Facing uncertainty can be challenging – being a business owner facing uncertainty is tougher.
Red Direction helps you [fast track and] grow your business – authentically, pragmatically, and resiliently.
Starting the conversation:
Time is scarce and what we do with our time models to the rest of our company what the priorities really are. As we strive to collect and assess the right data to make the right decisions, the actions we take influence the performance and legitimacy of our organizations. Listen in to hear insights and practical actions to protecting time that are crucial to leading your company to success.
Host: Jess Dewell
Guests: Myoshia Boykin- Anderson, Maceo Jourdan, Kurian M. Tharakan
What You Will Hear:
How you spend your time sends a message to the rest of the organization. Intentionally taking time to reflect, assess, and evaluate where your company has been and where it is going creates clarity for what is truly a priority. Making sure priorities are aligned to strategic initiatives requires discipline. That discipline reflects in the one thing we all have in common: 24 hours in a day. A Present Retreat is protected time that one of the elements crucial to leading your company to success. Jess Dewell welcomes Kurian M. Tharakan, Founder at StrategyPeak Sales and Marketing; Maceo Jourdan, Founder at Canexxia; and Myoshia Boykin-Anderson, CEO AndTech Solutions; they share insights and experiences about how to make better decisions by protecting time to be intentional about working on their businesses.
Knowing what to track, and then using the information is crucial to your company’s success.
We don’t always have the whole picture.
When things are going well, we don’t always see areas for improvement necessary to sustain growth.
What you prioritize your time doing models to the company what is important.
Orchestrate your time to include realistic time to respond.
Implement structures that connect your teams reinforce priorities.
Take time to get to the heart of the issue, problem, challenge…even opportunities.
Create frameworks that allow you to keep the pulse of business and use the feedback in your Present Retreats.
Commit to at least a 4-hr block of time each week to reflect, assess, and make decisions that move you toward your strategic initiatives.
Your role as a leader is to chart the course, stay true to your company’s true north, and help your teams achieve their goals (so the company achieves its goals).
It is BOLD to take time to work on problems that don’t have easy answers.
Notable and Quotable:
Kurian M. Tharakan 00:00 It always starts with understanding the culture of your organization.
Myoshia Boykin-Anderson 00:04 I’m not even concerned about how we’re going to do it, I’m concerned about who’s going to be on point to do it.
Maceo Jourdan 00:09 Just before somebody says, Wow, that was bold, somebody speaks the truth.
Announcer 00:14 Welcome. This is the Bold Business Podcast. Your Business has many directions that 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. 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. Jess Dewell will is your guide. Just brings you a 20-year track record of Business Excellence, where strategy and operations overlap. Your Path comes from consistently working from the special place, your unique true north. Now, here’s Jess.
Jess Dewell 01:03 We’re talking about the importance of taking time as a leader to make great impact in your role in your leadership for your organization. That is key today. Because you know, there are more demands than ever on our time, there are more things that are going to crop up and interfere with our best-laid plans. Yet, we can be more responsive, we can be less reactive, and still be staying on the path that we have set for ourselves in the right direction, according to the strategy that we have set for our company. You know, we’re really good at understanding where we came from. We have data, we have finance, we have all of those things, and it’s how we use it to look forward. That is the key. When we lack time, we don’t have the opportunity to look forward from our strong basis of where we came from. It’s also important to take time as a leader to understand what is going to make your company successful. It’s crucial today, totally and completely, because you’ve got to be legitimate as a company, you’ve got to perform and deliver as stated and as the expectations of your customers require. Not to mention, the way that you work and taking the time to understand what’s going on, allows you to stick to the priorities you’ve set and double down where it’s necessary. And be that role model for others to follow in their roles to do the same. So that day-to-day work is easy to take over. It’s loud, it’s interruptive. It’s demanding what we’re talking about here, we’re talking about time that we’re taking that’s protected to just do that bigger work. What decisions do we have to make? Do they align with our long-term vision and mission? How does it impact our today? What Small changes can we make today? What are the things that we have to decide on with the vendors that we use the partners, the markets we’re in? All of those things are quiet, and we must put our effort into bringing them to the forefront. For this podcast. We are talking about CEO time we’re talking about thinking time, we’re talking about what I call present retreat time. And there were three leaders that I interviewed to create this podcast. And I’m excited to introduce you with their starting comments right now. First is my OSHA, my OSHA Boykin Anderson is an award-winning founder and CEO of a leading IT consulting company in the country called and tech solutions. Under her leadership for the last 11 years, and Tech has grown into a multi-seven-figure consulting firm providing custom application development and other technology services to top US companies and organizations. She also has created a 12-month transformational mentorship group designed for women business owners to reach their next level of success. She is a Houston native and starts with this.
Myoshia Boykin-Anderson 04:28 How can we sort of foresee what could go wrong? And how can we be proactive instead of being reactive?
