1673 – Shaping The Path Forward with TRG International’s Rick Yvanovich

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the Business Coach, Entrepreneur CEO and Founder of TRG International, Rick Yvanovich.

Rick's core belief is that we all have the potential to be architects of change in this era of constant transformation. He emphasizes actively shaping a path forward, drawing from his transformation journey and continuous learning.

Rick believes we are in a new era, driven by trends such as generative AI. While some may find AI intimidating or confusing, Rick sees it as a tool that underscores the importance of human qualities and skills.

He believes that the unique qualities of humans make us extraordinary and different. AI is a certainty that touches nearly everything, and we need leaders who can harness these tools to innovate and change lives.

Rick adds that leaders must be decisive, embrace change, and be employee role models. Drawing from his background as an accountant and his transition into coaching and mentoring, Rick emphasizes the need for leaders to guide their teams through the changing landscape.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Rick's belief in the potential for individuals to be architects of change in the current era
  • Discussion on the concept of the new renaissance and the role of generative AI
  • Emphasis on the importance of human qualities and skills in relation to AI
  • AI as an inevitability and its impact on leadership and innovation
  • Overview of TRG International and their focus on accounting and performance management systems
  • Mention of TRG International's work with various industries, particularly hotels
  • Introduction of TRG International's offshore development center and software engineering services
  • Explanation of TRG International's assessment services, including psychometrics and 360 surveys

About Rick Yvanovich:

Rick Yvanovich is a seasoned entrepreneur and finance professional with over 40 years of experience in various industries across the UK, China, Singapore, Switzerland, and Vietnam. As a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and CPA Australia, he holds prestigious qualifications, including a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) and an MSc in Strategic Business Management from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Rick has significantly impacted Vietnam, where he's been based since 1990, contributing to the business community in various roles. He serves as Treasurer and Board Member of BritCham Vietnam, Vice-Chair of the AMCHAM HCMC ICT Group, and Chairman of the Industry Advisory Committee at RMIT Vietnam. He's also actively involved as a CIMA assessor and co-founder of the International Project Management Association of Vietnam, with a history of founding and investing in multiple startups.

Rick is known for his Talent, Accounting, ICT, Digital Transformation, Project Management, and international trade and investment expertise. He's a frequent speaker on these topics and has a notable coaching journey, including Emotional Intelligence and OKR Champion certifications. Rick's extensive experience and contributions make him a respected figure in Vietnam's business landscape.

About TRG International:

TRG International is a prominent global professional services company that delivers top-tier technical solutions. With a focus on technical excellence, TRG stands out in the ever-evolving and demanding market by providing IT solutions that seamlessly operate in the background, allowing their clients to concentrate on their core business activities.

As a trusted consultant and partner, TRG possesses an in-depth understanding of their clients' business challenges, ensuring the delivery of tailor-made solutions. Their vision is to continually guide businesses toward greatness, while their mission is to be the preferred partner for delivering effective and reliable systems.

TRG International's commitment to technical expertise and customer-centric approach has solidified its reputation as a go-to provider for businesses seeking seamless IT solutions to support and enhance their operations.

Tweetable Moments:

03:14 – “Every day our actions, big or small, shape our future.”

3:14 – “I want everyone listening to remember this: you are your own brand and every single decision you make is part of the unique story that you are crafting for yourself.”

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out TRG International website at

Check out TRG International on LinkedIn at

Check out TRG International on Twitter at

Check out TRG International on Facebook at

Check out Rick Yvanovich on LinkedIn at

Check out Rick Yvanovich on Twitter at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, Rick Yvanovich. Rick, you are the founder and CEO of DRG Internationals found on the Web at TRG International. And in your personal website, you're a master coach and you're found on the Web at Rick Evanovich. Your book is Business as Usual How to Thrive in the New Renaissance. I like it.

Josh (00:01:23) - Rick, it's great to have you.

Rick (00:01:26) - Thanks for having me, Josh. Now, before we start, I just like to share with you and your listeners a core belief that I hold dear. Um, we all have the potential to be architects of change. So in, in our current era at the moment, which is defined by constant transformation, our task is not just to keep up, but to actively shape the path forward. Now, speaking for myself from stacking shelves, that's where I started and learning the ropes of people management as a trainee in a supermarket to immersing myself in the more precise world of accounting and later navigating the constantly evolving landscapes of technology and humans. My story really demonstrates the power, I believe, of transformation and continuous learning and the significant impact each one of us can make. So every day our actions, big or small, shape our future. And as we discuss, what are you going to throw at me today? I want everyone listening to remember this. You are your own brand and every single decision you make is part of the unique story that you are crafting for yourself, how you react, how you adapt, and how you innovate in the face of all the change that's happening at the moment will define your story and your legacy and this belief Inspiring each of us to aim for consistently higher achievement is the cornerstone of my work, my life purpose.

