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Peter Santry
Fox Run Advisors
Your Business Operating System
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Peter Santry is the Founder of Fox Run Advisors LLC, a Leadership Team coaching firm that has helped dozens of companies scale profitably. He has 35-year financial services career helping hundreds of private/mid-sized companies grow profitably and turn themselves around. He built a business on Wall Street that grew from scratch to $500MM in revenues with a team of 53 employees.

His business acumen landed him on multiple boards including corporate, non-profits, education, and trade associations with responsibilities including finance, investments, and employee development.

Happily married to Mimi since 1995 and father of five amazing kids: Peter Jr., Noelle, Connor, Dana, and Hayden. Voracious reader, avid squash player; other interests include skiing, politics, and financial markets.

Fox Run Advisors is an LLC to provide leadership team coaching and advice to entrepreneurial companies who seek to scale and become something special. Services include help with hiring, talent assessment, vision, strategic planning, core processes and playbooks as well as performance and accountability using the Pinnacle Business Guide framework.

In this episode

"No one ever started a business because they were good at business," observes Peter Santry of Fox Run Advisors.

To get around this issue, Peter recommends incorporating a business operating system to guide how you run your company. In addition to a vision, strategy, and structured accountability, your business operating system includes meeting structures and how to grow your company with controls. Peter advises that having a business operating system allows you to grow your company, institutionalizes accountability, and gives you the time to work on your business not just in it. Listen to the end for a generous gift Peter offers our listeners.

Your Business Operating SystemPeter Santry
00:00 / 21:10

A glimpse of what you'll hear

02:52 You don't get into a business because you are good at business.

04:06 The 3 things you need to keep your business humming.

06:12 Your business operating system.

08:12 The case for incorporating a business operating system into your company.

11:50 Profits flow from people, purpose, and having a playbook.

14:21 Learn about Peter. Email Peter at or call him at +1.203.921.5528.

Episode Transcript
(Note: this was transcribed using transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast.)

Centricity Introduction 0:04

Welcome to the Best Kept Secret videocast and podcast from Centricity. If you're a B2B service professional, use our five step process to go from the grind of chasing every sale. to keeping your pipeline full with prospects knocking on your door to buy from you. We give you the freedom of time and a life outside of your business. Each episode features an executive from a B2B services company sharing their provocative perspective on an opportunity that many of their clients are missing out on. It's how we teach our clients to get executive decision makers to buy without being salesy or spammy. Here's our host, the co founder and CEO of Centricity, Jay Kingley.

Jay Kingley 0:43

I'm Jay Kingley, co founder and CEO of Centricity. Welcome to our show, where our guests share their provocative perspective on what their target is missing out on. I'm happy to welcome to the show, Peter Santry, Managing Member of Fox Run advisors, Peter provides leadership team coaching, and advice to entrepreneurial companies who seek to scale and become something special. Peter is based in Greenwich, Connecticut. Welcome to the show, Peter.

Peter Santry 1:12

Thanks, Jay. Glad to be here.

Jay Kingley 1:14

Peter. One of the things and benefits that I get being in my role in centricity is the ability to talk to so many business owners and business executives, and I get to find out about their origin story, how did they get to start the business that they've got going. And one of the things that I noticed time and time again, is they're what I call passion for their purpose. They love doing what they do, they love working with clients, and providing whether it be products or services, to those clients that make a meaningful difference in their clients lives be at their personal or professional. And when we get to talking about the things that surprised them, the one thing that I hear time and time again, they really were so focused on their product and service, on delivering to their clients, they never fully appreciated that that's only one element of having a business, there are so many other aspects that you have to be at least good at, in order to run a business. And they almost always were surprised at how big that burden was, and how important it is to do those things. Because while delivering great service or great products to clients is necessary. As that old expression goes, it is far from sufficient. Peter, I know you spend a lot of time with founders and leadership teams on their business, I would love to get your take on this issue about how running a business goes way beyond just providing your product or service.

