Orrin Woodward LIFE Leadership Team

Winner of the 2011 Independent Association of Business Top Leader Award; Orrin Woodward shares his leadership secrets.

Rob Hallstrand – LIFE Founder

Posted by Orrin Woodward on December 5, 2011

Today, I would like to start a series on each of the LIFE Founders. The first on my list is the CEO of LIFE, Rob Hallstrand. His story is a beautiful example of learning through the dreams, struggles, and victories in life.

I have known Rob since 1995, when he joined Chris Brady in our first community building business. When the TEAM took off in 1999, it was only natural to look for someone with his skill sets – accounting, character, work ethic, etc – to lead the TEAM. Rob led the office through our first wave of stellar growth, taking TEAM from a home business to a national leadership organization.

His leadership victory helped many people. However, what I am going to share next, is the reason Rob is one of the LIFE Founders.

It’s less in your victories that character is revealed and more in your failures. In 2004, the organization grew faster than Rob’s ability to lead it effectively. One of the most painful days of my life was having to sit down with Rob and explain that I was moving another leader in as CEO of TEAM, bumping him back to CFO – Chief Financial Officer.

In truth, few people would have handled a transition like this with the honor, dignity, and class Rob did. For not only did he do a first class job on the accounting side, but he also worked admirably with the new group of leaders running the TEAM office. Rob’s personal growth in this period was amazing. He started a personal development program through reading books, listening to CDs, and confronting areas of weakness in order to improve his leadership skills. He revolutionized his leadership capacity and the entire TEAM went through another growth surge, thanks to all the leaders of TEAM, both in the office and field.

With the TEAM’s continued growth, many other leaders within our old networking company requested to join TEAM. In retrospect, I should have gone slower in adding groups because I have learned how valuable the culture is to a company. Nonetheless, the TEAM plowed ahead, merging several organizations into TEAM which maxed leadership lids for many at the TEAM office.

Disaster struck in late 2007. I have studied the data from the years 2006-2009 extensively, seeking to learn the invaluable leadership lessons that failure teaches. In other words, don’t run from failures; learn from them. And boy, did I ever learn a ton.

There are probably only a handful of leaders in the country that could have handled the ridiculous leadership challenge (lawsuits, leaving our former company, etc) that hit the TEAM late 2007 through 2009, so I am thankful for everyone’s efforts to handle the task. However, when in 2009 the office cost-per-field-revenue was five times higher than previous benchmarks, I realized I needed to act fast or the TEAM would capsize. Many of our field leaders had lost 2/3’s of their income and as the leader of TEAM, both the office and the field, it was ultimately my responsibility to fix it.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I sat down with the Policy Council (PC) leaders and asked for each of them to pick an area at the office to help transform. I tapped Rob Hallstrand on the shoulder and asked him to take over the TEAM office as COO – Chief Operating Officer. I knew this was a “bet the company” move. Either the TEAM turned around its cost-to-revenue margins or the company would bankrupt itself.

The first thing Rob did was take the TEAM staff from 40 employees down to 20. I am sure this brought hardship to many former employees, but when the ship is sinking, dropping off 20 passengers to shore as quickly as possible was the only humane choice. Without drastic reductions, everyone in the TEAM office and field would have been out of business.

I am happy to report that our “bet the company” move was a success. In fact, this year the TEAM hit its all-time best monthly operating margin. This placed us in a position to launch LIFE. The TEAM has more than doubled its profits without increasing office expenses – a nearly impossible feat! Rob Hallstrand worked tirelessly with all the PC in each area at the office to streamline systems and cost. Someday I hope to write the book on this amazing leadership turnaround engineered by Rob Hallstrand and the PC. I am very proud of them all.

Along with surpassing every major benchmark in 2011, Rob also took the lead in launching LIFE. How he accomplished this task with only one additional employee is a true testament to Rob’s new leadership capacity. LIFE is going to be life-changing for so many, and it all goes back to the day when Rob Hallstrand confronted a temporary failure in his life. Instead of getting bitter, Rob chose to get better, thus growing into the leader necessary to run the LIFE business as its new CEO.

Congratulations Rob for a job well done and here is to a great future together! Sincerely, Orrin Woodward

29 Responses to “Rob Hallstrand – LIFE Founder”

  1. Matt Foote said

    What a great example of a servant leader. Thanks for this Orrin, and thanks to Rob too for his willingness to serve. Men and women like this is why Team is such a great organization and why LIFE will have such a great impact on our nation and world.