Rick (00:03:14) - So as we dive into our conversation today, let's not just think about adapting to change, but about how we can define it. After all, when we embrace our unique qualities and strive for personal growth, we are not just participants, but were actually catalysts in our ever changing business as unusual or better world as I call it. So Well, let's get started. Josh.

Josh (00:03:42) - What evidence might you point out maybe in terms of trends or innovations, technology that lead you to believe that we may be in what you call a new renaissance?

Rick (00:03:59) - Let's just pick one simple one that's, I think, taking the world by storm at the moment, and that is generative AI or AI in general. I mean, people are some people are out there panicking. Some people are embracing it. Some people are still scratching their heads wondering what is going on. There's been so much chatter about it. It's huge. And, um, yeah, it's it's going back to, you know, why do I think it's the Renaissance? It's just another one of those unusual things that's, that's hitting us.

Rick (00:04:40) - And the reason why I've got got that I'm bringing the Renaissance I've put that in the title of the book is because I that may be scaring some people. It's not scaring other people. And although there may be all sorts of that information going around that a, you know, is going to take over our jobs, the robots are coming type of thing at the end of the day. Um, what I think is very important about it is it actually highlights the importance of us being human. That is very, very important. I mean, an AI is just, is just a dumb program that we tell it. It just does whatever we tell it to do. And it's smart if we ask it to do something smart. And it's pretty stupid when we ask it to do something pretty stupid. So in that in that respect is pretty dumb. Um, so it's like all tools, it's how you use them. So back to the Renaissance. You know, there are a lot of qualities that we have as humans that are totally unique, okay? That makes us, well, human.

Rick (00:05:54) - Okay? And it's I love the fact that AI has come come in, because it really gives me the opportunity to re-emphasize to people like it's our humanity and the skills that we have as humans that will make us human and that makes us unique and that makes us different. And that's why we're all so wonderful.

Josh (00:06:15) - Yeah, Well, and I agree with you, and I think that, you know, some of the things that we're seeing right now, you know, the more I learn and the more evidence that I see, I think we're, again, kind of headed into this. It feels like an acceleration because I it touches nearly everything. And the applications are widespread. So it doesn't matter if you're afraid or not. It's almost like a it's an inevitability. So you just, you know, it's like a larger market force that you have no control over. Well, you may as well decide how to adapt to be a part of it. And specifically, I think here's what we're looking for right now, is we're looking for leaders because I by itself is not going to innovate and change lives and change, you know, history.

Josh (00:07:05) - It's the people who use the tools. And so I think a great reminder for all of us. How are you showing up in this moment?

Rick (00:07:17) - Absolutely. I, I, I agree. I mean, you know, how we show up is. Is so important. And it's even more important is is how we're showing up when all these things are changing. If you are the if you are the leader out there, you can't be the, you know, the deer stuck in the headlights. We can't be like scratching our heads and running around in circles. We need to be decisive and we need to take action. We need to be moving forward. We need to embrace these changes. So, you know, a lot of this is sort of linked to what you could call Vuca leadership, you know, and and that's being prepared for Vuca, that that volatility, that uncertainty. Okay. The complexity and the ambiguity. And it's hitting us from all angles. And and as we we've just been talking about, I that's confusing an awful lot of people.

Rick (00:08:17) - Okay. And and that you could have a lot of employees that that you're employing who are very confused or you know a little bit apprehensive and a bit scared of their jobs. And as you say, we need leaders. We need people to be decisive. We need them to show the path. We need them to walk the talk. We need them to be the ambassador of change. We need them to be the role models. And so there's a tremendous opportunity now for people to step up.

Josh (00:08:46) - Yeah. And how do you. What? Rick, would you mind maybe talking about your background and the work you do today?

Rick (00:08:53) - Oh, sure. Um, it's been a long background. Well, I'll tell you what. Give it. Give us the.

Josh (00:09:00) - Give me the condensed version. If you could.

Rick (00:09:04) - Condense that I mentioned supermarkets. Okay. Did actually start off as a management trainee in a supermarket chain in the UK? No, no, no kidding. Um, and for some reason. Um, I decided to begin become an accountant within the first year.