Jess Dewell 04:36 And then we have Kurian. Kurian M. Tarakan is the founder of the sales and marketing strategy, firm strategy, peak sales and marketing advisors. He’s a 27 year veteran of the sales and marketing industry, an author and has consulted for companies in many sectors. Here’s what his opening comment is.
Kurian M. Tharakan 04:57 We have to be cognizant that it’s not the whole picture. So in a lot of ways is like looking at the dashboard of your, of your car, or the even the direction of your car, you know, it veers to the left or the right. You know, when you take your hands on it, you know, and ultimately, that has nothing to do with your steering, it has to do with the alignment of the car, the alignment of the wheel. So there’s something structural underneath it. And the structure is always about the invisible portion that you’re not seeing on the dashboard, the direction, right, the dashboard isn’t see, isn’t telling you this or that it’s just simply alerting you to things like the oil is low, or the gas needs to be filled up those kinds of things. So we have to look at beyond what we see to look up the root causes that are causing the visible results.
Jess Dewell 05:43 And Maceo. Maceo Jourdan is a serial entrepreneur with two decades of building businesses by creating great products that have great marketing. With his background in discretionary and algorithmic trading, he’s able to merge risk management of a portfolio trader with the aggressive risk-taking of an entrepreneur to make calls about business trends with uncanny accuracy. Here’s his opening comment.
Maceo Jourdan 06:12 Most of what we experienced as people is nonverbal, right? So we’re going to pick up on micro-expressions, we’re going to pick up on you know, gross motor movements, like if I’m waving my hands around frowns, you know, signs of rage, signs of curiosity, it’s all picked up by what used to be called mirror neurons. And there’s actually a lot of horsepower in our brains to do this. You don’t of course, neurologists and other neurosciences are just kind of understanding what some of this might mean, all of this ties together, we were talking about first principles, and you’re relating to someone in that environment of first principles, right. So we’re in a business setting, and we’re trying to figure out how do we get more customers and someone proposes an idea watching their body language. And as a leader, dedicating specific time to understand all the potentials are inside of that body language is what I would define as first principles for leadership, then I can go back to the source and judge it against my experience, and see if it lines up with what I’ve experienced, is this out in left field, I can examine the data, we can eventually get to the first principles of knowledge. So in entrepreneurship, ultimately, what we’re talking about something located in knowledge versus something located in space.
Jess Dewell 07:30 One thing with these opening comments that I want to keep in mind is that we’re in three different perspectives, and three different business types. And yours is potentially going to be different than Myoshia, then Maceo. And then Kurien, I have to say, this is really important to consider because your flow, the way that you show up, the way that you are aware of the way that you lead will have its own distinct rhythm, it’ll have its own distinct approach for you to consider. And how can you take what the learnings are today, into your business into your life to help you do you and achieve your goals, especially leading your company more often quicker, it comes down a lot to time management. So that structure of the 24 hours a day is something that we all have, we’ve all heard, it’s how we use our 24 hours a day. The thing is, when we have so many other things going on how we use it, to get and be the most productive, that we can be the most impactful that we can be the most thoughtful that we can be also becomes a challenge. I read an article recently in Forbes by Rebecca Newton, titled How great leaders manage their time. And the key takeaway that I took away from Rebecca’s article was that one of the things that we do with our time is we structure it. Yep. Sometimes what separates a good leader from a great leader is the ability to have time to react. So if we get too structured, we don’t have the time to have a realistic response. And I think that’s really important because we can use a whole lot of process and a whole lot of other things, to cover up our flaws. And this is an important part of why to stop and understand be able to gauge when something is up and when to take and plan a little more time to respond.
Myoshia Boykin-Anderson 09:37 Success can cover a lot of flaws. And I’m talking like financial success and you know, in all of that stuff, right, success can cover a lot of flaws. And if you’re not careful, you’ll grow so fast that it causes you to overlook the very foundation that you need to be building. We were granted a pretty significant time. Project at the beginning of 2020, it was February I believe, right? All of the crap hit the fan, we were granted this really huge opportunity. You know, it was our very first project of that size, we had never been presented with an opportunity present a proposal, and to actually win it, we were flowing along, and we were doing pretty good. And you know, and just all this whale, and we’re humming and skipping and topped it on all of this stuff. But what we realized were that there was a piece of our client delivery that was literally broken. We had literally unbeknownst to us, right? Because nobody had ever like, really, I mean, because, because we were delivering, so we figured, okay, we’re good. But when we had to deliver on a larger scale, oh, my goodness, we didn’t have the systems in place, we didn’t have everybody on the same page. As far as approach and methodology, and infrastructure, it caused us to have to jump into fix mode really, really quickly. And we didn’t have a lot of time to do it, because now we had to deliver on the project. So that was one time where we were forced to fix not somebody else’s problem but shoot our very own problem.
