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Asses Real Opportunity
Show Notes

Assess Real Opportunity (p244)

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Starting the conversation:

How often does your organization assess its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in order to understand the current business climate?

Host: Jessica Dewell
Guests: Adam Mutschler, Erika Feinberg, JW Rayhons

What You Will Hear:

Three things to assess an opportunity and know if it is the right thing right now.

Looking outside your organization is a way to learn from others.

There is a rigorous process to creativity and innovation.

People are the most important element in wether or not a company will reach its goal.

Our values guide how we assess opportunity; SWOT will be different at different stages of your business.

Dig into the assumptions – you may find what you think isn’t what actually is happening.

It takes time to grapple with problems and a SWOT as a living document creates one aspect of finding the best solution.

Metrics matter, choose wisely because the information they give is what you use to make decisions.

Taking time to plan ensures that there is structure within creativity can be fostered.

Soft skills like listening and asking detailed questions are necessary to building a high functioning team.

There could be opportunity in what we take for granted.

It is BOLD to integrate a living SWOT into your feedback loop to find real opportunity.

Notable and Quotable:

Adam-Mutschler - p244 - Assess Real Opportunity
Erika-Feinberg - p244 - Assess Real Opportunity
JW-Rayhons - p244 - Assess Real Opportunity
Jess-Dewell - p244 - Assess Real Opportunity

Transcript

Adam Mutschler
The hardest work that we can do is on ourselves.

Erika Feinberg
I just said certain things that got everyone arguing in a happy way.

JW Rayhons
You focus on what’s right with people, it puts them in a position to perform extremely well.

Adam Mutschler
When it’s working really well. You feel like you’re high and when it’s not working, it’s your lowest of low.

Erika Feinberg
There’s no downside that I can think of unless you’re evil and misusing it of this radical transparency.

JW Rayhons
We have these great lessons all around us when it comes to measuring strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

ANNOUNCER
Welcome. This is the Bold Business Podcast. We want to thank our listener supporters who keep this podcast ad free. Find out more at Red Direction dot com forward slash listener supported. Your business has many directions you can travel. The one true direction of your company creates the journey for you to move toward a new, exciting level. We call this the Red Direction. In today’s program, we delve into one idea. This idea is for you to apply to the opportunities and challenges you face. The idea will support you as you work on ever present situations, including how to stay competitive in a changing market, how to break through the business plateau, and how to anticipate the changing expectations of your stakeholders. This podcast will provoke ideas and will give you insights to be inspired. Jess Dewell is your guide. Jess brings you a 20 year track record of business excellence with strategy and operations overlap. Your path comes from consistently working from the special place, your unique true north. Now, here’s Jess.

Jess Dewell
In this program, we assess real opportunity. We’re thinking about looking at and digging into the importance of not every opportunity is a good opportunity, even though it may have growth potential associated with it. There are so many things we’re going to cover in this program, I’m going to distill it down to three key points that you can listen for, and consider as you’re hearing the rest of the program. The first is realism versus optimism. Just because we like an idea, doesn’t mean it’s the right idea, especially right now. The second point, facing the weaknesses, in addition to the strengths within your organization, set up how the flow of the work is going to go. What are the chances for success and achievement from the beginning? And the third point, as insightful as you are, is there a piece of data that you haven’t looked at yet, that would be helpful in considering a current opportunity or a direction to go, or a strategy to put into place? These three key points are articulated throughout the conversations that I have had over the last month JW, Erica and Adam are bringing their personal experience and what they do for a living into the context of thinking about strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and threats. Yes, that’s a SWOT. That SWOT analysis will look different, depending on the stage of your business, and depending on the strategy and strategies you currently have in place. It is a living, breathing document that when used with other tools, provide additional insights and ensure that you’re staying aligned to your company’s true north. You heard in the last podcast episode JW and I having a conversation. Well, he was so interested in this topic that I told him, I wanted him to bring a couple pieces of advice for you for this episode as well. To remind you, JW Rayhons is President of Rayhone Financial Solutions, and he’s a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach. He pursues a mission of helping organizations go after their most significant opportunities. Here’s how he sets up this topic for us.

JW Rayhons
We have all these great lessons around us. We look at the sports world or the military or these globally successful companies. We have these great lessons all around us when it comes to measuring strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Strengths is a huge part of our culture. We believe that when you focus on what’s right with people, it puts them in a position to perform extremely well. We’re fortunate. We’re at a size where we can have a full team weekly meeting where we have conversations around exactly that. What is the business climate? What is it that we have going on in our specific organization? How do we measure our success and our strengths versus the opportunities that are in front of us. And so we actually, even on a quarterly basis will have specific opportunities that we’ve laid out to say in looking ahead. We believe that these are opportunities in front of us that we want to focus on capturing quarterly, we make those a priority.

Jess Dewell
There’s a process behind what JW was talking about. Now, part of our culture is music to my ears. It’s something that when we put assessing opportunity into the forefront, and really evaluating it, for what it can bring us, we can look at problems and challenges differently and opportunities differently as well. One of the things that a SWOT analysis allows us to do is move us from just staying in the short term to balancing what is important in the short term in addition to setting us up for the opportunities that will benefit us in the long term before we get there, before we know what the opportunities are. An outcome from dedicated practice and achievement of the shorter goals, these shorter objectives, to be able to make a case for and set up the foundation to leap toward what’s next. One of the things, especially the strengths and the weaknesses, part of a SWOT analysis does, is give a read, a pulse of what is going on with the people part of the organization in addition to the technology and the processes. Erica Feinberg with the perfect companion is a seasoned operator with a track record of building disruptive businesses that turn into multi million dollar market leading organizations. And here’s what she has to say about the people part of SWOT.

