The Path to Long-Lasting Business in Times of Economic Fluctuation

Listen to the BOLD Business Podcast


Search Blogs and Podcasts

The Path to Long-Lasting Business in Times of Economic Fluctuation


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

With Red Direction Business Base Camp, learn how to implement and handle processes to meet your business’s specific needs and better understand your market.

Get Started NOW!


Starting the conversation:

Jess Dewell answers your questions about the collective skills, expertise, and alignment of people whom your company needs to thrive. Scott Scowcroft reads listener questions (submitted to #AskJess) that range from improving capabilities; the future of work; and facing our assumptions to make decisions that move a company forward.

Host: Jess Dewell

What You Will Hear:

Your business is like a kaleidoscope. Listen in to hear the listener questions (submitted to #AskJess) that range from improving capabilities; the future of work; and facing our assumptions to make decisions that move a company forward. Spoiler alert: It’s talking more about strategy; acknowledging decision fatigue; and leveraging what you have to navigate uncertainty.



Announcer 00:03
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 is your guide. Jess 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 00:52
Oh, it is Bold Business Podcast here in November toward the end of 2021. And I have to tell you, one of the things that we like to do are collect the questions that are being sent in to ask Jess. And it’s a great way to just kind of get a pulse of what’s going on, share as a community, what others are thinking because you may be thinking the same thing. So on this live stream of the Bold Business Podcast, that’s what we’re going to be talking about, we’re going to be talking about at least three questions. And if there’s more, there are more questions that we can use to bring to the table. So here’s the scoop. You’ve got the scoop, grab your tea, join Scott Nye. And we’re going to just jump right in. I have to tell you, I don’t know about it, where it is where you are in the world. But here in the greater Seattle area, we’re finally getting cold.

Scott Scowcroft 01:47
That’s right. And I’d say it’s raining. But I know that you correct me.

Jess Dewell 01:51
I can’t see because my windows behind me.

Scott Scowcroft 01:54
Oh, look at the rain. It’s an inside joke, folks.

Jess Dewell 01:59
Yeah, yeah. And those of you there are those of you who have been with Scott and I long enough, you know that inside joke, and we’re glad you’re part of that club. And the rest of you, you’ll get your own inside jokes, the longer you listen with us.

Scott Scowcroft 02:11
Well, I’m excited about these questions. And if we don’t do all of them, I’ll be disappointed because they’re all kind of interesting. I know.

Jess Dewell 02:18
They really are. So you know, one of the things I was thinking about when I’m when I was reading the questions, of course, this is the setup. So here’s the setup and the hook is that we’re, we’re really focused, even if we’ve got our own specific avenues that we’re going down, there is a common thread in them. And they’re all about the collective skills, expertise, and the alignment of the people within our company. And I think that that’s a huge piece to consider. And to be thinking about. Just those three things when you add on and you add on and you add on a new add on in the grand scheme of things, you might think about it as a kaleidoscope. And these are all the pieces in there kind of easy, free-flowing pieces. And when you turn your all, your Kaleidoscope with all those freeform pieces in it, you get a whole different picture with the same thing. And by the way, that is the secret sauce of what Red Direction does, we take all the free-form pieces, and we’re just rearranging them to look at this kaleidoscope to figure out what you have, and how to use it. Because the kaleidoscope truly is like the red point or on a compass. It’s all your pieces. But how you look at them. And the way you look at them. And what you can see with them is bring so much possibility.

Scott Scowcroft 03:38
Now that that’s wonderful, you know, we understand the world through analogy. And I was thinking well now how can, how can the collective skills and alignment and so forth? You know, what can I come up with? And then you came up with, you know, the kaleidoscope?

Jess Dewell 03:55
Yeah, I use that in a group that I’m a part of this morning, and I got so many kudos for it. I was like, I’m gonna use the word Kaleidoscope again. It might be one that sticks with us, Scott.

Scott Scowcroft 04:06
I think we’ve got a new word.

Jess Dewell 04:08
I think we do. That’s right. That’s right. So okay, let’s jump into the first ask Jess question that came in Scott, what is it?

Scott Scowcroft 04:16
Okay. Well, it is how can businesses improve their organization’s capabilities?

Jess Dewell 04:24
I love that. That’s such a broad question. And I wish I had an anchor so I could imagine your kaleidoscope. The meeting the question-answer is kaleidoscope. Right. This time, we did not bring names in. We just pulled the questions to share. So thank you for your submission of that question. And, you know, this is a question that if I’m thinking in terms of a kaleidoscope, and I’m thinking in terms of a True North of accompany the way that has been planned, the path that you found yourself on how far on or off you are from what the true north of your company is in 2021. As you’re looking forward to 2022, there would be just a few things I would say, are really important to consider. The first is, how often do you actually do strategy and talk about strategy across your entire organization, you specifically, then out to your team, then out to your company? And how well is that perceived outside of the company with the important stakeholders there? And one of the things that we found, which you’re going to find out more, and I’m going to like totally spill the beans a little bit today is that in our survey responses for our bold business growth report that we are putting together for 2022. This is something that came up this concept of everybody said, I’d say everybody, the majority of people said they spent more than four hours a month talking about their strategy, yet the majority of that majority didn’t reach their goals. So how do you improve your organization’s capability? Well, that is the gap analysis that you can work with. If you talk about strategy, not enough, talk about it more, if you’re talking about it more than four hours a month, strategically with the right people in your organization, and you’re not getting results. What needs to happen is evaluating and assessing what are you actually talking about? Because you got to get clearer? You Yeah. That’s the answer to my organizational capability. Question, Scott. If you’re not getting the result, you want go back to strategy, and then take that step forward. Because all we’re doing is we’re going oh, here are all of our pieces in our kaleidoscope. And here’s the tool of the kaleidoscope. And out here we have the compass with which we know we’re going to our true north, and we might look to the sunset, and we might look to the sunrise and we might see everything differently in our kaleidoscope. Start with that talk about strategy and talk about strategy in a way that actually is getting you results. And if you’re not getting results, get off the wheel.