Jess Dewell 11:21 And there you have it. So what do you do when that happens, and by the way, a well-oiled machine does not mean there are no problems. a well-oiled machine means that there’s enough give and take and spaciousness created into the way work is done by having strategized by taking this time to be dedicated to these bigger things. So that in the moment, things can flow easier, regardless of one how or what shows up. And there’s more than one way to think right, we have action-based we have context-based, we have process-based. And we all lean into one of those first.
Announcer 12:01 You were listening to the Bold Business Podcast, we will return to the show soon. But first, I want to take a moment and give you a peek into what additional services and solutions you could access to Fast Track Your Business. This program was created to develop your capacity on demand by sharing insights, tips, as well as lessons learned by business leaders, unedited and uncut. And we don’t just stop there, there are three additional benefits to help you reach your growth goals. You’ll also have unlimited access to one hearing tips and insights to develop yourself as a leader to get better results more often, to experiencing viewpoints from many different business leaders, three, receiving frameworks to build core competencies, and to more effectively focus on business growth and leadership. Altogether, the Fast Track Your Business program will allow you to face uncertainty, anytime, anywhere, you can access what will become your most personal tool in your toolkit by going to Fast Track Your Business today.com. Now, back to Jess.
Jess Dewell 13:04 When we’re falling into a space where we need to get a solution quickly, and we want others on our team to step up and truly be followers and be a part of this bigger organization that they are a part of that we all are required to be present and active and to succeed. Well, we all get to be part of that.
Kurian M. Tharakan 13:28 Yeah, without question, you just have to be very cognizant, you know, a, in a lot of ways, culture is like an equation, anything that you do to the left side, the right side of that equation must respond. And you have to just simply look to see if the response you’re getting is the one you want or the actions that you’re taking, we have to reassert what our understanding of that culture is, the systems underlying it, the processes, the outcomes, that we’re getting goals that we were setting, let’s make sure that what we are trying to achieve, is actually going to be able to be delivered by the operating system first, which is culture, and then the systems and processes and hardware tools that we give our people to facilitate those outcomes. And once those things are in alignment, you should be going in the direction you want to go, if you’re not one of those two things is out of whack operating system or the hardware.
Jess Dewell 14:21 And when we find things out of whack, it’s time to pause, that present retreat, that concept of a safe space to evaluate and to assess the decisions that are being made and have been made and will be made in the future can happen within the business. This protected time. It’s really to be spent immersed in everything that’s going on within the organization. So that the vision and the strategic plan elements for this year and for the next three and five years are always there so that the things that are showing up day to day can be adapted and molded and prioritized and shown basically those adjustments that are creating value day to day, continuing to solve the right problems at the right time, and move the company into the future, as planned, as expected, as desired. And when we do that and build on that small failures, showing up, getting in the middle of it, staying on track over time, and repeating that type of a process is not only building trust, and confidence in yourself, it’s creating trust in your people, the people who come to work for you every day that they know and can rely on you and feel safe at work. This is a grounding practice, this time taking the time to think outside of the regular work day, just to have a good sense of that true north within your company. And we have to remember, we’re going to be judged no matter what it’s how we show up knowing that we’re going to be judged, that makes all the difference.
Maceo Jourdan 16:01 If somebody proposes something that I know, for a fact is not going to work, there’s a massive amount of judgment. And so might come out like, you know, how do you know that? Right? So there’s sarcasm and all that built into it. Now that’s just exposing the weakness of the human system that we’re in. Ideally, yes, there is no judgment. I’m really striking to how do you know that in the sense of understanding, you know, both the process, and what gaps there are, what end states somebody’s got to without trying to go deeper, if you will, again, the whole idea of first principles, first principles in this arena, not physics, but in entrepreneurship means driving to the lowest level possible and trying to divide something in into smaller pieces until you finally say, you know what, yeah, I really don’t think either we can go further or I don’t think that going further is going to be a benefit
Jess Dewell 16:56 Takes more time than we think. And another article, that is something that I go to on a fairly regular basis is called the heart of CEO effectiveness, by Christine Barton, Nicky cave, Philip Cook, and Martin Rees, what they did in their research and put together showed that the way time is orchestrated, determines and directly influences the amount of impact that that CEO can bring to the table. So how do you measure up? are you creating a rhythm and orchestrating your time that includes reflection, personal time, by the way, reflection would be a president retreat, personal time, professional activities, one on ones with your people, in addition to doing your own work, and going and being a part of meetings and continuing to remove obstacles for your teams. And that’s the inside work, right? That’s not even the work that talks about other stakeholders, clients, press, finding, funding all of that goodness, that also is a big part of what we do as leaders of our organization as part of that leadership team. So a cadence is important. And sometimes we need help to make that cadence. And when everybody understands their role in the cadence that supports making sure that everybody is empowered to do their job, so that you can go do your job and lead the company where you expect it to go. That is something that we can rely on. And there are many different ways to do that. Here’s a way that Myoshia creates a cadence.
