Intentional Leadership as a Catalyst for Growth

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Intentional Leadership as a Catalyst for Growth

Intentional Leadership as a Catalyst for Growth

As a business owner, it’s difficult to do the right work AND guide your company toward its next big initiative.

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Starting the conversation:

“It’s all in the preparation” sounds anything but exciting in our instant gratification world. Success comes from the consistent attention to how you, as a founder or business owner, show up — which requires preparation! Andy Lee, Chief Investment Officer at Parallaxes Capital, shares about how to think differently to be 1% different through intention, and a focus on how to grow your business.

Your mindset directly relates to the actions you prioritize. There is potential to be tapped into for efficiency and adaptability. The creativity from having a shared vision and embracing long-term goals defines what excellence is and how it is demonstrated. To do this, stepping outside of your comfort zone isn’t just ideal. Today, stepping into being uncomfortable is a necessity to create a lasting business.

In this program, you will hear about two questions to make yourself uncomfortable, the creativity that comes with limits of a 24-hour day, and how preparation can make or break the timeline set to reach your goals. Jess Dewell talks with Andy Lee, Chief Investment Officer at Parallaxes Capital, about embracing being different by leading with intention.

Host: Jess Dewell

Guest: Andy Lee

What You Will Hear:

1:00 Learning about ourselves is an ongoing process.

  • Andy Lee stretched his comfort zone and made a rap video (linked in resources below).
  • What respect really is.

8:41 Your point of view (PoV) can influence and impact when you take time to prepare.

  • Prepare for every meeting.
  • Question what unexpectedly shows up in your day: urgent or important?
  • Have a deep understanding of how you show up and how you can show up.

14:50 Only do the important work.

  • Commit to the pre-work.
  • Reduced meeting time brings clarity, and as the vision holder reinforces priorities.
  • Embrace the long-term goals you’ve set.
  • Two things to get uncomfortable about and that encourage growth.
    • What is the rule to break versus breaking all the rules?
    • Where can we break through by being different?

23:10 First to market versus first to scale.

  • Scale provides a business advantage.
  • Market interest requires a lot of responses and opinions that can wear you down.
  • The power of BIG opportunity for mid-market impact.
  • Longevity requires strong vision.

21:10 How to sell for different (and MORE) money.

  • Customers are happy.
  • Buyers are looking for cash flow
  • Ways to leverage sales, operations, owner effort.
  • Understand how your actual take-home pay is different from business revenue.

28:10 The limit of 86,400 seconds in a day.

  • How do we create consistent and repeatable experiences?
  • How do we put values into our decisions and priorities? (First, are we doing that at all?)
  • What are the new problems we are facing in this new stage of business?
  • How do we define excellence?

34:10 Create a shared vision.

  • People in our circles will change over time.
  • Know what your stands are for your peers and for your clients.
  • Seek differences for market placement and perspectives within the company.

43:10 How Andy Lee faced and worked through a very large, stressful situation.

  • It took a long time, so he embraced it one day at a time.
  • Built wins along the way that made reaching the end possible.
  • Leaned into strengths and adopted a few new skills.
  • Hindsight: If not embraced failure wouldn’t be successful today.

56:30 It is BOLD to be different, just by 1%.

Intentional Leadership as a Catalyst for Growth - Andy Lee
Intentional Leadership as a Catalyst for Growth - Jess Dewell

Resources

Transcript

Jess Dewell 00:00
I’m so glad you’re here. Thanks for stopping by at The Bold Business Podcast. We are normalizing important conversations. Yes, there are tips. Yes, there are ways to solve problems. More importantly, are going to be what do you need for yourself to be able to solve those problems and make the most of the education, the training and the programs that you are already using. This is a supplement to that. It can sit on top of it, fuel your soul, fuel your mind. And most importantly, regardless of where you’re at on your journey, maybe you’re starting out, maybe you’re ready to scale. Maybe you’re going through reinvention. The conversations we are having will help you at each of those stages. So hang around, see what’s going on. And I look forward to seeing you engaging with our videos.

Jess Dewell 00:50
Andy Lee, the Chief Investment Officer at Parallaxes Capital is talking with me today on the podcast. We cover a lot of information and go deep into a couple of areas. And I will tell you, when we talk about preparation to have a point of view. So you know how you want to show up is incredibly important. Another piece that is really a key takeaway from today’s conversation is the difference between first to market and first to scale. And the third thing is we have every day, at 6400 seconds in every day. And we all have it and it is limited to that. And we have the discussion that follows and weaves these three main themes into it is going to be insightful, and most importantly, it highlights the importance of being different. And he founded Parallaxes Capital in 2017. He was previously with Lone Star Funds focused on investing in Americas. He began his career at Citigroup. He has been featured in publications like The Wall Street Journal, capital allocators, institutional investors, NBC, Forbes, reorg, radio, Fitch live, excuse me. And Fitch is love Finn insights. He has spoken at events and conferences for many organizations as well. I’m excited to have this conversation today, that breaks away from some of his typical conversation and goes into what makes his expertise and his company’s unique offering in the world successful. Enjoy.