Erika Feinberg
It has 100% to do with the choice of human beings and what they think their role is, versus what leadership thinks the role is. They call this alignment. The whole concept of SWAT. Alignment isn’t in there. There’s no “"a,"" right. But it’s something that is so critical to even start with, because number one, everyone is here on earth for a reason. And I don’t want to get too ethereal because I’m very black and white, very logical kind of person, but I have to tell you, everyone’s got passion. They’ve got that heart and soul, why they’re here. They’ve got those things that make their heart go pitter patter. And they’ve got those things that make them cringe and or run away from when they get into a role that’s not aligned with those basic needs of the human being that we are. And we’re all here for a reason. And that’s one thing that is almost impossible to overcome. as manager. When someone’s not in alignment, when they’re in the wrong role.

Jess Dewell
There is a bigger obstacle than anything that could have ever come our way Unexpectedly. We’re never going to know all of the reasons that somebody has chosen to be part of our organization, to accept projects that we’re working on. And the team that we are now finding ourselves a part of. What we can do is we can know ourselves. And when we know our own strengths and weaknesses, in addition to the strengths and weaknesses or being able to ask the questions to better understand the overall position from the team leaders, from the project leaders, we become more prepared to be able to know what it is that is required to achieve success, and how aligned we are to whether or not we’re really willing to do that work.

Erika Feinberg
Let’s say someone’s in a role, but this is another layer of alignment. It’s about whether that what they think their role is and responsibilities and how they’re being measured., and all that, is that in alignment with leadership. If that’s out of line, that’s not going to work because when you’re measured on a totally different KPI, a key performance indicator, that you’re not aware of you think you’re doing great, and then people are just not happy with you and it’s not gonna work out.

Jess Dewell
Have you ever been in a situation like that before, where something happened and all of a sudden it was falling apart.? And it seemed to blindside you? I’ve been there. I’ve been there a lot. Yet, not only did I learn from it, I also learned what the cues were on how to ensure I was on the lookout for that to minimize it to reduce it if possible later next time. One of the things that we tend to overlook going back to that first point, are we stuck in realism? Or are we now in a place of stuck in optimism? When we like an idea when we’re dedicated to it, when we want something to happen and go forward, we tend to overlook a lot because we want to see all of the pieces line up. We want to see the pieces do what they need to do so that we can run forward quickly to success. One of the Forbes Magazine writers, Robert Tucker, wrote an article about the six practical strategies for discovering your next opportunity. Every single one of those six items includes anticipation. That is a skill, a soft skill, that is necessary for leadership today, especially because the climate, the industry, the situation, the technology changes so fast. One of the strategies was a SWOT. And he was in essence talking about what I just mentioned, realism versus optimism. When we have a SWOT and it’s sitting in a drawer, it doesn’t help u. When we have a SWOT and we overlook certain things because they don’t line up with what we want and we’re looking for validation to go toward our desired path, we miss out. And so based off of the stage of the company based off of other factors that will help us stay in the realistic part of using this living document, we can set ourselves up for success. One thing that has not been talked about yet is the need for space, the space to allow innovation, innovation and creativity. Adam talks about that. Adam Mutschler is partner at The Kedar Group. And he brings fresh approaches to organizational transformation in the technology and startup space. He also hosts the Founders Mindset Podcast. Listen to what he has to say about meetings, and creativity.

Adam Mutschler
I think oftentimes people will go into a meeting at work. The idea is we need to brainstorm on how to get out of a problem, or we need to brainstorm on solving a challenge we’re having. There’s a lot that need to be discussed, a lot happens. You might go through a sticky note game, you might employ all sorts of tools. You don’t quite get it and then at lunch or right before bed, someone has an ah ha moment and like oh my God, I just thought of something that could work. And then you bring it back to the group and you work shop it, and like just as it How come this didn’t come up in the meeting. A lot of creators have a process ,and it’s rigorous. It is exhaustive. It’s iterative. You’re building and building and building and building, which is a lot more like SWAT than anything else, because it’s, again, there’s a rigorous structure to it.

Jess Dewell
As visionary as we are, and as action oriented as we are, structure is helpful. In the way that Adam was describing potential meetings, and allowing space to be able to walk away and come back and walk away and come back, whatever that structure is, embraces this concept of freedom, a freedom that allows for creativity. We also need that because we don’t always get to choose the people that we work with.

Erika Feinberg
And you’re thrown together with people you didn’t ask for in your life, you have to learn how to do it. You have to learn how to get on and get things done.

Jess Dewell
We’re talking about the human element of business, the space between people the way with which we work with together.

Adam Mutschler
Really a big thing is, my experience and the experience of people that I’m talking to, we’re on this high speed train in a direction of data scientists, automation AI, models that is the answer to everything. I’m not going to argue that there’s so much value in those tools, but we’re also really getting pulled away from the decision making skills and competencies that make us human. These are our superpowers. What is being able to tap into our gut, and our intuition, and our heart, and say, “"What am I seeing or hearing here that data isn’t telling me?""

Jess Dewell
Looking for those assumptions, recognizing that we have certain data, and we should check in and see what other information would be useful here to help make a fully aware decision for the information that we have at this time.

Adam Mutschler
Right? Where is the data coming from? Who’s collecting the data? What story is the collector trying to say about the point they’re trying to make? A lot more. And so we talked about what resonates with you. By going ask advice of 10 people, I’m going to get probably 10 different pieces of advice. Even if I asked 10 people the same question. Being able to synthesize that, and also being able to say, whoa, when someone said “"a,"" I got really hyped up. Let me lean into that a little bit more. Resonance is a feeling. It’s kind of a mindset. But it’s something to think about because almost everything we’re learning now is not telling us to pay attention to that.