Peter Santry 3:02

I agree, Jay, and and one of the things I usually ask business owners who I talked to I said, or a group of business owners, I always ask them, How many of you got into the business you're in because you're good at business. And inevitably, nobody raises their hand. Because they get into the business, they want to provide a product or service, as you said, they're filling a market niche. But what they don't realize is all the work that goes on behind the scenes to create a business and they don't have a framework, or a operating system, so to speak, to support, the business, the hiring, the firing, the the marketing, all those things that go along with the business side of things. And so the inevitably, oftentimes the ones that make it will get stuck, and they'll start to go sideways, and they'll get caught up in the minutia, the daily grind, and it's not fun for them, and the business starts to level off and they and they start to peak. And and that's that's a real problem I see frequently.

Jay Kingley 4:07

In your experience, when you look at it when you work with these clients. And you look at all the activities that go beyond simply delivering to clients, what are the areas that you find, really trip people up?

Peter Santry 4:22

And I think that in order to get out of that sort of leveled phase or or stuckness, they have to really have three things, they have to go back to three things. They need to have a vision, they need to have a strategy, and they need to have structured accountability. And I know those are their sort of big words, but let me simplify it for you. A vision is an agreement on where you're going with whom and why you're going there. You can have a personal vision you can have a family vision, but for business, you need to know where you're going and you need to have a company vision so That's the first thing you need. The second thing you need is a strategy. And if there's been a lot of ink spilled on what is a vision, there's been a bloodbath around strategy. And strategy has really two components, one that people chase, and the other one that they neglect. And the first one is, how do I get a value proposition in front of my client, so that they will buy what I want, I'm selling at a price that they'll buy it at, and that I can make profit on consistently. And everybody follows that one. But the second one that they don't follow, but they need is just as important is the second half, which is, how am I different from my competitors. Because if you don't have a strategy that makes you different, then you're just like everybody else, you're not valuable to your client, you're actually a commodity, and commodities are not valuable, and you can't price differently if you're viewed as the same as everything else. And the third thing you need is structured accountability. And that's different from accountability, which is just showing up for your job and doing what you say you're going to do. Structured accountability in an organization means that everybody knows what everybody else is doing. Everybody knows what, you know what good looks like. And everybody's measured by what they do. And good organizations have that. So if you have all three of those, and to have all three of those, you really need to have an operating system.

Jay Kingley 6:26

So Peter, just to clarify, when you say operating system, is the operating system, the vision, the strategy, and the structured accountability, or is it include other things that makes up that OS.

Peter Santry 6:42

It does include those things, it includes things like meeting structures, it'll include things like how to grow your business. With control, there's, there's a lot more to it. But those are the three essential things that you really need to start with, to build yourself up to creating an operating system.

Jay Kingley 7:01

So is this analogous to sort of a playbook or an operating manual that guides the day to day activities that the entire organization does? Or is it something a little different?

Peter Santry 7:15

It's usually larger than that, or I'd say more high, it's not down in the minutiae of an actual manual, it's actually creating a structure where people know what they're doing, know what their responsibilities are, know how they're gonna get measured, have meeting structures to hold them accountable for doing that. Those are the types of things that that that are an operating structure in the way we, we implement it at Pinnacle. And so that's, that's really what it is. The manuals and stuff is much more granular than than that, Jay, if that makes sense

Jay Kingley 7:48

Completely. And one of the observations I'd have listening to you is I think of all the entrepreneurs and business owners and executives that I've interacted with, and you I mean, rarely have I ever heard anybody talk about their operating system, and how it is that they systematically deliver on those three key attributes, the vision, the strategy and the structured accountability, I think you've got something that's very thought provoking. But let's take it to the next level. I always like to say, good business, executives, always have a little bit of cynicism in them when they evaluate new things. So let's talk about the case for the operating system, if you will. So let's start with the numbers, the impact that what you're advocating has on the actual business itself.

Peter Santry 8:50

A recent example, was a staffing company that operates out of Connecticut, New York and Florida, and the owner of that company, hey, they've been growing nicely. And actually, more than I see 20 to 25%, a year for the last three years. And in in 2021, the owner actually got the whole team together, including the people that ran the regions, the New York, Connecticut and Florida regions. And he put together they hashed out a vision. They put together their strategy, how they were different. They put they held each other accountable for results, they set results for each region and each of the people and then they actually, you know, talked about it frequently. So at their weekly meetings and their monthly meetings. They were held accountable for those results. And what I saw in this instance, was that a nice growing company all of a sudden hockey stick up very quickly, and grew 80% in 2021. And they had a record year because everybody knew exactly what they were supposed to do. They knew exactly how they were measured, and they produced the results because it was all clearly in front of them. So that that's the real recent example where I've seen this thing really, really work.