Rick (00:09:22) - So I quit that, went back to school, learnt accounting, and now I'm an accountant. That was four decades ago or something. Five decades ago. Something like that. A long time ago. So I've always been an accountant. Um, primarily a systems accountant. So I've always dabbled with computers, given that when I left school, the PC hadn't come out yet. So I'm showing my age there or the year that I left school was the year that the first PC came out. Um. And so, you know, I've been doing accounting in all sorts of industries. And it eventually brought me to oil, which brought me out to China and then to Vietnam. And I've been here in Vietnam for the last 33 years. I retired back in 1994. Um, but I'm a bit of a workaholic. Or was a work of a holic. It's something I'm working on at the moment to get rid of. And I started my own company doing what I had been doing, which was implementing accounting systems before I'd done it for the company as I work for.

Rick (00:10:35) - And now I did it for anybody who wanted it done. So that's primarily what I've been doing for the last 30 odd years, is implementing accounting systems plus, you know, related systems to that, like consolidation systems, financial reporting, statutory reporting, manufacturing, you name it. We probably done it. So that's the main thing that I've been been doing. Um, as a numbers person. Um, as I was scaling my company, I suddenly realized that I'm a numbers person, and I didn't understand people very well. They don't compute. There's no formula to them. Which led me on the pursuit of finding out, Well, how do I scale a company if I need people, if I'm not really a people person, I'm that horrible, well, not horrible. And that stereotypical accountant who's a bit nerdy and a super introvert, which doesn't help. Um, and so I came across psychological assessments in psychometrics. That's probably about 15 years ago. I loved it. I thought, yes, formula for people wonderful So embrace that started doing that learnt all about that got certified and all of that and started selling those kind of systems all around the world as well.

Rick (00:11:55) - Liked it so much actually set up a startup with a bunch of other people and we have our own company doing exactly the same thing. So we do talent to help recruit people, to help make all those people decisions and to help develop people. That's sort of primarily what we do. And in the last four years or so, five years ago, I've sort of morphed into becoming a coach. I suddenly realized that it's what I've been doing coaching and mentoring people for decades, never called it that. I just sort of did it and suddenly realized I really, really, really enjoy doing it. So that's why I became a certified coach and I'm sort of pivoting more in that in that direction these days.

Josh (00:12:37) - All right. Yeah, I'm going to get to that in just a second, too, because I want to ask you about that, particularly the book. But want to ask you, TRG International, obviously, you're proud of, you know, for 30 years now as CEO and founder, you've definitely achieved a great level of success with this company.

Josh (00:12:55) - Who is TRG for and who should be engaging with who should be? Yeah, who should be researching, connecting and engaging.

Rick (00:13:04) - Okay, so so what do we what do we really do? Okay, I'll tell you if I, you know, I'll try and reframe what we actually do. And then the people want to engage with the people who want that actually say primarily what I've, what we've been doing is, is is selling and providing those systems that run your accounting and stuff. Right? I'm an accountant. I can't get away from it. I love it. I like numbers, accounting, reporting, performance management, even manufacturing. So we've been doing that for customers in 80 countries. We've been doing it for a long, long time in all sorts of industries, obviously from oil and gas, because that's where I came from. But in my eclectic past I've touched so many other industries. We sell into all of those as well. Our biggest vertical is hotels, so we work with standalone hotel, standalone hotels and chains, and the chain could be within a country or across a region or across the world.

Rick (00:14:03) - And yes, we happen to supply probably 50% of the top 20 global chains in the world. Okay. Um, and as you know, hotels are in many countries. Chains have hotels in many countries. That's why we are in many countries. So we do that. So we're interested in speaking to the finance folks, the sea level people who are working in hotels or or in other industries like oil and gas and stuff like that, who are looking for an accounting solution or which sounds horrible. Put it another way, they want a system that works. That's the number one thing. You know, we're trying to provide systems to actually work. So you forget that even got them because they just work, right? Um, so that's the main thing that we do. The other thing we do, I say we run a boutique EDC offshore development center. That's we got 350 engineers for hire. So this is software engineering, okay? We don't do contract engineering. We do offshore ADC work, which means that companies say, Hey, we need ten people or 20 people.

Rick (00:15:17) - We, you know, we these are the type of programs that we want. We provide them. They manage them. So think of like a virtual office, you know, except we provide you a virtual office with people that you manage in it. All right. And we're not very big. Only about 350 engineers. And we do that for clients mainly in the in the Americas and in Australia and in Japan. And the. So what we're looking for there is we're looking for people who are interested in in offshore development, maybe want to increase capacity. But what they really want is a, a group of people in their center who aren't going to keep changing. And some of our clients we've had for more than ten years. Right. And some of them the same people, the same employees that we're giving them, they're part of the company. Um. The final thing we do is around assessments which are the psychometrics and 360 surveys. And so therefore they're we're looking to contact with leaders or really anyone in the C-suite who seems to have a people challenge, whether it's recruitment, whether it's retention or motivation or they're looking to do succession planning or they're just looking to grow them.

Rick (00:16:46) - Okay, so that's what we do.