Myoshia Boykin-Anderson 18:37 I have a meeting with my team every morning. It’s a daily stand-up every morning. As the team grows, the meeting gets a little bit longer. But initially, the meeting was set for 15 minutes, right, because I did not want to take up too much of our time meeting right at the for the sake of meeting. But what I did want to do was make sure that everyone on the team was privy to everything that everybody was working on. So that if we ever had a situation where someone had to leave in any emergency, at least we knew what they were working on. And we knew how we would possibly be able to support in their absence. We are able to set intentions and accountability for what’s coming up. And we are able to address problems before it’s Thursday and we have to deliver something to the client on Friday. Right? We can tell early on that this is a possible roadblock.
Jess Dewell 19:42 Very important for the day to day, very important. accountability and accountability is part of culture. So how we stay tuned into our culture and what it actually is, is an important part of what we’re considering when we’re doing the work on our business, when we’re taking that time out when we’re doing our president retreat, so that we can say, hey, how is the work being done? Does it align with our values? Are we actually able to address our challenges? Are we moving toward the goals that we have set.
Kurian M. Tharakan 20:18 It always starts with understanding the culture of your organization, there’s no way of getting around that. Culture is like water to a fish. And it can actually give life to that fish, your wonderful oxygenated clear water, or it can kill the fish with a toxic blend of everything that is guaranteed to make that vicious life hell, and eventually destroy it. So culture is in the book, I call it culture is the operating system. I bought that line from Terence McKenna, slight twist on it, but that’s where it starts. And culture is something that is always present, even if there’s one individual’s culture present because the only definition of culture is the knowledge used to survive and thrive in your environment, it’s always present.
Jess Dewell 21:06 And it becomes clearer what the culture is under pressure, no pressure, medium pressure, large pressure. And so the things that we’re keeping in mind is that 85% of business owners are neglecting their strategy because they think about it, and they talk about it together less than an hour a month. So how can we know where we’re going? If we’re talking and thinking about our strategy less than 16 minutes out of every single month, that is something that we have to consider, because how we do things is what other people will model. When we model the things that we know will move us toward our goal and achieve more, that’s what’s going to build, if we accidentally do things and allow the day-to-day responding, fires reactiveness take hold. That’s what our culture is going to be based on. And it will build over time. So pausing, looking, changing iterating are all important whether we iterate through to our goals, or whether we’re making those small changes. So we can scale the building and jump across the canyons, to get to those goals.
Myoshia Boykin-Anderson 22:23 We actually deployed it, we deployed it, and, and we got another project out of it, got another project out of it, for which we are just truly, truly grateful. Just truly grateful. I really feel like when I go back and look at it, I didn’t even think about it at first. But as we’re talking now, I realized that I literally had to tap into all three of our core values, because and I was just looking at the excellence part, like what are we going to do to be able to make sure that we were delivering into excellence, but the integrity, the integrity says that you know what, I’m just gonna raise our hand, I’m just gonna raise my hand, and I’m just gonna say, you know what, we need to push this back, it’s going to be delayed but not denied. So we’re just going to push it back a little bit. And I truly have to come from a point of integrity to say I am so committed to making this good and right, for all of us that we are going to do what we need to do, and we’re going to step back, and we’re gonna push it back. So that was that. But then the last of our values is collaboration like it literally took all of us, it was all hands on deck like there was nobody who was not creating slps. At that time, it was wild. And we still talk about that. Now, because we’re only 1415 months removed from that exercise. We’re still talking about it because it was so profound. It was two transformational weeks for us as an organization.
Announcer 23:49 We’ll be back to Jess in the Bold Business Podcast shortly. You can Fast Track Your Business with on-demand information curated to help you build a resilient business that achieves its goals. But why? Why is it so important that you take the steps to invest in yourself and your leadership team with subscriptions to this program? We all need to save time and get relevant and trustworthy information when we want it. This program will reduce your overwhelm and increase your opportunity with high-quality information on demand. This straightforward approach ensures this program answers the most important question what do you need to know to Fast Track Your Business? We answer this question by providing you a vast set of resources to help you work through complex challenges with exclusive articles, videos, podcasts, and access to Ask Jess Your Business Questions. You receive several benefits above and beyond what is available for free with a monthly subscription. To find out more visit Fast Track Your Business today.com. Let’s get back to the show.
Jess Dewell 24:53 Leaning into our core values will tell us how strong and what the basis of our culture in our company actually is being able to reflect and listening to what Myoshia was talking about was all about reflection. So this is what we did. And we’re still talking about it within our organization because we learn from it to go forward. And that’s intentional. And so being dynamic is also intentional. And the way you do work in your organization, and the way you reflect, the way you assess the way you make decisions can also be dynamic, and intentional.