Andy Lee 02:41
People are the best part of business. Correspondingly, they are also the most challenging part of the business because we each are different in the tools. And trying to create standards in order to decrease the amount of variance is something that we are constantly trying to figure out.

ANNOUNCER 03:01
You are listening to The Bold Business Podcast, where you will hear firsthand experiences about what it really takes to ensure market relevance and your company’s future.

Jess Dewell 03:13
One of the things at that has been coming up for me lately is how we actually are versus what we perceive people want us to be, have you experienced that?

Andy Lee 03:26
Everyone wants to put individuals into a box, you are my extra you are my wife, friend. And look, individual is a lot more than just a single label and trying to be congruent relative to people’s expectations of who you are probably is a very narrow point of view. Ultimately, we are a mother, a son, a daughter, a husband, or wife, a dog died, among others. And we’re all trying to figure out who we are. And that might come at time. And that’s something that we’re still discovering who we are each and every day how we react to different situations, and the kind of character that has been instilled into us by those by our loved ones. And those are things that we are constantly trying to figure out what our true values are, what our core beliefs are, and who we want to be growing up, none of which are congruent at a single point of time, as much as we try to make it. But it’s something that we’re all constantly in the process of growing up. And I think the coin conversation we had for this is you’re not growing, you’re dying.

Jess Dewell 04:35
So I got to know, do you know what you want to be when you grow up? Because I don’t.

Andy Lee 04:39
I don’t know, I think to all the conversation as well. I wanted to be your rap star. Mama Lee did not care for that as an answer. We’re all Well, I tried my career that being an archaeologist that clearly didn’t cut it as being the only son in an Asian family. And here I am shuffling paper and finance as monetizing tax receivables.

Jess Dewell 05:04
And you never know what’s gonna come next after you had all of the success doing that, right?

Andy Lee 05:09
Oftentimes rant by hilarious that I get to bring together the two the multiple worlds that being I’m constantly digging for valley. What does an archaeologist do? That constantly digging and godforsaken places looking for nuggets that might open up our new realm of information and access that they didn’t have under an understanding out before? Or bringing together congruence relative to my goal of being a rap star growing up as a kid, I grew up idolizing Eminem.

Jess Dewell 05:43
I’m an Eminem fan, big Eminem fan.

Andy Lee 05:47
And so having the opportunity to do what we were talking about a rap video, at a tax professional is not something that you see each and every day, to my point earlier on, you don’t have to have a single identity. And you don’t have to hold on to that single identity.

Jess Dewell 06:03
It’s true. Someday, I might drive a semi-truck someday. I actually this one has actually passed, I wanted to be a fighter pilot, when I was a child.

Andy Lee 06:13
Why does it have passed?

Jess Dewell 06:15
That’s a very good point because the Air Force actually just did a thing I could might be able to fly a drone because they actually just did that. That was a whole big story where an Air Force had their first drone plane and they had pilot in the unmanned, I don’t remember if it was an F16 Or not feels like it would be their fighter jet. And they simulated in a training fashion in real life dogfight and it was successful.

Andy Lee 06:40
I had to fight for the US, you could fight for Ukraine, or you could fight for another country.

Jess Dewell 06:47
That makes sense. And now that you say that, I really don’t wish to join the military, I really wish to fly the jet. So you are right.

Andy Lee 06:53
But there are commercial enterprises that would let you pay them for that opportunity.

Jess Dewell 06:59
That’s true. That’s true. I know, are you gonna go I’m gonna go up to space or I want to be in have this unique experience.

Andy Lee 07:06
My wife and I are in the process of trying to start a family. So she’s until that, until the kids are 18. You’re staying home. But you can go live your life.

Jess Dewell 07:17
Oh, you know what there is That’s true. There’s a time and a place for everything. And my son is not 18 yet. So I am in the same boat you are of you’re coming in to where I’m at of I have decided it is important to do certain things just to be around and be supportive and be actively involved in my family. So I hear you, that’s really good. It sounds like that’s one of the values that you and your wife have. It sounds like one of the values that probably precipitate out into your business as well.

Andy Lee 07:45
Actually one of the things that I’m writing right now as my obituary, how do you want to be remembered? Yeah. And the one of the conversations that we’ve had is, and this is actually a tradition that we saw in Hawaii not too long ago, in Hawaii, instead of doing a funeral, they do a death party. Okay, that was incredible. We weren’t spoken years, when we saw an entire party going along, going on along the shore. And thereafter, they had a boat that left and left a dot. And they were clearly spring ashes. But it was probably the loudest and most joyous Purell I have ever seen. And that was for us that we took away that we want people to celebrate our lives, that in that moment that we’re in this moment of time that we do have with them, we want to have an impact on each and everyone’s lives, and to not have had regrets. And so one of the things that we have on there is that we were the last one to let go from a hug. The two of us have that same philosophy, you’re going to be hugging for a really long time.

Jess Dewell 08:54
I can never get enough of that. So is that like your love language, too? I know we’re feels like we’re all over the place. But we’re actually not now I’m curious. Have you ever explored love languages? Do you know is that something that’s yours said that showed up in your obituary work?