Scott Scowcroft 07:08
The couple of words that popped into my mind, and I wrote them down is and this will be my only real contribution would be game plan. Yeah. So would you say, you know, there’s probably little difference between strategy and game plan?

Jess Dewell 07:24
I would say yeah, because the game well, the game, you could have a long term game plan, you can have a short term game plan. And in fact, I like gameplan Scott, better than a strategy for, strategy for strategy, because that’s like going to meetings. So you end up having more meetings in my mind?

Scott Scowcroft 07:39
Well, I’m just thinking that if you’re in the middle of a football game, and you don’t have a game plan, then you know that that you might have talented players, and that might count for something. But if you’ve got a great game plan, then then you’re in better shape. And what do people do with a great game plan when it starts to go awry? You know, during the half, you review your game plan and you tweak it.

Jess Dewell 08:06
Yeah, you know, flexibility, flexibility. That’s right, it comes back to that concept, the concept of I’m willing to see I recognize what’s going on here is the reality in this moment, which is, it doesn’t matter if there are three people in the room, they have three different realities, all of them are right. And it’s an incredibly important tool to look at the bigger picture to flex like what you’re talking about Scott. That’s for sure. So the next question more asked Jess. Okay, question number two,

Scott Scowcroft 08:38
How can business owners chart the path to a sustainable business model in economic uncertainty?

Jess Dewell 08:46
Okay, so that …

Scott Scowcroft 08:48
Do you want me to repeat it?

Jess Dewell 08:49
Yes, please.

Scott Scowcroft 08:53
They asked me a question it’s important to and maybe I’ll try and do better. How can business owners chart the path to a sustainable business model in economic uncertainty?

Jess Dewell 09:06
We’re gonna start with part one is going to be the answer to the last question. How do you know where you’re at know where you’re going and really have a concept of the game plan that I like that Scott, we’re going to use that so that we understand what’s happening and how to flex and sustainable has so many words I’m gonna take that out. So I path how about if we say thrive because a thriving business is different than a sustainable business depending on who you are. And a thriving business always indicates some sort of growth. When you water your plant it stays alive when you don’t water your plants. It dies, it doesn’t matter the kind of plant it will eventually die. So another way to look at that would be how many paper cuts are you getting? Is are you in a place of death by 1000 paper cuts. And so to me, economic that uncertainty He’s uncertainty is always death by 1000. paper cuts because it’s either too much for paralysis, or too much action. Those are right fight or flight, fight or flight. And so if you think about it from that perspective, to thrive, we have to move ourselves out of fight or flight, we have to pause our action, we have to get a deal, we have to take a step so that we can actually understand what we’ve got. And then we have to decide if you want to keep the word sustainable, great, or thrive. If you would like to maximum, you know, if you’d like to shift it to the way that I’m going to look at it here is what does thriving mean? It means you have to know you’re the heartbeat of your business, the health of your business. So what are the indicators that you are using in your organization to know that things are on track or not, which by the way, are not necessarily just numbers, I think they’re important. And there’s a key set of numbers that every business is going to use, you have to go out one level to that some of the things that are a little less measurable, and that are a little more squishy in that gray middle area in the messy place. That is hard to define. Because when you have two or three metrics in that hard to define place that you can see the outcomes. It reduces uncertainty. And it’s a canary in the coal mine and can bring you awareness that uncertainty is coming. So we’re not caught by surprise. And so some of those things might be how high functioning is my team. Numbers are a great way to get a sense of that. But meeting deadlines would be a different one. If people are working together well, they’re more likely to make the set seem to the better deadlines. If there is not buy into the tools that have been chosen to be used in an organization, then those tools aren’t being maximized. And that means there’s more opportunity for the disparate work to not come together nicely. It’s almost like having a kaleidoscope without that front lens off. So you put all your pieces in there, and they just kind of like fall out. And then all you have is whatever’s on the other side of your kaleidoscope. So those are two things that I think are really important. That would be a great way to start when we’re talking about economic uncertainty. Because there could be lists galore, I could tell you exact things to do in your business. But in the end, you can, you can use the internet and find those. What this is about what this ask justice about is all about. How are we showing up? And how can we show up a little differently, because it’s what we’re bringing to the lists of action that we take or the way that we do our paws, on the way that we’re doing a reflection that is going to matter most to make sure you have a business that is sustainable and thrives to decide what do you want to do with it? Do you want it to thrive as it is? Do you want it to thrive smaller? Do you want it to thrive larger? Do you want it to thrive so somebody else can do a handoff and take it from you?