Jay Kingley 10:07

Well, I am sure that any business owner and business executive would love to get results like that would certainly say, that would be something that would be important for our company. And however, importance is what drives engagement, I want to talk about the second element in the case for change, which really drives urgency, or the desire to make that change now, as opposed to at some undefined point in the future. And for me, urgency normally ties to emotion. So let's take that business owner, let's take that executive who is on board with what you're talking about once to do exactly what that staffing company does. How do they benefit emotionally from making this change?

Peter Santry 10:58

And it's not one you you enter into lightly because you have to make the changes, right? So and I kind of call them the three promises or results that you can get out of this. And the first is that as as in the staffing company, they will no growth, you know, they're going to grow their people, you're going to grow their leaders, and they're going to grow their profits, that's something we'll definitely see. And this really addresses the emotional thing. Because we have this structured accountability, they will know peace of mind, they're going to know, they're gonna know that everybody's doing knows what they're doing, they're going to be accountable for what they're doing. And they can have the peace of mind that everything is really taken care of so that they can focus more broadly. And that's really the third phase, which is freedom, to allow them to think not in the minutia that they have been stuck in, but rather in a bigger way so they can make the bigger impact of why they got into the business. They can grow their customers grow their employees, grow their market share, and yeah, grow the value of their company. And that those three things really, I think, provide the emotional sort of sort of support for any owner that goes down this path.

Jay Kingley 12:11

You have made a Peter a very strong case, both as to the importance and to the urgency of adopting this type of an operating system to deal with all the issues in a business that most owners and executives don't think about with enough attention. So given that I'm sitting here saying, Okay, I want this. Let's talk about implementation. In order to get the type of operating system in place, what is it that I need to do?

Peter Santry 12:45

It really all starts with the people. And so the important piece, that piece is to get the right people in the right seats so that they're doing their God given roles, they're not miscast. And then you take those people that are that they feel they're doing what they should be doing. And they they know it internally, because it fits them. And you put them behind a purpose, not a purpose that's stenciled on an office wall, but one that'll galvanize them. It's why why we're doing what we're doing, what our values are, what we're doing, why we're doing it, other than to make money and then getting to that point. So that's, those are the two things that you make. And then you put in a playbook, where you put in your best processes, or your core processes, and you make them consistent, and you make them most efficient. And then the three of those together, the people the purpose and the playbooks, the profits will flow naturally from it. And that's how you implement the system.

Jay Kingley 13:46

One of the things that I've learned through the years is the importance of having structure and process in any business in order to get results. And I think what you've shared with us today around this concept of an operating system is a great vehicle to provide that structure and processing guidance that we need to do everything that's required. beyond simply delivering an amazing product or service to our clients. We're going to take a quick break. And when we come back, we're going to learn a bit about Peter.

Centricity Introduction 11:46

Wondering how much longer you have to grind and chase after every lead conversation and client, Wondering how much longer you have to grind and chase after every lead conversation and client, would you like clients to knock on your door so you no longer have to pitch follow up and spam decision makers. Well Centricity's The Tipping Point program uses a proven five step process that will help you get in front of the decision makers you need by spending less time on doing all of the things you hate. It's not cold, calling cold email, cold outreach on LinkedIn or any other social media platform, or spending money on ads. But it has a 35 times higher ROI than any of those things, leveraging your expertise and insights that your prospects and network value. The best part even though you'll see results in 90 days, you get to work with the Centricity team for an entire year to make sure you have all the pieces in place and working. So you can start having freedom of time and a life outside of your business. So email to schedule an 18 minute call to learn more.

Jay Kingley 15:23

Welcome back, we're talking to Peter Santry, of Fox Run Advisors. Let's find out a bit more about Peter, let's start with the pain points that you solve for your clients. And why do they need you to get rid of that pain?

Peter Santry 15:39

If you're a leader, or the part of a leadership team of a company, say five to 500 people and I've got people on both ends, and you want to grow, and you want to feel like you want to succeed, you want your clients to succeed, and you want your people to succeed. And you know, there's a next level for your business, he wants some accountability and helping you get there. You know, that's, that's where I can really come in, and, and help you go to that next level.