Andy Lee 09:07
Yeah, for sure. I’m not have the love languages that my brain might not be love me, respect me, among others, I think I very much gravitate towards respect me. And sense of touch is definitely something that I would say will probably be a secondary relative to a former writer.

Jess Dewell 09:28
How do you define respect?

Andy Lee 09:29
How do you an understanding that and this is something that I always tell my I walk the floor, we do a meeting, you should know that I would have reviewed every document prior to us engaging in that discussion, because I’m respecting your time such that when we are on the call that I’m getting to the decisive points as quickly as possible, versus you reading off a page and briefing me per se. I already have a point that View coming into the discussion and either verifying what I saw, or what I think I learned from the page, or trying to come away with a better an on source or of information as well as a decision to be made. I think that in my world is a form of respect that I am delivering on a recipient on the other side.

Jess Dewell 10:24
I thought it was awesome. I make the effort. And you saw this, I make the effort to show you how did I prepare so that we can show up right, and there were some things to change to make accurate, but also, to make sure that I was able to be in the same place you were and you did, you took the time, to also put in a moment or two to read through and share some comments so that as we showed up here today, to do this recording, not only are we on the same page, there’s nothing to really adjust, because we’ve done it all beforehand. And we have a point of view with which to jump right in it. I don’t know how much time it took you. But I will tell you what, as far as what that meant for the preparation and how much more prepared I get to be it just it doubled, at least it at least doubled my ability to be all in and show up for you. And the fact that you did it to put me at ease to go cool. This is actually going to be a fun dialogue. It’s going to be a thoughtful, deep dialogue because we don’t have to be figuring some of this other stuff out in the moment.

Andy Lee 11:28
Absolutely. It’s all about engagement. Right? You feel so much more engaged, if you know that the other kind of your counterparty on the other side is also invested in your process.

Jess Dewell 11:38
Yeah, it’s true. And how much time do you spend like in your day, and all of that meetings that you have? And all of the deep work that you’re doing? And? Well, I’m gonna say important regular work to that you’re doing? How much of that is, like in a percentage do you think is the preparation?

Andy Lee 11:58
Oh, so that’s what we call pre-work on? Yes, we think about some of the work that we do on our end, in order to show up. So let me give an example for interviews. Or prior to someone getting to my stage and an interview, I likely would have watched or has previous interviews that we record them, that we tell them that we’re going to be recording them. With the goal of being congruent across all the air, we read that we are hearing one shoe that they’re not repeating the same that we don’t want to hear your origin story again. And again. Like, that just sucks. But at interview we How many times have I said this today in the discussion, and Bree we ultimately want to come up and out questions as to something that you might not have hit on in a previous interview for us to better understand one. So that’s some of the pre-work we do. We also try to tell and educate interviewees on who we are. And so Mike, that meet up pre-recording of who the interview were that you’re meeting with this so you don’t have to waste that precious 30-minutes phone call on who is the interviewer what they’re trying to understand in that conversation, to who the firm is and how we might describe our own culture. And what we do might not be how our points of views are from a hybrid work environment perspective is that in US gathering for off-sites, all across the US, most recent being in Vegas, like how do we show up for each other? And how do we ensure that we have a balance, work relationships. And so those are some of the avenues through which we try to be respectful of people’s time, that they’re not repeating themselves, but also making the most objective in the same way that we are screening and to understand if someone’s were us as a firm, we’re also doing the same we’re done. They need to make a decision and up and up, they’re going to be a good fit with us.

Jess Dewell 14:04
And so it sounds like the majority of the work being done is pre-work. So that the real work is the important work. Is that a fair reflection?

Andy Lee 14:18
Specially for interviews. You give a biometric preamble as he gives a five-minute preamble you have 20 minutes left at the side of the glass.

Jess Dewell 14:27
I built Red Direction on this concept of discerning the important work, and then doing only the important work because that’s where miracles happen. And in our conversations, not only before we started recording today, not only by our email dialogue in between, but when we first talked that came through with something that’s also important to you, because it’s easy to be like everybody else. It’s easy to just do the work. The important work or the right work is going to be very different. To company to company, person to person based off of all of these things. So I’m curious from your experience and your perspective. And whether you use your company or whether you use an experience of yourself, I would want to know, like your rap video, what are the things that show up, right? That, that you’re doing that does set apart beings. Or hell illustrates the importance of it, maybe.

Andy Lee 15:25
Because the difference between the urgent and the important, that’s always the tyranny of the former, then one of the things that we really want for our personnel that we recruit is that whenever people hear individual calls from our firm, they do like, that’s cool, they are different, they think different. And they just have a different point of view. And so parts of what we do is trying to elevate the platform through which these individuals are playing from, primarily because if you have a higher vantage point, you are playing from a place of Frank versus a place of weakness. And so one of the things that we did, to the point of the rap video, is, if anyone searches our asset class, dad being hot for simple agreements, like we’re not even page one right now. And one of the problems that we had is that Google utilizes a concept called domain authority, it means that they prize people who have consistently posted for very long durations. But what we do law firms, obviously, are the ones that app, quote, unquote, done this for the longest. And so they watch the top even though the content isn’t the most relevant. And so for what we’re actually going to do, and try to break onto page one is search engine optimization. berm consulting firm basically told us, the way you do this is began Page One is for the next three to five years, you are going to publish a article once a month, and we’ll hopefully get you on page one. We’re like, understood, that’s a very long duration for us to be read a long time for us to be raising the warmth of our personnel to put them in a position to win. And so they were like, how does one get that?