Maceo Jourdan 25:30 You’re getting to the root of what is the problem, really. So I’ll give you some real examples of companies that I worked with. Let’s say you’ve got a business where you’re taking inbound phone calls, you come to some dude, like me, when I used to do this and say, Hey, Sal, give me more customers. And I’m going to write copy that will blow your mind. And you’re gonna have landing pages that are going to convert like crazy and highly efficient ad campaigns. And then someone’s going to pick up the phone and say, yeah, yeah, calling about some pest control. Yeah. Well, you’re probably not going to close very many accounts that way. So is the problem. All the other stuff I mentioned, copy, landing pages, email sequence? No, the problem is you got a jerk answering the phone. In a lot of cases, that jerk is a brother, sister, wife, husband, he, right. So the real problem is you’ve, you’ve got to suck up your pennies, your, your underwear, and you got to follow, you have to understand that the problem is not going to be solved with all this stuff that I could do is going to be solved by getting to the root first, and then doing the other stuff.
Jess Dewell 26:33 And we can’t get to the root. If we don’t pause, I know I’m a broken record. And that’s okay. Because the thing is, when we pause, we actually can see what we have, what we could have, what path we’re on, and what path we want to be on. It allows us to understand what’s possible, and make those adjustments as we go, are you willing to use the information that you actually have, because you know, precedent retreats allow for that, just whether we’re committed to taking and making and using the time.
Kurian M. Tharakan 27:06 So I remember a situation I was in a couple of years ago, where in the sales team, we’re just not selling this product. And there have been very few situations that I’ve seen where salespeople are lazy, they’re just very, very efficient. They’re rewarded by outcomes, and not by management directives, right. For the most part, after talking with the salespeople, the software that they were being forced to sell is clunky, is tough to install, it’s expensive. And in a lot of parts, it would impact the sale of the bigger systems that they were really rewarded on. So they had a lot of reasons why they didn’t want to sell this, including guarding the customer’s happiness, because there was no way a system was up to par.
Jess Dewell 27:48 I’m going to challenge you, can you ask better questions? Can you ask questions that actually are uncomfortable? And can you be part of the discussion, and really, by that the facilitator, the listener to elicit what’s actually happening that’s causing this pain, so you can dig in to what’s going on?
Kurian M. Tharakan 28:11 Well, once you talk to the people, and the people are going to be very good at identifying what they think are the problem, they are probably going to focus on the disincentives to moving forward. And so you then are looking at, you know, I think of all of this as just a river flow. It’s all river flow. So you know, the water comes in. And if it’s being dammed up here, you know, it always finds the least resistance path. You can’t stop a river for very long, it’s got to come out somewhere. And so once you identify those impediments, then the question becomes, why are they impediments? And you get to things like root motive, say root causes root motives, and you understand why they are the way they are and what you can do to solve them. More often than not, if you talk to enough people at the ground level, they kind of know why, and how and where to go to solve the problem. That’s right.
Jess Dewell 29:05 Why not use the information we have, of course, we’re going to have to sift through it, of course, we’re going to be getting information with other people’s viewpoint and lens of the world on it. Guess what, though, when we have taken the time to understand what our culture is, how the work being done ties to our value set, we’ll be able to listen for those key things and we’ll be able to understand not only what we need to make decisions, being aware of what’s frustrating, and where the opportunity is for the people who are providing that us that information is also filled with potential. So planning and execution can happen and allow for better choices. In the moment. When there’s that pre-work when there has been considered strategic decisions that have been made around the day-to-day work. We’re never making decisions. big decisions in except for it’s time to stop and pause and take stock. That is the thing that we can always do anytime. Otherwise, we’re segmenting our time. So we can focus on our forest, on our trees on what we’re building, and how that is gonna look years and years into the future, to thrive and be healthy. And so make the space be committed to take time and make the space creating that cadence in your schedule.
Maceo Jourdan 30:31 I was talking to a guy on my team, he did, I think, 28 years and Special Forces. And we were talking about leadership actually before the call is a little bit of my prep work. I don’t think anybody would argue that special forces is not in elite, high-level high-performance environments. And even in that environment, there are some of these leadership gaps. Like he sat down with one of his team sergeants, and gave him January 2, gave him dates for his quarterly reviews, at the end of the year, sat down with those quarterly reviews and said, Okay, here’s now my annual review, not only how I came about it, but what it means. He said the dude been in Special Forces, 18 years said, That’s never happened. There’s no organization, that’s perfect, we should let us all off the hook, which is why I say it like we don’t, we don’t need to aspire to some heights that we’re making up on our own, which again, is a byproduct of first principles. That’s why I had the conversation with him. Like I wanted to find out what was really going on in that high-performance environment. So it gives me an understanding not only of what people did, but also then tells me Oh, okay, well, if certain things are missing, that doesn’t impact the result. Because at the end of the day in business, you need a result, you need money in the bank, period, full stop. Because if you don’t have money in the bank, you go broke, and you have no business.