Jess Dewell
I agree. We do not pay enough attention to our intuition. So things like the SWOT analysis, business analysis, Present Retreat, listening to this podcast when you have a chance to do so, are all ways that allow us to see what else is going, on to be another source of information for us to build that inner awareness and become confident in what has to tell u. And part of knowing that, and developing that, and building that ability to anticipate, and to trust your gut comes from knowing what you value. It also comes from how well you can embrace the values of your organization and understanding what work sounds like, looks like and feels like when it’s happening in the best way possible.

JW Rayhons
You’ve caught on to something extremely valuable there. Do we have a clear identification of what our values are or virtues? However, with one language that are we clear about our focus? And are we clear about what we want to achieve? Ax an individual, do I have a clear understanding of that for myself or as a company or an organization? Do we have a clear understanding of those organizational values or behaviors or focuses or goals, if you will. That being our starting point, now we can determine where we need to go.

Jess Dewell
Starting point And it ties back to one of the things that we mentioned at the beginning. Where do we stand in our living SWOT analysis, so that we can understand how to best move forward with the available resources we have? When we don’t look at that, we set up an obstacle right from the beginning. That means we have less chance of achieving our goal, reaching the end and getting the outcome that we want. This living document is what we can use to start building the framework for what a feedback loop looks like within our organization that is made up of external information from specific and different data sources, from our personal values, from the strengths of each individual on our team, from what we see happening in our industry. Yet, sometimes things are working, and we don’t see them working. And sometimes things are not working, and they’re really not working. Adam talks a little bit more about being in alignment on this point.

Adam Mutschler
When it’s working really well, you feel like you’re high and when it’s not working, it’s your lowest of low. Resonance is in that world. When the thing that resonates with you is on point, the sky is the limit. But when things are breaking down around that, it can be really challenging. Like, understanding other people and being understood is crazy important to me. And I have the same struggle when I’m not able to understand someone as I do when someone doesn’t understand me. It’s equally challenging and it’s equally energizing, when someone expresses that I fully understand what they’re talking about and what they’re going through. And for me, when someone feels that about what I’m explaining to them. That was a lightning bolt for me, because it really codified it. It’s the thing that when it’s operating at its highest level, I’m on fire, like my brain is wide open. And when it has a breakdown, it’s where I struggle the most. What is the thing or things that when working be unstoppable and when there’s a breakdown, it’s a big struggle.

ANNOUNCER
You’re listening to the ad free listener supported bold business podcast. We’ll return to the show soon, but first, we’d like to take you behind the scenes to give you a peek into what goes into the production of each episode. Again, here’s your host, Jess Dewell.

Jess Dewell
I’d like to take a few minutes and tell you why we do not run ads on the Bold Business Podcast. We’ve chosen to rely solely on you, our listeners for support. If you’re listening to this, you probably already know what I care about most. I care about the space between you and me, and you and your colleagues. And I care about the work that you do together and the impact that it makes for your business and for your community. The work I do comes from a deep curiosity about what makes businesses work, what makes high functioning teams and what elements truly shapes success. I’ve seen firsthand how information can help people make better decisions and change their results,. Curating and presenting this information though is not easy. The vast amount of information out there, and the overwhelming amount of stuff that demands our attention and time, makes finding useful information, firsthand experience that is actually inspiring, that can help you with the big problems that you’re grappling with., it’s really hard. We do the due diligence for you. I am fortunate to have a great team to help me research and to share this information. One example is the preparation that it’s done for each program. We choose a question to explore, we look for people with the relevant information and experience. We do research for what the current trends are. And then we put it all together into a well produced program. And then we repeat, and then we repeat. The production of the show notes and supporting information is also comprehensive. This shows in the positive response that we’ve received People like to see are notable and quotables. They like to see the links that we have to the transcripts, and they like to have links and research to resources. And we bet, I bet you do too.

ANNOUNCER
And now, let’s return to the Bold Business Podcast for the rest of the show.

Jess Dewell
We’ve been talking about alignment, dissonance and the opposite of dissonance, optimism and realism. We’ve even been talking about data and data points. I’d like to shift gears just a little bit, because how this happens in practice, how we use a SWOT in everyday situations is part of that feedback loop. It’s how we assess exactly where we’re at. So as opportunities come our way, come our organizations way, we have the ability to jump in wholeheartedly and start exploring how it’s gonna work for us, right now. Here is an example from Erika.

Erika Feinberg
One client that I had been serving, I was brought in to grow the business. And it was really like come in and grow this business. And what I noticed when I got in there and you start digging deeper, they’re losing money. So I made a decision myself, that first thing we need to do is we need to look at why they’re losing money. Because it could be as we scale, let’s say new sales. Most people would say, okay, you’re going to grow company, it means go out and get new sales. Well, it’s very possible that if you go out and get new sales, it could be causing the company to lose money, because there’s so many different factors. So then as we dug in farther, we found out there’s major issues with the technology. And if we did, if we started selling like crazy, there’s more issues that are going to rise, it’s going to end up costing the company a lot of money. Those kinds of things. That’s an example of how people are perceiving things.

Jess Dewell
Perception is everything. That’s where optimism can get in the way. That’s when our realism, we must draw on it, bring it out and have it be center stage. Because when we assume something is the way that it is, or we assume that there’s one path to move forward to get us through a hard spot, to the next growth phase, whatever the objectives are, we may accidentally create ripples we don’t want, setbacks and obstacles that were unforeseen. They don’t have to be something that takes us by surprise.