Scott Scowcroft 13:10
Good point and you know, their underlying assumptions and you said Thrive smaller and most people don’t have that assumption that it will be you know, expand, expand, expand maybe, maybe not.

Announcer 13:22
You are 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 in 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 versatile tool in your toolkit by going to Fast Track Your Business Now back to Jess,

Jess Dewell 14:24
You’ll hear me talk about values and whether they’re single words or phrases. I think they’re all good. And to your point, Scott about fundamentals is that there are going to be the values but then there’s the way that that work is done and the principles of that right so some companies out there are going to be and I’ll use Atlas precision one of the things that they put on their website is that they provide exceptional customer service and everything they do is catered to around and measured to What does exceptional customer service look like in the way that they do their work. And then you know, think about what Red Direction is all about. We’re all about stirring the pot. Well, that’s not really something we would put on our website, because I don’t know why not? Yeah, right. But we’re in the business of looking at a current situation in a different way. That’s what we are, how do we navigate a situation in a unique way or a creative way? Without thinking about what to bring in yet, based off of what there is? And so you know, and one of our values is being resourceful. And that is, how do we bring resourcefulness into every conversation? Well, use the work that’s already been done. And I think that that’s a big part of it, too. Because a lot of us think going back to your assumption piece, Scott, that when we have assumptions, we forget sometimes. And when we’re able to acknowledge and recognize how we’re doing something and what those assumptions are, it allows us to make better decisions. Cool. We’ve just because, by the way, every principle that we have in our business is an assumption that that’s what we want to be doing.

Scott Scowcroft 16:05
Well, do you want to continue this conversation? Because I know exactly what my next question or comment would be? Or do you want to go on to the next question?

Jess Dewell 16:12
No, let’s say right here, if you have a comment, are you riling me up? I think Scott might be rolling me up everybody.

Scott Scowcroft 16:19
You’re, you’re saying, you’re saying looking at the assumptions and those sorts of things. But how do you do that?

Jess Dewell 16:27
How do you look at your assumptions?

Scott Scowcroft 16:28
You know, what is? You know, what is, what is great? What is a great skill or habit to get into? Then you can sit back and take a look at your assumptions.

Jess Dewell 16:42
How do you find your assumptions? Well, when you have a game plan, your game plan is built on certain data.

Scott Scowcroft 16:50
And it’s got the initials P and R.

Jess Dewell 16:56
Oh, you’re, you’re asking me a question, though. I’m supposed to know the answers now. Oh, I love this. Let’s see p and r. 

Scott Scowcroft 17:03
Well, now I’m not sure it is present.

Jess Dewell 17:06
Oh, you’re so funny. Thank you. I was like, What do I What are we doing a Red Direction starts with a P and an R, and I’m thinking and you everybody, you’re gonna know that I’m ready for food? Because I want some like a P word. Pancakes. All right. That’s a weird thing I know. But you’re right. The concept, okay, to find our assumptions, is to really be able to sit down and reflect on what’s going on. Are we liking the way things are working? And if we’re not, how come? Are we recognizing the successes that we have made? And what are the elements that got us those successes, because they might not be what we think they were when we actually sit down and do this reflection. And that is a huge part of Thanks, Scott, for leading us on into the concept of a present retreat, a present retreat. And this is a specific kind of time that is protected, that is available to you when you’re willing to protect it that allows everything to come out in a new and different way. And it’s one of the things that every company that I have worked with, can benefit from, even if they already have some sort of a practice can benefit from these small tweaks. And some need them all because they don’t have one, some will use them all because it’s an upgrade to what they’re already doing. And some might only need one or two of these. So the first part is reflection. What’s going on, give me the reality right now. And just this concept of a freeform thought process experience if you write if you draw whatever that is, what is the reality right now of, of this business. And then you already have the health we were talking about earlier, the health of the business and what those core, those core number metrics are, and then what your custom your personalized metrics will be to show that success. And what is, what is actually happening in your business according to the numbers, and according to these metrics that you’re measuring against, also all reflection, because then what happens is we all have a priority list. You don’t even want to see my desk right now. But we all have this priority list of all of these things that are happening. And so we only have so much time in a day. So the next is to take a look at what, what’s happening right now. Do we have to adjust? Do we flex do we adapt? And if so that means we probably have to reprioritize and actually reprioritizing and either adding things, most likely just taking things away so that there’s more time to focus on what’s left because usually it’s a time thing. Usually, with more time, more things can get done. And we’re trying we always try and pack too much in because I don’t know if it’s because we’re optimists because we all think time goes slower than it does. Because we think we can switch from a task to a different task, a very action-oriented task to a very thoughtful task. quickly. And so a present retreat reduces the amount of time you have to change between thinking, and doing and thinking, doing and creating, doing and innovating. And so that one concept because then you can go do and if you’re in the middle of something and something comes up, you can go, Is this part of right now? And do I, do I evaluate it right now? Or is it a little bit bigger, and it happens to support our next milestone, if it happens to support our next milestone, it goes into a list to talk about and think about whether you’re talking to yourself or not, doesn’t matter. Bring your royal week, and use it at your next present retreat. Because the more we’re doing that, and seeing that, the more we’re less likely to rely on the same assumptions all the time, we’re able to show up in the moment, we’re able to adapt, we’re able to go, oh, this is what I thought. And here’s what’s actually happening. So we’re catching that at the same point in time. And I would have never had, never had such a great answer. If I didn’t have that hint of a P. And being told to had nothing to do with pancakes.

