?

Eddy Badrina: I think the Hack to Attack has actually been the reading piece. I used read a lot of social and then thought I was reading the right types of social media or the right types of blog posts. And I was just doing it really inefficiently. And I think over the course of a number of years, I’ve really been able to dial in for me at least what has been a good intake of info information, why I take the information in, and then and then really, you know, the modes of intake, and it’s helped me to focus more. And it’s helped me to be more mindful and thoughtful about how I lead.

Steve Rush: Awesome. And it’s an interesting notion actually, because many top execs that I liaise with, worth work, coach, one of the core foundations is often just consume knowledge as much knowledge as you can, because knowledge is power.

Eddy Badrina: Yeah, but it’s also the type of knowledge, right?

Steve Rush: Right.

Eddy Badrina: Long form books are the result of long form thinking.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Eddy Badrina: And as a leader, that’s what you’re tasked to do. You are tasked to think critically. People don’t get paid the big bucks or the mediocre bucks in my case to just fire off emails, because anyone can do that. The good leaders, the great leaders are ones who have to think through five emails in a day, right? And think really, really critically before they hit send. And that type of deep thinking is critical to good leadership. And you can’t do that unless you’re intaking deep knowledge and deep knowledge comes from books.

Steve Rush: Wise words. The last thing we wanted on the show, Eddie is to give you a chance of time travel now. So, you’re going to be at a bump into you at 21 and give yourself some advice. What do you think it might be?

Eddy Badrina: Oh man. I would tell my 21-year-old self, keep your eye on the prize and the prize is relationships.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Eddy Badrina: I try to think with the end in mind as do most good leaders. And when you think about the end in mind, the end-end for me is when I die and when I die and they’re reading my obituary, they’re reading the homily, you know, in the church, they’re reading my tomb, my tombstone. I think it would be a total failure if they ever mentioned the words, Eden Green or BuzzShift. That would be a failure in my life if the companies actually came up in my obituary. What a waste if your corporate success is the thing that people remember about you, what I want them to remember is, he loved people, he loved his wife well, he loved his kids well, he loved his friends well, he was a good friend and honest and a faithful friend. He loved others, even folks that he didn’t know, he was generous. He was winsome. He spoke truth in love. He was bold, right? He was adventurous. That’s the stuff I want people to remember me by and more importantly, that’s the legacy that I want to leave with my kids and the folk around me. And so, as you think about generational legacy, you think about legacy at the end of your life. None of that involves the names of my businesses necessarily. Those are just means to an end.

Steve Rush: Yeah.

Eddy Badrina: It all involves the relationships that I pursue all along the way. So, beginning the end in mind, I would tell my 21-year-old self to focus on the relationships.

Steve Rush: Great advice too. So, Eddie, how can we make sure our listeners from all over the world are able to tap into your blog and the work you do, and to find that a little bit more about Eden Green Technology?

Eddy Badrina: Sure. So is the best way to find out. We’ve got a treasure trove of information just about hydroponics and about what we do, about the industry, and then on the socials, it’s all Eden Green Tech. In terms of my personal it’s, it’s my last name, And either one of those have ways to get ahold of me if they really want to ask me questions.

Steve Rush: And we’ll also make sure those links are in our show notes. So, folk can head straight over once they finish listening to this.

Eddy Badrina: Absolutely.

Steve Rush: Eddie, thank you, my friend, it’s been a great opportunity to talk to you and have you on the show. And I’m really excited to see the trajectory that Eden Green on and in future. So, congratulations and thank you for being on our community here at The Leadership Hacker Podcast.

Eddy Badrina: It’s been my pleasure, my pleasure. Such a great way to have a part of my day to talk to you and to be able to share some of this.

Eddy Badrina: Thanks, Eddie.


Steve Rush: I genuinely want to say heartfelt thanks for taking time out of your day to listen in too. We do this in the service of helping others, and spreading the word of leadership. Without you listening in, there would be no show. So please subscribe now if you have not done so already. Share this podcast with your communities, network, and help us develop a community and a tribe of leadership hackers.

Finally, if you would like me to work with your senior team, your leadership community, keynote an event, or you would like to sponsor an episode. Please connect with us, by our social media. And you can do that by following and liking our pages on Twitter and Facebook our handler there: @leadershiphacker. Instagram you can find us there @the_leadership_hacker and at YouTube, we are just Leadership Hacker, so that is me signing off. I am Steve Rush and I have been the leadership hacker.

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