Jess Dewell 31:49 That, that’s true. And so we have to know what our biggest challenge is right now. What are the opportunities we have? What must we do to adjust? How do we use what we’ve learned? What do we need to let go of so that we know where we’re going? Holy cow sounds like a dynamic swap? To me, the word dynamic shows up a lot, because these documents are living, our companies are living organisms, where whether it’s one of you or 500 of you, this organism is going to adapt and change from what’s happening inside and what’s happening outside. Dynamic leadership, dynamic swap, dynamic decision making. That’s a pretty big foundational principle. So what can you say about where your company is right now? And how can you set your company up for its next success.
Myoshia Boykin-Anderson 32:45 I’m always trying to make sure that my team is successful, I’m always putting people into four different categories. Again, nothing that I’ve created, I’ve heard it somewhere, I love to hear what has been successful for others and employ it myself. So when I’m thinking about how best to solve a problem with one of that problem probably been is this team member, the right person for this particular task. So I’m always putting my team into four different categories, those that can do it, and they are doing it, those that can do it. But they are not quite doing it. Now, those that can do it, they’re not doing it yet. And they are not even willing to put forth the effort to do it. And you’ll see that the first three all started with those that can do it. But the last one is those that can’t do it. They’re not doing it now. And they’re not even going to put forth the effort. I’m focusing three out of those four on the people who can, but they are probably for whatever reason, one set is actually doing it, they can do it. And they are doing it kudos for them. We’re super excited. They are some that I know, I know they can do it. They’re just not doing it yet. So what am I going to do to get them to where they need to be? What problem do I need to solve, whether it’s personal, whether it’s cultural, whether it’s, you know, whatever it is, what do we need to solve so that they can start doing that which I know they can do. But then there are some that can do it, but they’re not even willing to put forth the effort. And that presents yet another problem that we need to solve. When I think about that, I’m always thinking about the who, like who’s not hot like we have a lot of stuff to do. I’m not even concerned about how we’re going to do it. I’m concerned about who’s going to be on point to do it.
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Jess Dewell 35:21 Dynamic, dynamic, dynamic, dynamic. And let’s just go back to the why now, why this topic is important right now for us. Because all of these elements that are dynamic, from a solid foundation of data can tell us what our leading indicators are, and what we want to track to think ahead. How legitimate is the work we’re doing? Where does our performance actually fall compared to where we needed to fall to achieve success? What are our priorities? And are we modeling the way work is done here? To reinforce them? Those things are critical to our company’s success. And so with less than two hours a day dedicated to your own projects and tasks, it’s really hard to consider how do I take more time? How do I take more time and an RNA crazy schedule? Even if I’ve orchestrated it really well, there’s still not a lot of time. And there’s an answer for that. It’s something that we will continue to do every single day, we are working toward a goal.
Kurian M. Tharakan 36:30 You have to be highly disciplined on the strategy side of it. We do this every week, actually, every Monday, we have a meeting revolves into a quarterly meeting, then eventually, into an annual meeting just for the directors and the owners of the business. It’s just a team of five of us right now, soon to be six, we have the big goals. And then we have all the subsystems that are in place right now. And we’re then executing on them with a series of activities, tasks, those kinds of things. But every quarter, we come back, and we’ve see if we’ve hit those big goals, and how far we offer, what more do we need to add to it, new goals that we want to you know, achieve as well, unless you make the time to do that. And I’ve never been in an organization that did this with the discipline that we’re doing it today. 20 years ago, I would have led to that. It’s so simple, what kind of effect that a boss will have today, I realized that’s the whole point. Unless it’s simple, you will do it. And unless it becomes a habit, it won’t become entrenched. If you don’t have these habits in place. You are in constant reactive mode, monster reactive mode, and the big stuff isn’t getting done, which means the little stuff is all reactive.
Jess Dewell 37:45 And that’s what we want to avoid. We don’t want to react to the little things. We want to just take care of them and get them off our plate. And there’s another article from Harvard Business Review that I want to pull into the equation right now called how CEOs spend their time by Michael Porter and Niton, Nora, here’s the thing. The thing is, they’re talking about in their work, that the schedule is a manifestation of priorities. So how a person leads comes down to what’s in their schedule. So I could be a servant leader and be totally focused on data. And there is a clash. So look at your schedule, how are you spending your work time? How are you doing those things? And do they align with the goals and priorities you’ve set? Do they align with the values of your company, because however you orchestrate your time, the clearer you show up with your schedule, having an agenda, you can become more of an advocate and advance things forward and remove those obstacles we’re always on. And so the more disciplined we are about things like our weekly time, our monthly time, our quarterly time, our annual time, allows us to rely on something we can lean into. So we can always be on to what’s coming our way and responsive to it, instead of having to think about it and take more time in the moment because we lack a system with only six hours of every single day that you’re awake, being able to do things that are not work-related. That seems daunting. So what is our mindset around that? And is it holding us back? Or are we embracing it with excitement and opportunity and gratitude that we get to do this every day? Those are going to be the things that matter. Now, we can’t avoid other problems that come up, and that’s okay.