Scott Scowcroft 21:13
Well, I want to know what the error would be.

Jess Dewell 21:15
I know I was trying to think about that, too. I didn’t get past pancakes. I’m like, What are that goes with pancakes.

Scott Scowcroft 21:20
Raspberry pancakes. Ooh.

Jess Dewell 21:24
So good. Hey, you know, Benita is here showing up live. And I’m going to toss her into this conversation. So good to see you. Benita, glad you stopped by. And she’s talking about the Pomodoro Technique in terms of the Getting Things Done. And I think outside of the present retreats, super fabulous to do because you get to work for a period of time and be all in, and then you come up for a breath. And then you work all in and you’re doing this for a period of time. And it can be as specific as you need. And repeating that in the ways that will be supportive to you and your concept, what concept you’re working with, what problem you’re solving, what actions you’re trying to get through. And she says that she’s even bringing that into part of her present retreat, in addition to all of the work that she does. And I love that addition, I can’t I want to hear more about how it fits into your present retreat. Are you using it for each piece of the reflection, the assessment, the. the pre-prioritization? And then the setting up for the far future? Or are you do are you using it a little bit differently in your present retreat. So if you want to share that in those comments, too, by the way, but Anita is joining us, either from, from LinkedIn where she is watching live, you can also be watching us live on YouTube. And for those of you who are missing this and don’t see it in the stream as a replay. It is going to be part of the Bold Business Podcast. Lat link. Okay, Scott, I’m running out of the words here, podcast feed, where you can find the Bold Business Podcast on Spotify, on Apple podcasts on Google podcasts. And wherever else you might listen to a podcast, the Bold Business Podcast is there. So make sure you subscribe. And you can not only hear these, but the conversations that we’re having with great, great experts, your peers, talking about how they are navigating change, and how they are showing up in the world to grow and have the business that they want to have that gets them toward their current meets their current goals, as well as move them toward their future goals. Cool.

Scott Scowcroft 23:34
Did you want, did you want another question? Are we done?

Jess Dewell 23:38
I think I might be done with that one. But we don’t have to necessarily have the next question. If you have something else you want to say.

Scott Scowcroft 23:46
Well, I wanted to, I wanted to say hello to Benita. Wonderful that she’s tuning in and interacting.

Jess Dewell 23:54
Yes, that’s right. That’s exactly right. Okay, let’s go to the next Ask Jess.

Scott Scowcroft 23:59
Okay, well, I’m going to skip to this one. And that is uncertainty as a new normal building stamina. Well, there’s the word assumptions decisions and are not set in stone. The decision fatigue, you want me to read it again?

Jess Dewell 24:18
I don’t think that’s a question if.

Scott Scowcroft 24:25
This was, this was what it was assembled for you to answer. So let me try it one more time. Okay, so it’s talking about uncertainty as a new normal. Building stamina, assumptions. Decisions are not set in stone decision fatigue.

Jess Dewell 24:45
I’m wondering if it’s the decision fatigue that we will start with and maybe I will, and Nick are my little rat terrier wants to join us so he’s going to come up in my lap for this. So if my microphone changes a smidge. That’s why he’s not only going to be on camera. I don’t, don’t think he’ll talk, which is great. But he might bark here or there. Okay, so decision fatigue. Well, we already talked a lot about a present retreat. We already talked about the four parts of a present retreat, reflection, assessment reprioritization, and forward future looking. Those four things are really important to reduce decision fatigue.

Announcer 25:25
We’ll be back to Jess and 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 Let’s get back to the show.