JW Rayhons
Business is constantly changing. Climate is constantly changing, things are constantly being innovative. It almost became a necessity to say we have to look ahead otherwise, we’re going to end up getting left behind. A lot of companies, they’ll look at their own specific industry to try to forecast what’s to come. What we recognized is that there’s a lot that can be learned from the industries that are outside of our own expertise.

Jess Dewell
Looking outside of our organization, to our industry, and to our competitors, is a key way to glean insights about how the perception of what becomes possible for the service that you’re providing, and the people that you are serving could be changing. And things change fast. So assessing opportunity quickly is incredibly important. Throwing spaghetti on the wall with a whole bunch of ideas to see what sticks is great sometimes, yet when we do all of the time, it ends up slowing down our progress, sometimes creating more obstacles in our way that prevent us from moving forward, or what we have to be able to fully execute the strategy that we have put into place. Erika is describing this in her role from her company’s perspective, right now, in this time and space.

Erika Feinberg
This is a perfect scenario, because if we started in the market, you would be looking at every other home care company out there, what they are, and we’d say, “"Okay, so we’re a home care company, but we’re serving wealthier families or more particular patients."" Adults, they’re usually seniors. citizens who want to stay in their homes or they just moved into a senior living facility and they want to stay where they are an independent living, but they need a little bit more help. We’re catering to that. And we’re saying, “"Okay, so how can we get these clients even though we charge more than other, the industry?"" So that is a daunting task. How do we get them when other people are saying, they’re doing this too, and they’re great, but they’re charging a lot less? How are we going to get it?

Jess Dewell
So common, so common, the way you differentiate your company internally, the way you provide service to your clients, the way you think about problems and the way that you approach each situation is going to determine what the economic engine is that your organization uses to create profitability. And if there’s downward pressure, and if there is a move internally to go we have to do what the competition is doing, so we can stay competitive. Not only have you lost your compass, because there is no true north there, you also have set yourself up to be chasing your own tail for the rest of the life of your role in the business that you are in. That concept of an economic engine, what the culture is, what’s being provided, and sticking to it, like an anger. Having it be always in your back pocket is what allows your company to stay competitive and differentiated from your competition. Listen to what else Erika is saying about this.

Erika Feinberg
By the way, with the model, most of them are looking at hospitals, healthcare systems, social workers, they’re going after the usual people who are sending them the clients, the referral sources in the industry. That’s what they’re looking at. When we dug in, we got into John’s magic, the founder of this place, his magic is 30 years is a an adult psychoanalyst and a family psycho analyst who is really good. And Cassandra, his Clinical Director, she is just extraordinary at more functional medicines, more like the things you had talked about non traditional approaches. She’s like the non traditional approach to making life rock, to making your body better. Let’s say a certain medications are messing up your mouth, secrets of stuff you can use. When someone from Perfect Companion gets into the house, like, you’re changing lives, you’re going in there you make their life is better than it’s ever been. You’re not working on, “Yes." That’s when we were like, We need to compare ourselves to 24 hour care, but it’s therapy too.

Jess Dewell
Time . It takes time to experience, gather data, understand the perceptions and the realities of our vendors and our clients and our consumers in the marketplace and our competition, so that we can figure out what is the place we are unique. Where can we outshine everybody else?

Erika Feinberg
Look, you’re getting a therapist by your side all day long. And if you want them all night long too, you get them all night long. at a fraction of the price. It totally changed how we were seeing the company. Now what do you think we’re doing? Then you look out in the marketplace, then you say, “"Who’s making sense? Who’s out there helping these families in a much different capacity where we can be a dream come true.""

Jess Dewell
Harvard Business Review has a columnist named Adam Brandenburger. And he wrote an article called, “Are Your Company’s Strengths Really Weaknesses?" When our strengths become solid, they become what we rely on, they become assumptions. And as soon as what we rely on becomes assumptions and we can quit taking it into account., as we’re evaluating new opportunities, as we’re evaluating industry changes, we can accidentally hurt ourselves because that is the moment when our strengths become weaknesses. One of the quickest ways to identify possible opportunity, maybe not to go after them, but to identify the opportunity, the real opportunity is to shift the lens. What are we holding true? How true really is it compared to how true we really think it is, can become integrated. We build this into our feedback loop, and it allows us to actively check where we might have some assumptions in our process. And maybe they’re okay for this time, but maybe they’re not okay for this time. So understanding what those assumptions are is key. A SWOT analysis that is living and changing and adapted and used every single day, keeps us on our toes and increases our awareness so that we don’t accidentally start taking shortcuts that could be detrimental to our outcomes.

Adam Mutschler
When things have breathing room, in my opinion, we get the best results. When we’re putting too much pressure on a conversation or driving towards the solution, it’s like holding your breath. I don’t know if anyone’s tried to hold their breath and do anything that’s active. It’s hard to do. You need to breathe. Or I don’t know if anyone’s ever flexed every muscle in their body and tried to walk. It’s really hard to do. Just literally if you’re listening and this gets to you stop, for a second and flex every muscle and try and walk. It’s really hard to do. And so there’s a balance between rigor and structure and having spent for things to breathe.

Jess Dewell
I tried it, it is hard to do. The thing is, when we get stuck, or fixed, we start to hold on and dig in. And that’s a cue. It’s a behavioral cue, that’s something is up. And we might need to shift our lens a little to change the framework.