Jay Kingley 16:09

People really want to work with the best, I don't know anyone out there, who is looking for a leadership, coach and advisor who says mediocre will do just fine. I aspire to average, I am the company I keep, and I hang out with people that aren't particularly accomplished. So I'm always interested in understanding from each of my guests. What makes them great at what they do. So that's your second question.

Peter Santry 16:41

I think I'm really well suited for this. I spent, you know, over 25 years financing companies, and, you know, getting money into them. And then when the things turn bad, I help them turn around and work themselves out and, and do well and during recessions. So I know how to make sales, and how to manage risk, and then how to hold people accountable. I've done all those things. And I've run businesses before. And I think I have the experience to really guide somebody towards that next level that we talked about before.

Jay Kingley 17:17

And that's a great lead into what I am going to ask our audience to do, which is when should go to LinkedIn. And I want you to type in Peter, and I want you to look at his profile, you're going to see the details of the career that he alluded to see his educational background, other activities that are important to him. But Peter, that's not really what I wanted to talk to you about. Here's my question, I want to know what's happened in your life that would most explain why you do what you do?

Peter Santry 17:50

Well, it actually goes back to the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, I was running a big trading desk, on Wall Street. And in the ensuing Fallout, which was massive losses at the company I was with, I lost my job. And unfortunately, along with that, because I had been paid in stock, I lost most of my net worth. And I watched in the in all the fallout, I watched the government come in and bail out these companies and they were given these big companies were given advantages that most of the companies I work with today, frankly, couldn't, you know, get take advantage of. And I saw that government also asserting itself much more boldly into companies making changes that really I didn't think were going to benefit the companies or even help them derisk. But it was very obtrusive. And at that moment, I was disillusioned. And my priorities shifted from, you know, being part of that world to actually going and trying to get out and focus on the real private sector, the real economy where people were, were out there on their own without government assistance. And I was going to use my background and my experience to help those companies create jobs. And I felt if I even helped one company, hire employees that, you know, would enable them to pay them and so they could put food on the table that I would be doing the biggest service that I could do to help society. And so at that moment, I pivoted from my career in financial services to one of coaching and ultimately leadership, team coaching.

Jay Kingley 19:34

You've talked, I think, quite compellingly today about how an operating system can help organizations take care of everything that they need to do to turn their passion into a real business. I am sure that we've got listeners that would love to continue that discussion with you. What is the best way for them to contact you, Peter,

Peter Santry 19:58

They can go to my website At, which is And they can see that and see all of the things that I can help. Or they can just email me directly at Or they can actually phone me at 2039215528.

Jay Kingley 20:20

we'll put all of that in the show notes, to make it easy for people to reach out to Peter. Peter, you've been amazing today, I think you've given us the outlines of an approach with the operating system to make sure that we don't just have a great product or service. But that it goes beyond that to have a very successful business, which is obviously so much more, as we have talked about. And I think it's a it's a new and it's a refreshing way to look at this issue. I know in most shows, and frankly, most people sitting in my chair, they would take out the big victory flag, they'd smash it into the ground, and they would say, another amazing guest. Another amazing show. Good enough. And that would hold true for everybody but me, right? Not good enough, Peter, I think you can I think you must raise the bar up the ante. I want you to go and do something above and beyond. For our listeners. I bet Peter, I can wrangle out a gift. That would be a value to our listeners that really puts the little sprinkles on top of the icing on top of this delicious cake that you have served up today. What can you do for us,

Peter Santry 21:46

For your listeners, Jay, because it's great to have an audience, I would be happy to have a 30 to 45 minute coaching call for free with your listeners. And you could contact me and say that you heard me on the Best Kept Secret show and I'll spend 30 to 45 minutes giving you the benefits of are going a little deeper on what we talked about. And try to try to send you on your way a little bit more informed.

Jay Kingley 22:17

That is fabulous. Come on listeners, right. You have got to take advantage of this because it can make a material difference not just to your business, but to you, as Peter talked about earlier in our show. Peter, I want to thank you you have been a tremendous guest on our show to our audience. Let's continue to crush it. Until next time

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