Steve Arizpe On How We Need To Redefine Success


Identify how you measure success — Is it based on wealth, prestige or peace of mind? Is it time to rethink these areas?


Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.

As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Steve Arizpe.

Steve Arizpe is president and chief operating officer of Insperity (NYSE: NSP), a leading provider of human resources and business performance solutions. He joined Insperity in 1989, serving in a variety of roles, including district sales manager, regional sales manager, vice president of sales and executive vice president of client services. Arizpe graduated from Texas A&M University earning a degree in Business Management.


Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?

Family and faith have always been a priority for me. While growing up on a farm outside of San Antonio, I watched my father start a small business and watching him become an entrepreneur was motivating. He made it very clear that our family always came first and that was something I aspired to continue with my own family. It’s also why I incorporate a family-like atmosphere in the workplace, which is something I’m thankful for given how important it has become over the past two years.

The pandemic and the “Great Resignation” have challenged many business owners, but it reinforced my belief that company culture can be powerful. When we appreciate our work family, they realize how valuable they are to their team and the business.

Employee interactions are very important to me, and these interactions can make lasting impressions. This is why I make sure to engage with our employees as often as I can, whether in the elevator or during lunch in the break room. I see greatness in each of our employees and recognize the level of care they provide to help our clients succeed, even during the most challenging times.

We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?

There is a misconception that on the road to success, it can be difficult to make friends along the way, which was especially the case in the 80s. Unfortunately, in some industries, there was a mentality that you had to step on people to get ahead. It is hard to think that the people you spend most of your day with cannot be your friends.

Thankfully, I can debunk that misconception because some of my closest friends are peers and our families call themselves friends, as well. You need camaraderie, fun and friendships along the way, otherwise, can it truly be called success?

How has your definition of success changed?

As a result of my faith-based upbringing and strong family bonds, my definition of success has always been guided by a solid moral compass and personal values, including integrity, respect and accountability in all areas of my life. So, in that regard, nothing has changed; it has provided a solid foundation for opportunities I have been given throughout my career.

Of course, my outlook and additional “measurements” for success have been fluid throughout my career. To me measuring success meant my first job, the next promotion, receiving a raise and new opportunities. As I matured, success translated to finding my niche and pursuing something I was passionate about, which has resulted in a 33-year career in the HR industry at Insperity. As I was growing in my career, success meant building relationships, making connections, practicing servant leadership and providing solutions for small and medium-sized businesses.

My definition of success today is taking care of the people who work at Insperity, along with their families; making a difference in the lives of our clients, their employees and families; giving back to the community; and serving as a role model for others.

Ultimately, success means an unwavering commitment to my beliefs and values, being a man of integrity. If you were to ask my kids what the definition of integrity is, each one would say it’s doing the right thing, when no one is looking.

The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post pandemic?

From an HR perspective, post-pandemic success will depend on employers effectively managing the various work styles, communication methods, skill sets, needs and personalities of up to five different generations while in a hybrid workplace.

This is especially important in a time when employers are competing to attract and retain top talent. In addition, with a dispersed workforce, success is going to depend on finding ways to improve employee engagement and corporate culture. Savvy business leaders are reimagining how to reignite the camaraderie we gained from hallway or elevator chats. Additionally, employers must rethink how they hire, train and engage employees when they may not have experienced the in-person culture. Making constant progress and exploring how to engage hybrid and remote workers more thoughtfully is paramount in today’s business world. Success is going to depend on the efforts of all to help develop more ways to connect with people and increase engagement.

What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.

Some of the unexpected positives of the pandemic are a greater emphasis on work-life balance, more empathetic employers and employees, the emergence of employees who stepped up and became leaders, and greater adoption of technology platforms and communication systems.

The vast number of innovations developed by companies in order to survive, which have or will lead to permanent changes/offerings/products and created many new opportunities for workers is an inspiration.

I think the overarching positive is witnessing the perseverance, resilience and manner in which many rallied around one another in such a short time period to address such an unprecedented event, along with the numerous accounts of goodwill, care, concern and support.

There is no question that efficiencies were gained during the pandemic. Virtual is the new normal, but things we used to do in-person are still to be expected. Insperity’s Business Performance Advisors (sales team) have learned how to maintain relationships with clients but also how to handle discovery calls with new prospects via virtual meetings. With video calls taking over, I was happy to see our sales teams still have meaningful conversations and provide trust through a computer screen. Our sales and service employees were quick to personalize each meeting, projecting their voice and tone to create a trusting environment. This was already something we learned to do in-person, but now our teams have mastered it in a virtual setting.

Another unexpected positive we discovered was broadening the scope of our loyalty program. We had to get creative and pivot quickly during the pandemic because in-person events were not possible. We transitioned our events to the virtual setting, but ensured participants still had tangible experiences, such as virtual cooking lessons with groceries delivered to doorsteps. This creativity led to a very successful program this past year. Now, we look forward to showcasing our HR services to current clients and potential prospects while enjoying each other’s company, whether in-person or via video.

We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?”

From an individual perspective:

  1. Personalize your success — The pursuit of success is different for everyone. What changed that affected the path? How do you address it going forward?
  2. Make a list — What makes you feel successful? What doesn’t? What should change?
  3. Identify how you measure success — Is it based on wealth, prestige or peace of mind? Is it time to rethink these areas?
  4. Reconsider your priorities — Are you more concerned about climbing the corporate ladder or having a stable, well-rounded life? Is it time to shift your priorities?
  5. Consider changing career paths — Have your interests changed? Are there more opportunities in other fields?

How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?

I think what should be stressed is that definitions of success are going to change, and should change, throughout our lives and during our careers. Reevaluations are ongoing and part of life based on circumstances, life events, shifting priorities, economic factors, crises and more.

Members of society should be encouraged to take periodic inventories of their goals and what success looks like to them. Success in your 20s is very different from what success looks like in your 40s and 50s. It is important for individuals to realize that they are not stuck in the same lane, especially if they feel they cannot achieve a certain degree of success.

We are all evolving and learning on a daily basis, so it is critical to determine the appropriate work-life balance and path that feels right, which can lead to personal happiness and success.

What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?

When we are redefining what success means to us at a particular point in time, the biggest obstacle can be ourselves. It can be due to various factors, such as a certain upbringing, a lack of confidence, past experiences, societal/family pressures, an inability to see the big picture or fear of the unknown. Developing a support system that includes contacts at work, mentors, a life coach and locating relevant reading materials can be a great first step.

Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?

First and foremost, I rely upon my faith for inspiration and guidance in my life, which has led to my success. My family has always served as a strong support system, especially during times when career-defining decisions had to be made that would have a significant impact on my success. Finally, I have several executive-level mentors and role models who help guide me when success “measurements” need to be reevaluated.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she or they might just see this if we tag them.

I have already had the pleasure of having breakfast with that person: Arnold Palmer. Mr. Palmer was someone who operated with the highest work ethic on and off the golf course. He was one of the most personable individuals I have ever met. The way Mr. Palmer connected with people was so engaging. He was not only a remarkable athlete but an amazing individual. Meeting someone who reflected my professional and personal values was such an inspiration.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

https://www.linkedin.com/in/steve-arizpe/

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.

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