Adam Mutschler
There’s also this fixed mindset around different frameworks. We don’t have enough time for SWAT. What came to my mind is, if you don’t have enough time to say, really quickly, in literally one to two minutes, what are the strengths that we have on the team? What are the weaknesses? What are the opportunities? And what are our threats? Literally in a small conversation and like, “"Hey, we just did a high level SWAT."" Boom. And if you find something that’s really, really important, you say, well, we need to make time to dig into this further. Or you might say, we’ve got a strong handle on this, at least we’re thinking about this in a framework.

Jess Dewell
The key is thinking about. The key is bringing it in, using it. Having that awareness.

Adam Mutschler
So I also think that there’s this feeling that you have to go all in on things, or you’re not doing it at all. I take issue with that. You can play with stuff.

Jess Dewell
This program is shaping up with three questions. Have I switched from realistic to optimistic, because I like the idea a lot. What are the weaknesses that could get in the way? And the third question, what data have I looked at? And what data have I not looked at that would be insightful right now? These three questions are awareness questions. They are an internal reflection, which are perfect to be using during your President Retreat. They are also situational. Pick any one of the three, when there seems to be something bubbling under the surface, to be able to take stock of what is really present? What’s the terrain? What resources are there or not there? And what direction Are you really going? And how does it line up to the direction that you want to be going? And to further ask a few more questions. JW adds this.

JW Rayhons
How frequently do you talk about and highlight the values and behaviors that mean the most your organization? By way of example, I’ll share with you that you In our weekly team meeting that we discussed earlier, every agenda item has linked next to it exactly which value and behavior of the organization it’s aligned with, so that we know even in our weekly team meetings, regardless of the topic that it aligns to one of those values and behaviors right away.

Jess Dewell
Okay, we also do this at Red Direction. I will tell you though, we fall down sometimes. And in fact, as we’re in change, which we constantly are with new clients coming in, new podcast programs, a lot of new guests, of great deal of new supporters that are coming in to our community in different ways, those weekly meetings with those behaviors associated with them. Sometimes we don’t get through the list. Sometimes we forget the behaviors. Sometimes we end up having things stacked a little too close together, and we get behind. The thing is, though, when it’s written down, when it’s articulated, when the values and the associated behaviors, the how we work together is clear. Whenever we get to a place of crazy or semi crazy, or just maybe we’re on the wrong path, and we have to backtrack some, we have a place to start from. We have a place to reflect back to, we have a place to understand what opportunity or what thought of an opportunity we were following so that we can learn as we go. And guess what? We build it into our SWOT. What is our team strengths and weaknesses? What are our competitors doing or not doing? Did we chase a rabbit when really we didn’t need to? Plus, it allows us to bring different personalities, different experiences, and most importantly, different ideas together in a way that allows for the opportunity for collaboration.

Erika Feinberg
When you have a department and you have personalities that are different, that’s one thing. That’s good. If they’re a mismatch, that is bad. And same thing, like when you’re in there, helping save someone’s life, and make things better. And with this lofty goal, making life better than it’s ever been. If you have someone who’s a mismatch for that client, that’s not going to work. And there’s certain that’s the cool thing. There is specific criteria. They look for in personality types, and they do deep assessments that I’ve never seen before. And I keep looking at that saying, “"Oh my God, what they’re doing for the seniors and their families would be such a great model inside corporations."" And the corporation is a family that needs to learn how to work together with multiple generations and communications issues.

Jess Dewell
And here’s the thing. When we work together, we don’t always get to pick the personalities. And Erika said it was bad when they’re clashing personalities, I tend to agree. However, it doesn’t necessarily stop that train in its tracks. It’s a way to have more communication, have additional dialogue, to figure out where the differences. Because in the end, they could be just two very different approaches with the same underlying goal. When we skip taking time to deepen those relationships and get to know each other and figure out thoughtfully how do we work best to gather here, because we were put on this project together for some reason, or we were put into this situation for some reason, it might be really hard work, yet it’s work that will end up being really rewarding. Because not only is it fulfilling to get you to your personal goals, it also moves leaps and bounds the organization towards its goals. And we do have to think about metrics too.

Adam Mutschler
There are regular metric, what’s the revenue? How many clients do you have? How long your clients stick with you for the podcasts? What does the subscribership look like? What our downloads looking like?, What kind of guests am I booking? There are all sorts of metrics that you can use. But those are all things that I pay attention to. There’s a really basic one, is more coming in and going out?

Jess Dewell
You know, our first business was like that. It had high profitability. There was money everywhere. It was called a cigar box accounting method. As long as what was going in was less than what was coming out, we were good. And boy, when that was said ,a light bulb went on for me. Yeah, that is good. But how good could it be? And this was a piece of data that we had overlooked in that situation that allowed us to understand exactly how profitable we were, which clients gave us the most profitability? What were easy clients? What were hard client? Aligning, where we wanted to be with our ideal group of companies that we wanted to serve. And I took that with me because every company that I have been a part of since, those are the types of things I’m looking for, those are the types of things I’m seeing. Because it’s great if it’s cash base, and as long as what’s going in is more than what’s coming out, awesome. To really tweak and grow and find opportunity, understanding which parts of the more going in and coming out is where the profitability is, is where the efficiency is, is where the real juice is that aligns the company to its mission and the people who have chosen to work at the company to feel fulfilled in their work. Because when they are fulfilled in their work, they will start to see other opportunities as well. The thing is, how much time do you actually take to consider what your SWOT is? What your strategy is? Where you’re at and where you’re going and what you need to do to continue to move in the right direction?