Jess Dewell 26:30
One of the things that I want to make sure and talk about is that every time we have to be in a project, and we’re doing something and we’re in action, and we’re asked to make a decision of any kind, do you want more coffee? Want a different kind of tea right now? What did you want from for lunch, even those little things, or hey, I have a question for you or the phone rings or the text goes off, or you have a direct message that you’ve been waiting for it to respond back to all of those things take us out of what we were doing. And that takes time and energy. And it takes so much time and energy that we, we actually want we actually have to regroup and get there. And so the more times we have to regroup, the more energy we’re expending. And that’s a mental energy, that is a mental capacity. And so decision fatigue comes from not sometimes how many decisions you’re making. What I have found in where the fatigue is coming from, from the clients, we’re working with it Red Direction, it’s coming from the decisions that have to be made in the moment, that might affect more than the moment. And that’s where those assumptions that assumption work comes in. That’s where Present Retreat can come in. Because you can quickly go now or later now or later, now or later. And really the only reason to actually Oh, actually it should be no, now or later. I’m going to put in the word no here because sometimes it’s a decision that comes up that we don’t even have to think about. And we need to know that. And weakly present retreat that’s allowing us to talk about engage with our strategy in a way that is definite allows us to quickly go in the moment, I don’t have to think about this, it doesn’t fit. Or I can’t tell if it fits. So let me put it in my next Present Retreat because it has nothing to do with what I’m working on right now. Or it’s Ooh, this is a good thing. And I have to remember it when I’m thinking in the, into the future in my Present Retreat. And it gets us out of, it gets us out of having to have a response or a reaction. And it gets us into a little bit more like that concept. I think it’s just get things done right that inbox management tool that we can actually use a similar concept have that adapted to what we’re doing with the decisions that we have to make day-to-day. And so that comes back to what this new normal is, which by the way, that’s there are two sides to that coin, or. And the one side is of course, uncertainty usually brings fear. The other side of that coin is however much there is fear, there is opportunity as well. And so how are we looking at uncertainty? And recognizing, do I go into death by 1000? paper cuts? Or too much action? Or is it ooh, this makes me excited and gives me energy and I want to look to the future. This is there’s something here. And so in either case, both of those can take a such off both of those can take us so far off of the purpose of what we’re doing right now that we end up paralyzed again anyway, because we’re like, oh, well, I only want to do this but it’s so far from where I’m at. Or man this is so fearful. I can’t even figure it that out. I forget to do things right now. And so, you know, there’s this concept. I’m not a fan of this concept of new normal. I’m not a fan of this concept. A lot of the words that are coming out. I don’t like that phrase because here’s the thing Every day is a new normal. Normal is what you make it in my opinion, normal are those assumptions that we were talking about. So if you’ve been working off of assumptions, and you have some whole bunch of new normal to find, you’re just looking for new assumptions. And that makes me think and question. I’ve done this exercise. So I will challenge you with it. When you’re thinking about a new normal for yourself, for your business, for your teams, for your products, is are those on discussed unarticulated assumptions that you were working from before? And are you just looking to replace them with a new set? Wow, well, what do you think about that, Scott?

Scott Scowcroft 30:40
Well, boy, I was all set to talk about new how wonderful new normals are now you’re out from under me.

Jess Dewell 30:47
I’m not saying well, hey, they’re not bad. It’s just a sign of assumptions. So maybe talking about new normals is a way in that doorway that people can go, Oh, here’s how I know I have an assumption I have to adapt to new unexpectedly.

Scott Scowcroft 31:01
So I was thinking that the 21st century is so different from the 20th century if we’re going to use those things, yeah. That we needed to be able to. We needed to be able to, first of all, go inward. Yeah, kind of like a caterpillar to a cocoon. Okay, that’s, and that’s what the last 18 months might have been. Yeah. And then we’re going to emerge out into a new world as a butterfly. So there are two things going on. One is that we’re different. And then secondly, the environment in which we are operating is different as well. Caterpillar is used to essentially two-dimensional or at least.

Jess Dewell 31:51
Yeah, you’re, you’re always touching something.

Scott Scowcroft 31:53
Yep. And then a butterfly has the entire world to be able to interact with it.

Jess Dewell 31:59
Yeah. And what if you could take that analogy and actually say, I can be the caterpillar or the butterfly anytime I want. Were magical caterpillars. Because maybe we become a butterfly, but then we become a caterpillar again, is

Scott Scowcroft 32:18
that bad? Well, that’s like reincarnation,

Jess Dewell 32:22
and could be okay. I like it.

Scott Scowcroft 32:26
I’m thinking chronologically. Okay, a little bit more in?

Jess Dewell 32:32
Well, so let’s take that. Okay. So you could actually say, I’m with you, you could actually say, your game plan is the caterpillar tell me if I’m reflecting this, right, and I’m making connection. And when you get done with that gameplan, and you’ve done the work to achieve the goal, where you’re at, once you’ve achieved that goal is so new and so different? Because you have a different vantage point, you become the butterfly.

Scott Scowcroft 33:02
If you don’t, right, and if you don’t do it right, then you don’t become you die and you die and wither in the chrysalis. So that’s right. So it is yeah, this is kind of a merit. Sorry, sorry about this is kind of like a merit-based analogy that we’ve got here.

Jess Dewell 33:20
No, I think that’s fine. Well, and I’m in agreement with you, you’re right. And let’s call out the reality if we don’t get to our goal. The worst possible outcome is ultimate failure, which could be the death of a product, the death of a business, the death of a, you know, and not

Scott Scowcroft 33:37
just any goal, it has to be the right goal, because I, I could have the wrong goal in mind, I could say I’m going to discover that X was entirely wrong, because the assumptions that I was making, yeah, not tethered to the reality in which I either find myself today or will find myself tomorrow.