Josh (00:16:48) - Yeah. And we've got about three minutes left on your website. Rick You have quite a storied background. So it's kind of a great opportunity for the right person who can use the insights and kind of experience wisdom that you have. But but who would make a great client or kind of mentee to be able to work with you. And again your website Rick

Rick (00:17:19) - Again, that's a great question. I've been thinking very hard about that over the last year or so. Even having to choose to not renew some coaching clients that I have. So what I'm really looking for are the people who not only want to change but are committed to change. As through coaching, I will transform them. Okay. And transformation is permanently changing. It's going to permanently change you. So people need to want to do that. If you're not prepared to to be changed, if you're not prepared to put in the work in and you just want to turn up a nice chat, I'm the wrong person would not enter into that kind of engagement.

Rick (00:18:06) - I'm this person also has to be curious and open minded. Okay. Open minded is really, really important because it's not just seeing other perspectives. Because the second part of open mindedness is not just seeing the other perspectives, but is being prepared to change your own perspective and change your own mind. And we definitely need a growth mindset because I'm looking to grow people to to change them. The tendency is the the clients I'm working for tend to be high achievers or hyper achievers. Okay. And and I'm finding out with those people, although they seem to be achieving a lot, they still feel a bit empty. Something's a bit off. So I try and fill that hole, make them feel more fulfilled, make them have more balance in their life.

Josh (00:19:08) - Yeah. Your book. Rick Business as Usual How to Thrive in the New Renaissance. Congrats on the on the recent launch when we're recording this literally just came out nine days ago. So congratulations on that. I'm sure that's a lot of work that's now you know, again it's nice to see you know you've of the your baby.

Rick (00:19:30) - Yeah.

Josh (00:19:31) - Who who should be picking up this book? And what would you expect? The transformation that would take place. Right. Someone reading.

Rick (00:19:38) - Okay. So I'm finding that the business it's business as unusual, which is an unusual title because it's not business as usual, it's business as unusual. And it's the first in a trilogy. Hence that's why you might see on the on the face of it, on the on the book cover, this one is really looking at the unusual world that we're in from a business leader or a business owner perspective. Okay. That being said, an individual who is not a business leader or is not a business owner, they might want to be one day, okay? And they might just be looking out for themselves because they are their own business leader. They are their own business owner of themselves. Um, so what the book's about. Is, is really I found that during the pandemic because this is when it was born where it's really birthed during the pandemic. It affected people in a lot of different ways.

Rick (00:20:47) - And one of the things that I saw is that it. It caused tremendous confusion with people because the basis upon which we all got up every day and went to work got thrown out the window because at some points in time we couldn't even go to work. It was because you weren't allowed to your own home or the office was closed, The building was closed, you know, and just crazy things started happening. It was just super unusual. And it's left a lot of people completely and utterly confused. Now we've seen what was coined more than a year ago, the great resignation or the great reshuffle or the great insert world word as millions of people, literally millions of them have, have started voting with their feet and leaving whatever company they were at and going elsewhere because the grass is greener. Okay. The reason why, you know, it didn't go one iteration, it's still iterating because the grass wasn't greener, was it? And so the analogy that I use is that pre-pandemic we used to get up, we used to go to work, we'd be stuck in our cubicle.

Rick (00:22:02) - We're like that little hamster in the wheel going nowhere. Okay. But we accepted it. A lot of people accepted that. And then the pandemic comes away and they threw the cubes away. They threw the office away and they threw the wheel away. All right. So like, oh, that's a bit of a problem. Now we're just we're still lost. We don't know where we're going. We're like, lost in a maze. And so there's this. Uneasy feeling with people. Very, very uneasy feeling with people like what is the point of all of this? Okay. And what I'm doing in the book is trying to give a framework that people can follow that's very easy to understand and a shedload of tools to help them get out of that brain fog, out of that malaise and get some clarity and direction in their life and get their balance back and get them going and get that umph back. And you know, they wake up, you know, all excited in the morning and they know what they're doing and where they're going.

Rick (00:23:01) - I want to put that back into people.

Josh (00:23:03) - Yeah. Rick Yvanovich, again, the book is Business as Unusual How to Thrive in the New Renaissance. Just hit just hit Amazon. So you could go check that out. And you can also, Rick, go to your website Rick And again that's where as well you'll find resources and information about the book and your coaching. And then of course, I just want to put a shout out for international to your baby 30 years in the making. So Rick, it's been great having you on the podcast. Thank you so much for joining us.

Rick (00:23:38) - Thank you very much, Josh. Thank you very much.

Josh (00:23:46) - Thanks for listening to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence slash guest. If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free. You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our listener Facebook group.

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