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Garry Ridge is the CEO and Chairman of the WD-40 Company. He joined WD-40 Company in 1987 and has worked directly with WD-40 Company in over 50 countries, and he was elected as its CEO and Chairman in 1997. Garry is passionate about empowering organizational culture that he has helped establish at the WD-40 Company.

Garry is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of San Diego, where he teaches Talent Management and Bench Building in the Masters of Science – Executive Leadership at the university’s School of Business. He also co-authored the book, Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called “Don’t Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A” with Ken Blanchard where he outlines his effective leadership techniques.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Garry Ridge’s journey before joining WD-40 in 1987 and the big picture he had in mind as he joined the company
  • The different hats Garry wore before he became CEO of the WD-40 Company
  • How Garry and Ken Blanchard came up with their book, Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called “Don’t Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A”
  • Why Garry thinks servant leadership is the only way to go
  • How to become an empathetic leader
  • How to infuse values into your organization and improve employee engagement
  • What to consider if you want to hire the right people
  • Effective management methods for remote teams
  • Strategies that companies need to consider if they want to expand into other countries
  • Why Garry sees his role as a CEO as a purpose and not as a job
  • Garry explains why it’s the job of leaders to help their team members maximize their potentials

In this episode…

70% of people who go to work every day are either disengaged in acting or actively disengaged. Why? According to Garry Ridge, it’s because many CEOs have become soul-sucking to their employees and have created toxic environments that inhibit their people from becoming the best they can be. And he says that servant leadership is the only way to go for company leaders who want their team members to reach their maximum potential.

Garry is incredibly passionate about organizational culture. He does not only share this through his Executive Coaching, Speaking, and Consulting, he’s been able to establish it at WD-40 Company, where he has been CEO and Chairman of the Board since 1997.

Listen to Garry Ridge as he shares the leadership principles behind his success at the helm of WD-40 Company in this episode of Inspired Insider podcast with Dr. Jeremy Weisz. Tune in as Garry discusses how and why servant leadership has been the abiding principle that has helped him and other business leaders succeed, why he considers his role as CEO as his purpose and not merely his job, and the keynotes companies need to take note of if they want to expand internationally.

Resources Mentioned on this episode


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Episode Transcript

Jeremy Weisz

Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, Founder of where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders you know check out past episodes you know when I was doing a lot of research for this Garry I was thinking what other past episodes are interesting related not I interviewed Tom kolinsky, who is CEO of Mattel, Sega and Leapfrog. And he talked about how he managed being a CEO of large companies while having six children. And so that’s I don’t even know how he did that, honestly. But he’s helped build some of the best known brands for kids including Hot Wheels Masters, The Universe, Matchbox, Sega Sonic the Hedgehog, so check that out. This episode is brought to you by Rise25 I co-founded with my business partner John Corcoran. We help B2B businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 partnerships, clients and help you run your podcast. So the number one thing I’ve done in my life is focus on relationships, and I’m always looking how to give it my best relationships. The podcast has allowed me to profile other thought leadership in companies and give to them and spread their message out to the universe. So we help businesses launch and run their podcast. Check out if you watch the video on the homepage, john and i banter like an old married couple, so you’ll see our personalities come out and check that out. I am excited to talk about today’s guests in Garry. Garry Ridge is CEO of WD-40. And there’s two people that inspired this interview Garry. Nick Araca of Achieve Next we’re talking about leaders, servant leaders and your name came up and your company came up and and then I had another interview with AC Evans, founder of I was and after we had that conversation, Greg got the book Helping People Win at Work, and a seat, we were just chatting before the interview. And he was like, that’s one of my favorite books. I love that book. And so, I’m like, we have to have gareon. So Chairman and CEO of WD-40, Garry Ridge, he’s passionate about empowering organizational culture that’s helped establish, that’s established at the WD-40 company. He joined WD-40. In 1987. He’s worked directly with the company in over 50 countries. In 1997, he was appointed the president and CEO. And, you know, if you don’t know WD-40. First of all, I think everyone has a can of WD-40 in their house or their office. I imagine. If you haven’t heard of them, though, the maker of WD-40. And they also have other products, Lava, heavy duty hand cleaners, carpet, fresh spot, shot and many more. And you need to read go to their website and check out the story. It was in 1953 In a small lab that was actually a rocket Chemical Company, and it took 40 attempts. So as an entrepreneur, business leader, you know, just they didn’t stop there, probably, if it took 50, it took 100 would be called WD 172. But it took 40 attempts until they got it. So that’s where the name comes from. He’s also Adjunct Professor at University of San Diego. And he co-authored I say, everyone should check out the book on Audible or Amazon or, you know, wherever he called the book with Ken Blanchard outlining his effective leadership techniques. It’s titled Helping People Win At Work: A Business Philosophy Called Don’t Mark My Paper Help Me Get An A, Garry, thanks for joining me.

Garry Ridge

Hey, good. Hey, Jeremy. That was a long intro that I know,

Jeremy Weisz

you know, it’s much deserved, you know what I mean? So

Garry Ridge

I prefer to introduce myself as the consciously incompetent, probably wrong and roughly right CEO of WD-40.

Jeremy Weisz

You’re modest guy. So I want to start pre 1987 and just talk a little bit about your journey up to WD-40. And then we can jump into, you know, some of the leadership principles.

Garry Ridge

Sure, you know, as you mentioned that I was he grew up in a small suburb of Sydney called Five. I was the the youngest of four kids. My next brother was about 30 years away from me. And I was always inquisitive, inquisitive about learning. I left school at 16 I joined a retail organization joined their Management Development Program, I graduated with a management degree will not agree a certificate in retail wholesale distribution. I then went into sales and marketing and eventually got connected with WD-40 in pride in 1987. And in 87, they asked me to join them but my dad was an engineer. I remember clearly saying to him a dad, I’ve been asked to join WD-40 company, quote unquote, he said, You can’t go wrong with that stuff. So

Jeremy Weisz

you know, I think early on, you did some door to door sales.

Garry Ridge

I was I was a paperboy actually. I used to deliver newspapers. One of the people I used to deliver to was a lady called Mrs. Peel. I worked in a hardware store sporting goods store in a dry cleaner. I had a little car wash business with a friend of mine orijen Rob carwash. So you know, I was really intrigued with business from the early stages, but I think more importantly, I love the connection with the relationships and the connection with people. People are very intriguing.


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