Jess Dewell 17:20
Do you have but can you? That was gonna be my question. Can you can do you want to usemit?

Andy Lee 17:26
You could by going viral? And we were like, how does what was viral? And they were like, oh, it’s your best your choice. You figure it out. And we’re like, randomly two investment firms. Blackstone, as well as Apollo have music videos out there. One discovering Taylor’s worth and the other thing, no new toys. And we thought those were hilarious. They saw while some might view them as cringy, they ultimately received a lot of engagement. And the people who were in those videos got a lot of credit for putting themselves out there roid fight will work, were willing to try anything, it would take us a couple of hours as a team to prepare. But it gets us to number one on SEO. And it gets enraged as a platform through which people are playing from a place of strength versus weakness. We’ll do it. And so we put ourselves out there filming with a videographer. We utilize chat GPT to write the rap. We then had a different AI tool called sumo prepared alert, and we went at it. And so it’s been a labor of love, I’ll guarantee I would say it was a lot of fun. It was incredibly uncomfortable. But that’s part of like, putting yourselves in a position you grow. In that context.

Jess Dewell 18:39
You’re listening to the Bold Business Podcast . I’m your house to Jess Dewell. This is your program for strategizing long-term success, while diving deep into what the right work is for your business right now.

ANNOUNCER 18:53
Focused on growth. Listen to more programs like this, which support the challenges and opportunities you are working with right now. Search Bold Business Podcast for the key terms at Reddirection.com, or your preferred podcast listening app.

Jess Dewell 19:10
I may be putting words in your mouth, I want you to expand on what I say either yes or no right or wrong, whatever it is. And that is in your experience. When we follow everybody else’s rules, you may never be found the way we want to be.

Andy Lee 19:26
And you got to do just that. I’ll go with one that all rules are meant to be broken. And not to say that were playing on in the Grail or anything like that. But you’ve seen revolutionary businesses bust on the rules of their type. So ticking for example, Uber, Uber basically broke the back of the taxi monopoly. And as a result, we have an outgrowth of many different avenues through which we experienced life today. Because Uber was not only able to change the way we move and go from point A to point B. It also resulted in things such as Uber Eats, among others for which we are able to get food relatively quick. But Uber Eats likely was impossible with the former, having this appropriate network of butts in order to get sufficient scale for the opportunity set. And so that’s one example, for many of the individuals and stakeholders that you have on your podcast, who listen and go on with the lead, looking to change a business a ways things are done. And oftentimes, you might need to have a point of view that is different, that might ultimately upset the incumbent. And so that’s a risk that you’re gonna have to run for some of these underlying businesses.

Jess Dewell 20:55
Hold on to that thought, because I want to stay here with the number one, because what I’m hearing is, and you’re not saying the word disruption, and I don’t think you’re implying it, so I want to everybody’s thinking, hey, he might be talking to you about disruption. He may be, but I wanted to point out that breaking one rule is not changing an industry. Okay, keep going. Number two.

Andy Lee 21:15
Everyone thought for the longest time that the where we are in life is basically where we’re going to be for future generations, that really takes it into the dual, who believes that we can be so much more almost in a sign sci fi point of view, like what Elon has been able to do, or one has LA, and to space, I think those have been phenomenal examples of someone who has had a distortion field, and wants to pull humanity into his realm, basically seeing the future and creating a path through which you are able to get there. And so but to do that, he broke a lot of rules, as we understood it, might that be reengineering, the battery packs that go into it as well. Although way to understanding that, that not just NASA, in a rocket or the Russians can put a rocket into space, a commercial operation can do it too. And now we’re getting as a result, we have satellites in the sky, that how long for significantly cheaper price than where we would have been if it had entirely been government-funded. Then almost like the two-minute, the two-hour marathon, the moment someone breaks it, everyone breaks it. Now we have so many other opportunities to get to space, Blue Origin, among others, there are so many ones Elon got through everyone. So he raised a standard. And our expectation spoke we can be as humanity and well we can achieve in a manner that was don’t never fully appreciate it.

Jess Dewell 23:03
Let’s talk about the importance or the need or the desire or the allure of being first. Do we have to be or are we is it okay to wait and be number two and be just as impactful? Powerful, different.

Andy Lee 23:17
And so I think there are two things that I would describe, there is first to market. And then there is first to scale. She definitely calls up, I would think of first-to-market as being left, left boards in the market before Uber was. But today was a competitive advantage is they have so much more skilled than will that. And inevitably, there is a question mark as to lifts viability in the public markets today relative given Ubers fry headed ability to win might that be the Uber Eats business on top of our mobility, business and whatnot. And stats, I think for a market, where scale ultimately provides an advantage to the incumbent. Being first in market may also mean you might be the first to get shot whereby you make so many mistakes. Some of them, they don’t kill you when no mistake in and of itself chose you. But if you are you get till you get hit too many times you get worn down and might not be able to survive the journey. And it’s not the fastest nobody who runs as fast as 100-yard time. It’s the one who does it the most consistently over a prolonged duration. And so if I think about the war as it pertains to Uber and Lyft was first to market, but Uber knew that the game was network densities, and they were very focused on achieving that across our core markets and this city would have burst to scale. There were hundreds of copycats. they just never got to orbit. Now, all to say, be first to market is valuable. Is that the most valuable in a many winners market? Potentially, in a market of one?