Jess Dewell 33:59
Yep. So here’s the thing. Okay, so there’s another piece of this here, there isn’t, the caterpillar may not know they’re going to become a butterfly. So in spite of ourselves, we’re going to make progress or not. But no matter what, every single one of us is moving forward. Because time goes by we go around the sun, we have all of these things. And so that’s an interesting concept because things are always going to be changing. And it depends on what we decide to do with that change. And that could be on a, I’m going to call it a short term could be the current part of a career, it could be a little bit longer the lifecycle of a business, it could be a little bit longer the lifespan of the person. And regardless, so there might be a lot of opportunities to become a different butterfly because you, you face well or you’re collecting your own caterpillars and you’re turning them into butterflies along the way. And how many if you have seven and you get five butterflies great at the end, right? But if you have 100 And you have two butterflies at the end, something else is up. The problem is hindsight is always 2020 here. And we also look at the world through rose-colored glasses. A lot of times, I know I do, I do not like to remember the bad stuff. And I’m, I am horrific I have to keep working on that, which is, by the way, where present retreats and assumptions really helped me, because I will always remember the past better than it actually was. And so having a present retreat, really dialing in.

Scott Scowcroft 35:26
Because you have your script that plays out.

Jess Dewell 35:29
And well, of course, and I knew I was around, so I’m calling other people have

Scott Scowcroft 35:33
their scripts. So President retreat allows you to reexamine your, the script that you have, yeah, to say, you know, does it line up with what I’m seeing on the ground as it were? And then if there’s a discrepancy between the two, you’ve hopefully eliminated the noise and you’re, you’re working with signal, and then you can change things around? I personally think a tinge of looking at things with rose-colored glasses is really, really good. Because I think so create your own reality, oftentimes, so why not create a better reality?

Jess Dewell 36:11
From that? Yeah, no, I’m in agreement with that. And I just know that that was one of the assumptions that I always worked with is it was always better than it really was. And that did not allow me to make the right strategic decisions all the time. And I’ve had failures because of that. I’ve had business failures because of that. And I think that that’s a huge thing. Just wreck it I’ve had, I’ve gotten fired because of that. I didn’t see it in the same way, somebody else didn’t poopoo on me, because I’m the one who didn’t know, who didn’t think I needed to know, and maybe a very younger version of me didn’t care to know. And so being, you know, also with age comes wisdom and experience. So we’re just going forward, and it’s what we use with that, that I think we can, you know, that we can really leverage and take forward. So I’m, I’m open to that concept of that linear piece, we just might have several of them happening at the same time, unless we’re talking about our one life instead of all the elements of our life and all of the working parts of, you know, our business if you will.

Scott Scowcroft 37:14
So I was really interested just to extend this conversation a little bit. Yeah, your comment about the caterpillar doesn’t know that.

Jess Dewell 37:24
But so caterpillar is taking action. And so there’s a belief I was going to a place of belief.

Scott Scowcroft 37:30
And I and I was going to go to a two places one is a faith. Okay. And but if it doesn’t know, that’s where maybe a mentor comes in, or, you know, someone to be able to show the way. Yeah, oftentimes, if you don’t know where you’re going, then you know, who knows. So if you’ve got, if you’ve got someone who already has achieved what you believe, with the cosmic layer, strategically, or materially where you want to go, okay, they’re the butterfly, well, how do I get from where I am, to where I’m going? And what do I have to go through in order for that to happen? And some of that is just going out on faith that okay, well, if I do this, that and the other thing, then it’ll end up, okay. And I’ve got an assurance that I’ll end up okay because it’s already been proven by my guardian angel or my mentor, or my consultant, or whoever it is. My yeah, the important people in my life are the books that I’ve read are the culmination of all of those.

Jess Dewell 38:49
Yeah, oh, I’m in complete agreement with that, and that concept of and I will take your faith, and I will say, you’ll raise me what, I’m not going to raise you, I will take your faith. And I was actually saying belief. Because when we purposefully decide to go down a path, and we start taking action, stuff is going to happen. It’s when we are thoughtful, when we are checking in along the way, when we, you know when we’re doing all of the, if we’re doing it haphazardly, and randomly something’s gonna happen. We just don’t know if we know it. We’re like, what we would like if we don’t really know where we’re going, but we’re taking actions, something’s gonna happen. And we may find we like it or we don’t like it. But that that concept of faith is taking purposeful action toward a vision that you don’t necessarily know how to get to today, toward an impact that’s going to take a long time to get to and being able to put in that work is I guess the a, you know, a caterpillar is always going to go down the path to make a chrysalis and then whatever happens after that comes to the culmination of what did they do before they got there? And That’s when the opportunity what the next opportunity arises? And do we like what shows up? Or do we not like what shows up.

Announcer 40:07
It’s time to take a brief break from our show. Fast Track Your Business will improve your business results. This high-value program is an unbeatable value to make it easy for you to act now, with your subscription, you have access to Ask Jess Your Business Questions and exclusive resources on key leadership topics. Subscribe now, visit Fast Track Your Business And know that you are moving forward in the right direction. And now let’s return to the Bold Business Podcast.

Scott Scowcroft 40:37
What is the future of work at the intersection of technology and skills?