JW Rayhons
I’ll start off by saying we probably should spend more time on that. We’re not a huge organization. Everyone on our team wears multiple hats, including me. As much as I’d love to say spend half our time really on strategy and looking ahead, and that’s not the reality for us at the moment. Just to prepare for that weekly team meeting, I usually personally will spend about two hours in preparation of what we’re going to discuss in about that 45 minute weekly team meeting. Those couple hours are really to reflect, observe, look around us, look ahead and then say, what do we need to focus on for this particular conversation next Monday.

Jess Dewell
Preparation takes time. JW said it. He spends two hours to prepare for a 45 minute meeting. All right, that’s the workflow that they have. At Red Direction, I spend four hours a week. And in that four hours, I’m thinking about what are all the team meetings we have? What are the projects that we have going on? How are we approaching those? Are we on track? So really JW is providing preparation, as each element in their company’s cadence, these weekly meetings comes u. My cadence is to do it once a week and to prepare for the whole week, because then I might have other things to bring to the meeting. And so I am able to work them in, kind of at the last minute. So there is preparation before every meeting, but the cadence of where the company is, the rhythm with which we are moving forward, is known because I’m taking the time to find it. So JW is one way, I’m another, you may be a different way than either one of u. Find that process and use it to incorporate preparation, because that’s how we stay in realism. Because that’s how we make sure that our weaknesses are known, and that our strengths, stay strengths, and what other data may be useful. And then there’s the communication of all of that to our peers and our reports.

Erika Feinberg
It’s important to really dig and say, what does this mean to you? And really make sure, so if you are certain that as we grow sales, these sales that we’re making are the best possible types of sales we can make, and that’s what’s going to make the company as successful. as possible, or are there things we need to work on first to get it on a better foundation, then explode the business and maybe it’s down a different path. It could be a complete, like the company right now that I’m working with. They are a home here company, non medical home care. They cater to a client with more particular needs, more difficult to work with. As we talked about, the founder has 30 years experience as the psycho analyst with families and with senior citizens for the most part. And through that he has developed this new approach to home care, that’s not just about coming in and knocking out tasks, and then leaving the house. It’s about coming in, creating an incredible experience where maybe the family is completely dysfunctional, and everyone’s working against each other and it’s become a nightmare. And he’s saying it’s our responsibility to clean up that nightmare before we clean the counters.

Jess Dewell
Erika is describing the velvet ropes that they give around the service that they provide,. What do they ensure that they are doing to make their customers and their clients feel special, cared for, and understood? And then it’s the work that’s to be done around that. That is an issue. tangible, and that type of thing is something that another company cannot copy. It’s where your company’s uniqueness and differentiation come into play. And leaning into that, with all these skills and tools helps ensure that the path that you’re following is the one that your company needs to, to stay on the journey align at the mission, the company’s true north.

Erika Feinberg
So we need to really work at the core so everyone is working in harmony, and we’re making a difference because we’re in their lives. And when he said that, it’s like, we’re not just going in to get bossed around, which going back to you and consultancy, if you go into a company and you just say “"Yes, sir. Yes, ma’am. Yes, sir. Yes, ma’am."" That’s not going to necessarily work. The fact that John, the John Siegel who’s the founder of The Perfect Companion, the fact that he’s willing to take that really scary step with their clients and say, we need to dig into what’s really going on here because we want to change our lives. We want to make this the best time in our clients lives, then that is a huge commitment. And that takes a tremendous amount of trust.

Jess Dewell
It also takes a knowledge of values that set the stage for what’s prioritized and the way work is done and the way people work together. So let’s think about a SWOT in relationship to that. When we have a SWOT that doesn’t match the age or stage of our business we actually have incomplete or irrelevant data that we’re working with. So going back to that concept of the downsides that we might have of a SWOT, we want to make sure we’re flipping things over and catching our own assumptions so that our strengths don’t become weaknesses. We also want to make sure that if we’re in a growth stage, we’re looking at the SWOT with the lens of growth. And with this living document, our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats can also be looked at from, “Are we a mature company? Are we in the mode of disruption? Are we being disrupted? And what do we want to do to show up for and respond to those situations?

Adam Mutschler
With the complexity of the world and businesses now, there’s just a lot more things that we have to track. I will say, in 2019, there’s been a lot more structure that could our group has been putting into place around our brand and around the management, like our accounting and everything, because things are growing and things are getting more complicated. And if you’re going to manage that you need tools. There are appropriate models for almost every stage of business, and they are appropriate frameworks for almost every stage of business. Sometimes people put too many models in between themselves and starting, and I can understand that, again, depending on the person and people that are coming together. Sometimes people don’t use enough models. And the annoying thing about this sort of juxtaposition, too much too little, is that it does come down to what works for the person, what works for the team, what works for the market, immersing yourself in those questions, and saying okay, what is appropriate? With coaching and with Kedar Group, we talk about what resonates. What resonates for the team, what resonates for the country. And we’re not really practicing paying attention to that in 2020, and 2019.

ANNOUNCER
It’s time to take another brief break from our program. Earlier you may recall, we talked about what goes into each podcast and why we feel it’s so important to be and pre and listener supported. But why? Why should you consider becoming a supporter listener? With an answer to that question, here again is your host Jess Dewell.

Jess Dewell
As a supporter, you receive full access to expanded show notes, including formatted transcripts, links to all the resources, full uncut interviews with each guest, by the way, which also have their own transcripts, and email notifications of new resources as they become available to you as a supporter. Supporters also receive exclusive access to a platform where you can ask your specific business questions to me, and you will receive a link to the Bold Business Supporter Podcast, which does not have a support a call out. Any other content that we decide to publish in that channel as a value add, as well as access to carefully cultivated playlists that focus on key business and leadership topics. The Bold business Podcast is a resource that helps you and will remain free to you and to all. I do hope you find enough value in the podcast itself and the additional exclusive benefits are worth it to become a supporter at a level that reflects its worth to you as an investment to your personal and your professional growth. The value you receive from our podcast is how we fund the necessary work and continue this work.