Myoshia Boykin-Anderson 39:49 I’ve failed a lot in the hiring role for me being the one that’s responsible for the hiring. I failed a lot and it’s cost us Financially, it’s cost us time. It’s cost us a little bit of morale on the team, and all of that. But the reason I look at that is a failure forward, it’s because I am more intentional about the pre-assessments that I perform now, in this hiring process, I am very much more focused now, on the cultural fit, then I am so much on the skill set skill set is important. And it’s very, very, very important. But when I think about what it’s going to take for us to reach that next level, it’s going to make sure that we continue to be a place that people want to work, it needs to continue to be a place where my team wants to bust their butts for me and for us. And to bring someone in that does not mirror our core values with the first being excellence and the second being integrity. And then the third being collaboration. If we bring in somebody that does not fall into those core values, it’s going to wreak havoc on the rest of the team. So I raised my hand and say, guys, I’m sorry, I have this philosophy now. And it’s not even a new one, because I got it from several different people. But it is I am now slow to hire and quick to fire, like I’m gonna be more intentional on the front end. But once I see that it’s not work, I’m not gonna linger too long, and have that toxicity seep through my business. So I’m going to prune where I need to prune, and I’m going to prune quickly.
Jess Dewell 41:39 Kurian talked about it. Maceo is going to talk about it. Myoshia shared about it, it’s a framework, they all are bringing their unique styles to principles that they can lean into to create a framework to be relied on. And that’s a perfect opportunity for a president retreat. Not only is that strategic element that gets us to where we want to go. But it’s also the day-to-day, it’s how we’re showing up. It’s our own personal development at the same time. So this is going to be the section of our program, where we can hear not only that the frameworks exist, but also some of the things that are being focused on right now, in that dedicated, protected time, where you’re taking several hours in a row to work on the bigger, larger, silent elements of our business that are necessary to its success.
Maceo Jourdan 42:37 People don’t want to look at this bad or bad feelings, but they just they’re bad. I mean, when I feel like a failure, I don’t feel good. Like when I’m not accomplishing what I want. I don’t like I’m grumpy. I’m a jerk. I’m short. Because that’s the human experience. That’s a first principle where it’s like, Hey, you should feel bad. If your business gets shut down. You should and I know people don’t like that word, you know, stop shooting all over yourself. You should feel bad, not because you did anything wrong, but because you’re human. And if you start piling on other stuff on top of it, like oh, you know, I feel bad. And that’s not good. You know, Tony said, I shouldn’t feel this way or whatever you’re like your mate, you’re making things nearly impossible to diagnose, right? So if you get to the point where you say, Okay, I feel like a failure. Now with an intimate partner, whether that’s like a husband or wife, or you know, it doesn’t have to be relationship, it could be a business partner, that you’re where you’re intimate, where you can share something like that, like, man, I feel like a failure without the other person judging you. That’s like, that’s one of my kind of criteria for intimacy. If I can tell you something like that, and not have judgment, now we’re in the future, then we have intimacy. If judgment creeps back in, then we don’t have as much or we don’t have intimacy. So if you can get to that, like, wow, I feel like a failure. Well, now you can, you can deal with it. Like, again, it’s, it’s getting to the heart of the matter, right, because we know if we’re stressed, if we’re in quote-unquote, a negative space, we’re not as creative. In order to have this opening of possibility. You’ve got to remove the blocks to the opening of possibility. And if you feel like a failure, nothing’s going to be possible because failures don’t have possibility because they’re failures.
Kurian M. Tharakan 44:29 One of the things that’s been very effective for us is the daily recording of KPIs across the board in the sales and marketing functions in our organization, which is what I’m most involved with, with my business partner Scott. He is absolutely ruthless about recording the KPIs on a daily basis. And you can very quickly see patterns emerging that you would not catch necessarily, in enough time to respond to it adequately in a monthly setting daily is what’s actually transformed the business.