Jess Dewell 25:18
Yes, there are people out there. And you have named them that, that have a distortion field around them. And there was something that you said about them once they break through many can follow. And I think that happens at the biggest scale with the most pronounced people out there. But I also think that can happen on a much smaller scale, also, with small businesses, and it could be as local as community, or it could just be small businesses serving a great market all over the place. And I think that’s so I’m curious about your thoughts on that because I love talking about these big, these big thoughts, and then I like to bring it back down. So I’m very curious how you see that when you bring it back down to the mid-market? Because I think that’s an interesting, I think it’s an interesting opportunity for people who are looking at their business today and trying to decide what to do. How, what does growth actually mean? Is it just more revenue? Is it a new way to do things? Or is it the next way to scale or breakthrough? And can we use what somebody else in a whole different area?

Andy Lee 26:18
Look, every big business started as a small business, my dog boots, if your boys like the brands that we all know and love today, they will all at some point in that history, a small business. Ultimately, what they were able to, to do was to reduce the variance of doubt, outcomes in order to create repeatability, and ultimate scalability. For main small businesses, they struggle, because the care that you put into your business just is the same character that I do. And in the same way that many small business owners where it’s still life, work life work, their ads, they’re all how do they translate that and replicate that consistent, such that the way that you show up for your customer, ultimately results in the same thing for multiple across multiple spores, and out of multiple customers, because you only have the one great limitation in life. But as you only have 24 hours in the day, that’s not scalable. How do you create 100 Justice, that enable you to create that same customer experience, where they’re like we can not we can imagine going anywhere else. But to work with just that’s ultimately how, as I think about some of the brands might not be the four seasons, the lawn, like everything that they do, they want to ensure that you experience them in the same way every time you go to the result from the way they greet you from the moment you enter to the when you leave to when you emerge from the pool, then bring you not only attract, but a new how to, can we get you slippers. That’s a way that every single resort to Monroe forcing this resort you go to you feel the same way. And as a result, that’s a man incredibly, they’ve been able to keep repeated, creating scalability, and people willing to pay premium prices for that experience. And that’s something that each small business owner has to figure out for themselves. How do I reduce the variance to create repeatability? And what is my magic sauce that I should maintain over anything else?

Jess Dewell 28:49
Now we’re talking about priorities. And we’re actually going back to a value set and belief systems that came back to the very beginning of our conversation, and have you found over time with your clients and within the work you’re doing within your organization? But way to bring that forward. Right? There’s growing pains, and there’s all this other wonderful awesomeness that comes with being in business, slow growth, fast growth, whatever, what growth actually means in our organization. But I do think that there’s an element of it’s easy to forget what we started, it’s easy to forget not bringing those things that beliefs that what our priorities actually are, into every decision. Have you cracked that nut at all?

Andy Lee 29:32
I don’t think it’s a nut that you’re ever going to crack in earnest. This way. I might describe it as we’ve been in business for almost eight years now. And the challenges that we got in your one, a very different than what we got in year eight. That’s a function of the fact that we’ve gotten more resources and we’re stewards of more capital, among others, but the part that makes it incredible business is wood. Keep an element of it, right? whereby people are the best part of business. Correspondingly, they are also the most challenging part of the business, because we each are different in the tools, and trying to create standards in order to decrease the amount of variance is something that we are constantly trying to figure out. Like, if we think about training programs, might that be a General Electric Financial Management Program, or an investment banking program that people emerge out of college for their goal there is to take people who might come from a state school and Ivy League, a HBCU, or community college, and put them into a single program. Whereby, yes, we will, in time, celebrate your differences. But we want to put you all on the same level playing field, that we all understand what standards are expected of us. But also we want you to see excellence because you can never unsee excellence. Once you’ve seen what rape looks like, going back to sin girl is almost gives you an almost an allergic reaction.

Jess Dewell 31:12
I don’t know about how it shows up for you. I’m like you had an allergic reaction. With the limited amount of data, how do you spend your day?

Andy Lee 31:20
We talk a little bit about our identities. I identify as a husband, as a father, to my dog, a son to my parents. And in the course of having 168 hours in a week, I dedicate every week, we have a one hour family call for an hour on Sunday nights. And I end Why call my parents once, one other time during the course of the week, I try to make time for the wife. I’m not very great at that. But that is a priority, making sure that if I think about having the appropriate amount of sleep among others, like I’m boxing, what is in my life, I want to show up for to the point about the obituary, I want to show up for people in my life that I care about. And in the course of having 160 hours in a week, I’m very focused on understanding who am I going to remember when I pass what, like, the world isn’t gonna remember me a day after I still like, he was great. What’s next, for the 40 or so individuals that I pride in my light, making sure that if my parents call, I immediately pick up, because there’s going to be a day where I’m like, I wish they will call but that’s not going to be able to I that’s I’m never gonna get you to get that back or seat for my friends. Like how do we do that appropriately, in a manner that is congruent relative to our professional aspirations, as well as our desire to continue growing? because not everyone’s going to go with us on that growing journey. Some people want to be where they are. And they would say you’ve changed? And the answer is that shirt, I have changed. Some people that I knew and how dearly in my life, in high school and in college, like they never change. And I don’t fault them for it. They never had that astral ID. And so I changed. And as a result of that I grew. And we mean, we are still friends, that doesn’t mean that I think any less of them, we just are different people.