  2. Orrin

    Thanks for this post and giving us a chance to personally thank Rob Hallstrand for his service as well.

    Congratulations Rob and thanks for all you have done for us and TEAM down through the years.

  3. Clint Fix said

    Thanks for highlighting Rob. He definitely deserves to be highlighted on this blog! As one of the behind the scenes leaders, he sometimes doesn’t get the recognition that is due. We thank you, Rob!

  4. Lori Maas said

    A HUGe Thank you to Rob Hallstrand and his amazing staff. Those of us in the field could not do what we do with out you! We appreciate you, your hard work, and your loyal faithfulness to Orrin, the PC and to us. You are making an eternal impact on each of us, on this industry and the world.

  5. Sharon Hoffman said

    Thank you Rob for your humble heart! Thanks to the entire PC and to the TEAM office staff! To one million!!!

  6. Becoming part of TEAM/LIFE has been amazing and we thank all of you that have paved the way and continue to lead us…the leadership of Rob and his crew is like none other…I would stand it up to ANY corporation out there today! Never has any doubt ever crossed our minds on the efficiency of the office and the trust level of the employees that serve us! Congrats and to all of you and thanks again for the integrity of leadership you portray each and every day! Roy and Brenda Hatcher

  7. Kristine Militello said

    Rob Hallstrand has been an absolute joy to know from the day we met him! Marc and I have shared many laughs with Rob. We are blessed to know him, and it has been incredible to watch first-hand what he has been able to do at the TEAM office. We are truly grateful to him, and honored to call him friend.

  8. robbyandemily said

    That’s some true character of true leaders. Anyone else would have not handled the situation the same at all. My hat is off, and I’m on bended knee with admiration to both of you!
    Thank you Rob for your loyalty and commitment. A special thanks to Kyle Neilsen as well. What a stand up job you and all the office do!
    Robby Palmer

  9. Tina Seidel said

    Thank you so much to Orrin for knowing and realizing where mistakes were made and taking full responsibility to make certain things were made right. What a remarkable man!! Our fore fathers would be proud of him. And also to Rob. Just your willingness to stick it out and prove yourself time and time again that you can hang with the best of them. I am very proud to associate myself with men like you and all of the p.c.

  10. Sheldon Bouchard said

    Thank you for sharing this part of Team history with us. So much to learn and appreciate as to what goes on behind the scenes in the making of a great company. I love this story of Rob Hallstrand and it reminds me of the story of Darwin Smith CEO of Kimberly-Clark, who was the example of a Level 5 Leader in “Good to Great” – “an individual who blends extreme personal humility with intense professional will.” Thanks Rob for your example!

  11. Rob, we are blessed to have you as CEO of LIFE! You and the PC/founders are hero’s for doing what you have done! Now let’s go change the world through your example of personal development!

  12. Jeff and Tammy Helm said

    We truly appreciate all that Rob Hallstrand has and will do for us. The ripple effects of what has transpired over the last 12-18 months will be immeasurable. Please let Rob know how much he is appreciated, I know of few men that could tackle the task that he had to tackle. Let alone to conquer and truly succeed on so many levels. He is an amazing guy!

  13. Beth Metz said

    Excellent example of great character taking the cards delt to you and making not just the best of it, but making it better! Thanks Rob for all you do!!

  14. Bill Lewis said

    Orrin I couldn’t agree more with your comments about Rob and his staff. I have the privilege of working directly with the Team staff and they are great group of servers. I know they get paid for there job but they regularly go over the top and always do the extra step to serve. They make running the business much easier knowing that they are on the job. Thank you to all the Team staff members.

  15. Congrats Rob!!! Wow, what a world class leader! Rob coming in as the new CEO of the LIFE business puts such a peace of mind because I know what Rob is capable of! I alsond know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is the right leader that will take us all the way to 1 million!!!

    Thanks to Rob and his staff for setting a world class example for many to follow in service and leadership. You are truly appreciated!!!

    Onward to One Million and Beyond!

    God Bless

  16. Doreen Chapman said

    This is a huge testament to Mr. Hallstrand, his humility, his willingness to learn and grow more himself. It is also a testament to the TEAM leadership in seeing the whole vision and the need for constructive changes in the organization. It would have been a difficult conversation for Mr. Hallstrand to hear and a difficult one for Orrin to deliver. My thanks to both of you for all you do, to the TEAM office for its incredible work and to the PC for seeing what the future could mean for so many people.