Jess Dewell 45:00 So keep listening to the Bold Business Podcast to continue to develop what you want your framework to be. Reach out to me, and we can talk about a framework that you might have that isn’t working the way you want. Or how do you Institute one and commit to one that will stick that you can use and lean into, based off of where your company is at and where you’re leading your company. Next. I’m telling you, this is so important, this concept of high demand for our time, the need to be super reactive, yet responsive. is a discipline skill of taking time dedicated, just to this on stuff on your business. Where are we at with our dynamic SWOT? What are the opportunities coming our way? are the priorities still relevant? Have we gotten a little diffuse in our efforts? And we need to refocus? Who else do we need on our team? What are the challenges we face, the list goes on and on and on. So a starting point that I always recommend, which is a very difficult step to do and takes a little while takes weeks and weeks is to commit to four hours of consecutive time in your calendar once a week. Mine is Monday mornings. And in fact, I actually have now six to eight hours of time, six hours of President retreat, and two hours of starting to execute and organize what else needs to happen over the coming 30, 60,90 days based off of that work so that my entire Monday is dedicated to not what’s happening and responding to the day to day things. But all about where are we at? Where are we going? What needs to be adjusted? How does that look in terms of deadlines and deliverables and launches? Who do we need? Do we have the right things? Where are the obstacles going to potentially be? So we’re not blindsided. So I suggest you start with four hours of time a week, consecutive protected, and just be in it and work on your business, it makes a huge, huge difference. And that’ll change and it’ll show up in other ways in your business. And your cadence will then develop from that customized to you your work style and the stage of business. Here’s the other thing. A president retreat is also dynamic, dynamic to the needs of you and your business. Starting with that anchor piece of protected dedicated four hours per week of time that you know, you will need to be the leader that you must be to make the decisions you must face to understand, of course, uncertainty is coming our way. And what do we want to do about it? This work is incredibly bold. And Maceo tells us what makes it bold to dedicate time like this, to think about the problems we face without easy answers.
Maceo Jourdan 47:56 Just before somebody says, Wow, that was bold. Generally, it’s that somebody speaks the truth, you know, they get to the heart of the situation, not in a way that’s unproductive. But in a way that does lead to some result. If you back up and review what we just did there like is another application of how do you use first principles to solve a problem. So my problem in the moment was I never thought about before. So I went internally, you know, read movies, through situations where in real life and in art, because I think those are both very useful, where people said either directly that was bold or likeness of that.
Jess Dewell 48:34 Kurian and tells us what makes it bold to dedicate protected time to think about our problems without easy answers.
Kurian M. Tharakan 48:43 Well, the bold part is simply that it looks like you’re unproductive. Looks like you’re on productive. What’s the, I remember? I probably it’s probably a one-frame cartoon I saw years ago. Right? Johnson? What are you doing? thinking, sir? Well, stop thinking get back to work. And it says this pause, you know, like, it’s this idea that the pause, reflect and you know, really ascertain. Because you know, that we’re we’re lulled into the sensation that you can hear the motor running, the speed of the car is there at all, it looks like you’re actually getting somewhere, it actually looks like you’re working, you can be making money. But without any kind of understanding whether that particular methods, those sources of revenue will continue to be available one year from now, five years from now, 10 years from now. I’ve been in more than one stationery store in the last couple of years. And they got to be having a tough time. This whole COVID situation. We had a lot of b2b clients when COVID happened. And overnight they started calling up and saying we want to pause our campaign. We had to cut our campaign, whatever it is, and we thought my god what’s going to happen now? Three weeks later, the exact opposite happens. The phone starts ringing the emails start coming in. We need to learn up our campaigns because we are only channel is digital e-commerce, our wholesalers retail for traffic dried up the retailer’s the for traffic and also dried up. And now people were forced to get online and move forward from there. And you know, this setup? I didn’t have this set up last year, I’ve got ring light, I’ve got the mic, you know. And just you and I, the reason you and I are together right now is because this whole advance of things like zoom and COVID. And you know, it’s things that would not have happened unless you had to rethink your entire business model with a strategy that is aligned.
Jess Dewell 50:38 Mysohia has shares with us why it’s bold, to dedicate time to think about problems that don’t have easy answers.
Myoshia Boykin-Anderson 50:47 What makes it bold, is the fact that it’s different from what would be typical or normal, because the typical or the normal reaction would be to lean all the way into it and just go, go, go. The Bold part is that you are going to take this very bold action of stopping, literally just stopping and allowing yourself to feel and be and do what you need to do. So that when you do start back up, you’re able to go full steam ahead, because what’s going to happen is if you do not take that bold action of pausing, you can’t hear what you need to hear. You can’t see what you need to see. That’s going to make all the difference moving forward.
Announcer 51:40 Thank you for tuning in and listening to the Bold Business Podcast. If you have learned something from this show that will help you and your business right now, consider what additional impact you can get by subscribing to the Fast Track Your Business program. You owe it to your business to seek out new ways to achieve more while building a resilient and profitable business. Subscribe now. Visit Fast Track Your Business today.com Special thanks to The SCOTT Treatment for technical production.