Jess Dewell 33:33
And so we’re talking about relationships like in our greater life, there’s an element of that, that we can actually bring into the business world to which is then the autonomous person and our individual visions and goals and values and in what’s important to us. And then as well as what we do as a leadership team, what we do as a as a management team, so that we’re setting the stage because regardless, this will be top-down even if we’re one person today, first time we bring on a VA for that small the first time we take our first key hire after we were like an employee eight, or our new actual department or acquisition, when we might be in stage the year five or six of our business or even later than that doesn’t matter. Each one of those things means we’ve got different people in the mix. And so how have you seen success of taking all of this awesome, different and the strengths of each of the differences and still being able to work together and work together around a common goal and then be able to engage with people in a whole in a way that supports the differences but also makes the unit the organization different as well.

Andy Lee 34:49
To be clear, I think that if I thought about what you just articulated, there are standards that we are very firm on So we always tell people, we have expectations for you. In the same way, you should have expectations for us. One of the expectations that we have as a firm is that we are very much a get shit done. Like you say, you’re gonna get something done on this day, you’re gonna get a cut, because everyone’s wait. Others are waiting for you when your deliverable, which ultimately feeds into deliverables and any delays on your end. They may be explainable, but ultimately you have ownership of that. And that’s something that is going to cause a delay on the other one, too, that we prize discourse like, you can’t, we want individuals who don’t just argue, single quick view, you have your point of view, and we very much respect that. But I want you if you feel strongly about a topic, I want you to be able to argue the other side of the coin. What is that? Let’s say you had a that was in discourse, as to the upcoming presidential election. Sure, you might be what some call a Biden burrow, or a Trump fan. And what we do or do the other side of the coin, you understand the other side of the country’s point of view? And why did we feel that way and why they might feel that way about that candidate. So that you can better understand empathy with the other point of view. And so the scores I think many are very uncomfortable having. But that’s a price value that we have as the firm such that whenever we have a firm wide discussion about a that we’re working like, I’m the very last one to go such the most junior goes first, because that creates an avenue that people can build on. It can continually grow in that content.

Jess Dewell 36:59
I’m your host Jess Dewell, and we’re getting down to business on the Bold Business Podcast. This is where we’re tackling the challenges that matter most to you with actionable and achievable advice to get real results that lead to your success.

ANNOUNCER 37:14
You’re listening to The Bold Business Podcast hosted by Jess Dewell, a nationally recognized Strategic Growth consultant. She works with business owners and executives to integrate just two elements that guide business through the ups and downs of growth. Number one, know what work is necessary. Number two, do all the work possible. Schedule a complimentary consultation to find out more at Reddirection.com.

Jess Dewell 37:44
Andy, I will tell you, few companies will take the time as a group to have uncomfortable conversations where the effort isn’t to persuade or change but it is just seeking a deeper understanding so that more people can be met in conversation, more people can be served, more people can be directed to their next best step, regardless of the fit with them. And that’s internally, as are we growing? Is everybody doing what they said they were going to do to the principles that you were studying for your organization earlier and other companies will have similar and different ones. And then when they’re not the company may be outgrowing some of its people, the people may be outgrowing the company, there may be a point where that path must shift. And if it can’t be able to be figured out. Together. That means it’s time to part ways and see what happens. And that is a natural course of everything. And if we’re not having the conversations, we tend to be blindsided by them. We tend to be like, where did that come from, or whoever knew or, and then we get defensive. And that’s where all of the more negative things that we see in business and business relationships that messiness can reside in for lack of a better word to allergies, right? There’s this reaction, and then not now I’m thinking, I think I’m hungry because I keep thinking about food and I’m changing my mind changing some of my things around prove I’m like, I don’t want I don’t want an overripe banana. Right? Rotten Tomatoes, rotten apples, or ones that have already gone a little too rough and started to shift into that rot and break down phase will impact impact everyone around them. And that’s true in business too. And we think about that in terms of are they aligned with our culture, but I also think it’s are we aligned in our vision and I don’t think we’re talking about that enough either.

