Ray Belton Disrupts the Norm and Sets Houston Public Works up for Exponential Growth

Think of that seemingly unattainable dream you have for your ideal work environment

What would you need to defy the odds and achieve your goals? How can you disrupt the norm and set your team (or organization) up for massive growth and success?

Caption – Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash


Houston Public Works is well underway to doing just this with over two years into their TRANSFORM initiative. Their case study reveals the secret to sparking exponential (XO) growth.

What is exponential growth? 

  • XO growth is accelerated growth that is unpredictable. It defies the odds.
  • XO growth is not linear or incremental. Think 1+1 = 11.
  • XO growth requires bold action, thoughts that disrupt the norm, innovative and fresh ideas. No small steps, JUST BIG LEAPS!

Caption – Ray Belton, Transform Leader of Houston Public Works


Ray Belton, warmly referred to as the “Transform Guy”, continues to push for his team to THINK BIG,  break down barriers, and practice kindness, both at work and at home. Now, other companies are taking notice and asking, “what are you doing?” 

The results are tangible. Here are just a few of the major changes Ray noticed in his workplace: 



My work with Houston Public Works and leaders like Ray has reinforced how important it is to create an environment that supports BIG ideas and BOLD action. This has become even more important in our current business environment where many leaders are cutting back, conserving and scaling back.

In my last blog, we discussed the element of creating an environment of psychological safety — one where employees felt free to speak up when they had a concern or big idea — as an important element of driving growth.

“Psychological safety is truly the thing that is going to unleash our growth. Our 4000 employees have great ideas and talents that they can bring to the table. When they feel “safe”, they will  share their best ideas and bring their best selves to work everyday.”  – Ray Belton, Transform Leader at Houston Public Works

Houston Public Works’ Director, Carol Ellinger Haddock and her team made a true case for creating a “Speak UP” culture that’s  primed for exponential (XO) growth! 

After creating that safe environment, how do you teach a team to stop “going with the flow,” to be bold and STEP up? 

It’s unfair to your team to expect that they will just start to be bold on their own.  Being bold is a skill that can be taught, just like writing, speaking, or coding.” – SONIA THOMPSON 

Just like building resilience is instilling a set of habits that build emotional and mental strength over time, building the habit of thinking BIG and taking bold action requires a collective desire.

“Everybody has a desire, but can I learn and listen to find out what their desire is? Some people’s desire shows up in their energy and engagement. Sometimes that desire shows up in a complaint, or an attitude of resignation and cynicism.” -Ray Belton, Transform Leader at Houston Public Works

So what is the secret to sparking big ideas and bold action in your organization?

Here is what we learned from Houston Public Works so far:

  • First, you need to create an environment of psychological safety
  • Second, break down barriers and practice kindness
  • Third, listen to the desires of your team and their concerns
  • Fourth, give them the tools and encouragement to THINK BIG and XO growth will follow! 

Need a resource to give your team to get started? Be sure to grab my XO growth worksheet!  to get yourself and your team on the path to exponential growth.

Ray Belton takes down the barriers to creating a positive work environment Rocky style


Want to learn more about how the employees at Houston Public Works are defying the odds? 

Join me on Jan 21st, at 11 am PT/ 1 pm CT/ 2pm ET for our ROAR Chat with none other than the “Transformation Guy,” Ray Belton as we discuss how to set yourself up for exponential growth.

REGISTER HERE: sandyasch.com/roarchat

As we approach 2021, let’s do so BOLDLY!  Let’s take a chapter from  the Houston Public Works book and put into practice kindness, unity, and the will to ACT! 

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