  17. James R. Wirshing said

    My definition of a great leader requires that there be a great obstacle to successfully overcome. Rob Hallstrand has done it with skill, finesse, and extremely high personal character. We who are about to live (LIFE), salute you!

  18. Sue Lohr said

    Rob and his staff have always impressed me with their servant attitudes. What a blessing the Team has in their leadership PC and their office leaders. Thanks, Orrin, for your transparency in this article.

  19. Rob Crichlow said

    Thanks Orrin for honoring Rob, who without a doubt, has created a profitable and scale-able model for us to use to leverage our new LIFE businesses. Having started and operated businesses both here in the US and internationally, I find it refreshing that Rob and the policy council have been able to work together to make a lean and strong foundation for operations, when so many companies today waist money on ‘middle’ management that have little desire to think outside of the box and are more concerned about their jobs than the company as a whole. Congratulations Rob on a job well done!

  20. Terrence B. Cutler said


  21. Having been through the ‘firestorm’ and being one of those leaders whom ‘lost’ as you describe Orrin, I have had the opportunity to see firsthand the comments you use to describe Rob. I have always known that God has a plan for each of our lives, but in the last few years really grown to trust it. Rob is a great example that we can all learn from, that God honors commitment. With this post we honor him publically, but Brandy and I appreciate Rob (and his staff) and realize that God is using him for a great work! Thank you Rob!

    God Bless,


    P.S. Those leaders that went through and stuck during the period described did so, I believe, because of the relationships, trust, and for us at least, because of how we have always defined winning and losing. We have won from the day we joined Team because of the internal victories in what now has become known as the 8 F’s. The blessing of financial return has been a byproduct and never the goal, in and of itself.

    • Orrin, thanks for more of the history behind this remarkable journey with the Team and now Life.

      Tim, I’ve watched you from afar as someone I respect. Not because I have spent time with you personally, but through learning about your story on CD’s from the Team system.

      I was brand new during the transitions, only actively involved for a few months when the first changes happened. I had many cross-roads, decision points, where Michelle and I could’ve gone back to our medical careers. But it was the character and purpose of the leadership that kept me in.

      I listen with excitement to the stories today about the remarkable turn around that took place with Team, as if I was a little child sitting by the fire listening to grandpa tell “war” stories. I have a picture of all the founders on my dream board, a remarkable group of men, and their wives, that have stood strong in the face of adversity, anchored to principles and truth. One day soon, through God’s blessing, Michelle and I will stand by the side of Rob Hallstrand and the other founders of life, as the next wave of leadership that will take Team and Life to 1 million.

      We are eternally grateful for Rob’s courage and leadership and thankful to be on this journey with him. God Bless. Matt Mielke

  22. Orrin,

    I have had several opportunities to interact with Rob and all I can say he is a true professional.

  23. Kevin Hamm said

    Thanks Orrin and Rob,

    It will truly be a great book!

    Kevin Hamm

  24. Mike Scahub said

    Thank you Rob. I am glad Orrin shared what you did for the team. You are a great example of leadership.

  25. Mike Hartmann said


    It’s exciting to learn more about how applying the 8F’s have transformed your leadership influence and it brings joy to Tonya’s and my heart to see you honored as one of the LIFE Founders. Your humility is to be admired and your personal growth leading to the promotion to COO is a living testimony to the Dream-Struggle-Victory process.

    We are all blessed that at a certain point of time, in a different business model, “loose powder in the catalog” was such a great deal prompting you and Suzy to hold your spot! Thin strands indeed . . . :o)

  26. Maribel Damphousse said

    Thank you Rob for being a true testimony of the LIFE system, for upholding the LIFE TEAM culture and modelling what servant-leadership means. God bless!

  27. Orrin, you couldn’t have said it better. What a road it has been. I know they are going to write books about everything that has happened. I am so honored to be a part of this awesome organization with you and Rob Hallstrand. It was some of those tough decisions that you guys made that made all the difference for us and for the future of our country.

    Rob has lead, and continues to lead an awesome group of individuals at the Team office, many of whom I know have close friendships with. There are many unsung heros at the office that have kept us moving on. I look forward to giving all of them honor.

    Romans 13:7 – Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

    We honor you today Rob!! Keep on keeping on!!

    Best regards,
    Neal Ruffner

  28. Thanks so much for sharing this portrait of Rob with all of us! He seems so humble and quiet, few of us would have known, had you not been so kind to share.

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