Andy Lee 39:40
I’m sure before you met your husband, you plus you met and many wonderful guys along the way. And they just weren’t good be Mr. Dell. They will wonderful, but they were looking for one thing and you were looking for an at that point in the same way that prior to meeting my now Life, they went on 122 per states and a year before. There were many potential Mrs. Lee’s, they were the novel individuals here in New York City. But I wasn’t ready to settle down that I was very focused on my business. And then I met my wife. And literally, we got basically non word heirs to get our sets. And so that’s not to say that they were bad people. That not like, we were just in the seasons of life where we just wanted. And in a different time in my life, they may have been the rappers. And so like, I tell people on my team, like we are going at a certain speed. For those who are in a Ferrari, we probably aren’t the right fit. For those who are walking, we probably also aren’t right, for a season of your life, where you are jogging, trying to finish a marathon, we probably are congruent with you. But we’re not going to curse you out. If you decide to leave us, we want to wish you to, but we want our alums to do incredibly well. We want to celebrate your success. We want you to be on this journey for as long as you also want to be on this journey. But we’ll harm no foul. We get there just seasons up like that you are with us and and we would love for you to come back. Should it be congruent someday that your skill set is what we need?

Jess Dewell 41:24
What was the most stressful? I’m going to ask you to reflect Now what was the most stressful business experience you had somewhere along your career until now? And so what was it? How did you handle it? And knowing what you know, today being the expanded more learned person from having more experience? How would you have done anything differently?

Andy Lee 41:44
In 2017, I had left my old firm, they had given us capital, but also allowed me to recruit my one of my best friends to serve as offers investment professional, and I hadn’t taken that lightly, we had just raised our risk fund. And a what would be a perceived competitor made a public announcement that they want in our space. Obviously, they they had supposed to raise north of a billion dollars at the in the start. And I was like, What am I doing, I literally brought a knife to a gunfight, like they are going to while lunch went spoiled. Like I need to go back to my old firm and beg dump to literally take my colleague and myself back. Because like we’re gonna get blown out of the water. Eight years since they haven’t done in the competitive this competitor hasn’t done anything in the space while we continue to build our market leadership. But for a moment of time there, I was like, What am I do?

Jess Dewell 42:51
But how long did it take you to realize you actually are doing?

Andy Lee 42:57
One day at a time I just remember having this conversation with myself in the shower, where I was like we are getting blown out of the water. Do I have it in me to keep going? Now I think I actually had the prayer work pick this up for me. And that was something that I reflected very heavily on. But I think it was one step at a time. They’re not going to win every battle. No one has 100% Take rate. And so can we find avenues through which we can successfully navigate this complexity, we obviously know that the outbreak occurs on the border transaction will focus on the smaller transactions, and focus on being the best version of what we can be at that point of time, to the customers that we do serve. And so it’s been a journey in that regard. But not giving up and putting one step in front of the other continually for being focused on being the best version of what we can be for our customers was a very big focus of ours.

Jess Dewell 43:59
Getting through it now looking back, what was the strength that allowed you to navigate sheer stupidity?

Andy Lee 44:09
Ah, I was too dumb to know what I didn’t know. I was too arrogant to go back when my head between my legs to ask for my job and his job back. I was I was too proud to say that I failed. So out of your all the feelings as it pertains to being human I experienced. And I was like I cannot fit. And so that literally was probably the drive that got us to where we are today. But I would not say there are so many things where I look back and I just cringe. I’m like, Well, how did I do that? Or why did I do that?

Jess Dewell 44:48
Do you think if you had embraced the failures, instead of pride and arrogance and the things that you were mentioning, showing up? Do you think if you had embraced those failures, you would have be where you are faster or different And or are you like I only can be here because I was who I was then?

Andy Lee 45:05
Very much the latter, those failures color us, for better or worse, we were still were those scars. And it’s been something that we’re I always tell them, It’s fine to make mistakes, our job is to fail board. We just cannot repeat the sins. Like I’m fine with us making new mistakes. Our job is admitted the number of mistakes don’t you make. We are to break make new mistakes? Obviously we admitted.

Jess Dewell 45:34
What are two of your weaknesses?

Andy Lee 45:35
Oftentimes, I’m too hyper-rational, as it pertains to investment in me. So what’s an investment decision or an operating business? Did I hire yourself? Is this the right individual? What are and many people have a very different hiring loss, the hire for the job. So they’re looking for someone with a very high war that has done the job before as demonstrated class, do your job. That’s why I describe it Eiffel, I’m always looking for someone with a ceiling, that they may not have done the job before. They may not know how to do the job. But do they have the potential horridge capacity power to do the job and denser because if I’m just recruiting for someone to do the job, that person is only going to be there for two years. And then if they don’t have the ceiling to go up, they might not be. And that’s like, very challenging. I think I reflect incredibly hard on each underlying investment that we’re making. Like, where do you prioritize and spend your time? That’s an investment? Like, shouldn’t news spend your time engaging in discussion coaching someone up? Or should you spend your time with a customer building that relationship? That’s both house, there’s no right or wrong to upload and convert each and each is fundamentally an investment that you are expressing via your catalogue. And so there is an element that to some extent, it’s true hyper rational is how I think about the quote-unquote, investment we make. And that can be very jarring for salt because they might want coaching. But I’m like, I can coach you right now. Or I can I have to opt for you right now with someone who’s right in front of me that I can potentially increase stickiness and luck in Bali. from a sales perspective. Another weakness that I have is that I think about what we do, like how do I raise the people that I’m around to be better than encourage them to be better than who they are today? How do I unlock their potential? And that has some level of paralysis on my end, from an analytics perspective, like, how do I put you in a position to win that is congruent relative to where we are at a tee? Because for many people, they would say you’ll get the right people in time. Don’t worry about it, you’ll make cycled through a couple. But don’t worry about I think for me, that’s a big challenge. And it’s a very, when I say I’m all in. I do mean I’m all I’m not saying that with that as an exception, there’s a but along the way, I truly do want you to be the person that we want and to help scale us in the future, not just in your current role, but in your future role. And some people say that’s too high of an expectation. And it’s just something that you shouldn’t Aspire. So that is something like this, show a weakness of mine.