Jess Dewell 40:41
Yep. Okay. And what is the future of work? Well, it depends on who you talk to. And it depends on their viewpoint, I was having a conversation yesterday about the power of the great resignation, and putting the putting this power in the hands of individuals. And I’m thinking about companies that really are striving and driving and working toward creating things that are attractive to have the talented employees that stay. And it seems like it’s a dichotomy. And it’s interesting because I don’t know where I fall on this. So some of the things that I say here? Well as with everything, it will evolve over time. But this one may prove to be totally wrong. And I’m okay with that. You just need to know, I’m saying it. This is what I believe today with what I have. And you could ask me again tomorrow. And if some great awesome new information showed up, I may change my mind. I believe that when we are a small business that is trying to employ other people, and we are unable to that puts whatever’s happening with this great resignation, that puts small businesses at high risk. Because a small business is going to have a different kind of constraint and a different kind of culture, which you know, was 70, with 97% of all businesses being small businesses, they’re the employers in at least in, in the United States of America, I’m pretty sure I don’t know I can’t No, I’m not going to say that, I would be assuming things. And I don’t want to do that. I don’t know what it is like in Canada, I don’t know what it is like in Europe, and in the US. That’s the case. And so if, if the majority of the people that are creating jobs that are impacting our communities, in a positive way, are really struggling and being impacted on a negative way from this great resignation. They’re tough, they’re having to fix, they’re already having supply chain issue issues, they’re already having cost increases of materials, they’re already having cost increases of just being in business on top of all of that. And now, if truly you believe that people have the power, the individuals have the power, we’re, it’s going to make every small business have to work that much harder. And, you know, I’ll tell you what, with everybody raising their rates for the things that have to be done. And I think you should be, don’t get me wrong about that. It does make it if you already were struggling to retain top talent in a competitive fashion, I think it’s gonna get harder. And I really want to be wrong, because I don’t want small businesses to close. I want businesses that want to be in business to be able to stay in business. And so I’m hoping whatever this concept of the great resignation turns out to be. So projecting my rose-colored forward is that we redefine some things. And we bring in really important concepts like working ourselves and not taking our vacations is bad. Having more vacations to be able to take a lot of little weekends or longer stints because that depends on our style is going to become something that is really necessary. And we could look to Europe for that. The way that they do sick leave the way that they do.

Jess Dewell 44:13
Maternal and paternal leave for the arrival, the way they do grief, time off the way they do. All, some of those things, integrates more work and non-work. What I really see this concept being is we all have this great American dream of if we work hard, we make a lot and we’re realizing there’s some truth in that. But we realize that we’ve gone too far down some sort of scale. And so how do we, how do we not swing all the way back to the other side, but have just lost just enough momentum that we end up in this middle where we can have, we can understand what needs to happen and having a purpose and being part of something greater with people that like to work together and all conjoined In whether you agree all the time or not is arbitrary, doesn’t matter. But you can come together to get the job done with the necessary skills at the necessary time to solve problems. I think that that particular thing who at whatever companies can do that are going to find that the challenges combined with the opportunities combined with the desire to have not work ourselves, so that we can retire later. And that’s been shifting for a long time. And so to me, I’m looking at the great resignation. And this is just one slice of it probably don’t get me wrong, we could totally have this whole other thing now, too, I’m looking at one slice of it. For those of us that want to be working today that require income to exist, if we didn’t have to work, it’d be a whole different conversation everybody would be having right now. Most of us need to work most of us want to work. And so how do we take that need and want and show it, show it up, show up to it there we go differently. And I think that that’s going to be an interesting challenge, to have business growth. And that’s going to really make small businesses have to get really clear on what is my economic engine? What is my flywheel? For example, those are two good to great Jim Collins references. What do you the best dad in the world, the hedgehog principle, another Jim Collins. And so these are some principles that we can go back to and when we’re solid, and the rest can come together, we know how to we know the numbers we need. We know what that means. We know where we could have more efficiency in our processes. We know we want people, how do we turn our kaleidoscope and look at all the pieces differently. And maybe for this one, we need to add something or we need to take something away. So there’s room for something new. And that is that hard work, that challenge that will have a greater opportunity to set up for thrive, not only thrive, but for success to get to those longer-term goals that you want for your company and for yourselves in your career.

Scott Scowcroft 46:59
Well, your your analogy of Kaleidoscope I think has really survived the test of time, because it really works.

Jess Dewell 47:06
And we applied it at least three times in this conversation. So what are your I mean, how does that, how does that make you feel when I’m like, here’s one slice of what great resignation. I’m kind of, I’m pro-small business, I want them I want businesses that want to be in business to stay in business. And it’s going to take a different kind of work than it has in the past. So I’m not sure we have the stamina for that in those small businesses. And I’m hoping to help change that.

Scott Scowcroft 47:34
The great resignation is symptomatic of something that’s going on. And in my mind, I’m thinking that so many things have changed in so many different ways that we that what we are used to just is less functional than, than it used to be. The 20th-century industrial revolution model or the information model that we had in the last century served us well. But what about now, and if there are chinks in the armor, they’re going to manifest themselves in certain ways. And one of them is the great resignation. People are saying, I don’t want to work for the lesser money when I can have more money. I don’t want to work at something that is less satisfying when I have something that’s more satisfying or with better benefits or more time off or things like that. And working on the assumption that the underlying fundamentals never really changed because their fundamentals. So then how do you adjust the kaleidoscope? One of the advantages that small businesses have that big businesses don’t have is that small businesses can be wonderfully flexible. You know, they’re speedboats, and they can turn on a dime, and they can do all sorts of things. Whereas if you’re in a large organization, it’s like a big barge and it takes time to be able to turn the ship and go forward in that regard. There’s, there’s a new emphasis towards localism.