ANNOUNCER
And now, let’s return to the Bold Business Podcast for the rest of the show.

Erika Feinberg
It takes a little intuition. It takes listening skills, and really I listened to arguments, not negative arguments. I just said certain things that got everyone arguing in a happy way.

Jess Dewell
Dialogue is important. Dissonance fuels creativity. That back and forth, the shaping, the testing of assumptions we might have that somebody else doesn’t, or that somebody else has that we don’t. And it’s only through dialogue that that becomes clear of what we’re talking about. What we’re doing. Why we’re doing what we’re doing.

Adam Mutschler
Knowing what’s right, and knowing what will help with outcomes, and in doing them or such, so different. Like putting into practice. When you’re running a business, when you’re growing a business — and it depends on the size and the resources and the team — we do get sucked into do do do do do, execute, execute, execute. And even the best, even the best will get pulled into a lane that isn’t the best lane to be in. And you might still get results, and then it’s even harder to get out of that lane, because you can either be comforted by the results, or you can say look at the results. or you know that they’re not taking your you want to go with you ignore it, because you said well, things are happening. That that’s just an interesting thing to listen to, just hearing you talk about how you listen to it sometimes, and a reminder for myself, and anyone that’s listening, just because you’re getting results doesn’t mean that you’re getting them the most effective way, or in a way that is sustainable. Or the results as big as you would hope they are.

Jess Dewell
We want results that line up with our goals. We want the outcomes that we’re achieving, to look like what we envisioned at the beginning. And only with practice, using focus discernment and prioritization can that occur, . Those soft skills that Erika was referencing, and then Adam saying ,hey, the way we go after it matters. And all that’s internal. Listen to what JW says about looking external as well.

JW Rayhons
Where they advanced further, what are some challenges that they faced at different phases in that industry? And then made it through? And how can we anticipate in our own industry, our own company based upon those lessons, if you will from other industries? That was really our focal point was, how can we look ahead because we have to look ahead, and then what other industries can we look to that have already experienced that or something similar, learn and adapt and accelerate much quicker?

Jess Dewell
That’s what we do here at the Bold Business Podcast. Share each other’s experiences, have blog posts and surveys and community involvement out there on social media and on our website, so that you can hear what our guests and what other community members are doing and experiencing, so that you can learn from that and apply their doing and experiencing to what you have going on. The way you’re showing up and responding.

Erika Feinberg
It’s really about this whole art of, “How do you make yourself effective with other people? How do you really make that impact? What’s at the heart? Are you able to build trust with people?" And that word trust is very deep, too. So you asked me a very deep question. But I’d say, those are the things that really are at the heart and soul of whether you can live with it, even assessing whether you can have an impact on a specific environment, corporate environment.

Jess Dewell
Trust, Erika has said it several times during this program. And boy, Is she on point. It’s hard to develop. It’s hard to consider. It’s harder to really understand where our trust level is, not only from us outward into the organization, but from those around us in the organization back to us. She goes on to talk about driving factors that impact trust.

Erika Feinberg
If you’re looking at a publicly traded company, very numbers driven, numbers driven, numbers driven, or a company that has venture capital or private equity behind it, and the investors are tapping their fingers on the table. It’s very, very difficult to convince those investors and the public markets, hold on, we need to work on the inside. It’s like no no no no. we want to see growth. That’s a tough part. So this isn’t for every company out there.

Jess Dewell
I’d say it is for every company out there. Yet, finding the way to balance moving forward in a way that allows a strengthening of culture, that allows this focus on service, that thinks about the greater good of the community and communities that our companies are serving, in addition to the bottom line, in addition to the revenue. It is a hard sell, yet it is not impossible. And as a company, if that’s one of the core values, if that’s the way doing business is done, it has a better setup. However, if it hasn’t been that way, it’s a much harder uphill climb, to be able to start instilling that after the fact. So if you’re running into issues, and you’re feeling like, Oh, this is so great, and what Erica just said, really resonates with you. It’s not for every company. Well, it’s not for every company right now. But you can be looking for how can you become a more aware leader? How can you use Present Retreats? How can you use these three questions about realism versus optimism, weaknesses that impede achievement, and other data that would be insightful, to help propel your company forward with the culture that it has, because embracing that culture is something that is a word while endeavor to do, to achieve the success that you want.

Erika Feinberg
If you study transformational leadership strategies, that is the best way to implement this inside out approach fast while you’re growing markets.

Jess Dewell
So there is a way to do it. It’s just a little more difficult because loosening what stagnant loosening the assumptions that we have within our organization is a slow an ongoing process. Or it can be super fast and furious, which results in potentially more chaos. So understanding transformational leadership, and some of those principles could be useful to you right now. Erica was talking about transformational strategies. And part of transformational strategy is recognizing the simplicity. Some of the things we might take for granted that actually weren’t around five or 10 years ago, that allow us to do business differently, that allow us to create more and unusually, that allow us to innovate something better than what we knew before. Adam talks about this.

Adam Mutschler
We have mics that people designed and built. We have different computers. We’re talking on a platform someone designed. Like we’re adapting like crazy. So we can connect all sorts of stuff. There’s one element that humans are unbelievably adaptable. And it’s why we’re trying to get people to Mars. And on the flip side, we are incredibly change averse. A lot of the innovations that we create are to make things more predictable, to make things more comfortable. But we are in fact, incredibly adaptable. When I talk to people, when they express admiration for someone that did something different, wow, it’s so incredible that they did this, or look what these entrepreneurs have achieved. Unbelievable. It was not unbelievable. First, there’s human. So whatever they did, theoretically, you could do if you apply the same effort, time, energy, and will give yourself space to make mistakes. But this adaptability piece is interesting because it comes up with clients a lot. The whole point of personal professional development is working on yourself, and working on yourself requires change, and change requires adaptability, and that requires an open mind.