Jess Dewell 48:38
Sure. How about two strengths?

Andy Lee 48:40
I view myself to be an introvert, I think many would say that I’m actually a relatively good conversationalist. And an extroverted personality, even though I view it as being not necessarily the shortlist of what we do, or what I do. But being able to have thoughtful conversations, I think, were my best friends telling me where I show up in their life is like, if we want to have a drink and have a good time, you’ll be that great. But that’s not where you really show up in our lives. It’s when we’re in our worst moments. That’s when you show up as that flying to wherever someone is, when someone in their life passes, or being there in their darkest moment for one reason or another. Like that’s where they say you truly show up as a one. Sue, having a good sense as to where someone is getting stuck. I think that many people because they’re so stuck in the muck of their daily life. They fail to see the forest from the trees. And in that regard, and no one is thinking about just duels enterprise, but they look at me and they say do occur. constantly try to raise us up to be better than who we thought we were just to know that we didn’t even know we had skill sets that we had it because being Asian American, there is the notion of the, what we call the bamboo ceiling. Have you ever heard of that concept by chance, sort of missile. When you’re at a concept similar to the glass ceiling for women, or Asian Americans, being makeup, the majority have many goals, skills that be engineering and lesson building, among others, but they never get the job. And people describe, ask question, why is that? And it’s fundamentally primarily because as a culture, we prize the goal skills, it allows us to lift ourselves from the bottom of the social economic pyramid, further up the ladder, to provide both lines. But the part of that failed to do is create commercial sets. And the person in the culture whereby every cup job, when it’s all said and done, is a sales job. There’s no hiding that you have to sell your husband and marrying you, your son and eating vegetables, clients, unworking you people and partnering with you. Those are all avenues through which we ultimately had to sell to get to where you are today. Asian Americans with Bill fundamentally bail it because the look that on that sales, this soul was viewed to be a skill that was below the verse that goes, and that was something that never people never learn.

Jess Dewell 51:42
There’s a place for integration into some of the work that I do, and this is going to expand even my viewpoint. So that’s an, that’s huge because my biggest takeaway from our conversation today, that Lucia lady, yeah, well, I get to learn something new. Why not? And, and one of the ways that you put it was, I see where the problem is. And this is just the way that it is and why isn’t it hard to get through? I think that is, I think it’s awesome because the way it was presented is at least there’s a path forward. That’s awesome. Not hard, it may be hard, it requires a lot of change, thinking it requires meeting people where they’re at, it requires recognizing maybe the views that made it will stay there. But that doesn’t mean it has to be the way.

Andy Lee 52:24
There’s no one way like there’s no right or wrong.

Jess Dewell 52:27
What makes it bold, to do that inner work and outer work to be a founder who is different, and wants to make an impact?

Andy Lee 52:39
Absolutely. I think goes back to the start of all conversation. Actually, in order to make a difference, you fundamentally need to be different. If you skew too close to the standard, you’re never gonna make a change, or the betterment of society or humanity or the businesses that you work at. You need to understand from an insider’s point of view what those standards are. And then from there for you to really change it is to figure out what rules can and cannot be, but, but there were obviously you can bend the rules of physics, that’s our Elan mustard. But there are so many things that he conceptualized that NASA had never even thought of reusable rocket. They were like what we thought you literally had to clear orbit. But he was like, why do we need? Like, can we just land it in the Pacific Ocean? That changed the total mindset. So there are people believe they operate within rules. But which rules were there as a figment of their imagination? Or what rules were there to be broken to begin with?

Jess Dewell 53:52
Every single time I have a conversation, I take away something that I want to share with 25 people. I know when you’re listening to this podcast, you’re also listening for that, and we’ll have something that you want to share in the comments. I would like for you to engage with us. What is that thing that you want to tell 25 People from this program? Here’s why it’s important. It’s important because yeah, there are going to be how-tos. Yes, there are going to be steps. Yes, you’re going to be like, Oh, I wish I wrote that down. I wish I wasn’t doing this. And I could actually take action on that right now. But guess what, you’re not so engaged right now because that one thing you want to share with others will be the thing that you can figure out how to incorporate in your business in your workflow in your style. Tomorrow.

ANNOUNCER 54:40
Jess hosts the Bold Business Podcast to provide insights for building a resilient, profitable business by deeply understanding your growth strategy, ensuring market relevance and your company’s future. It is bold to deeply understand your growth. strategy with your host Jess Dewell. Get more information about how to drive solutions and reset your growth mindset at Reddirection.com Thank you for joining us and special thanks to our post-production team at The Scott Treatment.

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