Jess Dewell 49:15
I actually was thinking about that, too. I love this concept of if when small now and this is here’s the thing, I would love to have more manufacturing happen here. I would love to see that come back. I would love to see more trades showing up. Because we are so short of people in all of those areas. I would love to see more businesses startup in that across the US. And, and to your point though, localization really matters. I know me personally, I don’t want a daily commute that’s longer than well. Right now I work at home but I would like to be able to walk to my office from where I live. Right?

Scott Scowcroft 49:54
Not, not not for everybody, but because of technology for so many people. they’re able to do we’re able to do things more locally, right?

Jess Dewell 50:05
And we have to start thinking more locally. And that’s actually a, by the way, that’s actually a really cool thing that we can look to those international companies that have done really well. I mean, I live in Kirkland, Washington, there are a whole bunch of tech companies that y’all know the names of that either are already here, or are building, not just getting a building, but creating campuses here, and their interest so that they can take advantage, they’ve decided there’s enough talent here to do that is my guess. It’s my educated guess. I think, though, you know, I’m on the extreme end, Scott, you may not even want to be able to walk to work, I’m willing to leave my house, I can’t wait to leave my house and go to an office again, that will be great. But I know, for a lot of people, you know, I would take if I really driving every day, I would, I would love I would be okay, with a 30-minute commute each way, it’s quick enough for me to be able to pick up my child to be able to go to the grocery store if I forgot something for dinner if it’s my turn to be doing that, to be able to work as much as I can up to that last minute and not worry about hectic things so that I can go out and be around. So when I do drive longer than that, to go to a client site, to go to an event to go wherever I’ve committed to go on one of the volunteer boards, or one of the private board meetings that I where I sit on and contribute. All of those things are usually farther away than what I would want my 15 minutes. So good news is, it’s a balance in there too. And we have to find that for each one of us. And that’s where a business has to go. What am I looking for? Do I have the talent where I’m at? How can I get the talent if, if they’re not where I’m at. And you’re right, Scott being a little more creative. And that takes capacity. And here’s where I was going to go with what you were saying. We need to increase the capacity of our businesses specific not to grow, which is part of it, to assess and to think and to reflect and make strategic actions for right now to see how that changes the groundwork because that’s what allows us to stay competitive. That’s what allows us to adapt to change. And that allows us to better understand what’s right right now and keeps us aligned toward that long-term TrueNorth that we have set for our organization.

Scott Scowcroft 52:33
Cool. I couldn’t, I couldn’t I don’t think I can add to that.

Jess Dewell 52:38
Okay, so with that we have been on a long time, Scott this great. Everybody’s got a little bit of a bonus. Woohoo.

Scott Scowcroft 52:46
It’s been, it’s been too long. Yes.

Jess Dewell 52:49
It has been. I know for those of you really want some way back, you go do a quick search for the Jess plus Scott show. Yeah. Oh, yeah. The Jess plus Scott show. Why was another thing that we went by, and I have to tell you, it was, it was not quite like this. But it was a lot of banter. And it was Scott and I and boy, did we have some great conversations? I’ll tell you what, I like those. Yeah. Yeah. So with that, everybody that is, that is just a few of the questions or comments that people wanted us to talk about for this. Ask Jess. How do you ask Jess? Well, these are from our Fast Track Your Business subscriber members, participants that are people that are looking to grow their business have information just in time because they’re working on a project, as well as developing themselves as a leader to increase the capacity to rearrange and create a new relationship with time and energy to get out of meetings that just generate more meetings to really hear and see and learn from their peers. How they’ve navigated difficult situations to help bring another perspective into the problem-solving process within their organizations. So those concepts that’s all there and you can visit fast track your To find out more. And most importantly, don’t forget to subscribe to the Bold Business Podcast because we do throw their questions out here sometimes just like this one is and you’ll see all kinds of other and hear all kinds of other great information along the same concept, but presented more in a conversational style.

Scott Scowcroft 54:35
So it’s Fast Track Your Business

Jess Dewell 54:38
Yes, it is. Did I say it wrong?

Scott Scowcroft 54:41
Yes. You’ve got to

Jess Dewell 54:43
Please say it again. What

Scott Scowcroft 54:44
Fast Track Your Business

Jess Dewell 54:47
Ding, ding, ding ding.

Scott Scowcroft 54:52
And, that’s good, because now people will remember it more.

Jess Dewell 54:54
That’s right. That’s exactly right. So thank you, Scott, for that correction. That’s really important. All right, everybody. Until next time.

Announcer 55:03
Thank you for tuning in and listening to the Bold Business Podcast. If you’ve 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 Special thanks to the Scott Treatment for technical production.

More Posts in This Category