Jess Dewell
Oh, an open mind. Something else that Adam said here really resonates with me. And it’s about the fact that we innovate to be more predictable. How funny is that when you really think about it? It’s easier to expect what’s going to happen than it is to anticipate what’s going to happen. That anticipation part is where there’s some chaos, there’s a lot of unknown and in the unknown, there’s fear. Adam is going to go on and talk some more about this open mindedness that we need to develop ourselves as individuals and leaders with budget responsibility within our companies.

Adam Mutschler
The hardest work that we can do is on ourselves. And something that I talked about when people asked what’s the nature of The Kedar Group? I quickly say, we’re committed to working with individuals and teams that are committed to working on themselves. But that work is hard, like going in there and sharing a perspective that you hear someone work through and say, it sounds like you’re saying this and they say, holy crap, I never thought about it like that. That’s great. But then the reality is, they have to work on it or do something different. And so doing that SWOT on yourself is bold in the sense that you have to be vulnerable. And you have to be honest. Do you have to be diligent, and those are all things that are hard. In the organizational development world, there’s this conversation around hard skills and soft skills. And soft skills are typically the internal communication, mindset and adaptability. And something that I’ve been talking more about is this distinction between core skills which are skills you can take with you no matter what you’re doing or where you. Adaptability, whether you’re a parent or a friend or a family member or an employee is a core skill, you can take it anywhere. And technical skills, which are really important, like design, code, legal skills, but they may not transfer in different parts of your life. You have to be bold to work on core skills or soft skills that people talk about, because it’s, again, some of the most intimate personal work you’re going to do. Coming to grips with the fact that you’re not a good listener, that’s a hard thing to do. Or coming to grips that you bulldoze people at work, because you’re a super extrovert. That’s a hard thing to do.

Jess Dewell
It is bold, to look at a SWOT for ourselves, too. And I appreciated that Adam brought this up, because we have been talking about it in relationship to an organization and yet part of the organization is us. We are part of that ecosystem. And to recognize where we’re at and what we’re doing and how we show up matters to the entire organization. Even if, in this moment in time, we feel insignificant in our role. Even if, at this moment in time we feel the weight of everything regarding the success of our business is on our shoulders. It’s a In the soft skills that we have, and it’s bold to look at them,

Erika Feinberg
You have to think what is trust really mean to you? With something like that said, that boldness really has to do with having a sincere goal and not pussyfooting your way through it. But to be able to drive through it, so everyone gets to that end. I’m going to tie back to this whole ASU that Arizona State University, I was helping student ventures, and we ended up raising millions of dollars for some of these student ventures. The first idea was not necessarily like from someone who’s got seasoning, I don’t want to crush their spirit, but that idea sort of sucks. You know, and I go that, okay, you’re on a track that’s speaking to you guys. But it sort of sucks. It can get much better than that. So let’s work on it. You’re on the track. That’s the beginning. And how many times does adventure just like you have this idea, and then you start the company and it’s a blockbuster? Never, ever. It always evolve. As long as humans don’t let their ego get in the way, and they’re coming from the right place, and they know how to gracefully work their way through that is a fantastic idea. How can we take that to the next level? Instead of saying, no. Bad idea. So no matter what, you have to say hear that’s brilliant first and then you can tell me everything that’s wrong with it so we can pull it in the right direction. Those combination of things happen. When you’re in a creation mode with whoever you are in the workplace every single day. You’re going to see that success will follow that. no matter what.

Jess Dewell
It’s bold, to honor the work that our peers and our colleagues do. And it’s bold to go one step further, and say how about this? What if that? Did you think about this? Not so sure about that. Because that’s going to be just a little bit of dissonance, that as a group, you gel, you’ve got each other’s backs, and you find those loopholes. Because then nobody’s out in left field all by themselves. Nobody’s on the wrong path. Everybody can stay together. And everybody feels good together. So going back to the three questions that we were talking about throughout the program. How do you stay realistic when you really want to be optimistic just because you like an idea? What are the weaknesses that could get in the way of our achievement right now with this idea? And what data have I not looked at that would be insightful to assess what we’re looking at right now? But here’s the deal. With those three questions, and with the values we bring, and with the skills that we have in our dimensional leadership and are increasing practice of awareness, we can assess real opportunity. What is right, right now? What is right later? And what’s never going to be, right?. So think about this concept of a SWOT analysis, and how you can use it not only in your role for the work that you’re doing, but how it can be a living document for the benefit of the entire company to have something to look for and think about to build that safety net, to understand clearly what the resources are, how work is done within the values and what works looks like when the company is on track, with its clients serving its mission.

ANNOUNCER
The Bold Business Podcast is brought to you by Red Direction. Jess Dewell dug into one idea in this program. Her goal is to ignite your creativity and spark different thinking with the presented material. How you apply this to your current priorities is up to you. We want to know what actions you take. Use hash tag #boldbusinesspodcast and add your voice to this important conversation. Jess Dewell can bring the missing voice back into your company. With you, Jess will solidify your company’s true north, your unique Red Direction. Provided you are ready to work with Jess, email her at Radio at Red direction dot com. Special thanks to the SCOTT Treatment for technical production.

Visit reddirection.com. Remember, preparedness and the right perspective.

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